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The Point of Getting Exactly the Right Pointe Shoe

Posted Aug 26 2008 4:29pm
Some of us more than others need to work on getting pain relief, even after we discover exactly the right fit - or as close as we can get - in our pointe shoe.

The point I am making, is, that there is a very fine tuning that we can learn, and we tune our focus as finely as we tune our decision, to make this is easy as possible.

To add to what I've written before on, here is a more detailed process.

Put on the new shoes with all the toe-protective padding you intend to wear. Just walk around the house for a few minutes. Wear a pair of socks over them so you don't get them scuffed. Take care to walk going through the foot just as you do in bare feet - hah - or as close to that as you can get. You'll get some feel for the shoe.

If there is very little pressure and pain, great. This shoe is not giving too much resistance.

If it hurts at certain points on your foot, try adjusting the padding. Walk around some more.

This walking around with your pointe shoes on probably won't feel that great, and don't get a blister from doing so. You are simply stress- testing before you get into class.

Here's something you can do to mould the shoe more to your foot, if you have places that the shoe is really pressing on: you boil some water and pour it into the shoe. Roll it around inside, getting it all over, for a few seconds. Pour it out. Then you put on your shoes, with padding, and walk around for a while. The shoe will soften and mould to your foot shape. Then you can take your pointe shoes off, and let them dry out thoroughly. They will stiffen up in the shape of the pressure from your feet. Custom made as it were.

Do not do any rises or releves in the shoes when they are soft from the boiling water.

Exception: if you have very low arches and insteps, it's a good idea to do a few rises when the shoes are soft. This will help break them in, as you will not break them as if you had a very high arch that will snap the shoes immediately. Remove the shoes and place them where they will dry quickly.

Always let the shoes dry out quickly and thoroughly after class. This will help give them some longevity.

The more you focus on this proper use of your pointe shoes, the more you will get out of your pointe classes. Fighting the shoe and fighting the pain is a waste of your concentration. It creates too much tension, anxiety, and deprives you of the joy of being elegant and artistic.

Art is something that happens on a soul level. You don't want to be faint from the pain, in chasing that elusive muse of your inner being's expression.

In my first two years at The National Ballet School of Canada I felt pretty intimidated. Pointe classes were awful. I didn't know that my shoes did not fit - nothing close to! I was told that they would hurt, and they did. I wondered how everyone else did it....hopefully some of my fellow classmates lucked out and their shoes felt better! However, I did get a couple of permanent painful conditions from not having exactly the right fit.

Take a lot of time buying shoes, initially. Don't worry about bothering anybody. Once you are in class, bother your teacher if the shoes prevent you from doing the movements in any way. Good ballet teachers love it when students bother them with details!

And always give yourself the time at home to prepare your pointe shoes.

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