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Demi pointe shoes/Soft Blocks


taxi4ballet
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Hi, does anyone have suggestions about the best demi-pointe shoes?

 

We've tried de-shanking her old pointes and turning them into softblocks, but since dd wears toe pads, they come up too loose.

 

She has worn Grishkos, but they're too tapered and cramp her toes a bit, and were really hard to soften up, and Blochs are comfy but her teacher says they are noisy.

 

Help please!

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DD has always worn de-shanked Blochs so far but they were rather noisy! Teacher advised standing on the boxes and squashing them in a vice, which helped. They weren't too loose though, perhaps because dd wears Ouch Pouch pro pads, which only have gel on top, so it didn't make much difference to wear the soft blocks without padding.

 

I have said that I'll buy her a "real" pair of softblocks in September, so now that Tiffany has left Bloch - and depending on how tomorrow's fitting goes at Freed - I'll probably buy her Freeds.

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My DD wears Bloch too, even though she doesn't wear Bloch pointe shoes. They were a little noisy to start with, but once she'd worn them for a little while thay were fine. If your DD finds the Bloch a good comfortable fit I'd be inclined to stick with those. They will probably get quieter with use, but in any case, the well being of her feet is more important than a bit of noise.

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Perhaps we'll stick with Blochs then, as she has their pointe shoes, and just give them a good walloping to knock the sound out.

 

Next time we're in London dd can try on some other makes too, just in case they are a better fit - she does have funny feet.

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Not getting on with the Freeds - dd doesn't like them. She has short toes, and the vamp is quite long and seems to dig into the top of her feet, even though the shoes are now soft.

 

Thinking we might have to go back to Bloch ones.

 

Does anyone know of another style, that isn't too tapered and suits people with short wide toes and a narow heel?

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My DD's friend tried Grishko Demi pointes and had dreadful problems with them as they were harder than her pointe shoes.

 

Luckily her dance teacher softened them by using a door frame,brute force and then massaging them. These also have a very long box.

 

My DD uses Bloch Demi pointes which are better but normal Bloch pointe shoes never suit her feet, I'm not certain that there is much choice for these type of shoe. My dd tolerates her demi pointes but loves her Freed pointe shoes!

 

I suppose it's trial and error as with all things ballet. Let us know what you decide good luck.

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Dd's teacher told me to boil a kettle, remove the lid, and hold the boxes of soft blocks over the steam. Then massage the boxes to soften them. They are much better now in terms of comfort, noise and softness BUT even so, the front of the vamp cuts into her foot when she tries to go up onto 3/4 pointe - is that just Freeds or do they all do that?

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You might try (if you already haven't) placing a cloth over the vamp, pour on some alcohol, and then using the round end of a hammer, hit it. How much force you use is determined by how soft you want the vamp to be. The alcohol helps to break down the glue in the vamp.

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A bit of a wierd one this, but if you wrap up the shoes in an old towel and then place it all a plastic bag - a supermarket carrier bag will do and run over them in the car a couple of times (!!!! :wacko: ) this softens up old de-shanked pointe shoes and makes them quiet for demi pointe work. :o

 

My DD does this and we never buy soft blocks any more.

 

T

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I must admit to being a bit confused by this thread! What is the point of soft blocks if you make them so soft that they can be little different to slippers? My dd hasn't used them much but when she has she has found them to be fairly soft after one wearing anyway!

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The advice we were given was to soften them to reduce noise, and to make it easier to articulate the foot inside the shoe.

 

And don't forget, even softened, they will still work the feet and are trickier just to stand in, due to the full, slightly thicker sole.

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Well for a start soft point shoes are much more difficult to dance in than soft shoes . If a students has been wearing split shoes then its even more difficult to make the transition to pointe shoes.

 

A dancer performing one of the big classics eg Swan Lake, Giselle is in pointe shoes the whole time, and they will use up to four pairs per performance.

 

Anyway back to students. Even just standing in 1st position wearing pointe shoes requires a much greater awareness of correct placement. One of my advanced students commented on this only last night. She was finding it all too easy when wearing soft blocks/pointe to allow her feet to roll when in plie as she is used to dancing in split shoes that allow her feet more floor contact as opposed to a full soled shoe. Then of course a dancer has to be able to pointe her feet effectively which is much easier in split soles, twice the effort in full soles especially pointe shoes whether hard or soft.

 

As a teacher me and my colleagues has noticed that many students are just not as strong on pointe as former pupils at the same level were. And we attribute this to over use of split soles. This term we have insisted that those who are seriously wanting to be considered for intermediate entry next year wear soft blocks and we have helped several students break down old shoes. It was immediately apparent to the students how much stronger their feet needed to be just to do normal class. And the improvement in actual pointe work is now also notieable.

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I've read this thread with increasing fascination. Being the proud owner of 2 left feet and never having danced in my life, I find it really interesting to learn more about the technicalities.

 

Thanks

 

(Although I have got some shoes signed by favourite dancers in my memory box!)

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Because even if the boxes are soft, the very construction of the shoe works the foot much more than ballet flats.

 

Absolutely correct, it doesn't matter how soft the box has become as the work has to come from the feet managing the actual hard, full sole of the shoe. And even the softest of blocks feel very different to normal soft shoes both in terms of physically standing in them and in the action of working through the foot correctly to achieve a good stretch.

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My dd loves her Freeds. Her first pair of soft blocks were bloch and she found them uncomfortable until they were just about worn out. All we did with her Freeds was massage the box to soften it a little and she has never had any trouble and finds them as comfortable as her slippers! They are much quieter than blochs too. I guess then it all depends upon the shape of your foot. She has very wide feet with fairly long toes but very narrow heels.

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Taxi,

What about trying Bob Martin? My daughter had a pointe shoe fitting with him and I mentioned she also needed demi pointes and he fitted her for those too. Have not yet got the pointe shoes right but she has been happy with the demis and after that initial fitting I just email him when she needs some more and he orders them for her. Her feet have stopped growing so as the lead in time is around six weeks I just order a few pairs each time to keep her going.

Think she may have tried every brand before going down this route!

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