"Should I Wear Demi Pointe Shoes?"
Lisa Howell, author of The Perfect Pointe Book, weighs in on the benefits of demi pointe shoes.
"My personal preference is actually to use broken down pointe shoes of the same style as they use en pointe, rather than specifically designed "demi-pointe" shoes. For instance, one a student has broken down the shank of their first pair, the shank may be removed, and this shoe used for parts of their normal class. This helps them gain more proprioceptive feedback about what it is like to stand in those particular shoes".
I was trained to use worn out pointe shoes as soft shoes. It was very economical, but also good for the foot muscles.
I mean, when are your feet strong enough, if ever?
I remember pulling the shank out of many pointe shoes, and sometimes having to pull out a nail or file down the grainy glue with an emory board. I could also press the fabric cover of the shank back in.
The Benefits Of Not Using Demi Pointe ShoesUltimately, the shank can be left in if you want to really challenge those foot muscles.If you value progress over the immediate ease of "pointing your shoe", you will.
Why throw away a piece of your shoe that's going to make you strong?
Lisa Howell brings up a good point about 'claw toes' or toe curling in the ballet shoes. Wearing satin, slightly stiffened quasi-pointe shoes can hide from your teacher exactly what your toes are doing in the shoe.
Curling, instead of lengthening the toes and following the line of your arch, prevents the development of good forefoot muscles.
I wrote in detail about the forefoot muscles HERE.
I would discourage students from wearing split sole shoes. Why? Again, you've removed a piece of the shoe that requires extra effort from your foot muscles.
I honestly think that demi pointe shoes are a marketing issue. Dance is so huge now. When I was performing it was still a subculture.
I don't disparage the glut of dancewear and choices in pointe shoes for all foot types, no not at all. But I'll repeat myself - (click HERE for the full article) you must get your feet in charge of the shoes, and not the other way around.
And don't forget that extra sole-of-the-foot strength and forefoot strength will improve your allegro too!
Here's a video showing how to use the correct muscles when you point your feet!