Getty Images

Ask Amy: My Vamp Is Digging Into My Foot

I got professionally fitted and my shoes were fine in the store. Now in class, the vamp is digging into my foot in demi-pointe and the heel is sliding off. Is it the size, the width or both? —Mandi


I consulted with Mary Carpenter, a professional fitter whose popular YouTube channel, Dancewithmary NYC, offers advice on common pointe shoe problems. She says there could be several reasons why your shoes feel differently now. Did you have your fitting at the end of the day or during a tough performance run? If so, they may be too big. "Feet swell as the day goes on," says Carpenter. "A fitting first thing in the morning or right after shows is not going to be a good representation of your day-to-day fit. An ideal time is in the middle of the day, when you've been up and moving around and have perhaps taken a class." Another thing to consider is toe pads, she adds. "Make sure you wear your usual padding at the time of the fitting."

Alternatively, your shoes may simply need more breaking in. Remember: At the store you're typically standing flat or on your toes, not articulating through demi-pointe. Carpenter notes that an overly hard shank can cause the heel to slide off. And high vamps, especially when combined with strong side wings, can be uncomfortably stiff and make the shoe feel too narrow at first. Rather than wearing a brand-new shoe "as is," use your hands to lightly smoosh down the box to create more width and gently bend the shank where your arch naturally curves. This will help make the shoe suppler. If it still doesn't feel right, you may need to try a smaller size or lower vamp.

Have a question? Send it to Pointe editor and former dancer Amy Brandt at askamy@dancemedia.com.

Latest Posts


iStock

Ask Amy: My Parents Want Me to Get a Job and Cut Back on Dance Classes

I am thinking about pursuing a career in ballet. However, my parents have made it clear that at some point they want me to get a job, which they acknowledge would mean possibly dropping dance, or at least not taking as many classes. I agree that getting a job is important so that I'm able to make my own money, but dropping dance classes is the exact opposite of what will get me to where I want to be. Any suggestions? —Kaia

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Laurent Liotardo (post-production by Nik Pate), Courtesy ENB

Catch English National Ballet’s Rising Stars in the Emerging Dancer Competition Livestream

The coronavirus pandemic may have postponed English National Ballet's annual Emerging Dancer competition last spring, but the show must go on—digitally! You can still watch ENB's best and brightest talent during the competition's livestream, taking place on September 22 at 7:20 pm BST (that's 2:20 pm ET). Now in its 11th year, the competition for the Emerging Dancer Award will be broadcast live from the company's East London production studio for the first time. Tickets are available for $6.99 per device and will remain available to view on demand until September 29.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
From left: Alaina Broyles, Courtesy Werner; Courtesy Underwood

Gaynor Minden's Latest Dancer Lineup Features a Body-Positivity Activist and Its First Guy

Pointe shoe brand Gaynor Minden recently welcomed 32 young dancers to its coveted roster of Gaynor Girls. But this year, the company included two applicants who push the boundaries of what it means to dance on pointe. While both Mason Simon Underwood and Colleen Werner are longtime GM wearers, they stand out from the rest of this year's group: Underwood is the first ever Gaynor Guy, and Werner is a body-positivity activist.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks