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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Need some help on shoes


Guest Rosalin

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Guest Rosalin

I know the pointe shoe advice sheet is not for first time buyers because you need to be fitted properly from the very beginning. Yet, I need some real advice on a dilemma I've been presented with. I'm 28 years old, so I'm not sure if that will make the difference in my question.

 

Tonight, my ballet instructor told me and a few other girls it was time to get our pointe shoes. I posted before about how I've been trying to lose weight to meet my goals to get on pointe. It seems that I've done it, and I'm very happy about it.

 

Now the problem is, three girls are on pointe already and we were given a lecture on the types of shoes they were wearing. One girl was wearing Capezio Pavlowas, another girl brought in Duro Toes (Which she was not allowed to wear them in class because they were 'a mortal sin' as our instructor put it.), and the third girl wore Leo split soles.

 

Our teacher said the Leo or Bloch split soles were very beautiful, and encouraged everyone who got the ok, to get them for next class. But everywhere I have read reviews on pointe split shoes said they were horrible and not very nice to dance in. What do you think?

 

I'm buying my first pair tomorrow at my fitting appointment. Should I get the recommended split soles for class or go with the traditional full sole? I realize the full sole makes your feet work harder and may give more support for a beginner. And yet the split sole not only makes the foot's arch look better, but possibly easier to break in? I really need some advice. We were told we could wear either shoe, but the split sole I guess... is prettier to the eye?

 

Thanks, Rosalin

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Ah, you have to take the class, and your teacher has given you a recommendation as far as style and manufacturer. Therefore: Do as the teacher says. I would only overrule a teacher where an absolute error is made, and split sole shoes are merely controversial. Since your teacher has told you what to do, do that! (But let her see what you've purchased on your feet before you sew them and take the first class in them. She may change her mind):D

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In all my years, I have NEVER seen a split sole pointe shoe. Everyone in my company uses full-sole, in full or 3/4 shank (other threads have indicated that 3/4 shank is not appropriate for beginners).

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I'm afraid that I have not yet seen one either, so I cannot comment on this.

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Well, I looked at it. Do you want my opinion?

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Guest Rosalin

I will let the person know who is doing my fitting tomorrow what the teacher's recommendation is. However, I expect the woman fitting me has decades of experience in fittings. If she thinks it's a really bad idea after seeing my feet, I'll follow her advice. And Mel, I will follow your advice about the tissue paper and trying them on for the teacher in class before it begins.

 

I just hope I don't walk out of the store with four different brands. I've waited so long for this moment, who knows...

 

I'll post later tomorrow night to let you know how it goes. :D Thank you for the quick responses.

 

Rosalin

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My opinion: I think the beginner should aim for standard pointe shoes. I have two reasons for this, both of them based on engineering principles and no actual knowledge of the product involved:

 

1. There are many risk factors in pointe work. The best you can hope for is that they're well understood. If you use a different shoe, you're subjecting your feet to unknown risks. That can be bad. On the other hand, if your teacher is suggesting the split sole shoes, then maybe she knows better than the rest of us how they work, so this objection isn't such a problem.

 

2. There are zillions of pointe shoes out there. If you start with a "standard" pointe shoe, then you can know what the others are like in comparison. It gives you a starting point from which you can depart when considering future pairs of shoes. But at least it's a common reference, something you can discuss with others.

 

Well, there's my opinion, for what it's worth. I am not an expert like Mel or Victoria, and you should take that into consideration.

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I asked about the Leo split sole shoes when I got fitted for new point shoes last month. Not having a great arch, I was interested in having "a more flattering arch".:D

 

Well, my pointe shoe supplier does not carry the Leo brand, but has talked with dancers that have tried them. Most of them were okay with them, but not so impressed that they completely changed brands. None of them hated them, but then it didn't blow any skirts up, either.:cool:

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Guest Rosalin

I checked the business card for my fitter, and saw that she was a Leo's Dancewear Dealer as well. So I think she will have them in stock. I rather have the traditional full sole myself, so I am thinking of going with both styles to try them out. And I agree with Citibob's assessment of why the full sole should be worn first.

 

Thanks everyone. I go to be fitted today at 4:30. I'll let you know how it goes. Rosalin

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Guest Rosalin

I went to my fitting and explained all the information to the owner of the shoppe. She insisted on fitting my type of foot for the Leo split sole, and wouldn't sell me the extra full sole pair I wanted as well.

 

So it looks like I'm stuck with just the Leo split sole as a beginner pointe shoe. The fitter seemed to think it was the best fit for me and spent a half an hour explaining why as I went through some simple barre excercises.

 

I'd imagine she must be right in her theories, because which kinds of shop owners don't want to make the extra money from extra shoe sales? My husband was glad she only sold me one pair. Heh. Oh well.

 

Some of you wanted to know what a first pointe class was like so I'll post again soon. Thanks for the help. Rosalin

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Given your report --- your teacher and the fitter --- I think you have every reason to believe you've come home with the right pair of shoes for your feet. Congratulations!

 

Incidentally, can you say what the fitter said? I would be curious to learn.

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Guest Rosalin

Certainly. The fitter examined my feet, and told me they were flat meaning I guess low arch, and I tend to roll in somewhat with weight distribution when I was in first position. The shoes are supposed to help with that,she said. I also have been cursed with wide feet and my toes are pretty much the same length. 8E in the Leo.

 

First she explained that this shoe would be good for me because of my very low arch. The split sole would provide support for my flat feet and the shoe would conform to my foot easier. Being that I have horribly wide feet, the wide box is excellent for beginners and I'd have an easier time not just fitting all my toes correctly inside the box, but be able to roll up on point. It took a long time for her to make sure the length was correct, consisting of doing a lot of pointing in the right and left foot in second position, then going flat again. She pinched the back of the shoe when it was up and down.

 

At this time, she explained that many girls from our area were fitted for the Leo shoe and it seemed to work really well for them. She also explained they seemed to hold up well and she had an easier time of fitting people with this brand of shoe. It fits nice, she said. She is a Leo carrier of almost all their merchandise. It seems really interesting about this controversial shoe, since the woman who sold it to me is a much older woman. I'm guessing in her 80's and she's been doing it a very long time. I'm surprised, because you'd think that someone like her would stick with a classical shoe as well for a beginner student and not spring for something new. Whether she is a die hard Leo fan and its spread to my area, I do not know. But she knew her facts and there was a ballet school next door beside her shoppe.

 

While doing the excercises I thought it was really easy to go from demi point and roll up into pointe. The shoes felt soft? Not that I have anything to compare them by, but I thought they'd feel a lot stiffer than they did. I don't know what type of shank was in the shoe, but I felt supported. I'll learn how to break them in tonight.

 

With the split sole shoes she also told me I had to have the elastic satin ribbon. Because of my flat feet, she explained how to sew them on correctly so that the heel of the slipper would also help my foot to look better and have the extra support for my weight. It seemed to me she thought this was important for someone who wasn't very young and beginning pointe. I was also instructed to buy ouch pouches. I didn't really have a choice. She said this was the best, and they were mandatory.

 

Her shoppe wasn't the type of place to browse in. It was the older style, where you walk in to the counter.... look around at all the shelves in the many rooms while standing in one spot. And suddenly after being sized up by the owner with your appointment, she runs around gathering everthing you need. It felt very much like an old world general store. I rather enjoyed being catered too, even if I couldn't buy everything I wanted. :P Rosalin

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