Pointe Shoe FAQ: A Guide to Pointe Shoes Part 1

1. Why do I need a professional pointe shoe fitting?

To ensure pointe shoes fit correctly takes time and care. Ill-fitting shoes can be very uncomfortable and may cause injury. A fitting can take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes and is preformed by experienced Pointe Shoe Fitters and Footwear Specialists. You should only be purchasing and wearing pointe shoes on the recommendation of your regular ballet teacher. Canada’s National Ballet School has a wonderful store called “The Shoe Room” where professional pointe shoe fitters are available to help you choose the perfect shoe. It is necessary to phone ahead to reserve a time, as with all professionals their expertise is in high demand!

2. How should a new pointe shoe feel?

Your new pointe shoes should feel snug and you should feel some pressure at the end of the shoe. They should not feel as roomy and comfortable as regular street shoes. When standing flat or in a demi-plie position the big toe should be pressing against the end of the shoe but should not be curled or pushed back in any way. You should also be able to wiggle your toes slightly. When the shoe fits properly, it gives gentle support but does not prop up the foot. It is normal for the material at the heel to “bag” a little bit when the foot is en pointe.

3. Why can’t I buy pointe shoes a little bit bigger so that I can grow into them?

Pointe shoes must fit very closely to the shape of your foot. It is dangerous to wear a pointe shoe that is too big and that has room for growth. Shoes that are too big do not provide the necessary support for the foot and may cause calluses, bruises to joints, and even injuries to ankles and toe-joints by letting the foot move about inside the shoe.

4. How can I protect my toes inside my shoes?

Some dancers find that after wearing their shoes for a prolonged period of time their toes become sore and are in need of some extra cushioning. There are various types of toe pads available, however remember the aim is to relieve pressure and not to fill up the block! For this reason try to avoid padding that is too thick or bulky such as those that are made from foam, silicon, or thick gel-filled plastic which will not allow the dancer to feel the floor through her shoes. Instead, we recommend a small amount of lamb’s wool or a toe pad made with a very thin layer of fabric-covered gel. White cotton medical tape is also highly recommended to protect individual toes.

Brought to you by: Angie Stone, Prima Dance Academy, Studio# 905.425.2828 www.primadanceacademy.ca