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Medium or Hard Shank?


Nutcracker-x
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Morning,

 

I'm hoping some of you balletcoers might be able to give some advice on this. Last saturday I went for a pointe shoe fitting as the shoes I've got were starting to become a bit soft and I could feel the floor with my big toe. The fitter said that I had broken in the shoes perfectly and that the shoes I have are a perfect fit. Now, I had gone to the shop the previous week as I needed to go and make an appointment and whilst I was there another, different fitter had a look at my shoes and at my records and said to me that it might be worth trying a different pair of shoes with a harder shank so that they lasted longer (I've had only that pair since the middle of june and I only do one pointe class a week) however when I mentioned this to the fitter last saturday she said that she didn't see why I should change the design of my shoes when the ones I have fit perfectly. I tried a few pairs of harder shanked ones and we found a pair that would be ideal however I'm not sure whether to get those ones or just get a new pair in the design I've got. The only factor that is making me want to try the new pair is in the hope that they last longer as we don't have enough money to spare to buy a new pair of pointe shoes every 3/4 months. Any advice on what to do would be greatly appreciated. Sorry, if that all sounded like a ramble.

 

Nutcracker-x

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A harder shank doesn't necessarily translate into longer wear.  While it is true that a shank is part of the support/wearing process, it is not the entire picture.  The shoe could also stretch, the box could become soft, etc.  And since every pair of shoes, even though it is the same make and style, is different - there is no guarantee that a harder shank in any particular pair will give you longer wear.

 

How a shoe "wears" is dependent not only on how long you use them but also on how you use them.  For instance - how strong your feet are, how squarely you are on the platform, the kind of ballet steps you are working on (sautes versus bourrés). Even how much your feet sweat.

 

A couple of things you could try:   switch shoes left/right every time you wear them.  I think that's a good idea in any case.  It keeps the "last"  (the "last" is the shape) of the shoe more even and thus the shoes wear evenly.  It also helps to keep the shoe and thus the foot aligned straighter.  I know this is seldom taught, but I was taught it by an old Russian teacher as well as a Cecchetti teacher/examiner and found it to be a good idea for both my feet and my shoes.

 

Also when you are finished with your pointe class allow the shoes to dry out in open air - don't stick them in a bag.

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...we don't have enough money to spare to buy a new pair of pointe shoes every 3/4 months...

 

In my experience every 3/4 months is pretty good going for a pair of pointe shoes..!! How often do you dance en pointe and how long is each time you use them? (Obviously you'd expect a pair to last longer if you're doing once a week for 1 hour, vs daily for 8 hours each for example)

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In addition to the great advice from Anjuli_Bai:

 

Do you use the one pair or do you have more than one pair on rotate? I generally found that my shoes fare better if they have more time to air-dry, and if possible you could look into having 2 pairs on the go at the same time, and rotate, so that you have 3 days in between each wear for each pair?

 

Also maybe look into jet gluing / shellac your toe box, as you mentioned you could feel the floor with your big toe, maybe the box is going before the shank? Have a search on the forum first, I'm pretty sure there are some threads covering this. I've always done the hardeners on the inside of the shoe instead of outside to avoid slipping, and the type of hardener you use will be personal preference + trial and error in general I'm afraid..!

 

Hope this helps?

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