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Ballet Talk for Dancers

NYC specific pointe shoe selection fitting- looking for multiple brand store


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First post. I'm an adult who started dancing really late in life  (been practicing for now 5 years) and I've been told by my teacher that I can try out some basic pointe work at the barre (in a special 20 min class for adult beginners) to work on beginning pointe work as well as to assist with further strengthening my ankles, metatarsals and improving my arch.

I am aware of most of the ballet pointe shoe stores here (as I'm lucky I'm in NYC).; but as a beginner, I'm not sure where to get my fitting so I can try multiple brands. Any thoughts on this? I could go to Capezio, then Grishko, then GM (big maybe), then Chacott (for Freed's and try not to buy EVERYTHING in the gorgeous store), then Bloch, then Sansha etc. BUT I'd like to find a place that I can go and try on multiple brands at the same time. At $80 per fitting I'm not going to go to 6 stores.

My ballet master (he) told me to just go to whichever store that I liked and get a proper fitting: his favorite are Freed, but I think that is bc he is former NYCB and they all wear Freed. He didn't necessarily recommend them to me, he didn't really have a preference as I'm an adult and he said the fit was most important. Any ideas on a boutique in NYC where I can try many brands? I don't want to limit myself to one brand because I only went to one fitting at one brand specific store. Thanks!!! ** NYC only please**

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Onstage Dancewear on 197 Madison Ave. carries several brands. If you do not purchase shoes I believe they charge a fitting fee of 15 or 20 dollars. It may be more now as it was a few years ago since I have been there.

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Thank you gasguzzler- I will check them out! 

Follow up question: how rude is it to pay a fee and then not buy the shoes? I realize the fee is for the time, but does one tip the fitter? 

Also- as I'm new at this and I'm sure the sensation of being on pointe will be new (to say the least), how can I best decide between all the brands? How do I know what discomfort is normal and what isn't? Or if perhaps the shoe is too narrow and it appears I'm sickling, but I'm not and then I get corrections to fix the (non-existant) sickling? Advice? Will the fitter be annoyed at an adult asking "dumb" questions? Thanks! 

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In my opinion-I think its ok to try on shoes and then not buy. They don't have every brand and we try on all kinds of shoes without making a purchase. I believe stores like this started to charge for fittings because people were trying on dance shoes and then ordering from discount sellers on line. Its a service that is most likely worked into the price, and therefore without the service the shoes are cheaper online. They said that the fitting fee is deducted from the price of the shoes when you purchase so if you wanted to go back with your receipt the next day (I asked this) they would deduct the fee from the price of the shoes. So I felt as long as I paid the fitting fee it was my prerogative whether to make a purchase.  I did buy shoes but had I not found something I was happy with I would have paid the fee and walked away in good conscience. Good luck and have fun. They have a website.

Ask a million questions while you have the fitter to answer them. Fitters are people and so diverse personalities so I can't say what they will think but it is their job to fit and advise on the fit so I say ask away. (The fitter I had was nice, I remembered she told us that she came all the way from Bridgeport CT everyday. This was about 4 years ago.)

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In regards to your second question, there is a sticky post written by our awesome pointe shoe moderators/fitters on the Pointe Shoe board that will be super helpful to you! It lays out exactly what you'll experience at a fitting (I've linked it below). I also recommend you poke through that board a little bit, as there are threads about fitters in different areas (it will take a little hunting, but there are ways to sort the posts).  Good luck!

How New Pointe Shoe Should Feel


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I went to Onstage Dancewear as a ballet tourist last year and they were great! It really felt like the only proper fitting I've ever had.

I actually ended up going home with the first pair she put me in, but I tried loads, and she also recommended different toe pads. I think if they charge a fitting fee (which I vaguely recall only being applied if you didn't end up buying shoes, and was in the region of about $15) it's perfectly ok not to buy shoes if you don't find ones which suit you.

I am far from being a pointe expert - having also started as an adult, but I will say this : I got my first pair fitted at Freeds in London, which I later discovered were completely wrong for my feet. My experience at Onstage was a million miles better, I felt fine as an adult, and my RPs are by far the best pair I've ever had.

Now I reckon that alone is a good enough excuse to come back for another ballet holiday to NYC. My bank balance will take some more convincing.....

Happy shopping!

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