Updated: Jul 18
Going on pointe is a major milestone for every ballerina, and we want to make sure that both students and parents know what to expect for their first pair of pointe shoes! First, your pointe shoe fitting should be done by an experienced fitter and/or teacher, who can assess your technique and foot anatomy accurately to fit you in something that's most suitable.
Every pair of feet is different, and there is no one-type-fits-all kind of shoe. There are numerous pointe shoe manufacturers worldwide, and each distinct pair of pointe shoes differ on things like:
The type of glue paste used to harden the shoes
Shape of the shoe, ranging from square to tapered
Shank material and strength
Height of pointe shoe crown
You can see the anatomy of pointe shoes here.
So, what should dancers and parents expect at their first pointe shoe fitting?
Before the fitting:
Toe nails should be trimmed neatly across and not longer than the flesh of the toes.
Usually a pointe shoe fitting for RBA dancers happens right after class, when their feet are already warmed up. If dancers are getting fitted on their own, schedule the fitting in the afternoon when the feet are already expanded. Stretch the feet a little before getting fitted.
During the fitting:
Dancers will be fitted according to their feet anatomy, width, size and technique. Just like pointe shoes, there are different types of padding for each dancer, such as gel pads, foam pads, toe spacers etc.
Pointe shoes have to fit snugly on the dancers, and it’s important not to purchase a bigger size for young dancers to grow into. Shoes that are loose will cause dancers to develop bad habits and increase risk of injury.
First time pointe dancers will be briefed on foot and shoe care, the sewing and break-in process.
What to expect for the first pair of pointe shoes:
Pointe shoes typically have a few months worth of life span, and moisture from sweat and humidity are the main reasons why they break down and soften with use. If you’re doing a 30-minute pointe class once a week, you can expect to change shoes in about 3-6 months.
As you dance en pointe more, the shape of your feet will change a little, and it’s common that your first pair of pointe shoes isn't the one you stick with through your dance journey.
Pointe shoes available at RBA:
Russian Pointe (based in USA)
Grishko (based in Russia)
Sewing tutorial for pointe shoe ribbons: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JFHSA68ADU
Price list: Here
Going on pointe is no small feat, dancers would at least have had a few years of training under their belt, and getting your first pair of pointe shoes will always be a special moment you'll look back to in years to come. To all dancers - well done for getting this far, and parents, do congratulate and celebrate this milestone with your child!