The anatomy of ballet shoes

The ballet pointe - for someone their daily bread and butter, for others dance shoes shrouded in a little secret (especially for dads, whom I BTW welcome here, and who look at the pointe shoes in our stores with a peculiar look, tapping the platform of the pointe and say wanderingly ..: "I knew it" :).
The daughter of a choreographer Filipo Taglioni (1777-1871) used ballet pointe shoes for the first time to perform the ballet "Sylfida." The choreographer needed to create a "floating" view for the dancer.
It is not so easy to choose the right ballet pointe, but we`ll leave that for another time.

Let`s first of all look at the anatomy of pointe shoes

By doing so, we`ll understand the differences in designs. Each design has its own features and reasons. They are adapted to the needs of dancers, their technical maturity and also the proportions of their foot.

  • An important part is the BOX, the place, where the dancer's toes are placed. We define the shape, the arch design, width and hardness, don't forget the inside material, too. The box itself is made of different parts, which also need your attention.
  • A VAMP is the front part of a ballet pointe. It runs from the platform to the waist seam. What we define here is its hight (high, medium-high or short). 
  • A PLATFORM  is the tipy-toe on which the dancer stands on, called "en pointe". This part gives stability, the well needed balance. The surface has different widths, like wide, narrow, oval, more oval, flat or rounded.  
  • WINGS are the side parts of the pointe shoe. They hug the foot at the knuckles upwards, towards the instep. Some pointes have these parts more firm, others are looser. Also, their width, which is related to the sides of the tip, may be different. For example, the sides can be low, medium, or high.
  • Another important part of the pointe is its SHANK. The insole supports the ballerina when standing en pointe exactly where the ballerina needs it. In addition to being of different hardness (from soft to hard), it can also be e.g. of different lengths, and also made of different materials cellulose, plastic etc...
  • AN OUTER SOLE can be split of full and made of different material like cellulose or leather.
  • The pointe HEEL is related to its insole. Some lengths leave the heel free, some go right up to the heel seam. Also, the pointe design (not the insole) may have the heel narrowed, shaped or full.  Some types of ballet shoes have very fine leather sewn on the inside of the heel, which prevents slipping.

Some producers of the DRAWSTRINGS in the pointe shoe WAIST SEAM make some pointe shoe designs with linen drawstrings, some are round, some elastic. Even the waist seam itself can have similar properties as drawstrings. The inner part of the ballet pointes can be linen, or from a soft material which absorbs sweat.
The material of the UPPER (that`s the material from which the pointe shoe is made) can also be various. It can be satin, matte canvas, or stretch material, which minimizes excess material standing out on the pointe.
There are more and more trivial differences in ballet pointes, for instance, their producers. We have listed some of them that are important in choosing the right type of pointe.

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