Learning Your Foot Type-- For The Best Pointe Fit


This post has generated thousands and thousands of hits from dancers all over the world.  I'm thrilled and humbled!  This has inspired me to create an entire website based on pointe fitting and the world's first Pointe Shoe Finder! 

To get the most detailed information about your foot type and what shoes might be your perfect pointe shoes, please click the banner below to head over to PointePerfect.com!  

With the Pointe Shoe Finder, you can select the specific characteristics of your feet and the Finder will give you a list of shoes that match the characteristics you are looking for!  

Read on if you wish, but please know that PointePerfect has MUCH more detailed info than the article below.

Regardless, thank you so much for reading!


Do you know your foot type?

I mean, do you TRULY know your foot type?  Aside from the typical US shoe fitting terms, such as "Normal Width" and "Wide Width"?  Did you know that there are a huge array of different foot characteristics, all of which translate to different pointe shoe fits?  Did you know that each aspect of your foot impacts multiple aspects of the pointe shoe?

It might not be possible to find one shoe that fits every characteristic of your foot, but you can learn what your foot type is, and what is most important to you in a shoe.

First Step:  What is your toe type?

Since this post went live in February of 2013, it has attracted many readers.  Throughout my research, I've learned that the Greek style of foot has some variation, so I've split the Greek style into two different versions.  Greek square, and Greek taper.

This is all about your toe shape.  It's important to evaluate your foot shape twice!

1.  With your feet relaxed and standing barefoot.  Your toes will be completely spread out.  

          Example:  When I stand with my feet totally relaxed and barefoot, my feet look very wide & Square.  

2.  With your toes pointed and stretched, not curled.

          Example:  When I point my toes, my feet are Peasant shaped.  

What do these findings mean? 

Ultimately, the pointe shoe that fits your foot best will usually be the one that fits your pointed foot, not your standing flat/barefoot one. 

This concept is a weird one.  It's completely opposite from the way street shoes are fit.  Room to grow and spacious width are NOT acceptable in pointe shoes.  So what's a girl to do?  Fit for the pointe.  That means fit the shoes so they are tolerable and don't give you big toe pain on flat, but they aren't nice cushy running shoes.  You need metatarsal support.  The box needs to fit the contour of your forefoot so you aren't in agony all the time.

For example-- I was fitted in a pair of Capezio Arias.  They are beautiful shoes and look nice on my feet, but they are all wrong for my foot shape.  The Aria is meant for a square type foot, where all toes are mostly the same length and need a wide box.  My feet are slightly tapered.  This caused immense pressure on my big toe, as my metatarsals weren't supported at all.  I ultimately needed to buy a new pair of shoes.

Next Step:  What is your arch type? 

There are several types of arches, but the following are the most common.

Flat Arch:  People with a flat or collapsed arch have very little to no arch when standing flat.  Flat feet are a medical condition that some people are born with, and some develop later in life.  It’s called “pes planus”, and there are two different types.
  • Flexible Flat Feet– where the arches are flat when standing normally, but are flexible when pointed and can appear to be quite high on pointe.  An overly loose foot may need extra support in the shank and a long vamp.
  • Rigid Flatfoot– are feet that are stiff and have limited flexibility in the arch.  Will benefit from a pre-arched, flexible/soft shank.
Normal Arch:  This one is perhaps a bit exaggerated, but a person with a "Normal" arch has a flat supported exterior foot, but also a fairly significant instep compared to their flat footed counterpart.  People with "Normal" arches can wear most shank strenghts per their preference. 

High Arch:  The High Arched person has very little amount of supportive outsole, and a very pronounced instep.  This type of foot creates a beautiful desirable line, but people with a high arch often have weak feet.  A harder shank and a higher vamp will stop those with high arches from falling out of the front of their shoes.

Very/Extremely High Arch:  People with extremely high arches can literally slide a pencil through their whole arch while standing flat.  These feet are often called "banana feet", and tend to completely roll over their shoes.  Just like high arched counterparts, strong shanks and deep vamps will help hold your feet back in the shoe so you don't roll over them.

Step Three:  Foot Flexibility and Compressible Feet

It's very important to know if you've got compressible feet.  A good pointe shoe fitter will check for this, but neither of my first two fitters did.  You should go in knowing this information and bring it up during your fitting.

To determine if you have compressible feet, do the following:

Stand flat, and gently squeeze your feet in the same areas you see the arrows above.  If your foot squishes in and compresses, VOILA!  You've got compressible feet!

Also, the flexibility of your feet impact the vamp length and shank strength you'll need.  Very flexible feet will need to be sure they aren't rolling over the shoe, and inflexible feet will need to be sure they can get over the box.

I've got compressible feet, what does this mean for me??
If you've just learned that you have compressible feet, have no fear.  This just means you need to pay close attention to how your shoes fit when standing en pointe.  You should feel supported en pointe in the areas you just squeezed.  If you don't, try a narrower shoe.

These are the most common and basic things you need to know about your feet before being fitted for pointe shoes.  If you are a teenager about to get your first pair, be sure your mom knows all of this too.  The way your pointe shoes fit can seriously boost your progress, or completely hinder it.  

As an example, I'll explain my feet.  Here they are, in all of their weird foot glory:

 As I mentioned above, my feet look square-ish shaped when I'm standing flat and relaxed, like the upper left.  I've got a huge space between my 1st and 2nd toes, and they look really wide.  I have high arches.

Now here is my foot in a pointe shoe, and also pointing my opposite foot.  You can see how very different my compressible feet look when standing flat and compressed.

Here we go again:  Egyptian feet need Tapered shoes, and Square feet need Square shoes!  

Do YOU know your foot type?

Are you still confused?  Would a gallery of sample foot types help?  Click below:

Or, would you just like much more detailed information on determining your foot type?  Click below:


  1. I know what you were going through, i have the same problem, my feet are tapered when flat but look more like peasant on pointe so square box for me. Im waiting for my new pair of shoes I have currently Bloch serenade d width and I ordered gainers minden size 9 (size 7.5 for street shoes) box4 deep vamp high heel supple shank (I love de broken in feeling but it doesn t last very long for (like the shoes).

  2. Hi Julie!

    Wow, that's really interesting, you have the completely opposite problems and shoe preferences! I prefer a brand new shoe to a broken in shoe. :)

    I'm not surprised to hear how your Bloch Serenade fit you-- I own a pair and they are a very tapered shoe in my opinion! Out of curiosity, I just checked, and the width I bought was the C width, I'm sure the D is wider, but they don't seem like they'd fit someone with a square foot.

    Good luck!

  3. Hi, I just got my gaynor this morning! And the feeling is so great. The pushing feeling i have immediatly when putting the shoes on disappear (i have the impression on my right foot only that the box is kinda oushing the big toe towards the center of the shoe resulting in bunion aera pain after half an hour of class), there is just have a bagginess around the Demi pointe aera, I think next time I will go for the narrow width, I will call them to have their opinion on it next time I order some. Btw, I got the 9M supple deep vamp high heel luxe. Next pointe class is on thursday I will tell you more about it next week end.

  4. That's exciting!!

    Strange about the right foot-- it does sound like you need a more narrow shoe, maybe the sleekfit too? I emailed back and forth with their fitters, I sent in a bunch of pictures and my foot description, they helped me out. I talked with them on the phone, I was originally going to order the medium width, but the fitter suggested narrow and they fit well.

    Are you wearing padding with them? I had to experiment with light padding and a boxliner.

    Good luck with your class!

  5. Hi, when i re-read my post, I was not clear, the pushing feeling was on my Bloch shoes, it disappear with the GM shoes, that's so great I don't need my toe spacer anymore that were on my Bloch to prevent bunion (because of the bunion pain I have). I wear ouch pouch (shoes were fit to fit ouch pouch), mushroom pad for big toe nail protection and oval blue crescent under my smallest toes to fit the hole I have under them (I have th first 3 toes about same length but 2 smallest are really tapered, and I prefer feeling stag under my toes otherwise I like move to much my piggy toe and curl the nail ! (I know my feet are strange) But for the moment I have some issues with my left big toe nail (not ballet/pointe related, it's just fragile coming from a kid accident with a gym box corner at primary school, ouch bruised and broken toe nail I still remember it!) so ouch pouch needed for now.
    Just for info, in I wear ouch pouch, big toe spacer, jelly tip for left big toes, blister band aids on piggy toe, jelly tube on big right toe and other tube on toes depending on the day.
    Will tell you more next week end after class

    Sorry for my English, I'm French and writing is not my favorite exercise, speaking is better for me

  6. Oh no your English is fantastic! I just misunderstood.

    I actually know exactly what you mean, my Bloch Serenade made my right foot do unusual things, you can see it in the picture towards the right of my header image. That Bloch shoe really makes it look like I have pointy bunions, it's very strange. The demi pointe area broke in very fast, the shoes were dead after only a few classes.

    I'm still kind of in love with my Gaynors. I do want the harder shank to see how it feels, but I'm so much more confident. I still get sore after class, but not as bad. It's just night and day with all other shoes I own and these.

  7. Hi,
    So poimte class in gaynor yesterday evening, teacher was happy of my choice !! Great idea she said. But I could not finish the last exercise on pointe, indeed I have a left big toe nail trouble, it was already painful in normal shoes, so I was expecting this trouble. Conclusion I discover some feet muscle with the GM, I have sore feet today, but in different place than with traditional pointe shoes. The bunion pain I have got with the Bloch appears really later, let's say last 15min of an hour and a half class, and most Important today the bunion aera is not painful (it was for at least 2 days with the blochs). So good news ! I was able to balance more at the barre, and was much more confident in my left foot (the weaker one). The one thing I see is that turning is harder in them, as I am not a big turner, yesterday turn were a disaster.
    We will see next week how it goes, I hope I will have less trouble with my left big toe nail at this moment to be able too really compare with the blochs. (but just for info, after class I tried my blochs, and they were much more painful than the GM for my big toe nail.
    I hope your back is going better (I fully understood, I began ballet because I have back pain and my chiro said it was a good idea). For your weight, at th E-R they told me so but my chiro said sport only to loose weight, do not begin food restriction in any form when your painful that increase the pain.
    Good luck

  8. Hi! I came across your blog while looking for pictures of foot arch types. Would it be okay for me to use this on my blog post about running shoes? I really like that you have the extremely high arch picture. I will obviously give you the credit for this. Please let me know :)


  9. Hi Jenny! I'm ok with that! Please feel free!

  10. WHat size do you wear in capezio aria and in capezio contempora? Just curious as I've had the same problems with the Capezio aria and am thinking of trying the contempora.

    1. Hello imperfect_world! Thanks for reading!

      Ok, there are some things to take into consideration with the Aria vs Contempora. They both have different sizing standards, for one. It's recommended that the Aria be fit by beginning at street shoe size. The Contempora and Contempora ES are advised to start 3 sizes down from US street shoe sizing.

      What shape are your toes?

      -Square Box
      -Medium Vamp
      -Elastic Drawstring
      -#3 Capezio Shank
      -Start at US street shoe size

      -Slightly Tapered Box
      -Medium Vamp
      -Cotton Drawstring
      -#2 Capezio Shank
      -Start US 3 sizes down

      Contempora ES:
      -Slightly Tapered Box
      -Long Vamp
      -Cotton Drawstring
      -#5 Capezio Shank
      -Start US 3 sizes down

      I have a size 11W Aria, and size 8C in the Contempora but a 7.5 would have been just right. I have a size 9.5-10 US street shoe size.

      My biggest notes about the standard Contempora shoe is that its very light/flexible. I had to glue the heck out of the whole box to make it last long enough for me personally, and the shank is very light. It didn't last long for me!

      Hopefully that helps.

  11. Its really really nice and accurate research my foot is greek and what you say about greek foot is 100% correct once again appreciated.

  12. Your blog really helped me learn about my feet. I have peasant/ Egyptian feet and my feet are flat. I've tried bloch serenade, chacott veronese II, and mirella advanced shoe. I just want a shoe that compliments my feet and holds me up. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Kaylin,

      I'm sorry for the very very late reply, but I wanted to give you some additional options to try! I have very limited experience with Chacott and Mirella shoes-- they just aren't available in my area and I've done very little research on those manufacturers so far!

      Without seeing a picture or having more information, I can say if your feet are more peasant/egyptian, the Bloch Serenade probably gave you issues as the box shape is Square!

      A pre-arched shoe will help streamline your flat feet and improve the way your arch looks en pointe. It'll also help you get over the box, if you are having issues with foot flexibility!

      Here are some general suggestions, ideally I'd have a pic of your feet or more info on toe length, width, etc, but here are some options:

      Tapered box, Pre-arched shank:
      -Bloch Axis
      -Gaynor Minden
      -Russian Pointe Encore
      -Russian Pointe Entrada

      Slightly Tapered box, pre-arched shank:
      -Bloch Heritage
      -Gaynor Minden
      -Russian Pointe Sapfir

      Those are very generic results though due to limited knowledge of your feet. If you've got time, try out the Pointe Shoe Finder at pointeperfect.com to get more specific!

  13. Just a question. I've been told I have fairly high arches, though not quite banana feet status. When I lay them flat on the ground, the diagram says they're on the flat feet category, so I'm a bit confused. Is it because my feet are really small (6 1/2)? Or do you have to arch your feet off the ground...? In which case, the pencil goes right through :P

    1. Hello Hikaru Uta! Thanks for reading!

      It sounds weird, but I'd be really interested in seeing a picture of your feet from the side, standing in first position. Just to clarify, the arch is the curve of the sole of your foot, what will touch (or not touch) the floor when you stand. Instep is the curve of the top of your foot. You'd consider arch type when just standing relaxed. If your feet are nice and archy when you point your feet, it likely has to do with the flexibility of your feet.

      Oftentimes people with flat or collapsed arches have fairly inflexible feet, but it doesn't always ring 100% true. It all depends on how the muscles, tendons & ligaments in your foot flex and flatten when you stand barefoot. How is your releve, do you have a high forced arch when standing on demi pointe? Can you fold your toes under and practically fold your foot in half at the arch? If so that definitely points to a flexible foot & arch. Do you have compressible feet as well?

      I did some googling, and found this interesting article on fallen arches, which confirms my suspicions! They describe a flat, but flexible arch as a "fallen arch". Here's a little excerpt:

      "A fallen arch or flatfoot is known medically as pes planus. The foot loses the gently curving arch on the inner side of the sole, just in front of the heel. If this arch is flattened only when standing and returns when the foot is lifted off the ground, the condition is called flexible pes planus or flexible flatfoot. If the arch disappears in both foot positions — standing and elevated — the condition is called rigid pes planus or rigid flatfoot.

      Flexible Flatfoot
      Flexible flatfeet are considered normal in young children because babies are not born with a normal arch. The arch may not form fully until sometime between ages 7 and 10. Even in adulthood, 15% to 25% of people have flexible flatfeet. Most of these people never develop symptoms. In many adults who have had flexible flatfeet since childhood, the missing arch is an inherited condition related to a general looseness of ligaments. These people usually have extremely flexible, very mobile joints throughout the body, not only in the feet. Flatfeet also can develop during adulthood. Causes include joint disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, and disorders of nerve function (neuropathy)."

      Here's the link: http://www.drugs.com/health-guide/fallen-arch.html

      Hopefully that sheds some light on your flat feet!

  14. hi everyone! I have an egyptian foot, normal arch, and my feet are at least slightly compressible. when pointing, my big toe clearly remains to be the longest one. i've had bloch balance european and capezio arias. i liked the arias because i could really get over them (the 3/4 shank i guess?) but the shank did end up breaking very quickly. balance european have lasted me longer. however both styles are very spacey in toe area so all my weight ends up on my big toe. my big toes are suffering. i was just fitted for capezio tiffanys and they were a slight taper - i felt way more support in the ~bunnion area and my weight wasnt fully on just my big toe which was nice. i havent bought yet as i want to kill my europeans first. what do you advise? does anyone have experience with the tiffanys? and what other styles would you recommend for me? (also, while my arches are OK, my ankles are quite inflexible which is why i cant always get over box. but i am working on it!) thanks guys and thank you for making this blog post! -Alex

    1. Hi Alex! I do have some suggestions for you based on the info you gave me. I can say that since you have Egyptian style tapered toes, both the Arias & Balance European's were destined to fail before you had a chance to sew on the ribbons & elastic. Sorry to put it to you bluntly!

      Before I start rattling off different shoes that might work for you, please consider being fit for your next pair at a different store. Even if you are inexperienced in knowing how the shoe should feel, a good fitter should know that a Capezio Aria or Balance European is the opposite shape needed for your toe type. I think it is worth the extra drive to a different store.

      So, it's hard to give you extremely specific recommendations without seeing your feet in person, but based on the information you gave me, you need a tapered or slightly tapered shoe, and a pre-arched shank will help with the issue of the inflexible ankles. You say the Arias & Euros have too much extra wiggle room which is definitely horizontally and probably also vertically. Your previous pairs both have medium profiles, so you may want to try some shoes with a lower profile and see how you like them. Having even slightly compressible feet, it's important to be careful when breaking in your shoes to not stand on the box. This will flatten the profile, but will make the shoe wider, eliminating your precious metatarsal support. Reduced metatarsal support = all your weight on your big toe!

      It's hard to say what your shank/heel/vamp/throat preferences are, so these recommendations are pretty broad. I'd start with a tapered box first, and if that doesn't feel quite right try a shoe with a slightly tapered box. I think you can do better than the Capezio Tiffany, but you know your feet-- if they feel great, they might be your shoe!

      Tapered box & pre-arched shank:
      -Bloch Axis
      -Gaynor Minden box 2
      -Russian Pointe Encore
      -Russian Pointe Entrada

      Tapered Box & Medium Profile:
      -Grishko Ulanova II
      -Grishko Vaganova
      -Russian Pointe Encore
      -Russian Pointe Entrada

      Shoes in my database that have a fully tapered box:
      -Bloch Axis
      -Bloch Suprima
      -Capezio Pavlowa
      -Grishko Ulanova II
      -Grishko Vaganova
      -Russian Pointe Encore
      -Russian Pointe Entrada

      Slightly Tapered Box & Pre-Arched Shank:
      -Bloch Heritage
      -Gaynor Minden Box 3
      -Russian Pointe Sapfir

      Slightly Tapered & Low Profile
      -Bloch Axiom
      -Bloch Jetstream
      -Gaynor Minden box 3
      -Grishko 2007 / 2007 Pro / 2007 Proflex
      -Grishko Miracle
      -Grishko Nova
      -Prima Soft Vole
      -Russian Pointe Almaz
      -Russian Pointe Sapfir

      I hope that this info can help you down the right path. Definitely find a new pointe fitter. You might want to head over to my other site, pointeperfect.com and use the pointe shoe finder to input the opposite characteristics of your feet so you can put together a list of shoes to steer clear from!

      Thanks for reading and good luck!

    2. thank you so much for the reply! I will try different store(s) - I do prefer quite a high heel, the Aria heel was way too short for me and never stayed on regardless of my sewing and re-sewing elastics on. I'm not sure what preference I have for vamp as I haven't really had much experience with different kinds. for the shank: my arch breaks half way through my foot. between my blochs and arias, i preferred the bloch full shank over the capezio 3/4 as it was more supportive. not sure what different throats are and how they work with the foot. i am unfortunately not able to access pointeperfect.com! i have been trying but i get an error message. thanks again for your time and replies! i am excited to try different pairs on. I was starting to think that it was a problem with me - not the shoes- and that I needed to suck it up and take the pain! thankfully my big toes disagreed. i'll let you know if/when i find "the" pair ;) xo -Alex

    3. Hi Alex, I'm glad I could help in some way/shape/form!

      The vamp length can prevent you from getting over the box if it's too long, something to ask about at your next fitting!
      The throat is just the cut of the vamp area-- if it's a "V" shape or a "U" shape. I believe both of your most recent pairs are "U" shaped.

      Thanks for the heads up on pointeperfect.com, I see there is some sort of major issue going on with my servers, so that's fun! I suppose I'll go try and fix that if I can now!

      Definitely just steer clear from shoes that look very square/rectangular on the exterior and you'll be in a better position than you are now. :)

  15. thank you again, pointeperfect works for me now! :)

  16. Hello,
    Right now I am using the Capezio Contempera and I have been dancing en pointe for about 6 months. I have a peasant foot and long toes, my arch is "normal" and I was wondering if this is really the right shoe for me?


  17. Hello!
    I just started pointe a few months ago and I believe I have the wrong shoes for my feet... My feet are somewhere between peasant and tapered. I have very strong, tight ankles and not very flexible feet. Though, i have fairly high arches. My feet are non compressable. My feet are about 3.5 inches wide and my foot size is like a 6 in womens. My big toe is about an inch and a half. I'm finding it really difficult to get over my box, and I feel like I'm sinking in my pointe shoes! What should I do?

    1. Hi Anonymous! I'm SO sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you! It's really hard to say what is going on with your shoes without seeing photos/video or in person. If you are interested, you are more than welcome to email pics to me if you'd like a detailed look. I'm sorry you are having troubles with your shoes!

      A few pointers based on the info you provided.

      With Peasant/Tapered feet, you should be in a shoe that has a fully tapered or slightly tapered box shape. What make/model of shoe are you in now? It's hard to predict the width you'll need, sometimes it can change based on the length of shoe you are in.

      You say you are sinking into your pointe shoes, ouch! This could mean that your shoes are too wide, the profile is too tall, or you have just stretched out your shoes enough that they no longer offer you support. You should feel supported in the metatarsal area, or where bunions would form-- not your big toes! I recommend trying the Gaynor Minden Totally Toes Fitting Kit. The boxliners that come with that kit can reduce the overall size of a pointe shoe by .5 size to 1 whole size, depending on how many you put in there. This can be a huge help with a pair that's too stretched out.

      That said, you have fairly small feet. A pre-arched shank would likely be a huge help for you in getting over the box. Failing to get over the box can be caused by a large range of things. A vamp that's too long, a shank that's too hard, shoes that aren't broken in properly and other reasons can keep you off the platform. It's very frustrating indeed!

      Here are some shoes that come in a slightly tapered or tapered box with a pre-arched shank:

      Capezio Tiffany (Slightly Tapered)
      Capezio Contempora (Slightly Tapered)
      Capezio Pavlowa (Tapered)
      Russian Pointe Sapfir (Slightly Tapered)
      Bloch Heritage (Slightly Tapered)
      Gaynor Minden (Tapered or Slightly Tapered)
      Bloch Axis (Tapered)
      Russian Pointe Entrada (Tapered)
      Russian Pointe Encore (Tapered)

      I hope that helps, and that you've been fitted since you asked your original question back in April. Good luck!

    2. Dear RM,
      How can I email you some pictures?
      I desperately need help now! I badly bruised and losy my big toenail back in April a week or so after I posted. Now the nail has grown back. It was bruised from my pointe shoes, and because of the pain I was in, I had to do my part on demi!
      Thank you!

  18. Hi I have wide flexible flat Greek feet. I used to use Bloch Europeans but recently I got a pair of Capezio Glisses. Do you think these these shoes are ok for me?

  19. Hello! So I recently got a pair of pointe shoes, and they are Russian Pointe, medium shank. They were great for the first 25 minutes, but then they felt like they were breaking in. I have fairly high arches, and I need some advise on what pointe shoe to get. I've had Bloch Axium, Bloch European Balance, and a Grishko. What pointe shoes would you recommend for high arches, flexible, peasant feet?
    Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Dana! Your feet sound very similar to mine! It sounds like you probably need a full shank as opposed to a 3/4 shank.

      The Bloch shoes can be a little difficult sometimes, most of them don't have shank choices so you are limited to one shank selection. I know from my experience that my pair of Bloch Serenades are far too weak for my high, flexible arches and overall body composition.

      Russian Pointes come in several different shank choices, 6 actually per model! Do you by chance know which model shoe you are in? I purchased the Russian Pointe Almaz with the FM shank, which means "Flexible/Medium" shank. They also offer a soft and a hard version in both Flexible and standard. Several of the RP shoes come in a pre-arched shank, which will actually make you feel less supported than a shoe you have to break in with a standard shank. The Almaz for example is not pre-arched, but the Sapfir (almost exactly the same model) is.

      All shoes will break down over time. I really like my shoes to feel almost new, so I find myself using Jet Glue or Super Glue in between classes to keep the shank stiff. Might be worth a try!

      Without knowing more about your feet, it's hard to give you super refined shoes to try, but here's what I came up with in the Slightly Tapered & Hard Shank Category:

      Capezio Contempora ES (Extra strength)
      Capezio Tiffany Pro
      Gaynor Minden
      Grishko 2007 (although this comes with a 3/4 shank)
      Grishko Fouette
      Grishko Maya
      Grishko Miracle
      Grishko Nova
      Grishko Ulanova I
      Russian Pointe Almaz
      Russian Pointe Sapfir

      In general, a shoe with a slightly higher vamp might help you roll through the shoe if that's what you are having problems with, or a harder shank. Do you find yourself sinking into the shoe? Again it's a little hard to say without seeing pics or your feet in person! I hope that helps. :)

  20. Hi, I have egyptian shaped toes, high arches, and flexible compressible feet. I have been using bloch axis which fit well, but need a stronger shank (my teacher agrees), are there any shoes you would suggest? Thanks!

  21. Can someone help me out? I just bought a pair of Russian Pointe Rubins online and they are too short. I bought a 37.5 in the RP Muse last time, and I really had to pull the drawstring pretty tight because they were a little too long. I figured the 37 would be a better fit, but since RP has different makers, the fit of each pair/style is inconsistent. I need to use gel pads, so reducing the padding isn't an option. Does anyone know a way to stretch out pointe shoes lengthwise? I can't return them because they have a #1 vamp(short) and are considered a special order. They were almost $90 so I really don't want to take the loss. Please help me!

    1. Hi Anonymous, I'm so sorry to hear that your new shoes are too short. :(

      I've heard of people trying to stretch out shoes with stretchers made for regular leather style dress shoes, but you have to be careful. The way the boxes are constructed I've heard of people completely pushing the platform of the shoe through the tip, completely ruining the pair. Satin isnt the most stretchy fabric, so I'm not sure if this would be the way to go.

      I do have another suggestion for you-- do you happen to have a sewing machine, or are you bold enough to get a little crafty with your shoes? This process works best for shoes that are used in class and not really performances. Bear with me.

      This method entails basically cutting the back seam of the shoe at the heel and sewing in a piece of wide elastic to allow more room in the length of the shoe. This can be tricky with drawstrings-- you'd need to sew down the drawstring in the casing on either side of where you'll make the cut. If the RP has a seam at the back heel, you'd take a sewing machine and permanently sew the drawstring and drawstring casing shut with a few passes of the machine. Sewing down the drawstring in advance ensures you'll still be able to tighten the shoes once you are done frankensteining your shoe.

      1. Sew the drawstring and casing on either side of the back heel seam. Ensure it's tacked down well and won't rip out if you tug on it.
      2. Cut a slit down the length of the heel seam. Sometimes this seam is 1/2 inch wide, and depending on how short the shoes are you may want to add a piece of elastic to both sides of this seam.
      3. Separate the heel seam and hand or machine sew a length of elastic along the cut you just made. If you are adding two pieces of elastic, sew the second in place.
      4. Trim any excess material hanging out along the edges of the elastic.
      5. Sew ribbons/elastic as normal

      This will give you up to 1 inch extra of space in the length of the shoe. It'll look a little weird, but it'll make the shoe functional. I'll try to make a drawing of what I mean this afternoon!

  22. Hi, I just started pointe a year ago and my first pointe shoes (Heritage Block Strong) felt great but my feet were to archy for them and my second pair felt awful. I have Tapered feet and high arches do you have any suggestions for what pointe shoes I should try?

  23. Hi, I really need some help. Does anybody know of any sites that focus on toe

    pointing or foot pointing (no nudity)? I just like the presentation of a pointed foot, I like

    dancers and rhythmic gymnasts with great foot pointing too. I know that’s pretty specific but

    I’ve been trying to find anything that shows a lot of pointing and haven’t really found that

    much so far. I wasn’t sure where I should put this post/thread, so I apologize if this isn’t

    the right place, but any help or suggestions that would point (no pun intended) me in the right

    direction would be appreciated… Please please help, thanks guys

  24. Hi, thanks for all your help.. I was wondering if you could maybe help me? My fourth toe (the one next to the littlest) has been giving me lots of trouble. it's really long, almost the same length as my big toe. (my third and second toes are a little longer than my big toe.) Anyway, my fourth toe is so often sore, and I've now got something on them which looks like a corn... one for each toe :( But the worst thing is that that toe's NAIL keeps on and on breaking in half - like when you cut your nails but seriously in half , right across. I'm sorry this might not make sense, I don't know how to explain it. I just don't know what to do about it. Surely they shouldn't just break off like that? And it's not because I don't cut my nails, I cut them very short because of pointe work. I wear hardbacked grishkos 2007, size 5 1/2, XXXXX. They are sooooo hard to break in and take aaaages, but they last longer that way. I'm also wondering why when I'm on pointe it looks great and really pointed, but when I pointe my feet it looks like I'm not pointing at all. It's so annoying :( I wish I knew what really was right for my feet and what to do about the nails on fourth toe... please help, thanks so much in advance :)

    1. Hi Sara! Thanks for stopping by, I'm sorry you are having issues with your fit! I do have some suggestions for you that I think will help! It's hard to suggest a specific make/model of shoe without seeing your feet, but I think I know why your 4th toe is having so much trouble.

      The Grishko 2007 is considered to have a "slightly tapered" box shape. Ideally, someone with tapered or peasant shaped toes would be fitted in this shoe, where the first 1-3 toes are the same length and 4 & 5 taper off. Since your 4th toe is almost the same length as the 1st toe, your 4th toe is being crunched up in the shoe in an unnatural position! There just isn't enough room in the 2007 to accommodate the length of your 4th toe, causing the breaking and pain!

      I'd suggest going back to the drawing board and try to find a completely different make/model all together. I'd hazard a guess that you don't really need a 5X width, you only end up with that width to try and accommodate your toes in a box that isn't really the right shape for your toes!

      Also-- when standing on pointe, the force of springing up and your body weight is creating the lovely line in the shank, but the hardness is probably what's keeping you from having a really nice point in tendu.

      I'd recommend trying out shoes with square shaped boxes rather than tapered or slightly tapered. Since most of your toes are even-ish length with your big toe, you'll need more space in the box to allow your toes to truly fit and stop breaking off your toe nails! A "big tip" for your big toe and a "jelly tip" for your 4th toe should bring the length up to the 2nd & 3rd toes, evening them all out. I think you'll be much happier in a square box than in the 2007 box.

      Not sure what shoes you have available in your area, but if your local supplier carries the Grishko 2007 they probably also have other Grishkos. Here are some Grishkos with a square box that you should try out:

      Grishko Triumph
      Grishko Elite

      Bloch also carries quite a few shoes with square boxes....

      Bloch Aspiration
      Bloch Balance
      Bloch B Morph
      Bloch Hannah
      Bloch Serenade
      Bloch Sonata
      Bloch Synergy

      Let me know if you have any additional questions! Good luck!

  25. Hi! I love your blog it is so helpful thank you :) I was wondering what pointe shoe I should try now considering I have tried Bloch and Grishko (I have really narrow, 100% Egyptian, "rigid flat foot", inflexible arched feet) I need a supple shank, (flat arches), a regular or low vamp, (inflexible arch/foot). From all my "research" I have come up with these options: Gaynor Mindens or Capezio (because of the support and low vamp) ... Thank you so much -- Emma

    1. Hi Emma! I'm so sorry for overlooking your question earlier, but thank you for stopping by!

      I think you are right about Gaynor Minden being a potentially good option for you! You'd probably benefit from a #2 box, narrow, with a medium or short vamp. I'd suggest taking time to test out the different shank choices, as it'll never ever wear out! I think the pre-arched shank in the GM would be an important feature considering your arch type.

      Here are a few other makes/models of shoe that are also fully tapered:

      Bloch Axis
      Russian Pointe Entrada
      Russian Pointe Encore
      Capezio Pavlowa

      Without seeing your feet, any of these options (or none!) could fit perfectly, but I'd definitely start with shoes in a fully tapered box shape! Best of luck, please let me know if you have any other questions!



  26. Hi! So I'm getting sized for my first ever pair of pointe shoes tomorrow. I have tapered toes and a normal arch, and my feet are slightly compressible. I know they can squeeze in tiny shoes because I dance in what are called ghilies for Scottish dance. I normally wear a street shoe size 7.5-8. Recommendations for brands and boxes and vamps and shank? Thank you for this blog, by the way!

    1. Hi there! Thanks for stopping by.
      First off, congratulations on your promotion to pointe work! How exciting!

      I'm not in front of my computer at the moment but I do have some suggestions for you during your fitting. I think you have an advantage going in with your Scottish dance background. Like ghilies you want your pointe shoes to fit as closely as possible to the shape of your toe shape. It's hard to suggest very specific models without seeing a pic of your feet, but here's a general idea to keep in mind:

      Look for a shoe with a tapered or slightly tapered box. Most Grishko shoes are this shape, but all makers offer athe least a few options in their lines in these shapes.

      All makers use different sizing standards. Sometimes sizing is 2-3 sizes down from street shoe (Grishko) some are right at street size (some Capezio, Gaynor Minden), and some are European sizes (Russian Pointe). It's a little crazy.

      Many factors go into shank strength, so I'd recommend asking your teacher what strength they'd prefer to you. Remember, not all medium shanks are created equal between brands. Grishkos & Russian Pointe tend to be harder, while Grishko and Bloch tend to wear out faster. Some makers don't offer several shank choices in all of their shoes, but your fitter should really be able to help you with this!

      Vamp depends on arch flexibility, strength and toe length, your fitter should also help you out here. The vamp shouldn't come up much past where your foot creases while on demi pointe. Too long and you might have issues getting up on the box.

      Ok, well I could seriously type like 15 more paragraphs, but I'm going to stop and cross my fingers that your fitter knows what she's doing. Remember, ultimately you decide if it fits! Try on as many shoes as you can. You'll feel it when it's right, and if something causes you pain in the store it'll be worse in the studio. Play around with padding while you're surrounded by it.

      Best of luck! Enjoy the experience, have fun!

    2. Thank you so much! I really appreciate it :)

  27. Sorry, didn't know if you saw my question.. :) ^^

    1. Oh gosh! From 12/14? Sorry about that, I'll put together a reply this evening after work. :)

  28. Would you advise what shoes work for a greek foot with high instep and high arches.

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