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Buying first pointe shoes


Noobag06
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Hello everybody :-)

 

Dd (aged 10, RAD Grade 4, Inter foundation) is about to start pointe work after Easter.

 

I did pointe work very briefly when I was young, but my shoes were a poor fit and I want her to avoid the pain I had.

 

Do any of you lovely people with bags of experience have any tips on buying pointe shoes or where to shop for them?

 

We are in London every weekend for associate classes, so I was thinking Freeds, but am open to suggestions.

 

Many thanks.

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Hi Noobag06,

Does your dd's teacher have any recommendations of shoe or where to buy? I think it's tough choosing your first pair, especially as you don't really know what they are meant to feel like. I understand that it gets easier. I suppose I would encourage you to take advice in any shop you go to, try on different makes and also different styles within the makes. They are all quite different and suit different feet. But we have never bought in London so can't recommend anywhere specific.

Enjoy!

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Hello Noobag06 and welcome.

 

I'd suggest reading through this thread first: http://www.balletcoforum.com/index.php?/topic/3589-pointe-shoe-fitters-london/

 

Also, if you click on the "pointe shoes" tag Janet added (underneath your thread title) you will see a whole list of threads on the subject of pointe shoe shopping. It's probably one of our most often discussed topics!

 

As a personal recommendation, I would suggest Beth, Sophie or Jade at Freed. :-)

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Thank you for all of your replies.

 

I haven't asked her teacher's advice yet as I thought I woukd ask on here first, Ja Sm. Her teacher was a RBS student, and always got hers at Freeds.

 

DD has very narrow, "banana" feet :-). We always have to buy Capezio narrow fit satin shoes, or Freed narrow fit canvas. Anything else we've tried so far is just too "pouchy" looking, and she rattles around in them. She also has swayback legs, which I'm told affects the choice of pointe shoe. I understand that pointe shoes fit entirely differently from flats, so everything I know so far is probably irrelevant, lol!

 

I guess it's good to look at them in front of a mirror to check the fit too? I understand from other threads that Freeds don't have mirrors, which seems odd...

 

I think we will be going in several shops :-).

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A word of caution.  Have you thought that she's a bit young at 10 to be starting pointe work?  The cartilege in the feet is still soft at that age and it is advised not to start before 11 or even 12.  If she has sway backs then it's even more difficult to control pointe work.  How much pointe work will she be expected to do?  How many hours of ballet does she take each week? When will she be 11?   All this needs to be taken into consideration.

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Freed does have mirrors - they are small but perfectly adequate for seeing your feet and ankles in. Visiting several shops is a very good idea, and don't be frightened to say "can you hold them for us while we go and think about it?"

 

It's worth making an appontment in Bloch as they can get incredibly busy and sometimes won't do a fitting without an appointment. You can phone Freed on the morning of your visit and ask if Beth, Sophie or Jade will be in. As far as I know you don't need an appontment in Dancia. Personally I wouldn't bother with Sansha for shoes (lovely for leotards) unless you are a professional dancer or teacher and can fit yourself.

 

Edited to add: I agree with Dance is life - 10 is young, especially with hypermobile joints. Has your daughter been working in soft blocks and/or doing pre-pointe strengthening classes?

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I tend to think ten is too young too!! Though there are always a few exceptional people at this age.

 

As she is only at grade 4 I think this is another indication

It does sound as if she needs at least another year yet.....though I know with some of the younger kids they just get 10 mins at the barre on pointe so may be okay.

 

I think Freeds are better for narrower feet it seems. Usually children preparing to go on pointe do a term or so in "soft" blocks first so buying these should give you some idea of what is likely to suit.

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If you can get to Southend, I would highly recommend Just Ballet.  They stock loads of different makes, dd had such a thorough fitting there and they really took time with her.

 

We used to go to Covent Garden but you end up traipsing around all the different shops and then forgetting how the different makes fit.  At Just Ballet everything is all in one place!

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If you can get to Southend, I would highly recommend Just Ballet. They stock loads of different makes, dd had such a thorough fitting there and they really took time with her.

 

We used to go to Covent Garden but you end up traipsing around all the different shops and then forgetting how the different makes fit. At Just Ballet everything is all in one place!

Agreed - except Freed which I don't think JB stocks?

 

Edited to add: Not just Southend, I think Just Ballet also has a branch in Wisbech now?

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DD also has narrow 'banana' feet. She initially had Bloch shoes in the narrowest fitting, then Grishko Vaganova, which were definitely very narrow, very high-vamped and very hard-shanked! Great for narrow banana feet but probably not for a beginner en pointe.

I would second the suggestion to go to Just Ballet or another store with a selection of makes and models of shoes for your DD to try. If she is very lucky she might find 'the' shoe for her from the very first pair but more likely she will try several different shoes in her first few years.

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Thanks Lemongirl and Anna C! We do now stock Freed shoes and have a second shop in Wisbech, NE Cambs. Brands we routinely stock are:

 

Grishko (2007, Pro flex, Nova, dream pointe, triumph) Merlet (Diva, Adagio)

Russian Pointe (Rubin, encore, entrada pro, Almaz, Lumina, Brava)

Bloch (Suprima, serenade, dramatica, balance European)

Capezio (Aerial, Airess, glissade, Bella)

Gaynor Minden

Freed (classic pro, classic pro 90, studio)

Sansha Debutante

A few Capulet D30 and Cecilia Kerche..

 

And of course we can order other styles from the above suppliers :)

 

We think having lots of styles from different brands to compare at the same time in one place, works best...but then we're biased! X

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Thanks to all of you for your replies.

 

I know she is young to start pointe work, but I'm confident in her teacher's belief that she has the strength. She has been working on specific exercises to build strengh for the last few months.

 

She won't be doing an awful lot to start with, as I think there are only about 3 pointe exercises in Inter Foundation, the exam for which she is unlikely to take for about a year. She'll be 11 by then too.

 

Thanks for all of your tips :-).

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  • 1 year later...

Freed does have mirrors - they are small but perfectly adequate for seeing your feet and ankles in. Visiting several shops is a very good idea, and don't be frightened to say "can you hold them for us while we go and think about it?"

 

It's worth making an appontment in Bloch as they can get incredibly busy and sometimes won't do a fitting without an appointment. You can phone Freed on the morning of your visit and ask if Beth, Sophie or Jade will be in. As far as I know you don't need an appontment in Dancia. Personally I wouldn't bother with Sansha for shoes (lovely for leotards) unless you are a professional dancer or teacher and can fit yourself.

 

Edited to add: I agree with Dance is life - 10 is young, especially with hypermobile joints. Has your daughter been working in soft blocks and/or doing pre-pointe strengthening classes?

 

DD's teacher has suggested we go to Freed for pointe shoes and I was wondering if we should still be asking for Beth, Sophie or Jade?

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Hi June dancer - I cannot help on Freed or indeed London stores in general but I think it is important to try more than one brand. There are several shops grouped around the Freed store so I would try a few shops.

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We went to Just Ballet in Southend for DD's first pair last March. The service was excellent and we were very impressed with Fran. We were there for a couple of hours.

 

However, Southend (store now closed, I believe, although there is another one in Wisbech where I'm sure the service is also excellent) was a long trek for us, and as we are in London every Saturday for Associates, we have gone to Dancia for her second and last pairs. Good range, great fitting and service.

 

I know some people speak very highly of Freeds, but DD has "Grishko feet", according to the fitters. Definitely go somewhere where you can try a range of brands and sizes.

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I would agree best to go somewhere with a wide range of brands first time. If she then likes freed you can take her to the shop to refine the fit. although they have a wide range I do feel that the London shops have much less time for each fitting. Which is fine when you have some idea what you're looking for but first time I'd recommend somewhere where they will be able to spend an hour or two if necessary

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Agreed. Try a range for starters. I always had Freed and am a big fan so for my daughter we started trying those but turns out she has "Grishko feet" - like your daughter Noobag! Grishkos are great for really narrow, bendy feet.

 

Noobag - funny, I read your post at the top of this thread ???? and was going to suggest you try Grishkos for narrow feet...then realised you posted that last year and that you'd probably be sorted by now ????

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Haha, yes Loobylou, all sorted now thank you ????. She's on her third pair of Grishko 2007 now, and does have really narrow, bendy feet!

 

I'm so glad I asked on here last year though, as I wouldn't have known about Just Ballet without this forum, and it's so important to get pointe shoes fitted properly. It's great that we can help each other and share experiences.

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Ha ha, my dd has Grishko 2007 too, she has a narrow foot width fitting X, and a very high instep and arch, I think this is a bendy foot? They fit her so well, she's never needed any toe pads.

 

We were told to try Freeds by various people who really rate freeds, but the fitter said she'll go through them too quick, as she has the sort of feet which need a harder shoe as she'll break her shoes in really quickly! And it could get expensive, so I was immediately sold too...!

 

She also had tapered toes, which these shoes suit apparently. Anyway, she's got on great with them, in a medium shank for her first pair, still going strong after 4 month's wear now.

Edited by Snowflake
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DD had a pair of Grishko Vaganova and they were great. I think they were described as a more extreme version of the 2007, extremely narrow and for very bendy feet, high vamp for long toes but the block was perhaps a little too tapered for DD's toes, which are pretty much the same length. So I suspect the 2007 would also have been good for her.

 

She too was persuaded to try Freeds (Classic Pro I think) but they 'died' very quickly. She wouldn't want to try another model of Freed shoe as she was happy with Grishko, Bloch (Sonata then Serenade strong shanks) before moving on to Gaynor Mindens when her feet stopped growing - in the quest for unkillable shoes!

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I believe the Freed store in London can custom make shoes if you are lucky enough to live near to London.

 

We were fortunate to have a visit from a Freeds fitter at a workshop, and it was just so informative! , we are definitely going to pay Freeds a visit for a fit, if we are in London at some point.

 

The Vagnovas sound a great option, dd didn't try those, just the 2007s. She has long toes too and the vamp is long they are lovely shoes and look stunning on. She has been talking of calomining them, not quite sure what she means by this or the purpose of it...!

Edited by Snowflake
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I believe the Freed store in London can custom make shoes if you are lucky enough to live near to London.

 

We were fortunate to have a visit from a Freeds fitter at a workshop, and it was just so informative! , we are definitely going to pay Freeds a visit for a fit, if we are in London at some point.

 

The Vagnovas sound a great option, dd didn't try those, just the 2007s. She has long toes too and the vamp is long they are lovely shoes and look stunning on. She has been talking of calomining them, not quite sure what she means by this or the purpose of it...!

calamine or   foundation  is used to make the material  look a bit more matte 

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Thank you mph, that makes sense, she said she would like them to blend in perfectly with her tights, a nice project for the Easter holidays I think..!

Don't put too much on if the Calamine lotion is very runny - it can shrink the shoes slightly. :)

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