CriticalDance Forum

Pointe shoes
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Author:  gnddancer06 [ Wed Nov 17, 2004 10:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Pointe shoes

I've been on pointe for about 3 years and have always had trouble with shoes. I understand that it takes a while to get the right shoe for each person and am crossing my fingers that this pair will do it! Anyways a general question. My friend told me that hard shoes are good for beginners and that soft shoes are good for more advanced pointe dancers. I wouldn't call myself a beginner but not advaced either. Should i go with hard or soft shoes?

Author:  balletowoman [ Fri Nov 19, 2004 8:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pointe shoes

This is, I feel, more complex than that. To address your question, I feel there are different 'routes' where the answer would lead.

First, it's true that (normally) a beginner requires more 'support' from the shoe than an advanced dancer, who can rely a little more on their own strength and skills in articulating the foot in the shoe.
BUT (and it's a big one -no pun intended :p ) there is also the question of how your foot works, and what shape/specificity it has to start with. So for eg, if you have an extremely flexible foot that tends to be very 'archy', then you're more likely to benefit from quite a hard shoe (that goes for advanced dancers too) and on the opposite, if your foot is quite weak, but not so 'archy', it may be good to start with a shoe that is not too hard to start with, until you have built a bit of strength and/or, increased the arch of the foot by working on the shape of it.

All in all, I don't think there are any rules that must apply to everyone. A good fitter will be able to tell you or see whether the shoe fits or not. I would say a good point of reference is when you try the shoe on in the shop, and you feel that the shank, while giving plenty of support (maybe you will find it too hard to start with, but that's not a bad thing for a first fitting) is at the same time bending a little (if it's not bending AT ALL, then the shank may be too hard).
It's hard also to get it right immediately, as you know, a shoe can improve only after a few hours or die very quickly... So, again, I'm afraid this is back to trials and errors. But you should by now have a pretty good idea of what you like, how a shoe 'behaved' (whether it was too soft quickly, too hard even after a few lessons, what shape you like, how it looks on your foot etc). That will lead you to your preferred brand, shape of the shoe, shank strength, etc..

Ultimately, you are the one who will dance with them, so you should make your feelings clear to the fitter (who can only rely on what you tell them, however good they are. If it hurts too much, tell them. If your toes are curled in the shoe, tell them. If it pinches, feels like a comfy slipper, is way too soft under the arch, etc, tell them!) That way, you can both work out what's best for you...

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