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Piepie

Custom made pointe shoes

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Hi,

My DD is 16 now and we have always struggled with getting pointe shoes to fit her feet.  They are VERY flexible feet and it seems that there is not a shoe that ever seems to work for long.  She is currently  in Grishko I think, have had two or three pairs of Freed, at least two pairs of Gaynor Mindens.  She is not at vocational yet, and we still only get about three weeks out of a pair of shoes doing minimal amount of pointe compared to what she will be doing.  I have consulted all her teachers (mostly because they love to tell us that we have the wrong shoes, but refuse to come along to the hour long pointe shoe fitting to try to find something that works!) and generally it has been the consensus that at some point we are going to have to start having them made, and I think maybe we've hit that point. 

 

Her feet are maybe a few centimetres smaller when fully flexed and this makes her arch very hard for her to control when she's on pointe.  She does lots of exercises to strengthen her feet, but because she doesn't feel supported in her shoes she is starting to hate doing pointe.  

 

My question, after a long winded ramble, is how do I go about finding someone who makes pointe shoes?  I'm not a dancer, but from what I gather she has a tricky foot to shoe!! 

 

Thanks

 

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Freed Covent Garden will definitely custom make or alter shoes to suit. Good luck with the search! 

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If you are able to get to the Just Ballet shop in Wisbech, I'd recommend them for a fitting, and they carry a huge variety of stock there.

 

What is the issue, does she have a high arch and go over too far?

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Do you have a good pointe shoe fitter, what sort of area of the country are you in? Presumably her teachers feel that her shoes aren’t the correct fit, have they said in what way? 

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Also bear in mind that I think for a traditional pointe shoe they quote the life as about 8 hours or something! Unfortunately high arches do kill shoes quickly although you might find when she’s training full time she’ll be stronger and the shoes will last better. Has she tried Russian pointe? They have loads of options which are meant to remove the need for custom shoes.

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My DD had endless trouble getting pointe shoes to last! I would also recommend Shelia at Just Ballet as through her we found that Russia pointe was a great match with the custom made options! 

A friend recommended Bob Martin at Bloch London for custom made shoes if that’s any help but I believe you’d need to book well in advance!

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We go to London for shoes (sounds fancy!!).  Yes, I think it's the high arch and flexibility that make things very hard.  I haven't heard of Russian pointe, is that a brand or a style?  Where could we go to see them?  

 

Thanks for input all, really great

x o

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You need to go to dancique in Birmingham if you can- sarah is a physio and will really look at her feet in a way most fitters don’t. They have lots of Russian pointe styles. 

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4 hours ago, Moomin said:

You need to go to dancique in Birmingham if you can- sarah is a physio and will really look at her feet in a way most fitters don’t. They have lots of Russian pointe styles. 

Second vote for Dancique. 

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I do really like the lady at Dancique, she's great, but we had no success there either :( 

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I have never bought pointe shoes from Just Ballet but I don’t require them. I have always had wonderful service and help from Sheila at Just Ballet with everything else. I am sure it’s worth a try. 

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Thank you all for your kind words :) 

 

Hi Piepie Flexible feet are a blessing and a curse! If you can get to see me in Wisbech (PE13 1AQ) I’m sure we’ll be able to help.

 

We carry many brands of shoes and within each brand there are several different styles, then within each style there are different configurations (widths, heel heights, shank strengths etc) So the good news is that standard “stock” shoes can be fairly customisable these days! 

 

You can book book an appointment on our website - school holidays and Saturdays book up quickly, so plan ahead if possible :)

Kr

Sheila x

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Did you see Sarah at dancique? The other fitter is good but I’d say sarah is particularly good with difficult feet! What is the specific problem with the shoes? Are they bruising/ rubbing? Is she falling out of them? Not able to dance? Or just short wear time? The American site ballet talk for dancers do online shoe fittings from pictures which would give you a good idea of shoes to target to try and then look for somewhere that stocks those?

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My DD had a fitting session with Shiela at Just Ballet - her first opportunity in almost 4 years of pointe to have an in depth one to one session with a pointe fitter to try on lots of brands/styles - they carry far more ranges than any other store/school & it was great to have personal attention of a fitter who clearly is an expert! The fitting was booked after the store had closed which meant attention was fully in DD & we felt no pressure to rush.

Highly recommend Just Ballet I’m Wisbech....although it’s rather hard on the wallet as they also carry an amazing selection of tempting leotards/skirts etc etc!!

Good luck! 

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Has she tried Freeds c pro ‘ special’? It’s a lovely shoe with loads of support and a fairly high vamp to hold in a large instep. A lot of professionals wear them, I believe. Beth at Freed is good for fitting if you happen to be near London. Downside of Freeds... they never last long enough!

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Yes, Freeds - rather like double glazed windows - really depend on who’s fitting them.  Until dd was old enough and experienced enough to fit herself (i.e. knew which style and Maker best suited her) we would only go when Beth, Sophie or Jade (who I think has now left) were available. Only once was she wrongly fitted in a different style and much harder pair of Freeds by an inexperienced fitter and like most people, I couldn’t afford to waste £40.  

 

If Beth or Sophie are available then they can and will customise the shoe in all sorts of ways; send it off to the factory to be altered and then create a custom order for you.  

 

If none of the customisable options work and Freed really aren’t right for your dd - and like any brand, they’re not for everyone - then I would second trying Sheila at Just Ballet, or Sarah at Dancique.  IIRC both stock Merlet which might be worth trying, or Russian Pointe.  

 

Not sure if they are available in the UK yet but Gaynor Minden have introduced a new “3+” box which might be worth looking at. 

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Lisa Howell ballet physiotherapist

 

Do have a look at the link above.  Lisa Howell has lots of videos about correct placement of feet on pointe and strengthening exercises.  To be honest I wonder whether your DDs teachers know how to train the flexible foot you describe Piepie.  It also rings an alarm bell that not one is willing to accompany her to a fitting.  

 

In some places (particularly online) there is a fashion for going over the box too far if your foot allows it.  On the contrary, there should be a straight line from the centre of the thigh, through the ankle bone to the box.  Very sway back knees and highly arched feet will form an "S" shape around this central line.  So as well as searching for a good shoe fitter, it might be worth looking at other schools.

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Thanks everyone, we went to see Sheila (didn't see that you'd posted on here Sheila before we came!) today at Just Ballet and she was amazing and was easily the best fitting we've ever had.  

 

She is trying the FR Duval and another pair of Grishko.  Glad to find somewhere that will definitely remember us, and takes the time to get it right.

 

:)  

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