In short, the answer is one giant resounding YES! Pointe fit can make or break a dancer.
The Right Shoe Will….
- Become an extension of the foot
- Not cause tremendous pain (not to be confused with discomfort)
- Require minimal padding
- Enhance the line of the legs & feet
- Make rehearsal much easier
- Protect the bones of the foot by putting the foot into proper alignment
- Allow free range of motion
- Allow the dancer to stop worrying about her shoes and DANCE!
The Wrong Shoe Can….
- Cause tremendous pain
- Cause setbacks in training, particularly for students
- Limit range of motion due to pain
- Require extra padding and gimmicks just to get through rehearsal
- Cause irreparable damage to the feet & ankles
- Cause the dancer to roll over the shoe
- Prevent the dancer from getting over the box
- Force the dancer to stand pronated (winged) or suppinated (sickled)
- Cause bunions
- Cause toenails to blacken & fall off
Professionals may have it easier- a professional ballerina has the experience to take a shoe that *almost* fits and modify it in a way that it will be acceptable to dance in. It’s important to understand that a professional ballerina might burn through a new pair (or multiple pairs) of shoes each day or week. One day in a pair that almost fits probably won’t cause significant damage.
All feet change over time, but young growing students (and parents) must be especially aware of the fit of their shoes to avoid injury and pain in ever changing bodies and feet. A student who takes pointe 1-2 times per week can make a pair of shoes last whole semesters or even a whole year! A tremendous amount of change happens to any growing child in the period of a year. Allowing a pointe student to practice and learn in the wrong pair of shoes can be devastating over time. It can also hold her back from reaching her full potential.
How can I make sure I’m buying the right shoe?
The first line of defense for any pointe student is to fully understand her feet BEFORE she is fitted for a pair of pointe shoes. PointePerfect.com has built a detailed resource for doing just that. Click HERE to Learn Your Foot Type! Then use our Pointe Shoe Finder to get a list of shoes that fit your foot specs.
ProTip: Use the Pointe Shoe Finder to look up shoes that will be BAD for your feet. For example: If you’ve got long Egyptian style toes, compressible feet and a long flexible arch, enter the opposite into the Pointe Shoe Finder. Square box, wide shoe, short vamp, and weak shank. This will gather a small list of shoes that you know you should not buy!
Do research about your local pointe shoppe before setting your appointment.
- Check sites like YellowPages.com, Google Maps reviews & Yelp.com to see what others have said about the shoppe.
- Ask other students from your studio about their experiences with the store you are considering.
- Most importantly– realize that the pointe fitter can tell you how the shoes look, but only the dancer can tell if the shoes really fit.
- Let the pointe instructor check the shoes before ribbons & elastic are sewn on so you can return them if they don’t fit!
Another great line of defense in picking the right shoe is to ask how many different makes/models of pointe shoe the store carries while setting the appointment. The store you buy from should have several different brands and models of shoe available in the store, because no two people have the same feet!
Pointe fitting is complicated, but it doesn’t have to be hard any longer. Thanks for reading, and happy dancing!