Choosing the right pointe shoes is one of the most challenging tasks of every dancer. If the pointe shoes don't fit right, your joy can easily transform into a training nightmare. Here are a few useful tips how to choose the right pointe shoes.
First, you need to know your foot type.
- Greek type – the second toe is the longest
- Egyptian type – the big toe is the longest
- Square type – the same lenght of the big toe and other toes
When you know you have the right pointe shoes?
- If the lenght is right
- If the box is the right size
- If the heel is the right height
- If the shank is the right strenght
- If the platform of the pointe provides stability
- If the lenght is right:
- your toes mustn't be squashed in (not even in plié)
- your foot should fit snugly in standing
- the toe platform mustn't be too big - if your toes don't touch the toe platform it's not correct
If you use toe pads, then of course try the pointe shoes with the pads you'll be using.
- If the box is the right size:
when en pointe
- your toes shouldn't be jammed, they should lay flat. For a flat foot choose the elliptical shaped box, for a higher arch go for a round shape.
- your foot shouldn't slip in the pointe shoe - if it does the box is too big
- the sides of the box should fit snugly, there shouldn't be any visible line at the edge of the box
- the width of the box depends on your toe size. If your big toe is the longest and the others are smaller or if the first too toes are the same length, etc. We higly recommend using second toe protection for the dancers with the Greek type foot to prevent painful abrasion. In this case it's very important to choose the right type of pointe shoes.
- the box must cover and protect the joint of the big toe.
- If the heel is the right height:
The heel height is equally important: when is the height just right? Stand in demi plié...
- if the heel of the shoe doesn't pop off everything is perfect. If it does, you need a higher heel. Small imperfections can be improved by sewing elastics so that the heel doesn't move.
- If the shank is the right strenght:
We should also consider the shank strength. When is the shank strong enough? When you're en pointe...
- the shank must be strong enough but not too much. It must provide you with support but shouldn't prevent you from stretching your arch when en pointe.
For beginners, we recommend a softer shank to learn the transition from demi pointe to pointe. As soon as they feel comfortable with this technique, the shank strenght should accommodate the needs of the dancer.
- If the platform of the pointe provides stability:
To sum it up
The process of choosing the right pointe shoe may take some dancers a bit longer. We recommend that you spend some time and consult all the details when buying your first pair of pointe shoes with your teacher and shop assistant. The feeling of the dancer is equally important. It's quite common that dancers try a few types of pointe shoes made by various producers until they find the perfect pair. We simply can't avoid it.