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Any tips on how to keep pointe shoes from slipping down from the heel?


rachaelballet12
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Some shoe manufacturers are starting to make shoes with narrower heels (I believe Gaynor Minden call this "sleek fit" or something similar). It would be worth asking your pointe shoe fitter if the shoes come in a model with a narrower heel.

 

I was told not to sew elastic at the heels of dd's shoes until they were broken in. This was good advice as it turned out that once the shoes were properly moulded to the foot, the heels didn't slip down.

 

Assuming the ribbons are back far enough and at the correct angle, and the shoes being broken in sufficiently, then I don't think it's unreasonable to try elastic - as long as it's not too tight. You don't want it to cut off circulation.

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If you put 'pointe shoe ribbons grishko' into YouTube the top video shows a technique of sewing ribbons on that is meant to help keep them on the heel.

 

I have heard of people spraying hairspray inside the heel of the shoe but never tried it.

 

In the US I think it's fairly common to use elastic and it's permitted at my dd's school (in the UK). Safer to have elastic on than risk the shoes slipping off at a crucial moment!

 

The teacher asks that they don't use it straight away but wait until they're broken in and then if it still happens to use a loop of elastic. Just make sure that you don't join the loop on the shoe i.e. don't sew it where the Achilles touches the shoe, have a small gap there so as not to add any further pressure in the tendon.

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Elastic should be sewn either side of the heel seam in a big loop that passes round the front of the ankle. This is safe and commonly used - look at photos of professionals! The dangerous one is sewing a small loop that the ribbons pass through behind the ankle, it can cause all sorts of problems, particularly with the achilles tendon.

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Elastic should be sewn either side of the heel seam in a big loop that passes round the front of the ankle. This is safe and commonly used - look at photos of professionals! The dangerous one is sewing a small loop that the ribbons pass through behind the ankle, it can cause all sorts of problems, particularly with the achilles tendon.

 

My DD who is in her 6th year of Vocational training, sews Bloch heel elastic in the way that Pas de Quatre has described, on both her soft blocks and pointe shoes. One pack will do 2 pairs of pointe shoes. We also have a pair of Marianella Nunez's pointe shoes and these too have heel elastic sewn either side of the heel seem in a big loop. Hope this helps :)

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In rehearsal yesterday at youth ballet, one of my pointe shoes repeatedly slipped off my heel, which drove me absolutely mad, as I kept having to yank it back on my foot without the teacher noticing... I have very narrow feet, and my shoes have elastics across the instep, any hints on stopping the heel from slipping?? Should I sew on a thin elastic that loops round my foot from the back of the shoe?

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A loop of elastic can be sewn on the heel of the shoe. However, do not sew the ends together at the very center of the heal on the seam of the shoe.

 

Sew each end of the elastic well to the side of that center seam on the shoe. How long the loop is depends upon the distance to where your ribbons cross the back of the ankle. You don't want it to be too tight - it will stress your tendon. And, you don't want it too loose or it won't do the job of keeping the shoe on.

 

I feel it is better to do this to keep the shoe on your foot as you can really take a bad spill or slip if the shoe comes off in the middle of a step/dance. Just be sure to sew the ends of the elastic on either side - not on top of - that center seam of your shoe.

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In rehearsal yesterday at youth ballet, one of my pointe shoes repeatedly slipped off my heel, which drove me absolutely mad, as I kept having to yank it back on my foot without the teacher noticing... I have very narrow feet, and my shoes have elastics across the instep, any hints on stopping the heel from slipping?? Should I sew on a thin elastic that loops round my foot from the back of the shoe?

My DD uses the wider "invisible elastic" in the loop from the back of the heel as the other posters have described. This works very well and is also very unobstrusive - the ribbons more or less cover the elastic, and whilst it's not truly invisible, the elastic isn't very noticeable. If you do this you'll probably find there's no need for the elastic across your instep.

Edited by Pups_mum
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My DDs last pair of Bloch pointe shoes kept slipping on the heel on one foot and we attached the wide elastic as described above. The fitter at the Freed shop tutted when she saw it, asked DD to stand on pointe and then told us to resew the ribbon further forward, basically saying the same as the above poster for the use of elastic. My DD has had plenty of pointe shoes and plenty of experience at sewing on ribbons but the fitter explained that each shoe is different and provided the shoes were fitted properly, ribbon adjustment should prevent the heel from slipping off.

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My dd's old teacher said that if the shoe fits correctly, there should be no need for elastic. She explained that professionals use it in case a ribbon breaks or comes undone mid-performance.

 

I understand the theory - but would love it if this worked in practice. Over the last 7 years we've been to different fitters/shops, had different makes, different sizes, fits, different positioning of ribbon - and still the heels slip off my daughter's feet without elastics. I think the problem for her is that it's very straight from the heel upwards, so there's no flesh for the shoe to hold on to (if you see what I mean). Oh well, won't be doing ballet for many more months (well, pointe work anyway) so we'll live with it ;)

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It seems to be a subject (like many in ballet) that people have strong opinions on, but I always think that when numerous people hold numerous strong opinions on the same subject, it probably means that nobody has a monopoly on the truth. After all, if there was one 100% "right" way, surely we'd all be doing it? Isn't it more important to try to figure out what works best for each individual?

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So true pups mum :) my pointe shoes have ribbons, invisible etastic over the top of the foot plus loop of elastic around the ankle.

I probably don't NEED either elastic, but it's what I do to my shoes as my prep routine, and if not physically, then psychologically it my shoes feel secure!

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I always used an elastic across arch of my foot as a security measure. I once had the satin of the shoe give way where the ribbons were sewn on (the shoes were brand new) and had it not been for the secondary backup of the elastics I would have taken quite a tumble.

 

There is a very interesting book that describes with pictures and words how 20 or so top dancers each prepares her/his shoes. It's a very interesting read - no two are alike. Each dancer has to find what works.

 

I'm not sure I understand why some teachers make blanket rules about elastics, toe protection, etc. Unless the student is trying something dangerous - I think experimenting is a good thing.

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Agreed - I never understood blanket instructions about which brand of pointe shoe must be worn, no elastics, type of padding etc. Every dancer needs to find out what works for them. Personally I prefer the "belts & braces" approach of having elastic. No harm is done if it isn't really needed, but harm may be done if it is needed and isn't there. One danger is that without elastic a dancer may choose a size of shoe that is too small to avoid loosing the heels, but then cannot demi-plié fully as the toes hit the end of the box.

 

I have found with my pupils that dancers who appear not to need elastic when we are just doing pointe exercises in class, can have a problem with heels slipping when dancing a ballet in pointe shoes which involves lots of jumps, runs, waltzes etc.

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DD has invisible elastic sewn either side of heel seam in a loop as described by other posters above. I asked her dance teacher about the debate (esp re RBS saying it wasn't allowed) and she rolled her eyes and said she considered that a lot of nonsense- and noted that almost all pics of RBS company dancers shoes showed elastic being used. IMO it's better to have elastic than continually be fussing/worrying about shoe slippage rather than concentrating on what your feet are actually trying to do- and surely slipping shoes could contribute to awkward movement and hence potential strains...

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DD has invisible elastic sewn either side of heel seam in a loop as described by other posters above. I asked her dance teacher about the debate (esp re RBS saying it wasn't allowed) and she rolled her eyes and said she considered that a lot of nonsense- and noted that almost all pics of RBS company dancers shoes showed elastic being used. IMO it's better to have elastic than continually be fussing/worrying about shoe slippage rather than concentrating on what your feet are actually trying to do- and surely slipping shoes could contribute to awkward movement and hence potential strains...

As stated in my previous post , my DD starting using heel elastic from Year 9 at RBS WL, so I'm not sure where the information regarding RBS not allowing heel elastic has come from. All RBS Upper School students also use heel elastic too.

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As stated in my previous post , my DD starting using heel elastic from Year 9 at RBS WL, so I'm not sure where the information regarding RBS not allowing heel elastic has come from. All RBS Upper School students also use heel elastic too.

I think as always, even teachers in the same school have different preferences. I know my DD was not allowed anything in her shoe except lambswool and nothing attached except ribbons at her RBS MA classes. The teacher was worried that elastics would compensate for badly fitting shoes. Nobody dared wear elastics as they were visible but some girls did sneak ouchpouches instead of lambswool and kept them well hidden when changing into pointe shoes ;)

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Why the dislike of ouchpouches at RBS?

Hi taxi4ballet, it's not just RBS that don't like ouchpouches. The main vocational schools frown upon them, apparently it's so that the dancer can feel the floor when they are on pointe (whatever that means!!!!!). However my DD says she prefers lambswool and would never go back to ouchpouches, even though she and her classmates for the first couple of years at WL, used to try and hide the ouchpouches from their teacher and dreaded the day when they were told to take off their pointe shoes for an inspection LOL ;)

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