​Pointe Shoe Primer: What to Expect at Your First Fitting

​Pointe Shoe Primer: What to Expect at Your First Fitting

Posted by Samantha A. on 10th Jun 2024

Congratulations! Few moments excite ballet dancers more than getting their first pair of pointe shoes. At Linden Dancewear, we want to make your fitting extra special.

What are Pointe Shoes?

Pointe shoes are specialized footwear for advanced ballet dancers. They feature a reinforced shank and a satin exterior. To properly support your foot en pointe, pointe shoes should fit snugly, like a cast.

Curious about how pointe shoes are made? Check out these videos by Suffolk! 

Getting Approved for Pointe

Pointe work requires strong feet and ankles. To prevent injury, dancers need approval from their ballet instructor before getting fitted. This signifies the instructor's assessment of your readiness in terms of strength, flexibility, and proper alignment while supporting your body weight.

Scheduling Your Fitting

Pointe shoe fittings are extensive and exciting! First-time fittings can take 30 minutes to an hour. To ensure enough time to find your perfect fit, schedule an appointment in advance! Call or email Linden’s Dancewear to schedule yours.

Here's what you'll need to provide when scheduling:

  • Dancer Name and Age (if under 18)
  • Parent Name (if applicable)
  • Dance School
  • Phone Number
  • Date and Time Availability
  • Prior Pointe Shoe Experience (if any) - what would you like to improve about the fit?
  • Shoe Style or Brand Preferences (yours or your teacher's)

Preparing for Success

  • Wear comfortable, fitted clothing that allows for movement (leggings, shorts, or a fitted dance outfit).
  • Convertible tights and a leotard are helpful, but not required, as they allow the fitter to assess your alignment during the fitting.
  • Trim your toenails neatly and file the edges smoothly with an emery board to prevent ingrown nails.

Your First Pointe Shoe Fitting!

Upon arrival at our store, our pointe shoe fitting area awaits you! Our fitter will assess your feet by examining their shape, gently squeezing them for compressibility, and having you perform basic exercises (tendus, pliés, relevés) to assess flexibility and strength.

Selecting the Perfect Shoes

The fitter will leverage their expertise to select pointe shoe styles that best suit your feet. Pointe shoe fitting is an art form, considering various shoe aspects. At Linden Dancewear, we boast a vast selection of over 2,000 pointe shoes in stock and 25+ styles to help you find the perfect fit.

Your fitter will collaborate with you to determine the ideal box shape, vamp height, crown, shank strength, and size for your feet. 

Trying on Shoes!

This is the exciting part! The fitter will demonstrate the proper way to put on pointe shoes (knee to chest, not crossed legs!). You'll pull the shoe over your toes smoothly, with your thumb tracing a line down your big toe and arch.

Standing at the barre in parallel position, place one foot en pointe for the fitter's assessment. If the fit seems appropriate, they'll have you rise on both feet en pointe. After a few tests and questions about how your foot feels, you'll try another shoe.

Communication is Key

The fitter can only gauge the fit to a certain extent by looking at the outside of the shoe. Comfort and support are paramount. After all, you'll be spending hours in these shoes! Feel free to ask questions and provide feedback throughout the fitting. Open communication is crucial for finding the perfect fit.

Pointe shoes feel different from regular shoes. They should feel snug and supportive in the box to prevent "sinking," but not so tight that your toes curl or cramp. The first time en pointe might range from pain-free to mild discomfort. Communicate any toe curling, pinching, sharp pain, or numbness to your fitter. The good news is that pointe shoes soften and become more comfortable as you break them in.

Finding Your Perfect Fit

After adjusting the fit and identifying the most suitable shoe styles, your fitter will discuss how each feels and fits. You'll narrow down the options to the two best-fitting pairs. You'll then try on your favorites again, comparing and contrasting them until you're confident you've found your dream pointe shoes.

Congratulations! You Found Your Perfect Shoe!

Hooray! There's nothing quite like a dancer's first pair of pointe shoes. It's a major milestone, and we're thrilled for you! Now, it's picture time! Capture this special occasion with a photo at our store. We'll help you find the perfect pose to create a lasting memory.

Bonus Tips for Success!

  • Teacher Approval: Before sewing pointe shoes, we encourage you to have your teacher look at your shoes and double-check that they approve of the fit. We want your teacher to love your shoes as much as you do!
  • Open to Options: Try various pointe shoe brands to find the perfect fit for your unique feet.
  • Memorable Moment: Consider wearing your favorite dancewear for photos to capture this special fitting.
  • Be Prepared: First fittings can take up to an hour. Arrive well-rested and focused to find the ideal shoe.
  • Communicate Preferences: Share any shoe style or brand preferences with the fitter at the start to ensure a smooth fitting process.