A dream shoe? Torture box? Toe killer? Mysterious shoe? Stunning? Beautiful? Pretty? Unbearable pain giver?
Maybe you could already guess what my synonyms are for: pointe shoes. This post is totally dedicated to this huge subject that pointe shoes comes with. Does it hurt? When did you get your first pair? How do you prepare them? Which brand are you using? If you continue reading, you will find out the answers to all of the questions above, and a lot more!
I got my pointe shoes in 2010. By that time I had only danced for half a year and now when I think back at it, it could actually have been dangerous to go on pointe that early, with not so much dance experience, at all. My feet seemed to manage that fine and I didn’t take any damage for going on pointe at quite a young age. All of the girls in my class got the pointe shoes at the same time. To be permitted, to start using those magic shoes, the headmaster had to come to look at a ballet class to tell us whether we were too weak, or if it was accepted to go on pointe. Everyone were allowed to go on point and it was with extremely much excitement we went to get our first pair. One great thing about my (former) school is that we get all our pointe shoes for free, we have a shoe storage at the school with both pointe shoes as well as soft shoes, but we have to pay for the soft shoes. You can choose pointe shoes from the brands Bloch, Grishko and Freed (soft shoes are Grishko, Bloch and Sansha). Those who uses Gaynor Minden have to by them their selves. A lady helped us fitting the shoes and I got Grishko 2007, which I am, by the way, still loving.
The first classes with pointe were really basic, parallel relevés and those stuff, to get to know the shoe and strengthen our work with it. Nowadays I am doing full classes with only pointe and pointe shoes are (almost) as comfortable as soft shoes. I wear Grishko 2007 6 1/2 xx hard.
My number 1 tip to break in the pointe shoes is to wear them. Especially if you are trying out a new brand. After you have prepared them, you can wear the shoes under a pair of socks and keep them on while you are stretching, reading or watching TV. Some people also like to water them a bit around the front part to make them softer and to fit better. I personally prefer to not put water on it in because my feet need quite much support, it gets too soft if I take water on it. Sometimes, if I have the hard ones I try to soften the shank a bit with my hands, just where the arch is. I usually step on the toe box to soften it a bit before putting my pointe shoes on for the first time. I always label my shoes and I put on wrist bands as well as the other bands. In the front, I sew around the top of the shoe to make it more stable.
Does it hurt? Honestly, yes. There are some classes and days that the pain it just unbearable. While some other classes aren’t that painful at all. This also really depends on the brand of shoe you are using. For example, for me, the freed brand hurts a lot. Bloch is not that comfortable either and that is why I prefer Grishko. They are very narrow and fit my feet great, which are quite long but still narrow. This is just my opinion and it always depends on who you are and how strong and flexible your feet are.
To reduce the pain, I am always wearing “ouch pouches”. These are things you put on the front of your foot, covering the toes. It’s a sort of gel material and helps reducing the pain.
I hope it was interesting to read a bit about pointe shoes. If you have any questions left, don’t hesitate to contact me via instagram or in the comment section below.