Buying Pointe Shoes
The information on this page is intended for students that are about to start Pointe work in their Ballet Classes to help them understand the process of buying their first pair of Pointe Shoes and how to look after them. It is very important to state that a first pair of pointe shoes MUST be fitted by a trained fitter and so it would be wrong to order your first pair over the internet. The Pointe shoes for sale on this web site are for experienced dancers that know the shoes they wear.
Getting the right Pointe Shoes
A pointe shoe fitting experience can be both confusing and frustrating for a first time pointe student. Since working ‘en Pointe’ puts the foot under considerable stress the shoes should fit perfectly.
The anatomy of the foot is complicated and everyone’s feet are different. So finding the perfect shoes just for you may take some time. Fittings for pointe shoes can take up to 1 hour.
The shoe must fit snugly but not too tight to avoid calluses, bruises and bunions yet give maximum support to prevent permanent bone damage. One important point to remember is that the shoe should not allow “growing room”. Shoes that are too large or too wide make it impossible to achieve proper support and balance and will result in considerable pain.
Having your shoes fitted by an experienced fitter is very important. All Dancemania staff are trained in how to fit you with the perfect pair of pointe shoes every time.
How it should feel to wear Pointe Shoes
Pointe shoes will feel very different from ballet slippers or street shoes. The snug fit allows little, if any, room to wiggle the toes. They will feel very constricted at first, less so as the shoes break in. A little numbness in the toes is also normal. Dancers soon become accustomed to these discomforts, which are experienced to some degree with each new pair of shoes they wear.
At first, there is the uncomfortable sensation of feeling the end of the shank which stops in the middle of the heel of the foot. Balance is also somewhat difficult at first because the shank is narrower than the sole of the foot. Strong ankles are needed to keep the feet from rolling side to side. Never wear Pointe shoes at home or attempt to break them in without the teacher’s permission.
Looking after your Pointe Shoes
Never leave pointe shoes in a bag that cannot breathe e.g. dance bag or plastic bag.
Not allowing them to properly dry out after use will decrease the life of your expensive pointe shoes. After pointe class take your shoes off and remove all padding from the box of the shoe. Place the shoes somewhere dry and airy but not overly hot (not in your dance bag) so they can dry. A mesh pointe shoe bag or cotton home made bag can be helpful to keep your pointe shoes dry and aired. Pointe shoes need about 36 hours to dry. Taking proper care of your pointe shoes can make them last up to 50% longer.
How to attach Ribbons to your pointe shoes
Before the ribbons or elastic are sewn on, the dancer should take the shoes to be checked by her teacher. Make sure when you try on the shoes for your teacher you wear them on a clean surface so that you will be able to return them if necessary. Most teachers would prefer that beginners do not sew elastics on the heel of their shoes until they have had an opportunity to see if it is really necessary. Only by seeing a dancer in a correctly fitted pair of Pointe shoes can your teacher judge whether to allow you to dance ‘en Pointe’. An exchange can only be made if the shoes show no evidence of wear or sewing.
It is important to remember that the ribbons are attached to hold the whole heel of the shoe against the foot and not just the edge of the sides of the shoe. Therefore ribbons should be stitched from low down inside the shoe, (see figure 1) taking care to attach them to the lining only – do not sew through the satin and avoid catching the drawstring.
To check the exact position for attaching, fold the heel of the shoe forward against the insole (see figure 2). Then draw a line with a pen where the shoe creases (see figure 3). This line will be the middle where the ribbon is to be sewn. Attach the ribbon following the angle of the line, e.g. the ribbon should be angled slightly diagonally forward for comfort and support as the ankle flexes.
How to attach elastic to your Ballet Shoes
Use 3/8″ – 5/8″ wide elastic. Sew to the outside of the shoe, where it will not rub the heel and cause blisters. Measure a length of elastic to fit snugly from the back of the heel, around the ankle and back to the heel again. This elastic will hold the shoe level on the foot. It should be fairly tight (but not tight enough to stop circulation). It is not necessary to secure the elastic to the casing of the shoe. The elastic should be sewn at a slight angle at the back of the shoe.
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If you are an experienced dancer then do not hesitate to purchase your Pointe shoes and all the accessories from the great range that we stock on our website!
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