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Buy Pointe Shoes And Understand Pointe Shoe Sizing
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When you plan to go and buy pointe shoes, it is best to learn as much as you can about pointe shoe sizing. With luck, there will be an experienced pointe shoe fitter in the ballet store you go to. Some have done special training, are retired (or current dancers or dance teachers) and some just know their toe shoe stock really well.

What Does Pointe Shoe Sizing Involve?

  • your foot type including your foot outline drawn, with your weight on it (each foot can differ)
  • your arch type - hyperflexible, stiff, domed but stiff
  • toe length and shape
  • heel width and metatarsal/forefoot width
  • depth required of the pointe shoe
  • square box
  • tapered box
  • high vamp
  • low vamp
  • heavy shank or sole
  • lighter shank or sole

To Get Exactly The Right Fit:

Bearing in mind all of the above, think about whether you need toe spacers - do you have any overlapping toes, or bunions, which will slant your big toe inwards. Toe levelers are used when you have one extra long toe - usually the big toe or second toe.

You will be trying to get the best pointe shoe fit for your biggest foot, and longest toe. Where there is a big difference, the smaller foot or toe area will need some padding.

If, for one example, you have decided that you need a high vamped pointe shoe with a heavy shank and a longer, tapered box, and a narrow heel, try on that type of shoe in every brand that the store has. There may be differences in the feel from one brand to another, and you will have a wider variety of choices.

If you have a highly domed foot but with a stiffer ankle and less arch, you will want to find a toe shoe that has a lighter shank, but you will still need to get a shoe with some depth. You will get more support with that style of shoe, rather than a shallower, lighter shoe that a fitter might choose for your stiffer ankle.

In other words you are trying to get as close to a custom fit as you can. You will not always get the best fit in pointe shoes the first time, but you can get a fit that you can work in. If you have already tried two or three pairs of pointe shoes that appear when fitted to be the right pair, but are difficult or painful to do pointe work in, you may have the following problems:

  • sole of the foot muscles are too weak
  • forefoot or metatarsal muscles are too weak
  • muscle under the big toe is too weak
  • turnout is unstable and is not supporting your ballet positions
  • core muscles need to be strengthened to support your posture
  • lower leg muscles are over-working and getting too tense...
  • ...and last but not least - pointe shoes truly are not the right sizing

With any toe or foot pain from dancing in pointe ballet shoes, be sure to add some pre pointe exercise to strengthen your feet. And do not give up on pointe shoe sizing. Try on many pairs when you go to buy pointe shoes.


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