Pointe Shoe Fitting Guide

anatomy-of-pointe-shoe

IMPORTANT: Have your teacher check the fit of the shoes BEFORE you sew ribbons and elastics. Ensure that the shoes are kept clean and unworn before then. In case the teacher recommends you exchange the shoe for another size/model, we would require that the shoes you are exchanging be in brand new/sellable condition.

PREPARATION FOR FITTING:

Make sure feet are clean, nails cut short, and that you do not have blisters.

Please bring the following:

  1. Convertible tights. This will allow access for the fitter to see the shape of your bare feet.
  2. Any toe pads/spacers you are using/will use with your new shoes.
  3. Old pointe shoes, if any. This will allow the fitter to see how you wear your shoes and if there are problem areas.

ACTUAL FITTING:

  • We recommend shoe fittings in the afternoon as the feet tend to be smaller in the morning. However, we don’t recommend fitting after a heavy rehearsal/class as feet tend to swell after and are bigger than usual.
  • The fitter will note the natural shape of the dancer’s foot and recommend a pointe shoe that best resembles the dancer’s foot.
  • Fit both feet as they can sometimes vary up to 1/2 size. At times, extra padding may needed for the smaller foot or different size shoes may be needed. Make sure both feet are comfortable with the shoe chosen.
  • Check size, length and width.
  • SIZE – The shoe should fit snugly with no room for growing. Wear the padding that you intend to wear with the shoe to get an accurate feel for the overall size. A pointe shoe can never have “growing room”. At the same time, it should not cramp the foot and cause pain. Shoes that are too big can cause bunions, corns, blisters, and bruised toe nails. It can cause injury to the foot due to lack of support and also cause the dancer to form bad habits while compensating for the shoe. Shoes that are too small restrict the foot’s movement and will not allow the dancer to work the foot properly.
  • LENGTH – With feet flat on the floor, the dancer should be able to just about feel the platform of the shoe with her toes. When in demi-plie, the toes should be able to touch the platform with slight pressure. Toes should not curl. If they do, the shoe is too short. For traditional pointe shoes, when on pointe, a slight pinch of fabric at the heel is normal as the foot is shorter en pointe. Gaynor Mindens should have about a 1/4″ pinch at the drawstring casing when en pointe.
  • WIDTH – With feet flat on the floor, there should be slight pressure on the sides of the foot. If the dancer does not feel the sides of the shoe, the shoe is too wide. When en pointe, the dancer’s toes should be straight. Toes that are scrunched up and curved at the bottom of the shoe while en pointe means that the shoes are too wide or the profile is too high. The back of the shoe should be aligned with the foot en pointe. There should be no gapping on the top of the dancer’s foot. If there is, a shoe with a lower profile or narrower width is recommended.
  • SHANK – Choose preferred shank strength. Softer/more pliable shanks are recommended for beginners to build proper strength in the foot. Stronger shanks are recommended for more advanced dancers or dancers with high arches.

REMEMBER:

  • No amount of padding can make up for an ill-fitting shoe.
  • Pointe shoe fitting is not an exact science. Ultimately, it’s the dancer, who will make the choice on what fits her best.
  • The shoe is but an extension of the foot. A perfect fitting shoe is but a tool of the dancer. No shoe can make up for proper technique and training.

Happy dancing!

 

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