Saturday, May 12, 2007

Pointe Shoe Fitting Guide

The options available in pointe shoes now should make pointe work easier. Get the necessary information in a pointe shoe fitting guide, right now. Click on that link and you will see what the dancer's guide offers.

For parents reading this, please be aware that there is a considerable financial aspect at stake here. Pointe shoes cannot be purchased to grow into. They must fit like a glove, to be simplistic. If your child has a high arch, shoes may be broken completely, and useless for pointe work, in a matter of a few classes. This situation will improve as the feet strengthen, and the ballet exercises to prepare for pointe will hasten the process.

A student's first fitting will take a lot of time. If a fitter or a dance teacher is available, that is a real plus. (Not all ballet stores have experienced fitters.)

The individual's foot shape must be examined. The length and tapering of the toes, the width across the metatarsals, the height of the arch, and the depth of the foot must all be fitted correctly. Badly fitting shoes can contribute to sprains and permanent injuries.

Before you get to the pointe shoes, think about what you might want to use for protection inside the shoe. This will take up space in the shoe. The variety of gel pads, toe length adaptors, toe tips and all the other things are wonderful, but make sure you have room for them.

The boxes of pointe shoes come in tapered shapes, and square shapes. They must fit so that the foot does not sink into, or slide around inside the box.

A longer second toe usually requires a slightly tapered, narrow to medium box, but there are no hard and fast rules.

A longer big toe may also feel more comfortable in a tapered box, but every shape of shoe must be tried on.

Take a pair of tights with you, to put over your foot and try the shoes on. For your first fitting, don't wear the tights, as the fitter may ask to see your toes, if there is a problem getting a fit. Just in case.

You can check the vamp needed by rising up to 3/4 pointe, to see if the shoe break is where your metatarsal joints are. Too high a vamp will impede the foot movement, and too low a vamp will not provide support.

The stiffness of the shank will be determined by the arch height and ankle flexibility. You need to be able to get up onto the platform, the end of the shoes,fully, so that you are not working leaning into the back of the box.

So the shank must give support, but not present so much resistance that you can't work properly. Most shoes will break in, and keep breaking in until suddenly they are worn out! That's the life of a pointe shoe.

When you are up on pointe, there should be about 1/4 inch of fabric at your heel. If there is none, the shoe is too short. If there is more, the shoe is too long. Also, if you do a demi-plie, and your toes are mashed into the box, hurting, the shoe is too short, too narrow, or both.

The vamp should not gape or wrinkle - neither should the sides. There should be equal pressure from the shoe all over the foot.

I've tried to keep these articles fairly short - but like your first few fittings - time, patience and detail is needed.

If all of the above is a bit overwhelming, get your own copy of a pointe shoe fitting guide, a book which offers training tips as well.

The Pointe Book - a pointe soe fitting guide

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