Pointe Shoe Pointers

As a teenager, I'd spend hours at a time trying on pointe shoes at San Francisco Dancewear. The search for the perfect fit felt as elusive as Ponce de León's Fountain of Youth. I really had no concrete idea what I was looking for, other than something that made my feet look good and didn't hurt—too much.

 

This Saturday I went to The School at Steps' Pointe Shoe Workshop (which Pointe sponsored), and I learned a ton of great information I wish I'd known back then. My favorite part was pointe shoe fitter Mary Carpenter's list of five things to look for in a shoe:

 

1. Box Shape

The shape of the box depends on the shape of your toes. If you have a "peasant foot" where your first three toes are all about the same length, you'll want a square box. If you have "Greek foot" with a long second toe, you'll want a moderately tapered box. And if you have an "Egyptian foot" with a long first toe, you'll want the most tapered box.

 

2. Length

Your pointe shoe should fit like a snug cast. When you demi plié (the position in which your foot is at its longest), you want to feel your toes hit the tip of the shoe without the satin digging into your heel at the back. Bonus tip: Get fit later in the day, when your feet are slightly bigger.

 

3. Width

When you put on a shoe, there should be a straight line from your hip bone to your knee to the center of the shoe's elastic. You don't want the skin to bulge over the elastic, but you also shouldn't be able to put two fingers inside in the front above your toes.

 

4. Support

Your feet shouldn't sink in the shoes, nor do you want your arch to go over too far forwards. The shoe should stay on your foot the entire time when you elevé to pointe.

 

5. Aesthetics

Lastly, because this is ballet, it has to be beautiful. The shoe should look like it's part of your body, not some bulky thing hanging off the ends of your feet.

 

Keep an eye out for The School at Steps' upcoming Healthy Body Workshop on January 28, sponsored by Dance Spirit. For more, see stepsnyc.com

Latest Posts


Getty Images

7 Eco-Friendly Choices Dancers Can Make to Green Up Their Lifestyles

Ballet dancers are known for their empathy and willingness to improve, so it is no surprise that many are educating themselves about the environment and incorporating sustainable habits into their lives. "I recently read that there are more microplastics in our oceans than there are stars in our galaxy. That really hit me," says American Ballet Theatre corps member Scout Forsythe, who has been making an effort to be more environmentally conscious.

Although no one can fix the climate crisis on their own, we can make small, everyday changes to help decrease waste, consumption and emissions. Here are some suggestions for dancers looking to do their part in helping our planet.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Left to right: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Daphne Lee, Amanda Smith, Lindsey Donnell and Alexandra Hutchinson in a scene from Dancing Through Harlem. Derek Brockington, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dancers Share Their Key Takeaways After a Year of Dancing on Film

Creating dances specifically for film has become one of the most effective ways that ballet companies have connected with audiences and kept dancers employed during the pandemic. Around the world, dance organizations are finding opportunities through digital seasons, whether conceiving cinematic, site-specific pieces or filming works within a traditional theater. And while there is a consistent sentiment that nothing will ever substitute the thrill of a live show, dancers are embracing this new way of performing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Alexandra McMaster

Start Your Dance Day With This Delicious Berry Breakfast Crisp Recipe

When it comes to breakfast, I want it to be easy and convenient but still taste delicious. My Berry Breakfast Crisp is just that. You can bake the crisp on the weekend as meal prep, then enjoy it throughout the week cold or warmed in the microwave. It freezes well, too!

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks