The staff has completed several pointe shoe fitting seminars with major dance brands like Gaynor Minden, Bloch, Capezio, Grishko and Suffolk and is always working to improve and learn more. We are more than happy to provide as many opions as we can though, and take pride in our ability to work as a team to ensure your best fit.
Pointe Shoe Fitting
Over the years we have fit pointe shoes on thousands of dancers, in nearly every brand and model available. Therefore, we can help if you have concerns or questions about how to choose and fit the brand, size, or style of shoe that is right for you, but we CANNOT accurately fit pointe shoes over the phone. Please, if you are buying your first pair of pointe shoes, or you are changing size, brand, or model and are unsure of what you need, have a professional personally fit you. We can offer advice and guidance, but the wrong pointe shoe can cause permanent damage to your feet. If you are able to come to our store at 30 West Lancaster Ave, Paoli, PA 19301, please call us at (610) 251-2344 to make an appointment. If you are unable to visit us in the store, please call us, we will be happy to help pointe you in the right direction!
Dancing en pointe is a very elegant yet athletic talent and requires grace and strength. To compliment the form of this dance discipline, the pointe shoe is regarded as an extension of the foot and a continuation of the leg line. However, regardless of a dancer's technical ability, a pointe shoe must fit properly in order to provide the support required to dance en pointe.
Pointe shoes cannot be purchased to grow into. Due to the shorter wearing time, shorter life, and frequent replacement of pointe shoes, the snug fit does not endanger healthy growing young feet.
All pointe shoes are sized differently, some are based on street shoe size and width, some are sized larger, some smaller. Even different models by the same manufacturer may have different sizing standards. There are dozens of size conversion charts available, some more accurate than others.
The bones of the feet do not complete their final hardening and joining until a dancer is in her early twenties. It is important not to impair their future growth pattern for obvious reasons. Since working en Pointe puts the foot under considerable stress, fitting shoes “to grow into” should always be avoided. The shoe must fit snugly to avoid callouses, bruises and bunions yet give maximum support to prevent permanent bone damage. Shoes that are too large or too wide make it impossible to achieve proper support and balance and will result in considerable pain.
Pointe shoe fitting is not an exact science since the majority of pointe shoes are handmade with no two pairs being identical. It involves a great deal of trial and error with the dancer needing to be patient and relying on the expertise of the fitter to find the correct shoe. During the fitting, various shoes will be tried. The shoe must fit like a glove providing the necessary support to stop the foot from buckling. Please listen carefully to the fitter and allow them to answer any questions as fully as possible.
PREPARING SHOES FOR WEAR
The majority of pointe shoes are still made by what is known as the turnshoe method, i.e. inside out. The block is constructed from natural fibers and paste, which will break down and mold to the foot giving a shock absorbing effect. There is no obvious left or right shoe since this would distort the dancers balance. However, the dancer should mark each shoe so they can distinguish between them. Alternating the shoes can often increase the lifespan but if the feet are considerably different this may not be possible. A certain amount of experimentation will be needed. To attach ribbons, fold the back seam of the shoe against the sole and towards the front. The ribbons are then placed inside the shoe in the angles made by folding the heel forward. The raw edges should face the lining of the shoe. A light pencil mark can be drawn as a sewing guide. The ribbons are sewn forward as this allows them to lay flat on the instep.
BREAKING IN SHOES
Many experienced dancers will often feel the need to “break-in” a new pair of pointe shoes. They are looking to maintain sufficient rigidity in the shoe to ensure support yet have the flexibility to allow fluent movement. While the shoes can be softened by gently molding them in the hands, the most sensible method is to walk around in them and rise from quarter, to demi, to three-quarter pointe, allowing the shoes to mold to the feet. This should be repeated over time. However, if you are new en pointe then please only wear your shoes when you are being supervised by your teacher. Finally, we would not advise the extreme tactics used by some dancers to soften shoes. This will only reduce the lifespan of the shoe and can easily break the backs.
CARING FOR SHOES
After wear, shoes should be put somewhere warm and dry to air. The block should be packed tightly with tissue paper wrapped in plastic. This will ensure it does not lose its shape and that the shoe dries out through the surface and does not simply remain damp inside. If the shoes are not allowed time to dry between classes then their lifespan will be considerably reduced. If you are to get the most from your shoes then they must be well cared for. Please ensure the steps above are taken. If you have more than one pair of pointes, alternate them between classes as it can sometimes requires up to three days for a shoe to properly dry out.
INCORRECTLY FITTING SHOES
The dancer will find that the feet will need a certain amount of time to harden to working en pointe. However, many common problems can be avoided by ensuring the correct shoes are being worn at all times. If shoes are too wide, too short, too long or too narrow, problems will result. The common signs are blisters, corns, bunions and soreness around the heel and Achilles tendon. If this is not rectified quickly then it could cut short a dancers career as well as causing long-term damage. The simple answer is to have your shoes checked regularly by an experienced fitter.
Shoes are not returnable; but Danceline guarantees fit and will exchange shoes for fit.