Brands. Do you care about them? Does it make a difference with pointe shoes?
Pointe is an advanced level of dance for ballerinas that has a unique type of shoe. These handmade shoes have ribbon and elastic that must be sewn to the base of the shoe by dancers or their parents. There is a wide flat front end that enables the ballerina to stand on her toes and have more support than regular ballet shoes. Protection of the feet is very important for this exercise; thus the shoe has a great role. Researching the different brands and their different structures can help the shoppers decide which is the best fit for each ballerina.
Unlike most shoes, finding the best deal financially might not be the best deal for the ballerina’s feet. The wrong fit or size may cause injury or improper form on different movements. Some dancers travel long distances to locate stores at which they can try on different brands and sizes to find the perfect fit.
The way the dancer’s foot fits into the hard-toe box is important in terms of fit. Brands have different shapes and sizes of this box, so one brand might just fit better. Another important factor is the strength of the “shank.” Which supports the arch of the foot. Younger dancers may have a brand that has more support for this arch.
According to Master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee of the California based The Pointe Shop, there are five points (sorry for the pun) that are critical to look at when choosing pointe shoes. We’ve mentioned two of them above.
- Box shape
You can watch Josephine’s video at Pointmagazine.com to learn more about these five points to pointe shoes.
Because pointe is so different than other types of dance and requires dancers to put all of their weight on their toes, there is more conversation built around the pros and cons for each brand than other dance shoes. One dancer on Dance.net’s forum warned to not go for the pointe shoe that looks the best because that might not work the best for you. This discussion featured a lot of different brands and Bloch seemed to be pretty common.
In his blog [Tights and Tiaras] about different types of pointe shoes, Henrik says that most dancers have their brand of pointe shoe they swear by and do not switch brands. Once you find a brand that you like, stick to it.
As Henrik notes and others agree, the best pointe shoe for each person is indeed a very personal thing. Once you a brand that supports your feet, that you feel you dance to your potential in and stands up to wear, you are going to stick with it – whether it’s the popular brand mentioned by noted ballerinas or not.
There is a lot of buzz about what brand of pointe shoes are the best, but is there even an answer to this question? What brand do you prefer? Why?