Making the transition from traditional ballet to pointe ballet is not one to be taken lightly or jumped to hastily.
It’s a process to train your body how to dance on your toes, and it also takes the right pair of pointe shoes. Pointe shoes aren’t like other dance shoes, apparel, or accessories.
The correct fit of a shoe is essential for the proper training and safety.
Here’s what you need to know as you embark on the journey to find the perfect shoes:
1. Do not buy pointe shoes without guidance - This is rule number one. A gWhen you’re purchasing pointe shoes, always make sure a professional fitter or ballet instructor is helping you. A goood shoe fitter can make a world of difference, which means finding the perfect person or store can make or break your pointe experience.
2. Pointe is not easy - If you’ve decided that your child should take their ballet talents to the next level, you should consider the work that will be put into it. Do not start your child in pointe ballet without their bodies learning a good amount of dance beforehand. They’ll need strong ankles, feet, and legs to handle the stress of dancing on their toes.
3. Prepare to go through a lot of shoes - Professional ballerinas go through about 100-120 pairs of pointe shoes in just one season. This is because pointe shoes do not last very long throughout training and performances. (The typical pointe shoes lasting 48 hours on average!) If your child is starting pointe, make sure you’re ready to make this investment.
4. No shoe is one-size-fits all - There are many different types of brands and styles of pointe shoes for the wide variety of foot shapes and needs of the dancer. It can take some time and growth to find the “one” shoe that fits you best. Pointe shoes are usually handmade, so slight variances can often occur. This is why a professional is always necessary when buying pointe shoes, even if buying the same exact shoe you had worn in the past.
5. They’ll need time to break in properly - Pointe shoes have numerous points on them that require a "breaking in" process. This includes the shank (the sole piece along the bottom) and the box (the front portion that encases your toes). They often don't feel perfectly comfortable straightaway, but your fitter will walk you through the way they should be feeling to be certain it's the correct fit for you.
6. Pre-pointe classes are important - It can be dangerous for young dancers to put on pointe shoes and start dancing before they’re ready. They can risk injuring their feet and bodies without pre-pointe training or the guidance of a school/teacher. Only when a ballet instructor deems you or your child ready for pointe is it best to start shopping for shoes.
7. Pointe shoes should only be worn by the person they’re fitted for - These specialty shoes are not made to fit on the feet of anyone other than the person they are intended for. They have been broken and fitted to one person and should never be shared.
Overall, it’s always best to see a professional when buying pointe shoes. Preparing yourself or your child for the intense world of pointe starts with the proper instruction and professional shoe fitting. At Bailey Slipper Shop, our professionals have years of experience fitting ballerinas of all ages in pointe shoes. We serve dancers in Rochester, Buffalo, and Orchard Park, NY. Stop by today to find your perfect fit, or call us to schedule a fitting in the near future!