Dancers can begin using pointe shoes when their ankles are strong enough. Only your teacher should decide when you are ready to begin using pointe shoes. When you are ready, how do you choose the right ones? Follow our guide!



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There are four main criteria to consider when choosing pointes: the rigidity of the sole, the width of the shoe, the length of the vamp and comfort.


The reinforced sole that helps you stay on pointe is called the shank. It can be quite different depending on the brand. This is why you should always try out various models. To find the right amount of rigidity for your foot, slip on the shoe and go on pointe. Ideally, the sole should have a slight curve. If it is too rigid, this means your foot is not strong enough and you need a less rigid shoe. If, on the contrary, it bends too much, you have a very strong instep and should opt for a more rigid shoe.


Pointe models are generally available in different widths, with narrow, medium and wide boxes. To find the right shoe for your foot, try the following: when moving from demi-pointes to pointes, if you feel too constricted at the demi-pointe joint, this means the width is too narrow; if you have too much movement in the shoe, this means it is too wide.


The vamp is the upper part of the shoe (from the platform to the drawstring). It should cover the toes up to the demi-pointe joint. If it is too long, it will prevent you from rising properly onto the pointe platform and hinders moving to the demi-pointe position. You should choose your shoe depending on your foot shape and toe length.


To prevent having to add pads in the pointe, certain models have a special built-in shell. It is the smallest possible to relieve pain when working on pointe.


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To find the right pointe size: stand up, feet parallel and flat on the floor. If your toes are pushing against the tip of the shoe and can't stretch out properly, the shoe is too small. If the toes can move around freely and the heel slips out, the shoe is too big. You run a major risk of injuring yourself when wearing them. To be sure about the size, remember that your toes should just touch the end of the shoe. With pointe shoes, you don't want to leave space between the toes and the tip.