How to know if your Pointe Shoes are working for you...
Knowing when your pointe shoes are working for you or not can be confusing. It's important to listen to your body and take note of any signs that something isn't quite right.
Here are a few signs that your pointe shoes may need to be changed:1. If you experience pain or discomfort while dancing
Usually there are two types of 'pain'. Good pain and bad pain.
Good pain is when your muscles are working and start to fatigue, then DOMS kicks in usually the next day, or even things like cramp. But be careful that your pointes are not causing you to cramp every time you wear them as this is unusual.
Bad pain is when you can feel sharp, electric jolt type pain in any part of the foot/ankle whilst en pointe that doesn't seem to heal on it's own (lasts longer than a week or two). This is when pressure could be being applied to the wrong part of your foot due to your shoes not fitting properly.
'Pressure' is different thing. You should be feeling a little pressure around the sides of the metatarsals but not so much that your toes are starting to cross over each other. This pressure keeps your foot lifted in the shoe and ensures your foot doesn't move around too much, which could cause unwanted friction and blisters.
2. If you're not able to get over on your platform or you're pushing too far over it.
Let's tackle the first of the two, not being able to push over fully on your platform. This can be caused by a variety of things:
- Your shank is too hard
- Your shank doesn't bend in the right place (too high or too low)
- Your shank is too long
- Your vamp is too high
- You need a wider platform
If you feel as though your foot/arch is 'fighting' with your shank and the shank is twisting when you're en pointe this is a clear sign that it is not right for you and you need to try either a softer shank, a shorter shank, or a shank that bends a little lower on the foot.
Now let's unpack why you're pushing too far over. This is usually because:
- The shank is not strong enough
- The shank is bending too low on the foot
- The vamp is not high enough
- The box is too wide.
If you feel like your foot/arch isn't being supported and you are 'sinking' into your shoe you need to let someone know ASAP. This can be dangerous especially in pre-teen and teen dancers where over extension and unwanted pressure can cause injuries such as stress fractures.
A professional pointe fitter should be able to diagnose these problems and find a solution but if you are still having trouble, feel free to book in for a online or in-person consultation with us.
3. If you are going through your shoes every 2 weeks or so...
Did you know that professional ballet dancers are sponsored pointe shoes? This is why it's okay for them to beat, bend and mangle them before wearing as they will only usually wear them for one performance.
For pre-teen/teeage dancers, there are an array of options when it comes to pointes shoe brands and styles. There's even pointes that are made of polymers (plastics) that are made not to break down like a traditional shoe. So you should not be having to fork out the big bucks every couple of weeks for a new pair of shoes.
Reasons why you're replacing your shoes too often:
- The shoes are not strong enough for you
- You are not drying them out in between wears
- You only have one pair on the go at a time
- You aren't in the 'right pair' that are tailored to your level of strength and timetable
Talk to a pointe professional about how to first find the right pair of pointes for you, then about how to extend their life as well! These things all work in harmony to save you some $$$ down line.