Buying your first pair of pointe shoes should be a memorable but knowledgable experience. You should be fit in a well known dance store that you trust. The girls who work at Applause are all experienced dancers who have learned from experience what is the correct fit for a pointe shoe. At the end of this page is a dancer's glossary that might help you understand more if you are new to dance.
The wrong pointe shoe can cause much unwanted pain. Shoes that are too long or too wide can cause the foot to move inside the shoe. This will cause blisters from the shoe rubbing against your foot. Pointe shoes should fit like a glove. The box of the shoe should be like an extension of your foot. The heel of the shoe should fit like skin. The shoe should need alittle tug to get it on to be sure of a good snug fit. Always make sure the pointe shoe fits correctly and feels good when you are on pointe. Your foot will slide forward when you get up on pointe if they are too big.
Here are some basic rules to follow when being fit for pointe shoes.
1-Wear tights to try on your pointe shoes.
2-There should be minimal to no wrinkles in the box area of the shoe.
3- You should not be able to fit your pointer finger inside the edge of the box because then it is too wide.
4- Pointe shoes should fit like a glove.
5- Always try shoes on both feet.
(There is no right and left with pointe shoes)
6- The heel of the shoe should feel like skin.
7- You should not be able to move your foot around inside the shoes.
8- Make sure you stand on pointe completely to see how your shoes feel.
9- Try different pointe pads to ensure the most comfort.
(Bunheads Ouch Pouch, Gellows or Lambs Wool Pads)
10- Make sure you ask any and all questions if something does not feel right because after all you are the one with them on your feet and you are the one that needs to be comfortable enough to wear them.
Which Pointe shoe is good for me?
If there is no recommendation then many different brands should be tried on to learn how each one differs. No one should really be able to tell you exactly what brand to buy because everyone has a different foot therefore each and every pointe shoe fits everyone differently. You should get what you feel most comfortable in. If teachers do make recommadations then there is a good reason for it so take their advice and try on that shoe. If the shoe bothers yout hen explain that to your teacher and they should be able to suggest something better. It may take some time trying on many different sizes and styles before you get the right fit so be prepared to spend some time with us when trying on your pointe shoes. All new pointe shoes bought at Applause should be approved by your pointe teacher before anything is sewn on or anything is worn. After the teacher approves the shoe you may sew on the ribbons and elastic. A student who is responsible enough to go on pointe should be able to sew her own shoes.When entering a store to try on pointe shoes you should have tights and whatever pad it is that you will wear inside of the shoe. If it is your first time buying shoes we will explain and show you all different types of pointe shoe pads. Pointe shoes are sized different then regular street shoe size. We do not recommend buying pointe shoes online, they should be tried on at the time of purchase. If you think you know the exact style and size you need there is a possibility that they may still be different when you get them because most pointe shoes are handmade and your foot does change when you are taking pointe.
What students and parents should know...
At Applause we will not sell you pointe shoes unless you are taking a pointe class because if you are not trained correctly you are risking serious injury. Every student beginning pointe should be at least 10 years old and has been taking ballet class for at least the past 3 years. Many teachers will wait until the student is 11 or 12 years old.There are two main reasons why the student should be of this age before beginning pointe. The first reason is because up until this age the bodies muscles and bones are still growing and are not fully developed. If you begin pointe before you are done growning you are risking a malformation to the joints and bones. Although these malformations are not always noticed right away later in life they may have serious pain due to standing on your toes with not the right training. The second reason you should not begin pointe before you are 10 is because you need about three years of serious abllet training to achieve the correct technique on pointe. If you feel you need to have another opinion I strongly suggest that you speak with your doctor and let him know all these risks. He may evaluate your daughter's bones and muscles to see if they are strong enough to begin pointe.
Sewing Ribbon & Elastic
1- Fold the ribbon in half. Cut into two equal pieces.
2- Fold each piece in half and cut again. You should now have four pieces of ribbon that are of equal length.
3- Take the heel of the pointe shoe and fold the heel inside towards the toe of the shoe. Place the ribbon by the edge of the fold. This is where you sew the ribbon, one on each side of each shoe.
4- It is sometimes hard to find the right color thread to match your pointe shoes. Something close will be ok or you can use floss because it is very strong.
5- When sewing the ribbon do not push the thread all the way through the satin, just pick up the canvas. (this is the material on the inside of the shoe) That way it looks neat and you do not have stitching showing on the outside of the shoe.
6- After you have the ribbons sewn on you might want to lightly melt the end of the ribbon with a match to prevent unraveling of the ribbon. ***THIS SHOULD ONLY BE DONE BY AN ADULT!***
7- Now for the elastic! There are two types of elastic, 3/8" or 5/8". If your teacher does not recommend which elastic to use then it is your preference. Begin with the shoe on your foot and measure the length of the elastic that you will need because everyone's ankles are different sizes. The position of the elastic will go from the rear of the shoe around your ankle and back to the rear of the shoe again. Mark the elastic at the point where it is snug around your ankle but not too tight. Sew correct lenght of elastic at the heel of the shoe. Do not sew elastic on canvas pullstring because then you will not be able to tighten the string.
Arch- the part of the sole between the ball and the heel. You bend this part of your foot when you point your toes.
Ballet Slipper- A soft shoe made of leather or canvas worn by ballet students.
Box- The area of the pointe shoe which surrounds the toes and ball of the foot.
Bunion- A painful, inflamed swelling of the bursa at the first joint of the big toe.
Choreographer- One who composes or invents dances.
De-Shank- To remove the inside nails and shank from the pointe shoe, to make it nearly as flexible as a ballet slipper.
Demi-Plie- Half bend; bending the knees over the toes while keeping the feet flat and turned outward on the floor.
Demi-Pointe- Half pointe standing on the balls of the feet with the ankles fully stretched.
En Pointe- French term for on pointe or on your toes.
Instep- Upper surface of the arch of the foot.
Pirouette- A turn or spin while on one leg.
Pleats- The area under the box where the satin is pleated to fit under the sole.
Plie- Bending at the knees with the back held straight.
Pointe Shoe- A hard ballet slipper which enables the dancer to stand on their toes.
Shank- The hard sole of the shoe.
Tendon- The tough tissue that connects the muscle to the bone.
Achilles Tendon- The large tendon above the heel. The flexibility of this tendon is important while studying ballet.
Tendonitis- Inflamation of a tendon.
Vamp- The top of the box between the tip of the shoe and the drawstrings.
We hope this information helps and as always if you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitiate to call and ask questions. We are here to help!
Thanks and good luck on pointe!
Next Generation of Applause...
Sophia, Melissa's 6 month old daughter