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cant find the right pointe shoes.

i have the problem:
my ankles are pretty(not extreamly) stiff and i dont have a very good arch. Whenever i get pointe shes my feet dont look very good. i also tend to roll to the outside of my foot. does anyone know of a good point she with a soft shank (if thats what i need)that will alow me to push farter over on my ankle, obtain a better arch, and help me from rolling to the outside of my foot? PLEASE HELP! im desperate.

  • Marissa

    I wear Capezio glisses, they have a shank that is tapered and they push me all the way up on my box. the difference in my pointe work was amazing. for the rolling, the most common cause of this is having a big toe that is longer than the others. the foot rolles out to distribute the weight to the other toes. I use lambs wool over my shorter toes to distribute the weight.

  • Zoe

    Try Suffolk pointe shoes. They have several types of shanks and their flexible light shank is wonderful.

  • person who wrote this

    i tried capizio glisse a few years ago but the shanks were weird and i still coulodnt push far enough over.

  • person who wrote this

    i also tried suffolk, but im not sure if i got the lightest shank. the other problem with suffolk is that the vamp is to high for me. can you get shorter vamps?

  • Marissa

    after a few years your foot has probably developed more, so even if you have tried a certain shoe before they may work for you now. also, have you tried Gaynor Mindons? they have a variety of shanks and lots of people who have a hard time with pointe like them. My sister wears Blochs, but I can’t remember which.

  • Zoe

    Yes, Suffolks lighter shank has a pretty low vamp, I have a similar problem, I hate hard shanks (though I have a strong foot) and high vamps drive me nuts. I know Suffolk will custom make shoes but it takes a long time. Capezio will also custom order (you can get a shank as light as #1, or a combination shank, a bit harder where you want more, plus a low vamp, etc., for only about $10 or $15 more per pair), takes a while to get them, but at least you get the shoe you want. Contemporas used to be pretty good until they meddled with the construction, I guess you could special order with whatever requirements you want.

    I am not too crazy about Gaynor Mindens, I like a shoe that conforms to my foot and Gaynor Mindens never conform to anything! Blochs have fairly soft shanks but there is a tendency in a lot of people to sickle on point while wearing them.

  • Marissa

    you might also try having the nail at the heel popped out. I don’t know where you are, so I don’t know if there is anywhere near you that does this, but some dance stores do, especially if they specialize in point shoes.
    Zoe: it depends on which Blochs they are, each of the styles is shaped a little diferently, and as I said above, sikling on point is often a sign of the weight not being distributed well. and I dislike Gaynor Mindens for the same reason, however for some people they are the only shoe that works.

  • I have a couple of articleson about fitting pointe shoes, and exercises to strengthen for pointe. You may have to break your shoes in with your hands – kneading them, but not breaking the shank. There is a “toe leveller” accessory (I think it’s Gaynor Minden accessory) available for different length toes, but basically you have to depend on the strength in your ankles not to sickle on pointe. Lots and lots of press ups will help, and releves too. Get your teacher or a firend to watch you and make sure you are not sickling. Hope that helps!

  • Marissa

    Dianne: I’m not finding a “toe leveller” anywhere online, could it be called something else? I use loose lamb’s wool to keep me from sickling, it makes it easier to get exactly the right support for your foot. I know of a podatrist who specializes in dancers, and he makes an accesory out of cork that is molded to the dancer’s foot and they really help, but, unless you are in the northwest of the US, going to see him wouldn’t be very practical. the lamb’s wool does really help most people though, and it’s better not to depend completely on your ankle strength because then all your weight is on just one toe, and that can cause some problems.

  • You can definitely use lambswool or something else to fill in the box and bear the weight of the shorter toes. But ultimately your control and quality of movement will come from your ankle strength, metatarsal and sole of foot strength. Your big toe will bear more weight, to some degree, always. has some pointe shoe accessories you can look at. Various materials that may be useful. The ‘Pointe Shoe Fitting Kit’ is on page 2 of the accessories. Whatever works is whatever works. Before any of this stuff was commercially made, I tried Kleenex, Saran Wrap (it’s cushiony and the tights slide on it so you don’t get blisters) pieces of kitchen sponges – anything. The gel pads available now are probably heaven in comparison. You might be able to layer a couple, except for under the big toe. Let me know what you figure out – you might invent the next new widget for that problem! Too bad that podiatrist isn’t marketing a kit for his cork thingy. You know there’s that spongy dense stuff florists use for setting floral arrangements – it could be good too. It’s like memory foam but denser. Keep me posted. Dianne

  • Dianne,

    You mean Oasis (florist thing)?

  • Zoe

    I agree with DIanne, the more you rely on correcting your alignment through strength the better off you are. I am not crazy about a bunch of stuff in pointe shoes, the more stuff that’s in a shoe the less you can really feel the individual toes and use them against the floor.

    Thanks Marissa, I know there are many different styles of Blochs, and they work well for some people, but I have seen a lot of students having trouble with them, and if the person who asked the original question is already having trouble sickling on pointe I think it’s a good idea to let her know about it!!

  • Marissa

    I’m not saying not to build ankle strength or rely soly on there being extra support in one’s shoes, but people with with a big toe longer than all the others can have problems other than sickling. be fore a started using lamb’s wool, and I only use a little bit over the tipes of my shorter toes and inside my normal pads, I was always breaking my toenails and getting bruises and bleeding underneath them. I need the lamb’s wool not just to keep me from sickling, but also to keep my feet in good condition.
    Dianne: I don’t think the Podiatrist could sell kits for the “cork thingies.” I don’t know the exact process, but he molds them to both the dancer’s foot and the inside of their shoe.

  • I don’t think I have any other ideas at this point. I have a longer 2nd toe, but it would buckle and the bulk of the weight would go on my big toe. I ended up going up a size (I wore 352E’s, Freeds) and putting a very thick piece of foam that my big toe crushed and the shorter toes were filled in by. I thought it would look awful but it didn’t. It got me through pas de deux classes, and it was the first time I didn’t spend all my energy blocking out the pain. So when I say be inventive, do so. It’s really worth it to be able to focus on the dancing. Maybe even enjoy a pointe class! Believe me, I sympathize with the problem.

    Kaat, I am not sure what that florist stuff is called. It’s a dense material that the floral arrangers seem to be able to mold to their needs, and I just remember noticing it and thinking…hm….this would be good for….but I never tried it.

    Bruised toenails are terrible. The shoe should be soft enough to grab a lot of your weight in the heel/arch area. In other words, the whole body weight is not going down to the toe, and the arch area might use a sponge/cork/felt “blob” glued there to catch some weight, does that make sense? And some dancers rosin their tights, even dampen them, to keep the foot from sliding around in the pointe shoes. You actually see this in the “Making Ballet” movie, which is about the making of the ballet “The Actress”, as it was being set on Karen Kain and Martine Lamy of The National Ballet of Canada. I remember Cindy Lucas (who you also see in the movie as assistant to the choreographer, James Kudelka) once telling me how she rosined her tights so that her shoe felt like an extension of her feet. So when you get to a certain level of strength, the shoes transform to an extension of your foot. The quest is to make them pliable yet supportive in the meantime.

    You know, maybe everybody should call up a local podiatrist and let them know that if they will deal with pointe shoes they will have a lot of new patients! Peter Walpole DPM used to come to The National Ballet School and save us, weekly, with widgets for in between our toes, under our toes, pieces of this and that glued in our shoes, all kinds of stuff. He just invented it as he went along, Knowing the anatomy of feet, and the anatomy of pointe shoes.

    Say you bought one of those gel pads and cut a hole for your big toe to go through, and the rest of your toes to be supported by. I’m not sure how thick they are, but something like that might help. Theoretically, it should. Please let me know if something like this works.

  • person who wrote this

    im not to crazy about putting a ton of stuff in my pointe shoes either. does anyone know which company i can get the softest shank from. i have chicotes (no idea if i spelled that right) but they are some asian point shoe. the people at my store tell me there the softest but im not sure. does anyone know of the ideal pointe shoe for someone who needs a better arc, so idealy something that will let me push my ankle father over. is the trick in the box, vamp, shank, etc? what type of each will i need? all of this point shoe fitting stuff is SO confuzing! im getting alot of good answers but i want to be definite before i buy anything.

  • person who wrote this

    Zoe: i got pointe shoes four years ago. since then my feet have definitly gotten stronger, and i dont tend to sickle TO much annymore. thanks for the tip though
    i recently was put in a cast because i suffered from a dance injury: the back of the tallis(again, not sure if i spelled that correctly) was cracking and begining to break off. this is a commen ballet problem and occurs when you put to much force when going up on pointe. i also suffer from tendenitas(spelling?) all on my right foot. so i was hopeing to find the right shoe for my foot because i LOVE ballet and REALY would like to go far with it, but im not gifted with flexible ankles and nice legs. like i mentioned before, i have stiff ankles, a bad arch, and now a painful foot prob. things arnt going so well for me. I would LOVE your guys help because i realy want to develop my feet and start dancing to my full potential. i have the determination, just lack the talent. thanks for the earlier comments.

  • person who wrote this

    does anyone know of the Balance Europeanis a good shoe?
    zoe: i went on the capizio website and couldnt find the custom order part. do you know which of their shoes is softest?

  • person who wrote this

    the shoe that i have now is Chacott Veronese II . not working to well with me.

  • person who wrote this

    what about the type of soles?

  • Marissa

    @ person who wrote this: since none of us are familiar with your feet, we won’t be able to give you any definite answers. if you haven’t already, going to your dance store and trying on every shoe they carry would probably be a good idea. and if there is a dance store that specializes in point shoes close enough to go to it would be worth it to go there.
    @ Dianne: the podatrist who makes the “cork thingies” is Dr. Alan S. Woodle. he works alot with dancers from PNB. his practice is actually a five hour drive or 30 minute plane trip from were I live, but he comes and gives lecture. I’ve been to a couple. he covers all the basics of foot care for point dancers. everything from toe length to tendons. he talks about different foot types that can cause problems and different ways to take care of them. he also demonstrates different strenthening exercises and stretches.

  • Absolutely you need to try on all the various types of shoes that you can. And you can make a shank soft, if you can’t find one that feels as soft as you’d like. I knew a dancer who poured boiling water into a new pair of shoes and wore them around the house for an hour. (in socks, to keep clean). Then they would dry out molded to her foot shape. You can also work on the shank that way, if it is so hard your feet can’t break it in.
    What does your teacher say?

    Sorry I can’t be of more help. Do take care of that injury. Using ice will help the inflammation.

    Thanks Marissa for Dr. Woodle’s name.

  • Zoe

    to Person Who Wrote This: some people love Chacotts. They are pretty soft but tend to run fairly narrow. You might try Grishko ProFlex. They are pretty flexible from the beginning and the vamp is ok. Most shoes do need quite a bit of massaging the shank and walking around in them, etc. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of the “Balance” shoe.

    If people need stuff in their shoes, then they have to do whatever is right for them — I’m just saying I don’t like it because it stops me from feeling my toes and the floor! Also I have very wide feet, more “stuff” makes the fit of the box very tight and uncomfortable. If I have new shoes I use the 1-inch fabric BandAids around the toes that are likely to bleed.

  • Zoe

    Person Who Wrote This: there is a section on the Capezio website for special order, it’s a bit hidden but here is the link:

  • noname

    Um, i have basically the same type of foot you have. I started with fuzi (a begginning shoe) then went to grishco, then blochs, feed (eww for my feet) chacott ( i liked those alot, they just dies super fast) Then I went to sulfolk, and I really like them. I think you should try them, Get the nail popped, it makes a huge difference, Theres this guy from the Empire Dance shop in Wa, he comes to our school, in ca, to fit all people who are getting their first pointers, and hes really good at fitting shoes, and when you ourder from him online, he basically pops teh shoe for you, (ask just in case) try it thought, its super help full.
    I hope I helped

    Heres the link:

  • Marissa

    it’s Phillip at Empire dance, that’s who I have always had fit my point shoes and who I make my students go see.

  • noname

    yeah he’s awsome!

  • noname

    i have a low arch as well. i’ve been dancing en pointe for about 4 years and my arch is getting much better, but i’m finding that as my foot develops, different kinds of shoes work for me.

    right now i’m working with several different types of shoe. i like the capezio glisse pro for class (with a 3/4 shank) as well as a grishko 2007. bloch’s european balance is amazing for performances. great for your balance,`and very easy to break in. if you’re dancing a great deal, they’ll last you two weeks at least.

    to help the rolling, i would suggest a thin toe pad. ouch pouches are amazing. also, break your shoe in just to the nail of the shoe, no lower. i find that my feet look horrible when i break the shoe in too low.

    also, make sure that your elastic is sewed far enough back to keep the shoe from twisting, because that will throw you off balance too.

    wow i just wrote a novel.

    hope that helped.

  • person who wrote this

    do you think that the European shoe shank is to hard? does it help you push over farther with your ankles? and one last question: is it to loud? my teacher flips if shoes are loud because she says that they are bad for performing.

  • noname

    no, the european shank is pre-arched
    and if you break your shoes in well through demi (shave or just work through then with your hands) they won’t make noise at all.

  • Leslie

    You might want to try Bloch Aspirations. I use these Pointe shoes and I love them!!!!!I didn’t have a very strong arch either, but these haves really helped strenghthen my Arch. They are kinda of loud when you first get them. I think the majority of Pointe shoes are. I bang my shoes on concrete this helps deafen the loudness.Hope this helps!!!!

  • Alana

    I use Grishko 2007 and I LOVE them. They are amazing and extremely comfortable. You defineately should try them.

  • try chacotts. i have them and they work for me and i dont have the best arch or ancles in the world either. my teacher said if you break-in pointe shoes quickly then you should put super glue at the bottom or something but i wouldnt do because i havnt done it myself yet lol. but try chacotts. or better yet have your dance teacher suggest some or go to your dance store and try on as many as possible until you find the right pair for you feet πŸ™‚

  • A person

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