Low shank or high shank? Soft box or a hard one? Strong feet or weak? Freed or Grishko? Capezio or Bloch? Ankle band or without? Today we’ll have some pointe shoe talk!
I have quite long feet but narrow as well, which makes it harder to find a shoe that really fits me, since shoes usually aren’t that narrow. My feet are flexible, which also means that they are weaker compared to someone having a stiffer foot.
Pointe shoes should give you support, allow your feet to be shown from its best sides, not be too painful, not too hard nor too soft. The shoes should feel comfortable from the beginning, it should provide you with a feeling of hugging your feet: giving you the needed support.
My first pair of pointe shoes were Grishkos 2007. I’ve stuck with them every since I got them, on the age of 10. I found them narrow and they fit my feet almost perfectly. Though the heal is always a bit too big. This is why I put elastic bands (like a cross over my ankle).
Lately, I have gotten more into the world of the Freeds. Freeds have for a long time been very uncomfortable, nothing good but giving my foot a nice look. My ballet friend in India, who I spent many hours with, showed me how to break them in: making them less uncomfortable as well.
I’ve barely been using my Grishkos since then. Freed really shows the best of my feet. In normal shoes, I usually have 39/40. In my Grishko pointe shoe size is 6 1/2 XX and 6 1/2 D in the Freed.
The first thing I do, when getting a new pair of pointe shoes, is to prepare them. I put on ribbons, sew the platform on the front of the shoes, as well as add elastics over the ankle to make the shoes tighter and more narrow. Then I step on both the vamps with my heels, to soften them. I continue by bending the upper shank a little: to soften that one as well. After that, I put on the shoes.
What do I do to break in my shoes? Start by going through half pointe- to pointe, from pointe through half pointe and then flat on the floor. You will need to get a soft half pointe, which will make it easier in all future pointe work. If the half pointe is really hard and doesn’t want to cope, try jumping in half pointe- that will help. Also, go up on full relevé and bend your legs to a grand plié- put all the weight on your feet. This stretches your ankles to the max.
My favourite exercises to strengthen my feet must be the simple flex-and-point exercise. You sit on the floor with the legs stretched out in front of you. Remember, stay parallel and always engage the inside of your legs as well. Then you just simple point & flex your feet, making resistance with your muscles. Your main goal should be to try and keep the toes sort of flexed all the time. The thinking that the toes are flexed and in the direction to you should always be there.
Relevés are great to do, which help strengthening your legs and especially the calves.
This was all for today. Don’t ever hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns!
Keep working hard,