Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers to close ×
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Balance on demi-pointe and shoes

Jaana Heino

Recommended Posts

Today I noticed a very weird thing in class. As some of you might remember, I've been having serious problems with balance for some time.


Today my white slippers were still wet from having been washed, and I grabbed my old black leather full-sole slippers with me in the morning, sewed on new elastics during a lecture break, and used them instead.


I found my balance better than it has ever been, and my feet feel more, um, secure.


I cannot really describe the feeling - the white shoes are snugger, as the black ones are just a bit too big for me, but there's not really that much difference on how they feel (both pairs feel mostly like wearing nothing...:D) - except that there is.


Now after I came home, I took both pairs and tried balances in both. There is a remarkable difference, and I believe it is not totally psychological.


So, it seems that at least half of my balance problems have been because of the pair of shoes I've been wearing. Oh great. :D


I seem to recall we have spoken about this before? Just wanted to share this, but as always any comments are welcome.

Link to comment

So your white shoes are canvas split soles yes?


This has been brought up before, you are right. AAs an adult beginner or even a child beginner for that matter, full soles are the best for your feet. There is no point, (in my opinion I hasten to add) in beginners wearing split soles as for one, they are beginners and do not fully have the strength in their feet yet, unless they were previoulsy gymnasts, tightrope walkers, acrobats etc.


Full soles are there to give you that support and to work and position your feet in the proper way so that you can work correctly. Only once you have mastered and worked hard with your feet, should you progress to split soles.


When I wear my split soles I do so because I'm lazy and tend to put them on after wearing pointe shoes for an hour and a half. they are such a relief. But they offer no support whatsoever. Ok they look real pretty, but they won't enhance the prettiness of your feet as you have nothing to work against i.e. a full leather sole.


I'm sure there are those that agree and those that don't with what I have said, and a teacher may have a different perspective altogether. But I would only recommend full soles to beginners, but the trend is for split soles and what can you say?



Link to comment
Guest joodiff

Hi Jaano,


Did you mention that your black shoes are not as snug as your white ones? I think the reason why you balance better in your black shoes is basically due to that.


Your toes are probably spreading out wider in your black shoes when you go on demi-point because there is more space to do so and hence the area you balance on is bigger and your balance made easier.


The reason why I am making this 'hypothesis' is because I often practise at home barefooted and I don't have much problem maintaining my balance. However, the moment I put my shoes on, I tend to go wobbly and find it difficult to find my centre. Ditto for my shoes which are slightly narrower than my first pair. ;)

Link to comment

Xena, yes, the other pair is canvas and has split soles. I was not aware of them not being so suitable for beginners - neither did the lady in the shop mention this, though she knew I was a beginner. :( (She is not universally known for her helpfulness, though, so maybe that should not be a surprise, either...)


Anyway, it's funny, because I don't really feel that much difference in the shoes. You mention support? There's none I can feel from either pair. :P And the difference in snugness is not that great, either.


As there obviously is a difference, even though I cannot feel what it is, I think I will just use the black ones from this on, though, even though I like the look of the white pair much better. :P Technique before looks.

Link to comment

Jaana, if fitters for pointe shoes at some shops seem totally clueless, they have even less knowledge about how to help people with technique shoes. Having the extra support of the full sole does make a big difference to the beginning student, and some people prefer it throughout their dancing life.

Link to comment



I am under the impression that the lady I mentioned is a reasonably competent fitter of pointe shoes, but what she lacks is either patience towards beginners and/or recreational (as opposed to professional or pre-pro) dancers, or a good and kind customer-service attitude, or both. It is, reportedly, pretty hard to get good service from that shop, but with some luck not outright impossible. :(


Unfortunately, there is not much competition in this area in Helsinki, and there has been even less.

Link to comment

I think it's a general perception that technique shoes are all just the same, which isn't so. When you're a recreational or beginning dancer, having that full sole can make a lot of difference, but people don't know enough about soft shoes to make an informed advice to a customer.

Link to comment
Guest cygnet2


Seems like there's another reason to try full soled soft shoes. If I can get better balance that would be wonderful. And full soled shoes work the feet better, or so I have learnt from other posts. Makes me wonder why the trend is for split soles - unless it's just for the look! Maybe I should get some full soles!

Link to comment
Guest beckster

I wore my (hateful) satin fullsoles for the first time in weeks, after falling in love with canvas split soles. I didn't think it would make much difference, but my arches were actually hurting a bit after 1 hour of class. I do like the split soles, but I think from now on I will alternate to make sure my feet don't get lazy.

Link to comment

Sorry, I'm picking up a bit of a double message here, as to the characteristics of full sole shoes. Is it true that full sole shoes:


a) make it easier to balance, etc. as they provide more support for the foot, and


:( work the foot better, helping you build up necessary strength?


That looks like a contradiction to me.


Also, if the above is true, why bother with split soles at all?




Link to comment



they don't seem like contradictions to me. Think of pointe shoes; aren't they both giving support to the foot and requiring more strength of the foot when pointing it? (I might be wrong. I've never worn pointe shoes in my life :()


This is not to say that every one will get better balance by switching to full soles. I certainly don't notice more support or more need to work the feet when wearing the black pair that started this thread, just better balance. It might be something else different between those two pair that makes the difference for me.

Link to comment

Anders, they really aren't contradictions as Jaana says.

If you have something to work your foot against something (i.e.something like a full sole that makes it harder for you to point your foot), your feet will become stronger and your point more umm pointier ;) I have seen my feet improve so much since I started wearing my full soles ballet shoes, absoutely amazing. I like my feet now.


In other words , its like resistance training.

Link to comment
Guest Jeujeucda

I'd suggest you really try out the full soles in the store, paying careful attention to whether you really do feel a difference big enough to help you develop stronger feet, before you buy them.


Personally I did feel a slight difference, as in the full sole did not adhere to the bottom of my feet when I pointed. It always had a little pocket in my arches. However, I have serious doubts that this difference will develop my feet, it seems simply an aesthetic and comfort difference. And since the canvas split sole was the least expensive option in the store (plus the leather splits were sold out), that's what I took. I'm quite happy with them. Works good, washes good, feels good, looks good too.



Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...