Pointe Shoes are one of the Dancers' most important tools - after their own body of course! It's a very personal choice, sometimes needing to try out many different brands and types of shoe before really knowing and deciding on the right shoe. The shoes should feel like a part of the foot, so the dancer can feel the floor and work through the foot in the shoe, the shoe should facilitate pointe work and support the foot, it is not the tool that does the pointe work for them.
It is important not only to have the correct length and width but also the correct shape, strength and weight of the box and type of insole according to the dancer's level of ability, technique, strength and foot shape. Each pair of feet are unique and the way that a foot responds within the confined space of a shoe, may differ considerably. This can then affect the alignment and balance aswell as degree of comfort when en-pointe.
If it's the first pair of pointe shoes especially, the correct fit for the foot can not only reduce risk of injury but make the difference between achieving the correct position en-pointe and to have the most comfortable experience and introduction to Pointe work practically possible.
Pointe Shoe Fitting Check-List
If this is your first pair of Pointe Shoes - Do you have your Dance Teacher's approval to obtain pointe shoes?
Please allow approximately 1 hour for your fitting or even longer for your very first fitting!
Please have clean feet with correctly cut toe-nails. (They should be cut correctly to avoid in-growing toe nails and bruised nails, so please ask for help if you are unsure)
Cover any Verrucas or Blisters with a plaster
Avoid fittings if you have sore feet, wait until they have healed
Take into account if you intend to wear any toes cushions or other foot protection, that you know you may like to use. If you already have some, bring them with you for your fitting.
Please wear footless tights or convertibles, so that we can see the bare foot, ankle and lower leg.
Wear suitable clothing that allows a good view of the whole leg if possible - in particular to look at alignment and turn-out.
Bring your last pair of Pointe Shoes and any toe protection that you like to use, with you.
It is always strongly recommended to get a professional fitting and advise against guessing simply to buy cheaper Pointe Shoes on-line and then having additional cost aswell as the task of trying to sell them again when they don't fit correctly or don't feel right.
The only exception to this being if you have already been in the same make, model and shoe size for a series of fittings and your feet are no longer growing or experiencing any other problems whilst en-pointe.
Apart from the obvious foot growth in young dancers, the feet can change in size and shape as strength and duration of Pointe work practice increases. Pointe Shoes should not be fitted to allow for any "growing room".
Even uncomfortable blisters can be a sign of an ill-fitting shoe causing friction!
The Pointe Shoe fitting service is available on a private appointment basis at Mandy's pointe shoe fitting and pilates room in Findon, near Worthing in West Sussex. Situated between Brighton to the East and Chichester, Portsmouth & Southampton to the West, it is also within easy reach of Horsham, Guildford Crawley and the Sussex / Surrey borders.
Mandy has always had a deep passion for the importance of finding the best fit of pointe shoes, through her own experiences as a student long ago and many difficulties to overcome getting the right shoes to fit her own feet, combined with experience of Ballet technique gained over a period of more than 35 years, being a Therapist of Reflexology and other soft tissue therapies and a Pilates Instructor, she is able to look closely at toes, foot, ankle and leg alignment and movement and keep a look out for any areas of potential issues, thus being able to make some recommendations of specific exercises or other solutions for potentially troublesome toes, feet, ankles, knees etc!
The first pointe shoe fittings usually take longer and should not be rushed.
Most girls like to wear some form of toe protection, but this can often be confusing as there are so many to choose from and also they can affect the proper fit of your shoes and the way the feet & toes move in the shoe from flat to en-pointe.
At your fitting, you can try various types of toe protection with the pointe shoes to find the correct fit and most suitable toe protection for you!
With any fitting, the focus remains on finding and fitting the best shoe to suit the dancers' feet and level of ability. Mandy likes to find the closest fit of shoe and then find suitable toe protection to compliment the shoe and dancer, sometimes creating bespoke solutions for Dancers.
At times, it can be necessary to order additional shoes for you to try. This usually only takes a few extra days and you can then return when convenient to try them and be re-fitted.
School visits can be made by arrangement when there are a larger group of Dancers all needing to be fitted at the same time.
Pointe Performance is proud to have been approved and an appointed fitter by Freed of London, Russian Pointe and Capezio. Pointe Shoes are also available from Merlet, Sansha and Bloch. It is one of the largest stockists in West Sussex and has been recommended by numerous Dance Teachers around Sussex and Surrey who can have confidence with the high standard of expertise, precision fitting service and advice provided to their students.
Class practice time is very valuable for practice, technique, syllabus and rehearsals. Sometimes there is little spare time for students to discuss toes, feet, shoes or other pointe related problems. Young dancers in particular often feel unable to ask questions and seek extra help with overcoming physical difficulties or pointe shoe issues that may affect them and that may hold back progress.
Sometimes just putting up with things, accepting that how things are and what they are experiencing is "normal" and never really discovering that their is often alternatives and simple solutions.
My aim is to fill this gap, by assiting and educating students and ultimately working with and supporting their Dance Teachers in the education of the young students to be happy, healthy and injury free Dancers.