This story originally appeared in the August/September 2016 issue of Pointe.
When I'm on pointe, the spot where my shank breaks in demi-pointe "bubbles" and pulls me off my box. Help! —Abigail
It's hard to know what's wrong without actually seeing your feet, so I consulted with Mary Carpenter, a professional fitter whose popular YouTube channel, DancewithmaryNYC, offers advice on common pointe shoe problems. Carpenter notes that shoes often bubble or bow back simply due to too much wear. But if the bubbling happens when your shoe is relatively new, evaluate whether the shank and/or vamp is supportive enough.
"Shanks usually break too low when they are not breaking in at the correct spot," Carpenter says. "Then the pressure goes to the wrong area, usually under the metatarsals." You can try looking for shoes with a stronger shank and three-quartering them to help distribute your weight more evenly. You may also want to schedule an appointment with a professional fitter to make sure you're wearing the appropriate shoe to begin with.