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Ballet Talk for Dancers

My Bloch Slippers Dissected


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I’ve decided to basically re-write this post. I am sorry but I think I need to be more complete because I think I have to conclude that there is nothing really wrong with my Bloch slippers. Though, ofcourse I am not an expert- these are just my personal observations. Also Sellen (in her post below) pointed out that the term is “pleating” not “ruching” (thank you Sellen!) and Mr. J ‘s comment (see below) made me realize that I hadn’t finished taking my slippers apart- I hadn’t taken the outer sole off. As so I did that and what I found was very interesting. Also, I decided to show the photos in a regular photo album rather than a slideshow, so just keep clicking on the “next” button to go through the photo‘s..


For anyone who hasn’t read any of my previous posts, the lump in the forefoot of the Bloch slippers has been really bothering me. But I want to point out that it has only been bothering one foot, not both. The foot it has been bothering is the foot with a small bunion. I also have a Morton’s foot, whose tendency, I believe (though I am no expert), is to roll onto the second metatarsal. Also, I am not a child and I bet my fat pad is not as thick as it once was. Combined with beginner technique (poor!) on relevé, and the result is a sore footsie. So a perfect storm of an imperfect body, imperfect technique and ya, I would say (though I am no expert), imperfect slippers. (what is perfect?)


That doesn’t negate the fact that when I went shopping for new slippers this week the young saleswoman, who is also an advanced ballet dancer and teacher of children, said she had never felt slippers with such a big lump. She thought there might possibly be something wrong with the construction inside the seams- which is what motivated me to take the slippers apart. Having taken them apart, I see that there was nothing in there.


I felt 3 more pairs of slippers this week on my shopping excursions. They all had the lump. It’s subjective of course, but to me, the lump feels bigger on the on the Blochs. Say by 25% but that is really rough and really subjective. I tried on all the slippers and sadly they are all hurting me now.


I commented to the saleswoman that the other ones (canvas) also had a lump, she said the lump softens with time. I found that curious because I would say that the lump on the Blochs has hardened with time- though the pain has worsened so maybe it just feels harder. But I was wondering that perhaps when the sweat from my feet makes the leather wet, and then when it dries-perhaps it hardens then.


Mr J, I found no cement when taking these apart but these was definitely glue in there- gooey glue. The most glue I found was after taking the outer sole off, the pleats were still all stuck together- I spread them a little but not all the way. They were so glued together that I thought I wasn’t going to be able to separate them further. Then I just picked and pulled as hard as I could and the glue let go and the pleats finally came undone. The glue was still gooey though, just very strong.



In the photo’s:


First I show the top, then the bottom. Then I turned it insideout to show the insole. The next few photographs attempt to show all the excess insole material. Which, by the way, is not glued down, so if I wear the slippers without tights the sweat from my feet will make the insole in this area sort of curl up and feel very annoying- but I wear tights now so that has not been a problem for a long time.



The leather is sewn to the insole at a seam (marked by the lower arrow in the photos). This is also the same location where the outersole is sewn to the leather. So at the seam we have triple thickness: insole, outer sole and pleated leather.


The insole extends almost 3/4inch (exactly 1.5 cm) furthur towards the toes, I guess to cover the leather pleats. In the photos, you can see where the insole has covered the pleating because it is whiter than the rest. I also mark the location with a second arrow.


It is this 1.5cm (3/4 inch) thick band of insole+pleating that it the “Lump“. It is very stiff, although no completely inflexible, but relatively it is very stiff and difficult for me to bend. It is also thicker than the rest of the slipper so it presses up into my foot more.


After originally posting this, and reading Mr. J’s post, I decided to take the outer sole off. Doing so gave a much better pictire of the pleats and how thick and deep they are. I would say approx. 1/8” thick and 1/8” deep. After seeing the pleats, I would guess that it is the thickness of the pleats that is causing the inflexibility. These pleats are also glued together- to expand the leather completely as you see in the very last photo’s, I really had to pull on the glue/leather.


I find the last few photo’s most interesting.


Ok, that’s it. I am sorry I can’t do a better time describing the photo’s- there are captions below each one. I have spent way too much time on this already but I just wanted so say that in the final analyis (non expert) I don’t see any defects.



Thank you!





ps: the photos are now spread out over 2 pages- so the new photos are on page 2, press next page at the bottom of the screen

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  • Serrée


  • luceroblanco


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  • Sellen


I hope next time you have shoe issues, you don't put up with them so long! Poor feet, abused by the defective shoes.


(And I believe that part is called the pleats :()

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Old cobbler here. Remember, ballet slippers and pointe shoes are basically assembled on the last inside out, and the pleats are necessary to make something rectangular into something rounded. It looks to me as though your slippers somehow got their pleats impregnated with the shoe cement used in securing the pleats down while the stitching is going on.

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Thank you both Sellen and Mr. J (may I call you Mr. J?)


Thank you for the term pleat. Also thank you for making me really think less emotionally about these slippers- I have basically rewritten my original post because I personally & non expertly have to conclude that they aren't defective. Also thank you Mr. J, for whatever reason I stopped short of taking off the outer sole. Do you see the last few photo's now, cool eh?


Thank you both again for commenting, I feel like have have gotton to the real truth thanx to your help.

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I just want to mention that there shouldn't be a lump in your slippers. If the saleslady says that all slippers have a lump in them, she's wrong. My Grishko slippers have no lumps. Now, my Sansha slippers are lumpy but that's just because of the way they're made. It doesn't bother most dancers but it bothers me. If there's a lump in your slippers then you need to keep looking. There are lotsssss of slippers out there. Maybe try Russian Pointe if Grishko was still lumpy for you. Otherwise, is it possible the lump you feel is actually in your foot? If you have an inflammed joint underneath your foot, that would feel like a big lump. I have had that happen in the past.

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hi xsugarplum- yes, at this point I am saying it is my foot, not the slippers, though they do all have lumps- at least the ones I tried- where the pleats are gathered- they are always going to be thicker there. I tried Grisko & Sancha slit sole canvas and they both felt thicker there. Maybe I should say that there is "an area of increased thickness" rather than calling it a lump- same thing to me. I will have to travel to find more slipper brands, that's it for the town I live in.



So anyway, it happened to you????????

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That's odd...the Grishkos are normally 100% flat. The only lumps I get sometimes are at the tip of my toes (which is annoying).


It didn't happen to me as a result of dancing, but yes due to walking a LOT in high heels, I have had times where I developed some kind of inflammation to the joints underneath my foot, in between the big and second toes. It was very, very painful, and felt like a big lump (it was the swelling, and it was hard). It went away on its own after I stopped wearing heels for such long walks, but it comes back if I try to walk in heels for too long again. For me, it's just an irritation. I couldn't imagine having danced on it, though. :/

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My Sansha Pros had a lump. When I first wore them I noticed it but then after a while I just forgot about it.


Do you wear footed tights with your shoes? That might help. When I was younger I never did, but now I always wear footed tights or a knee high sock under the footless tights in my ballet shoes.


I never felt the lump when I was wearing full sole leather Capezios. They laid quite flat.

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I don`t feel a lump on my foot and if I press down in the area with my thumb it doesn`t hurt. If I go on demi pointe in bare feet I can feel it a bit. With the ballet slippers, I feel it a lot now. It has just gotton progressively worse. Slowly but surely worse.


To me the Sancha`s and Grishko`s felt the same. I forgot to ask the full name of the slippers so I don`t know if they were the Sancha pros and the Grishko ultimas.


I actually did try on those leather full sole Capezios. And I liked them. The different thing about them is the inner sole is much longer than on the all the others. It extends all the way to the end of the slipper so it covers all the pleats. It`s even better than the Sancha`s and Grisko`s in that regard. I did feel the lumps but not nearly as much as with the others. Just too bad they are leather. I think the same slipper in canvas would be amazing. They are also very narrow. And I have a tapered foot so the C width is too wide and the B width is too narrow- I have the same problem with the Blochs. The Grisko`s fit my foot perfectly.


yes Luceroblanco, I wear footed tights or little ballet ankle socks- more so that my sweaty feet don`t make the insole roll up.


xSugarplum, I am wondering how long it took for your foot to get better. I don`t wear high heels but I was putting too much pressure on it because I was suppinating on demi pointe. Now that I know better that won`t happen any more but I am thinking I should just quit ballet entirely until this thing heals. I am just curious xSugarplum- I know everyone is different. I am seeing a physio on Friday. Thanx :(

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It really didn't take very long....a week and it was much better, two weeks and it was healed. :clapping: But we may not have the same thing at all, I really don't know. :( Hope you get better soon!!

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Maybe you have sesimoiditis? I had it (had fractured a sesimoid bone) in my left foot (this was about 15 years ago) and it is the same place where the lumps are in some of the ballet slippers. I'm not saying at all that you have a fracture, but it could be inflammation or swelling in that area. And the reason why you feel it more with the slippers is that the "lump"in the shoe makes an uneven plane and you are putting the most impact right there when you are on demi-pointe. You feel it less barefoot because there is nothing there (lump) to take up space between the foot and the floor and make the plane uneven or dig into your foot right there. I did not get the sesimoiditis from dancing, I don't think. I was taking only 2 classes a week by then (down from 5 or 6) and I started iceskating. I think my skates were probably a bit too small and the same idea with the "lump" in the shoe--the pressure being over the blade in that foot, I think caused the fracture in my case. And that is a big object between my foot and the ground. I don't really know enough about physics or anatomy to explain exactly what I mean about the pressure and impact. I hope this has not been too confusing.


Have you considered going to the doctor about the foot, just to make sure that everything is ok? Do you ice it if it hurts?

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Hi Luceroblanco :wink: yes, I have an appointment for early tomorrow morning and I'm really looking forward to it. I posted in another thread how this started 6 months ago- went to my GP, then a podiatrist, then a non-specializing physical therapist, then another GP. I got different input from each ofcourse. I might add that each also said that I should expect foot problems from doing ballet- The one tomorrow is a foot specialist and an athlete so I am hopeful.


From very early on 2 years ago, I felt a small lump in the slippers. I assumed it was the slippers. But the lump seemed to get worse as did my pain. So I didn't know which was the chicken and which was the egg. That's why I took the slippers apart- just to see if there was anything in there. A foriegn object perhaps :) And there wasn't. You are correct, the lump in the slippers- the real lump just feels worse because I guess there is something wrong with my foot. I was just thinking it might have been the other way around- that my foot is now sore because of the lump in the slippers. But I don't think that anymore because there was nothing wrong with the Blochs when I took them apart. But to be honest, I really don't think I would be feeling this pain if I hadn't wore those slippers. Any slippers. I may have had something pre-existing but now it's worse. I don't know. I don't really care any more-



My understanding of sesimoiditis is that it is on the pad of the first metatarsal- the 2 little round boney things. My "thing" is most definetley behind the second metatarsal. Let me guess, your second toe is shorter than your first toe? And you don't have even a small bunion? (you wear those really skinny Capezios!). In my case , the structure of my foot plus plain ballet ignorance kept me rolling away from my first toe onto the second toe & ya, where more of the slipper lump is. So if there is such a thing as sesimoiditis for the second toe then I may have it- but I don't think the seocnd toe has those little bones. The podiatrist said it is a dropped metatarsal. The physical therapist said it is Mortons Neuroma. The second GP said it is NOT Morton's Neuroma and said it was just general metatarsalia- which is, I think, a fancy word for any type forefoot pain. I hope it's just an inflamed joint. Whatever :D I am actually not expecting the doc tomorrow to make a solid diagnosis. That is my guess,


That is something, that you could feel the skate blade!


You know, I wonder if this happened partly because my slippers were too tight. I always felt they were too narrow but the next size up seemed too wide. My toes were always squeezed together a bit in those things.


I am really surprized that they still use slippers like this after all this time, they couldn't have come up with something better by now? Something with a flat surface, especially with all the new synthetic materials on the market....


Anyway, thank you Luceroblanco & wish me luck. I am so addicted to ballet now, it is really bordering on not healthy. I danced modern for a couple of years before ballet and I never felt addicted to modern. So it is taking all my willpower to stay off my feet and address this issue. And if the verdict is to quit well so be it- I just don't understand my obsession with ballet- well I do, ahah, but that is another matter :)\



thanx again!

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geesh, I was just trying to sleep and I realized that I never showed the slipper to any of the doctors. I just told the podiatrist & physical therapist about suppinating on relevé and neither of them paid much attention to that. I am definitely bringing the slipper with me tomorrow.

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No, actually my sesimoid bone that was broken was below (in the bottom of my foot) the 2nd toe. I believe there are actually more than one sesimoid bone. These are not very visible through regular x-rays. I went through months with my general practictioner and had x-rays and they never suspected that. That's a long story. Eventually I did get to see an orthopedist and he said that it is a very special positioning of the foot because it is not a common injury in "normal" people. It is a dance injury (in my case I think caused by the iceskating and not the dance).


On my left foot which is the one that had the problem, my 2nd toe is the same size as my big toe. I also have wide feet--although now they are bigger and wider than they were 15 years ago. I wore an orthotic to heal the bone and also started wearing bigger shoes. I wore men's sneakers for a while since they are wider.


Now I wear Sansha size 10 W. So my feet are big, flat and wide.

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