Fitting Ballet Pointe Shoes – Some Extra Tips

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It is exciting when your dance teacher tells you that it’s time to start dancing ballet in pointe shoes. New, shiny, pink satin pointe shoes are beautiful. Every student has to have an idea of what they should look for in getting exactly the right fit. Hopefully the ballet store will have an area of floor for fitting ballet pointe shoes, and a ballet barre (bar) or chair back to use for support.

Here are a few points for every dance student to review. Do you have

*** narrow feet/wide feet

*** narrow heels/wide across metatarsal arc

*** long toes/short toes

*** even length toes/varying lengths of toes (especially longer second toe)

*** flat arch and less deep toes/high domed arch and deeper toes/ankle bone higher above floor

All these elements determine the kind of pointe shoe you will work best in.

Pointe shoes must be snug enough to support the foot, yet not too tight. Cramped toe joints will not be able to work properly. Pain at the end of the toes from compression does not serve the dance student who needs to concentrate on accurate technique in order to build strength and avoid ballet injuries.

The boxes, or supportive area of pointe shoes around the toes, come in different widths and shapes. Therefore the platform, or part you actually stand up on, may be narrower or wider.

The vamp, or cloth extending from the box up over the metatarsal joints, also is made in different lengths to accommodate different foot shapes.

You will try on each shoe standing flat, in demi plie in second position (you need a little room for your feet to spread), and on pointe, using a barre or chair back for support (or a person). Of course, you do not want to break a pair of shoes when fitting.

Once you select a pair of shoes, take them to your teacher to review the fit. Keep them absolutely clean by standing on clean white paper or a towel, in case you end up returning them. Do not sew on ribbons and/or elastic before having your teacher see the fit.

You may end up not getting exactly the right fit in the first pair you buy and work in for a while. The stronger your feet are before you start pointe work, the easier it will be to adapt a pointe shoe that is a less than perfect fit, to your foot.

Fitting ballet pointe shoes takes time, so don’t be rushed at the ballet store.

write by Letitia

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