For pointe shoe sizing, a few details need to be learned so you can buy pointe shoes that suit your foot type the best. Following are a few ballet tips to help.
(For pre-pointe exercises, get The Perfect Pointe Book).
Sizing pointe shoes can be tricky in certain areas. For example, one is the kind of foot called "compressible".
All feet are, to a degree, meaning that you can force your feet into short or pointed shoes, and they will compress.
Yet, there is a foot type that is more compressible than ordinary, and this foot needs a special tapered box in the toe shoes. Even a foot that is wide across the metatarsal joints might be more compressible in a pointe shoe, causing problems when you first go to buy pointe shoes.
Generally a wider foot needs a square shaped box, but the compressible foot functions better in a tapered box. When the wide foot presses up onto pointe, and compresses in the shoe, it will slide down into a wide box.
It is very difficult to keep the toes long in this situation. The toes will buckle, and blister or painful bruised toenails can result.
The box of the toe shoe is meant to support the foot by hugging the toes to help the dancer keep the toes long, and work with strength in the metatarsal area of the foot as well.
Sizing ballet shoes is difficult for pointe beginners, with the many variations in the box area, vamp length, and stiffness of the shanks.
Yet, with so many shoes to try on, the abundance of choice, even if frustrating, does allow you to eventually find just the right shoe to dance your best in. If you have not done this before, stand on paper and draw the outline of both feet.
Take note of the shape of your feet when they are bearing your weight. Some feet may be narrow at the heel and get wider toward the toes.
If this is the case for you, you can always get heel grips to glue inside your pointe shoes, as you cannot compromise with a too narrow shoe.
When you do a demi plie in a small second position, your feet must have room to spread in the shoe. While the shoes must be snug, it should not be painful at the ends of the toes when you plie.
Not being able to plie completely in your toe shoes, will cause problems with tension in the feet, ankles and lower leg area. It will also weaken all your releves if you cannot reach the depth of your demi plie and have a firm push up from the heels.
Hopefully you will have done lots of pre pointe exercise in the months before you buy your first pointe shoes. It can be frustrating if your teacher does not think you are ready and makes you wait, yet learning to prepare for dancing en pointe makes it a much easier transition when you finally start pointe classes.
Ultimately, your feet will control your new hard shoes, and not the other way around. Bending the heel end of the sole, (with your hands), about an inch at the most, so that the pressure from your weight won't break the sole at your arch, will help ease your movement in new shoes.
So when you first try on pointe ballet shoes, notice how the shoe supports and hugs your toes when you rise. If a snug fitting shoe feels too big or too wide, with your foot sliding down into the box, you may have that compressible foot, and you should try a tapered shoe.
If you are not completely certain that you have done all that you can to prepare for pointe, get The Perfect Pointe Book and get started!.
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