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Pointe shoe fitting difficulties


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I'm feeling so frustrated and I know I am not the only one out there....please share your stories with me so that I will know I am not alone. :ermm:

We have just spent $500 on our local SI, and another $160 on two pair of pointe shoes...that don't work. My 11 year old DD has grown. She has some strength and flexibility issues. And she may not know exactly what she is supposed to feel in a new pointe shoe fitting. So we seem to be trying one shoe, then another, and she isn't happy yet....and neither is my wallet :blink: .

We have one more local SI in July and she is going away to a three day workshop in a couple of weeks. She is taking some private lessons over the summer. That's a lot of dancing, I was hoping for a summer of some advancement in her training and all we are doing is chasing the perfect shoe.

I just feel like we have spent all this money on Pointe shoes that don't work and SI's that she isn't dancing in because she doesn't like the shoes!

I know there are other beneficial aspects to an SI other than the pointe work, and so it isn't a waste of time. But can you imagine how frustrating it is to have DD wear pointe shoes for three days and then come home saying "I didn't do pointe today..."

Please send me your stories and tell me how you all went through this and now your DD's are doing great! I feel like this must be why so many girls stop dancing at this age. When you combine the dificulty of getting the right shoe, with the crazy school/dance schedule and the expense...

(And I am conversing with Ms DeVor about what might work....she has pictures :P )

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Unfortunately, yours is a common story. The search of a perfect pointe shoe takes a while and yes, sometimes many tries in class to see what works and doesn't. The more your daughter knows about why each of the shoes didn't work, the better able she will be to help the pointe shoe fitter decipher where to go next. It is also necessary at your daughter's age to decipher whether a shoe really isn't working or if that means that she couldn't do X,Y or Z in class in her shoe and therefore has ruled it out before she has gotten adjusted to the new shoe.


Is the teacher saying the shoe is not working and what reasons is your dancer giving for each shoe not working?

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No, you certainly aren't alone. Finding the right pointe shoe can make anyone a little crazy, and it can certainly make your wallet a lot lighter. :ermm: And once you think you've found the right shoe, the dancer's foot can change and it's no longer the right shoe anymore!


How long has your daughter been on pointe? And do you have a good selection of stores and fitters to choose from? It's been my experience that a beginner pointe student needs a good fitter who will ask all the right questions. Also, they can help to educate the dancer on how the shoe should feel when dancing and how to break the shoe in. Have you enlisted the help of your daughter's ballet teacher?


My daughter's first pointe shoe was her "perfect" shoe for about a year when we realized it wasn't going to work for her anymore. Since then we have been searching for the right shoe for her, making some mistakes along the way. An experienced fitter with a large selection of shoes can help minimize the mistakes, but I'm not sure anyone can guarantee that the shoe you buy will always be right once your child dances in it. I have experienced similar frustration and have worried about loss of progress but I've come to realize it comes with the territory. Progress can also be slowed at times due to illness or injury, which is also frustrating, and at least we have more control over the shoe issue than the former. I would say to keep learning all you can about pointe shoes and your child's foot type (check the sticky's under Pointe Shoe Topics), and also encourge her to speak up in her fittings if she's not sure about how a shoe feels or if she has questions. The more knowledge you gain the better, and in time I think things will work out fine. :blink:

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It is surprising things that she doesn't like. We didn't realize her old shoe was a 3/4 shank (because it still has a full sole). So when she tried a Bloch with a full shank it was hitting her under the heel and she said that hurt. The fitter put her in a square shoe, and she has a somewhat tapered foot, so as it started to break in she was sinking into it. Then we got a different shoe, she has a somewhat weak arch, so the fitter put her in a very soft shoe, and after two days she said it was dead. I put jet glue in it last night. I am just trying to get her through the rest of the week in the SI, and buy some time until Ms DeVor can look at the pics I sent her. Her usual teacher is away, and a male teacher is teaching classes this week. I am not sure how much a male teacher can really know about pointe shoes.

I know this is not unusual! I really just felt so frustrated and I wanted other parents who have been through this to tell me about the light at the end of the tunnel!

I know I am learning a lot. I have learned more than I ever thought I would about shoe shapes, parts of the shoe, parts of the foot, and foot strength. I think we need a shoe with a soft shank, a low to medium vamp, low to medium profile, and a somewhat tapered box. I refered to the master list of pointe shoes, and the few shoes in that section that our fitter carried she wasn't able to get over the box....tell me can that improve as the shoe breaks in?

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I will let the pointe shoe experts give you the definite answer about getting over the box, but I can tell you that in our experience the only time breaking in the shoe made getting over the box easier is when the shank was quite hard and needed to be broken in.


Do you have another fitter that you can work with? Finding a store with a larger selection sounds like a good idea, even if you have to travel a ways. I've also found it very helpful to find a fitter that is willilng to order the styles or sizes we need rather than trying to put my daughter in whatever shoes or sizes they happen to have in stock. If a store really wants your business, they will do this with no obligation to you to buy the shoes if they don't fit well.


As long as kids are growing and changing I'm not sure that choosing pointe shoes gets much easier, but keep trying and you will find shoes that will work for your daughter, at least for a time, and she will make progress and become stronger. A fitter at Russian Pointe once told me that it takes about 2 years, sometimes 3, for a dancer to really figure out what she likes in a pointe shoe, and I think he may be right.

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We are also having trouble with pointe shoes, only we are looking for DD's first pair and after 2 different stores yesterday (and about 4 hours) we are going to a third store today! I don't have any real advice to offer, as this is our first time through, but I certainly sympathize with you! I had no idea this could be so frustrating. Good luck!

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My daughter is also a beginning pointe student. She has had trouble in the past with finding a shoe she likes. Often she will like a shoe in the store and the fitter would assure me it was a great shoe for her but after the ribbons were sewed on and she started dancing it was another story.


There is a light at the end of the tunnel. You just have to find a really good fitter. A lot of the fitters in our area don't listen to the dancers. They think the girls whine and complain because they aren't used to being on pointe. After one fitter tried to push my daughter up onto point - saying the shoe just needed to be broken in and my daughter was saying the shank was too hard, I started asking around at the studio. I asked the advanced dancers, not the moms for their opinion on fitters. I found that the fitters they liked weren't at the stores the moms liked. The moms were interested in convenience and also thought the girls were too picky.


I took my daughter to a fitter that got rave reviews. One the girls said told them they were in the wrong shoe and took a lot of time to try to fit them in the correct shoe. Many of them had no ideal that their foot problems were being caused by having the wrong shoe for their feet.


The fitter really listened to my daughter, tried a lot of shoes, spent a lot of time trying to get her into the right shoe and eventually succeeded. My daughter loves her shoes and I have noticed she has fewer blisters and other problems. I'm sure once she gets more advanced she will need a different shoe but we will take her back to the same fitter when that happens and I am sure she will be fit correctly

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Guest tipo'thetoes

I am very interested in this thread as my daughter has recently gone onto pointe. With no previous experience of pointe work, she and I both trusted in the school's recommendation of where to buy them and the fitter's recommendation of which shoes to buy.


I read everywhere that a dancer ought to look for the particular make of pointe shoe that is appropriate for her particular foot and this seems reasonable to me. However, my daughter is starting at vocational dance school in September and this school fits one specific make of pointe shoe. No others are available. This happens to be the same make that we have recently bought for her first pair. My query is this: is it possible that one brand of pointe shoe could be appropriate for all dancers, where fitting is done very carefully? I do believe that the school fitters will sometimes custom adapt the shoes where there is seen to be a specific requirement. However, I think this is for clear physical requirements, not a dancer's preference.

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Make sure you experiment with different toe pads as well. DD was given the gel type at first, and most of the other students were using them and doing well. DD was in agony. We started trying different padding. Ouch Pouch didn't work either. She tried pillows for pointe gel tip, and it was a completely different experience. No more pain, she can't wait for pointe class. :blink:

Let her try all the options, it just might make a difference.

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Often she will like a shoe in the store and the fitter would assure me it was a great shoe for her but after the ribbons were sewed on and she started dancing it was another story.

Kandi, that is exactly what my daughter has done with two different shoes in the last two weeks!



Make sure you experiment with different toe pads as well.

Pavlova, Thank you for this advice. We have only ever used the ouch pouch. I will have her try some of the others.


I find it so interesting that at times I am the only one paying attention to things such as foot shape, etc. My daughter has a slightly tapered foot, and the fitter put us in a very square shoe. We took the shoe to our artistic director and she loved the shoe on her... But Ms Devor predicted on the pointe shoe recomendation thread that the shoe was very square and as it broke in she would experience toe pain...that is exactly what happened.

Thank heaven for Ballet Talk. If I didn't have this resource I would be so in the dark! This place has given me so much information I can't express how grateful I am!

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My daughter needed to change brand/style of pointe shoes after the first pair. I know now that it is not recommended here, but my daughter started pointe at age 9. She did not know how the shoes were supposed to feel and as she was able to break shoes in more quickly she noticed a change in how they fit. Luckily, one of her teachers has always carefully inspected the shoes before DD wears them. Our local store is great, as long as they have not been sewed they will take them back. This policy works great for us. She is fit at the store (and now knows how they should feel) and then we bring them to the studio and have one of the teacher's look at them before sewing them.

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All I can say is: "been there, done that, have the pointe shoes (and then some)!"


With my first daughter it truly felt as though we were searching for something akin to the holy grail - honestly.


My second daughter was easier to fit, but has still had challenges and has also decided from time to time that she wants to try something different. I suppose this isn't a bad idea for a young dancer, assuming that one's wallet can withstand all the experiments! Of late the more typical problem is the store not having her size/brand in stock for what seems like an eternity.


On a positive note, my daughters haven't gone through shoes as quickly as other dancers I know!!



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We didn't realize her old shoe was a 3/4 shank (because it still has a full sole). So when she tried a Bloch with a full shank it was hitting her under the heel and she said that hurt.


Ms. DeVor has said on another thread that she does not recommend 3/4 shank shoes for beginner pointe students (quote taken from this thread http://dancers.invisionzone.com/index.php?...6092&st=30)


I do not recommend 3/4 shanks for beginners because for a dancer to dance properly en pointe, the dancer must learn to work her foot through the shoe- not sitting in it, and being pulled up at all times. The construction of a 3/4 shank makes it easier for the dancer to sit, thus making for bad and dangerous habits for beginning dancers.


I was wondering about this, and this question is for Ms. DeVor... is it possible that trythis' daughter is sitting in the shoe, causing pain under her heel when wearing the full shank shoe? Or would that indicate that the full shank shoe could be the wrong size?

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Pointe shoe changes are a fact of life. I cannot even begin to tell you how many different sizes and brands DD has gone through in the last 8 years. Feet change, strength changes, and this search will be a fact of life. If the shoes you bought don't work and aren't broken in, sell them on ebay or via the notice board at your dance school. They may not work for you, but someone will be thrilled to save a few dollars to get a pair. And with ribbons already on them - wow, score!

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My dd has had difficulties with every pair of pointe shoes she has ever had! She has narrow feet with a high instep and very tappered toes. You don't even want to know how much we have spent and how many places we have gone to trying to get the "perfect" fit. She has been on pointe for three years. Finally we found success and a shop that has gone the extra mile to help us! The shop has helped us over the phone, but they have been wonderful! She is in Russian Pointes - Polette - the store is Loretta's Pointe Shoes at 248-738-9496 - we had to try many kind until my dd found the perfect ones, but thankfully she did! She is going to a SI for five weeks! At Loretta's you buy five pair and get the sixth free - which is great because that is how many I needed for the SI. I think we have tried every make and model before we ened up with these - we have even tried other Russian Pointes before - hang in there - it will drive you crazy, but when you find the right shoe it is worth it - good luck!

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