You should get professionally fitted for every pair for your first few years en pointe. (You can find what to do before a pointe shoe fitting in this article) This is the time when you need to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Even after you find your “perfect pair,” you should still get fitted fairly regularly. Even professional ballerinas have to get refitted every 6 months or so because their feet change.
So, here are 5 reasons why you should get a professional pointe shoe fitting:
- You avoid injuries: This is the biggie. Ill-fitting shoes can lead to injuries. If the shoes are too big, your feet can slide around inside the shoes and cause bruised toe nails and blisters. If the shoes are too tight, the pressure can cause Achilles tendonitis, bunions or other deformities. These are just a few examples, but ultimately, ill-fitting shoes can cause a lot of pain. Unnecessary pain that can be avoided.
- You dance better: When you’re dancing en pointe, you should be focused on your dancing, not on your feet. If you are having trouble getting over your box, concentrating too hard on balancing or focusing on the pain, you are likely not improving. Properly fitted shoe should support the dancer so their entire focus is not just on their feet but on the dancing.
- Your feet look better: Best fitting shoes look streamline and show off the dancer’s feet. The shoe shouldn’t look like a shoe, but an extension of your legs. When the shoes are not properly fitted, it disrupts the ballet line. For example, it can look excessively baggy, look like the dancer is sickling or their joints will be sticking out of the top of the shoes. A well fitted shoe just plain looks better.
- Your feet are constantly changing: You should get fitted regularly because your feet are always changing. They change, not just in size and shape, but also in strength and flexibility. As you increase your skills and hours en pointe, your feet might get stronger and need a different shank. Or you get an injury and need more support. Maybe you had a growth spurt and your ankles are weaker. There are so many things that change throughout the years, and your shoes should change to accommodate those changes.
- You can experiment with shoes: You will dance differently in different shoes and now is the time to figure out how your dancing is affected by them. Some dancers will find it is easier to turn in certain shoes and easier to balance in others. This is useful information when it comes to choosing a shoe for auditions or certain variations. If you know your variation requires lots of turns, you’ll know which shoe to choose.
Pointe shoes are a very personal journey. And finding the right pointe shoe fitter that can guide you through is essential. The best pointe shoe fitters are a mix of friend, teacher, doctor and mentor. For all these reasons, make sure you choose a pointe shoe fitter who is well trained and has your best interest in mind.