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Confuddled

What does a perfectly fitted ballet shoe (not pointe) look like?

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Every time I buy my daughter new ballet shoes, her teacher complains that they don't show off her feet. I've tried four different shops (three of which require quite a trip), and I'm getting a bit fed up! She has to have a particular style, brand and colour of shoe as part of her uniform, so it really just is a question of which size.

 

Does anyone know of a guide (ideally with pictures) online that would give me a sense of what a really well fitting soft ballet shoe should look like before the elastics are sewn on? I know it needs to be really tight, but my daughter has narrow heels combined with very wide forefeet with a longer second toe, and it seems to be impossible to find something that allows her to straighten her toes and yet is tight enough to satisfy her teacher.

 

Also, is it really that important for a child doing Grade 1? I can't bring myself to believe that it is, but I'm prepared to be told otherwise.

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Getting a really well fitting shoe can be difficult if foot is not standard in shape. Personally I do not think it can be achieved in a 1 style fits all policy. (Personal bitter experience over many years!!)

 

I would ask your teacher what size she would like you to get......

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Personally I can't believe a teacher can be that particular for a pupil at such a young age (Grade 1)

 

After all within a matter of weeks your DD feet could have grown. As long as they are neat and a snug fit without too much bagging when the elastic/string is tightened, the shoe should be a good fit. Just make sure that the toes are not over curled within the shoe, you can generally tell by the outline when your DD stands up with her feet flat. 

 

Satin is best as it is more supple that leather. You can only do your best, if her teacher is really that fussy ask her which shoe she wants! (ask her to but them!)

 

The other tip is to ask other mums in the class as to what shoes their DD wear. 

 

Ps double check whether Grade 1 pupils are allowed split sole or full. That can also be a costly error. 

 

Good Luck

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Dd has wide feet and narrow ankles. I used to find capezio daisy were the best, until we discovered (and were allowed) split sole, cross over elastic. I've found these fit much better and show dds foot nicely.

 

I like so danca 260 ( i think it is ) dds current shoe is a split sole bloch neoform (leather toes and neophrene heel) which comes in a wide fitting and single elastic. Looks stunning on, but is expensive ( we got 'caught' by dance shop :0 ( ) won't be getting them again, at least, not whilst dds feet grow so fast.

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You absolutely cannot have a one brand/style fits all.  I would go as far as to say it is unethical of a teacher to insist.  As with all shoes dance, pointe and street different brands and different styles fit differently.

 

Before she went to vocational school a teacher at her local school advised my dd that the shoes she always wore to class (leather full sole) did not show off her feet very well and she purchased split sole canvas for use in performances/auditions.

 

However her local RAD teacher liked her to wear the full sole for class because she felt they worked her foot more.  I preferred leather to satin because satin didn't last very long and dd's feet only grow very very slowly.

 

There are some brands of ballet shoe that do not fit my dd at all as she has a very wide, short foot that is hyper flexible.  By going to a shop that carried several different brands your dd should find the ones which suit her best.

 

I onlty used to sell jazz shoes for MT and I learnt over the years that all the different brands fitted very differently.

Edited by Picturesinthefirelight
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What does a perfectly fitted ballet shoe (not pointe) look like?

 

White, four legs, hooves, a mane and a long sparkly horn on the forehead. :-)

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The ones with elastic drawstrings can fit better, as they move with the foot, so they take up any bagginess when the foot is pointed.

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Easier said than done when your foot is a weird shape. (Though gloves also fit my stumpy fingers badly. :-) )

 

(Which reminds me, I have new shoes to see before class in an hour!)

Edited by Colman

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Thanks! The one she has to have is satin, full sole, so no options there. I am sorely tempted to ask my local friendly ballet shop for a selection of six, take them all and let the teacher decide, except that there's never enough time before or after lessons for that sort of faffing around.

Edited by Confuddled
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Thanks! The one she has to have is satin, full sole, so no options there. I am sorely tempted to ask my local friendly ballet shop for a selection of six, take them all and let the teacher decide, except that there's never enough time before or after lessons for that sort of faffing around.

Good plan. She seems to find enough time to complain about the shoes you've already bought!! ;)

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I think all junior students having a *similar* style - e.g. full sole, satin - is perfectly reasonable and not uncommon.

 

Insisting that even grade 1 students have exactly the same brand and "model" of soft shoe is not reasonable, IMHO. Has the teacher ever said why she insists on one brand?

 

I think your idea of trying a selection of makes is a great idea. If the teacher has a specific idea of what she wants then she'll have to find the time to look at the shoes with you and help you find the right one.

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One associate scheme i know of insists on a certain shoe, split sole satin by a specific brand. Teacher at said scheme repeatedly pulled up 2 students I teach for not supporting their feet and rolling etc etc so on my advice they have returned wearing a different brand and now full sole satin... not only has the teacher not noticed that they have changed shoes she's actually praised the improvement in their feet.

 

I personally prefer full sole leather as it offers support and gives the foot something to work against to strengthen, which I think is the most important thing at grade 1/young age.

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I think all junior students having a *similar* style - e.g. full sole, satin - is perfectly reasonable and not uncommon.

Insisting that even grade 1 students have exactly the same brand and "model" of soft shoe is not reasonable, IMHO. Has the teacher ever said why she insists on one brand?

I think your idea of trying a selection of makes is a great idea. If the teacher has a specific idea of what she wants then she'll have to find the time to look at the shoes with you and help you find the right one.

No, I have no idea why she only allows this one brand / style. I thought it was standard (shows how little I know about ballet!), like having to have the correct brand / colour / style of leotard. I've also been wondering why on earth we have to have a different colour and style of leotard for different grades, but that's a whole separate issue...

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As long as they are not so baggy or so big that she's going to trip I can't see why it matters at all. Feet do tend to look nicer in soft split soles but you can still tell who has nice feet in any shoe imo!

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I feel a bit concerned by this "showing off of the feet" demand!

 

Perhaps when older for audition purposes or maybe for exams ....not sure about the latter....or performances.

 

But when working through the grades in class it's working the foot properly which will eventually "show off"" the feet ....if it's ever going to happen with some people's feet that is!!

 

I always thought ...but perhaps erroneously ...that for younger children full sole leather shoes were the best to work in to strengthen the feet and split soles except for performances should not be worn until up to about grade 5/6

 

Some people's feet look nicer purely because of the shape and arch of the foot and agree with Moomin probably look okay in any shoe!

Others will never look like that but can be amazing dancers of course.

I still think strengthening should come before look and people should be able to choose any brand of shoe. Personally I hate satin shoes as they get grubby too easily for everyday wear but little girls tend to love them!!

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Does the "specified" brand come in a wider fitting?  It might be just that to accommodate the width in her preferred brand, you are stuck with a shoe that is too long for the foot.  Jiggering around with the lacing can help a bit too with a wide foot - you can make it a bit shorter by hauling the laces in.  DD is in a Katz wide fit fwiw.  These things.    

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That's why I think one brand doesn't suit ALL feet!

 

I find with Freeds for example that I have to have a man's shoe to get the width and they are just that little bit too long usually.

 

I switched to Bloch ....admittedly split sole....and they fit perfectly....in a D fitting. To me that means as well as feeling comfortable when spreading feet out there isn't any extra length around the toe ....they just fit perfectly across the toes without any restrictive feeling.

 

I wear both canvas and leather split soles but my feet have been fully grown for a long time now! I don't anticipate that at this point I will ever have those beautiful feet (we all know who has them!) to die for!!

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Another draw-back can be shallow feet.  Mine are, and when I was a child there was very little choice of brand.  I could point my foot as beautifully as you wished, but because the shoes had too much room, the foot moved within the shoe and the shoe itself would remain floppy/baggy!  so it looked as if the foot was!

 

Feet should actually use the pressure against the floor for strengthening, not the shoe itself - it can be very revealing to make the pupils do basic pointing exercises without shoes.  

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I get furious when kids come in with shoes 2 sizes too big and the fitter has pulled up the drawstrings in an effort to make them fit. When I say that they are too big, the usual answer is that they tried a smaller size and it pressed! I simply retort impossible and release the drawstrings completely. When they then try them on with the shoes bagging everywhere, they finally agree with me. So try letting out the drawstrings completely before you put the shoes on and then get her to stand with full weight on her feet. Then check how much spare cloth there is over the toes, heels and sides. Pull the drawstrings gently and see if the material has folds in it. Sometimes a narrower shoe half a size up will look better, sometimes a wider one that's slightly shorter, but you shouldn't have to pull up the drawstrings too much in order to make them fit properly. Oh and of course when she points her feet in them, there shouldn't be too much spare material at the heel or toe.

Edited by Dance*is*life
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I get furious when kids come in with shoes 2 sizes too big and the fitter has pulled up the drawstrings in an effort to make them fit. When I say that they are too big, the usual answer is that they tried a smaller size and it pressed! I simply retort impossible and release the drawstrings completely. When they then try them on with the shoes bagging everywhere, they finally agree with me. So try letting out the drawstrings completely before you put the shoes on and then get her to stand with full weight on her feet. Then check how much spare cloth there is over the toes, heels and sides. Pull the drawstrings gently and see if the material has folds in it. Sometimes a narrower shoe half a size up will look better, sometimes a wider one that's slightly shorter, but you shouldn't have to pull up the drawstrings too much in order to make them fit properly. Oh and of course when she points her feet in them, there shouldn't be too much spare material at the heel or toe.

That's useful, thanks! I wasn't sure what to look for and just trusted the people in the various shops, but that doesn't seem to be working very well as a plan. She wears barefoot style shoes the rest of the time, so it may be that what she feels as too tight is just compared to the very roomy toe box that she's used to in those.

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My dd always used to complain that ballet shoes were too tight when she was younger so maybe a common problem?

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