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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Ages of foot growth in girls


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I have an 11 year old DD. She will be 12 in late June. She has been en pointe since January 2015. Last year she had foot growth between April and August and went up two sizes at that time. Her shoe size has remained the same since then. I even remeasured her foot from measurements I took for Mrs. Clara early this year. Same numbers.

I think, if I understand what other moms have told me, that there is usually another growth spurt around 13? I am curious what other parents have seen as far as how much time did the dancer's foot remain the same between growth spurts.

I am asking because my DD is in Freeds and you only have 30 days to exchange. With spring shows approaching and and upcoming early SI in June, I know I need to stock up on enough shoes. I just fear ordering 6 pairs and then she grows again.

When did your DD experience both growth spurts and at what ages? How long between the spurts?


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My 11yo dd's foot has been growing slowly and consistently for the past 9 months, but she's only gone up about 1.5 sizes during that time. I buy her one pair of pointe shoes at a time right now. Every three months she outgrows them well before they die.


My own feet were done growing when I was 12, but I still grew probably 10 inches in height after that. My feet were proportionately huge until high school when I finally grew into them.


I'm a bit nervous about buying pointe shoes for summer too. I'll probably wait until the week before she goes to purchase them and hope for the best. Can't wait until her foot stops changing!!

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My 11 year old has been on pointe a couple of weeks, so obviously still on her first pair of shoes. I know older dancers will need a lot of pointe shoes, but how many do beginners really need? My guess is her first pair she'll outgrow before they wear out, like with classicmom's DD. Her class will not be performing in pointe for the June showcase. She will do pointe at her late summer intensive, but it will be the beginning level. If her class progresses well, they'll do Chinese Tea in pointe in Nov for Nutcracker with a small chance of Snow.


When people talk about how fast they go through pointe shoes, I hear everything from "new shoes for every class/performance" to "2-3 months" or even longer. Of course beginners are on the longer end of the scale. I figured I might need to buy her another pair before her SI, but more than that?


My daughter had a huge foot growth spurt maybe 1-2 years ago where she went up 3 street shoe sizes in about a year. Crazy. Then she has long periods where her size is stable. She's gained 2-3" in height in the last few months but no change in her feet. She's still shorter than average for her age and her feet are tiny (street size 2.5 US). I'm guessing she'll have some more growth when she hits puberty, or perhaps just after.

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DD's foot grew 2 sizes last Spring/Summer then stopped. Then her height grew quite a bit. Still wondering if she'll have another big foot growth spurt.

My DD needs to have 2 pair going at a time. Rotating pointes helps them dry out between classes. We live in a humid climate which does make a difference as well. I do think the Freeds are more effected by moisture and heat of the foot. We just have a lot going on in April through June. Several performances where shoes have to be in good shape plus rehearsals and classes. Then 2 weeks after school gets out she's off to an SI so I am wanting to get enough shoes through the end of her SI soon. I hear Freeds are hard to get leading into this time.

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The ordering ahead is definitely a dilemma! The shoe Dd is in right now is pretty easy to find in stock, so I'm hoping it continues to work for her through the summer. My biggest fear is that her feet will decide to grow while she is away; last time they grew, the shoes fit fine one day, and then the next were completely unwearable. Keeping my fingers crossed that her feet cooperate!!

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Foot growth is difficult to predict, even if one is a doctor. My best advice while they are still growing is 1-2 pairs at a time. Once the foot has basically stabilized in length, then we up it to 5 pair at a time that the dancer continuously rotates. In the last year or 2 of training, it's 10 pair at a time continuously alternating all 10. By doing so you will end up with the very best possible scenario of being able to obtain shoes while also getting the very best performance out of each individual pair.


There are a few more things to take into consideration: it's almost a guarantee that a child will see someone else's shoes, maybe even try them on (and of course, since they are already broken-in they will become the "dream" shoe), and suddenly, the phone call becomes, "Mom my shoes are dead/too small/horrible now!!!!" I have seen this happen time and time again.


Find out if the SI allows kids to visit their company's shoe room in case they have a need. Also ask if they have a recommendation for how many pairs to send kids with at their age level. Lastly, find out if they have any planned trips to their local dancewear store. You may be sweating over nothing!


And by the way, Freed, Bloch, Russian Pointe, and Grishko ALL take the entire month of July off, which is why it's more difficult to choose a maker or do a special order come May and June. Most manufacturers will have a cut-off date (Grishko's was yesterday) by which you must have had a maker-request or special order in. Kids do have to learn that they MUST always have a back-up shoe that is stock that they can wear.

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And by the way, Freed, Bloch, Russian Pointe, and Grishko ALL take the entire month of July off, which is why it's more difficult to choose a maker or do a special order come May and June. Most manufacturers will have a cut-off date (Grishko's was yesterday) by which you must have had a maker-request or special order in.

Wow! What a great tidbit to know. Thank you for mentioning that.


Is it atypical for a girl's foot to continue to grow in the mid or late teen years? My dd is still only a US street size 3. I would assume her feet will have another growth spurt, but it's been quite a while since she's changed sizes.

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Thank you so much Mrs Clara. Great advice. I doubt DD will have access to a dance store or shoe room. She is doing Orlando's Jacksonville SI which isn't on their home turf. It's only two weeks so that's ok.

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Dd12's feet grew a ton last year and then seemed to stop. She has big feet for her height (size 7.5-8 and only 5'0'') and she's in the last stretch of height growth, so I assume her feet are done.

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For kids who are only doing 2 weeks, 2 pairs should suffice. At some point in their dancing career, they are going to have no choice but to learn how to make shoes last, as the majority of them will not be beginning their ballet careers at Bolshoi Ballet or POB, where shoes are made to the foot and budget is secondary. Most dancers begin their ballet careers as apprentice/intern/trainees, who either will not get any shoes provided for them unless cast in a company production, or will receive a small allotment- like 10 pairs- per season. The ones who end up successful are the ones who had no choice during their teen years but to make each and every pair last as if it were gold!!!


As to the foot potentially growing during the teen years, yes, it is possible. Consult with a pediatrician if there are growth concerns.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well of course her foot grew after I purchased 3 pairs for the summer. Now we are scrambling to replace them. I was able to get 1 of her makers and are now trying 2 others.

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That stinks, Meilingsmama! I just had dd12 re-fitted and she did grow a tiny bit since March even though I thought she was done. It was barely enough to warrant the next size, so we got her a pair in that slightly bigger size at the fitting and three more online when Discount Dance had their 25% off all pointe shoes. Even if she grows a little more we should be good through August, but it's always a gamble! :sweating:

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Yes, the unpredictability of growing feet is crazy! I thought DD13s feet had stopped growing this year after 8 months in the same size, but then (of course!) after I ordered shoes for summer during the Discount Dance sale we found that this size is now a tad too short, so back they go! I ordered the next 1/2 size, which still seems a tiny bit too long, so hopefully she will grow into them.


We got burned the first time she ever performed en pointe-- she had two performances in one day, and took her shoes off between performances for a break, then could not get them back on for the next performance! Just the slight bit of swelling in combination with growth was enough to make the shoes too small! She ultimately got them on by removing toe pads, but it was a stressful afternoon!

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