Sophia’s First Pointe Shoes

Sophia’s First Pointe Shoe Fitting

I just had the most exciting day ever! Today I went to Dance World with my best friend to be fitted for our first pointe shoes!

We have been working hard in ballet class for months to build-up our strength. We even do extra classes where we do lots of rises and relevés at the barre. On Saturday morning our teacher told us that we were ready so as soon as we came out of class I called the shop and booked a pointe shoe appointment, it’s very important to make an appointment because lots of people get pointe shoes every day so I needed to make sure they would have time for us when we came in.

Pointe Shoe fitting adventure begins …

The day of the pointe shoe appointment arrived and I met my friend outside the shop a few minutes early. We walked in together and the lovely staff whisked us upstairs to the fancy pointe shoe fitting area and sat us down for a little chat. The shop was very busy but they made sure to explain everything very carefully to us. The specially trained pointe shoe fitter described how a pointe shoe would feel: it’s very different to a normal ballet shoe so we will have to get used to the tightness. Then she explained all about the different types of shoes, brands and toe protection that are available.

There are so many types of pointe shoes …

Aoife was fitted first and I watched jealously as she tried on all the different types of pointe shoes. It turns out there is a lot more to pointe shoes than meets the eye. There are lots of different pointe shoe brands to choose from and each brand makes several styles of shoe. Each style of pointe shoe comes in different sizes and widths and strengths. The reason they have so many styles and types is so that they can fit as many feet as possible. She said that everyone’s feet can be shaped differently, that they can have different length toes, different widths, different heel shapes and arch shapes. Even though the fitter explained the differences between the shoes my head was spinning and I hadn’t even put on a shoe yet! The pointe shoe fitter asked Aoife lots of questions and she did her best to answer but some of the questions were hard so the fitter asked in different ways. Finally, they picked one pair that looked and felt the best – Bloch stretch pointe and then it was my turn!

Finding the Perfect Pointe Shoe can be tricky…

I put on a Bloch shoe and immediately I was worried: my toes were all scrunched up and sore. The fitter told me not to worry as these shoes were probably a little bit too small, so we went for something different. The next pair I tried was a Grishko pointe shoe and it felt lovely but as soon as I stepped up on pointe my heart dropped as I felt my foot slide down and sink into the shoe forcing my toes to get all scrunched up again! “Too big”, the fitter explained, but how can a shoe that’s too big make your foot scrunched? She told me that the reason pointe shoes are fitted so snuggly is for support. She said that when you get a new pointe shoe you want it to fit your foot like a glove, you don’t want any space at all. If a shoe is too big it won’t give you any support or “hold you up off the floor” and your toes will get squished because they are taking all your weight by themselves with no help from the shoe.

The Perfect Pointe Shoe

After a LOT of trying, we found the perfect shoe! I could touch the top of the shoe with my toes but they weren’t scrunched. The sides of the shoe gave my metatarsals a supportive squeeze but not a pinch, and when I stepped up on pointe, even though I could feel my toes touching the floor, it wasn’t in a sore way. I could feel the sides squeezing and holding me up and the hard insole, which I learned is called a shank, resting against my arch and making sure I didn’t wobble and fall. My perfect pointe shoe is a Merlet Diva.

The fitter showed us how to sew on ribbons and elastics and she gave us special bags to keep our new shoes in. I learned so much this morning but boy are my feet tired! Our teacher said you have to earn your pointe shoes but until now I didn’t really know what she meant. Even though we have been working hard for months to get this far I think our work is only beginning. I only wore pointe shoes for half an hour in a shop today but my feet and legs are very tired.

What a special day…

I had such a special time today, the staff in Dance World answered all of our questions and they took the time to make sure our pointe shoes shoes fit us perfectly. I don’t know how anyone ever learns how to be a pointe shoe fitter, they must have to study for years! We’re going to see our ballet teacher now to make sure that she is happy with the shoes we got and then we’re going to go home and sew the ribbons onto our shiny new pointe shoes!

If, like Sophia and her friend, you’re ready to book a pointe shoe fitting please do not hesitate to email us at team@danceworld.ie to set up an appointment. You can read our fitting policy here.

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