Best Pointe Shoes Reviewed & Compared for Performance

Ballet dancers who have mastered the basics and are ready for advanced techniques often turn to pointe shoes to take them to the next level. They’re designed for the strongest and most skilled dancers; the toes consisting of multiple layers of fabric and cardboard held together with glue. They serve the unique function of helping dancers look even more magical on stage, making them appear light as feathers and almost ethereal. Nevertheless, it can be painful to master dancing gracefully with these shoes, which is partially why it’s so important to have the best ones available; the shoes can make or break the dancer.

Last Updated: January 30, 2018
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By Brittney Ward:

The following update provides an in depth look at all the features needed for a supportive pointe shoe. We’ve gone through the list, making the items more relevant and added a few new pointe shoes to create the best list to a new top 15. There’s now also a new criteria of evaluation and FAQ section to help those beginning in pointe choose the best pointe shoes possible.

Featured Recommendations

WeLove Canvas Slipper
  • WeLove Canvas Slipper
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Elastic Drawstring
  • Easy To Clean
  • Price: See Here
 
Kukome Pointe Shoes
  • Kukome Pointe Shoes
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Soft & Comfortable
  • Includes Gel Pads
  • Price: See Here
 
Smartodoors Dance Shoes
  • Smartodoors Dance Shoes
  • 4.3 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Hard Leather Bottom
  • Toe Pads Included
  • Price: See Here

Thanks to the popularity of ballet, there are countless options from which to choose. The wrong pair can make dancing more difficult than necessary at best and possibly even injurious at worst. It’s natural to feel a lot of pressure when you’re ready to pick the pointe shoes that will allow you to take your skills soaring to new heights.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top fiftteen best pointe shoes money can buy. They’ve all been reviewed and rated for how their quality compares to their cost, which is sure to help you make an informed choice. Read below for details.

 

15 Best Pointe Shoes

 

1. WeLove Canvas Slipper

Even a little dancing requires a lot of work and movement, so it's imperative to have a shoe that can take a lot of hits and wear while remaining aesthetically pleasing. This is such a shoe. Fashioned from canvas and leather, the shoe is flexible enough to move with you yet more than tough enough to endure dance after dance. Whether you're a seasoned veteran or just learning pointe, this shoe is a great choice.
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Stay Comfortable
Thanks to the elastic strap, adjustable ties, and breathable materials, the shoe keeps your foot nice and cool while you're working up a sweat. With such quality materials, you can be sure that these pointe shoes will correctly form to your foot and fit your needs while dancing.

Peace of Mind
The manufacturer is so confident in the quality of the shoe that they guarantee your money back or a replacement if you're not satisfied. Nothing like knowing there's no risk to trying something new. This is truly a great feature when learning your correct fit in pointe shoes.

Cost and Value
For everything that you get with this shoe, it's amazing that it's so affordable. The easy to use, quality features and reliability make it a great choice for beginning dancers. It's difficult to go wrong with this one.
Pros
  • Canvas and leather make shoe durable, lightweight, and comfortable
  • Elastic straps and adjustable ties let you customize fit
  • Easy to clean
  • Money-back or replacement guarantee
Cons
  • May need something firmer for actual performances

2. Kukome Pointe Shoes

Pretty and practical all in one. This shoe consists of satin and leather--the satin gives the shoe a professional appearance in addition to the durability while the leather protects it against wear and tear. It also makes sure that you're not more uncomfortable than necessary while you dance, thanks to the wonderfully soft toe pads. Overall, it's a beautiful shoe, inside and out, and the perfect accompaniment to your dance.
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Silicone Gel Pads for Comfort
It's much easier to dance en pointe when your toes aren't completely suffering under your weight. The silicone toe gel pads, which are also ventilated, guarantee ease of movement. Features like this that help to ease pressure are vital for the health of all dancers.

No Slipping with These Slippers
The strong leather sole and toe pads work together to keep you from sliding around and losing your balance on the dance floor. This lightweight grip and traction is a must have feature for any serious performer.

Cost and Value
While you couldn't call them cheap, they're certainly not expensive, either. It's a very reasonable price for such a lovely shoe. Not to mention the reliable features that the pointe shoe is built with, makes it a great all around choice for all levels of dancers.
Pros
  • Anti-slip leather sole and toe pads
  • Silicone gel toe pads protect your toes
  • Satin is tough and aesthetically appealing
  • Leather keeps the shoe strong
Cons
  • May be difficult to find the right size

3. MichaelWu Girls Dance Shoe

3. MichaelWu Girls Dance Shoe
Satin, leather, ribbons, and toe pads--what more could you possibly need in a great pointe shoe? This one has it all. Here's a shoe that can withstand hours of wear, due to the leather and satin, and the toe pads keep you from damaging your foot to the point that dancing becomes too painful to do. On top of that, their shine and graceful construction make them look very professional.
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Thank You, Silicone!
The toe pads are made out of silicone gel, known for keeping your toes from getting smashed against the dance floor, a feature that is more than necessary for all dancers. This makes the shoe excellent for foot health and overall comfort.

The Trusty Two
As always, the combination of satin and leather guarantees durability, flexibility, and aesthetic pleasure. The quality materials used in these shoes are more than just appealing to the eye, they also create comfort and stability in the dancer.

Cost and Value
The shoe costs a little more money than you may want to spend, but the reason why the price is higher than other pointe shoes is because it's one of the best kinds available. The quality commands the price and honestly, when it comes to the health of your body, you won't want to go cheap.
Pros
  • Satin and leather keep the shoe strong, flexible, and pretty
  • Ribbons let you adjust fit
  • Silicone gel toe box keeps your toes safe from harm
  • Quality stitching keeps the shoe together
Cons
  • May be difficult to find the right size for you
  • More expensive than most pointe shoes

4. Capezio Turning Pointe 55

4. Capezio Turning Pointe 55
As the old saying goes, less is more, and this shoe exemplifies that wisdom. Consisting of a leather toe box and a strap to cover your heel, it simplifies the idea behind a pointe shoe, keeping your foot feeling free and cool instead of cramped or sweaty. Furthermore, it's designed to conform perfectly to your foot to allow you to move in the way that feels best to you as a dancer. It's a unique shoe for sure, but definitely worth a look.
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No Complications
With only a strap for the heel, you don't have to worry so much about your foot getting hot and uncomfortable or trying to adjust the way it fits. It covers the most important part--your toe--and lets the rest of your foot remain free.

Customized Fit
The manufacturer has worked hard to create a shoe that will mold itself to your foot while keeping your toe box nice and round. That makes it not only fun to wear but guaranteed to make your foot look good while you dance.

Cost and Value
There's a small price range to consider for this shoe, and it remains fairly reasonable at both its highest and lowest points. The remarkable construction isn't overshadowed by a remarkable price.
Pros
  • Heel strap keeps your foot cool and eliminates worry about fit
  • Round toe is aesthetically pleasing
  • Designed to conform to your foot
  • Made entirely of leather, ensuring durability and strength
Cons
  • Sizes may run a bit small

5. Wendy Wu Pink Ballet

5. Wendy Wu Pink Ballet
Featuring a beautiful blend of satin and canvas, this shiny shoe a wonderful choice for someone looking for something inexpensive but still high-quality. Not only do they look amazing, but they've been tested and found to be capable of enduring plenty of wear on the dance floor. Even better, they're ready to go as soon as you get them--minimal breaking in required. The shoe is made specifically with serious dancers in mind, so if that describes you, take a look.
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Sturdy Satin
Combined with the canvas, the satin construction allows the shoe to be flexible, breathable, and durable all at once, not to mention it's what gives the shoe its attractive sheen. Satin is commonly used as the best choice material for all pointe shoes.

Easy to Break In
The shoe hardly requires any time to feel comfortable and natural around your foot. You can practically take it out of the box, put it on, and pretend that you've had it for weeks. The toe box and flexible shank allows for easy adaptation to your foot shape and compression.

Cost and Value
This manufacturer prides itself specifically on making inexpensive shoes with all the quality of more expensive ones, and they certainly deliver on that promise with this shoe. A great choice for beginners on pointe, you won't be disappointed with these beautifully crafted pointe shoes.
Pros
  • Satin and canvas construction is strong and visually appealing
  • Ribbons allow you to adjust fit
  • Ready to go; hardly any need to break it in
  • Should be easy to get the right size
  • Cheap price for great quality
Cons
  • Best for beginners, not really for seasoned dancers

6. Capezio 176 Contempora

6. Capezio 176 Contempora
Once again taking advantage of the benefits of fusing satin with leather, this shoe is cute, tough, and ready to make dancing as easy as possible. Although it's fairly soft and includes a good toe box, you have the option of using gel inserts if necessary. That's just another way that this shoe is flexible enough to work for dancers at any level of pointe, whether they're practicing or performing.
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Easily to Customize Soles
Since you can use gel inserts, the shoe is wonderful choice for dancers with any kind of arch or other orthopedic concerns. No dancer has to go without quality simply because the shape of their feet. These pointe shoes will provide support and stability no matter what kind of level dancer you are.

Keeping a Strong Tradition
Borrowing conventional dancer wisdom, the shoe is made from satin and leather, which lets you that it's built to last. Using the best knowledge available for pointe shoe technology, you'll find yourself very thankful for the beautifully crafted materials.

Cost and Value
It comes with a fairly wide pride range. The lowest is reasonable, but the highest would certainly make a sizable dent in your wallet. The quality materials and supportive structure make these pointe shoes worth the cost. A great choice for those looking to enhance their performance, these pointe shoes are a great way to move from a beginner to an intermediate dancer.
Pros
  • Satin and leather combination makes the shoe attractive and tough
  • Cute, dainty appearance
  • Room for a gel insert
  • Easy to break in
Cons
  • Runs very large, so it could be tricky to find the right size for you

7. Smartodoors Dance Shoes

7. Smartodoors Dance Shoes
Throw together some satin, leather, and gel toe pads, and what do you get? This shoe, that's what. Built to breathe and move perfectly with you, the shoe has grit equal to its beauty. The gel toe pads also serve to save your toes from unnecessary injury, allowing you to dance free of concerns. Thanks to the leather sole, there's a very small chance that you would trip or slip on the floor, either. This shoe simply exudes classic professionalism.
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Soft Toe Pads
Because they're made out of gel, the toe pads are fully prepared to provide some cushion for your toes. This is a must have feature if you're going to be on them the whole time you're dancing, as pointe usually demands. The toe pads will also help to ease pressure and create a comfortable feel inside the shoe.

Sweet and Strong
Once again, satin and leather prove that they're a match made in heaven. Due to this combination of materials, the shoe is truly hardy while maintaining a delicate appearance. The glossy satin outside will help to attract the audience to the graceful movements of your feet while the leather sole will keep you from slipping on slick surfaces.

Cost and Value
The shoe commands a pretty average cost for a pointe shoe, so it's certainly doable for just about any budget or experience level. The features in this pointe shoe provide reliability and support for any dancer, a truly great choice for those still adjusting to their proper pointe sizes.
Pros
  • Satin and leather materials guarantee toughness and beauty
  • Gel toe pads to keep your toes safe
  • Leather sole keeps you from slipping and sliding too much
  • Comes with ribbon
  • Good price
Cons
  • Have to sew the ribbon into the shoe yourself
  • Cannot be put in a washing machine

8. Bloch European Balance

8. Bloch European Balance
This shoe is all about the fit. Yes, it looks beautiful as well--the satin and expert stitching take care of its attractiveness--but the fit is what really sets this shoe apart. With an innovative toe box and the option to use elastic to adjust the fit, the shoe is more than ready to impress you with how snug and safe your foot will feel inside it.
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Tapered Toe Box
Toe boxes are a given in pointe shoes, but this shoe has a tapered one. It encourages your toes to settle more securely into the box, helping you dance without being distracted by pain or discomfort. For those of you with round-shaped toes, this is a perfect feature you'll want to have in your pointe shoes.

Follows Your Curves
The shoe is built to take into account the natural arches and other curves that are found in most feet. This helps to further the fit to be as pleasantly snug as possible. Pointe shoes that don't fit properly can cause a variety of health concerns which is why this shoe is a great choice for protecting your feet.

Cost and Value
The shoe is definitely a bit spendy, but it's not exorbitant, especially considering how excellent the shoe is. The quality materials and features make it a reliable choice, especially for those looking to get more serious about enhancing their dancing.
Pros
  • Tapered toe box keeps your toe safe
  • Curves in all the right places for your foot
  • Firmness improves weight distribution and reduces risk of injury
  • Very visually appealing
Cons
  • A bit expensive
  • Ribbons and elastic must be bought separately

9. Roymall Performance PABC

9. Roymall Performance PABC
Satin on the outside, suede on the inside, this shoe is built and ready for dancing hard. The materials used in their construction suggest that they will last a long time, but they also have the beauty you would expect from professional shoes. Although they might be most useful for beginners in pointe, more advanced dancers may also appreciate them.
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Suede and Satin
Two of the best materials that could possibly be used for pointe shoes went into this shoe, so you already know that it will be as durable and flexible as possible. With a light, glossy appeal on the outside and a strong steady grip on the bottom, these pointe shoes are a great choice for those getting ready to perfrom.

Something a Little Extra
As if the shoe itself wasn't enough, it also comes with a free bag in which you can carry it. Basically, you get two good products with one simple click. Having a bag with your pointe shoes will help to keep them protected from outside damage.

Cost and Value
The shoe offers a lot of convenience for a single price, and it's not even a particularly high price, so this is truly a great deal. A great choice for all levels of dancers, this shoe will provide all the support you need without taking a large dent out of our pocket.
Pros
  • Suede and satin assure strength, flexibility, and charm
  • Comes with a free bag
  • Inexpensive
  • You can put in your own inserts
Cons
  • Doesn't come with toe pads
  • Might be difficult to find the right size for you

10. Grishko 2007

10. Grishko 2007
This pointe shoe is great for beginners and fits a variety of shoe sizes. The sleek, classy appearance goes hand in hand with their functions, providing a lightweight support system. Carefully constructed with glue and cotton drawstrings, your feet will be protected against tendinitis and constriction. Also designed to relieve pressure from the toe box area and built in with a ¾ shank, these pointe shoes provide perfect reliability and consistency.
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Balance
The flat, stable platforms and non constrictive u-shaped vamp help to provide the ballerina with proper balance on and off pointe. The medium sized platform also helps to create support by providing a comfortable form fit.

Protected Toes
This is one of the most important features to have in a pointe shoe. The slightly tapered box and u-shaped vamp combine to relieve pressure on the joint of the big toe. Grishko uses high quality glues to mold the toe box comfortably to the foot.

Cost and Value
I would say these pointe shoes are slightly high to average in cost. Pointe shoes can be very expensive for their type of support and reliability. Contrary to the belief that all good pointe shoes are extremely expensive, these shoes provide the proper support and quality features every ballerina needs while still being at a reasonable cost.
Pros
  • Created with non-toxic materials
  • ¾ shank
  • Medium profile
  • U-shaped vamp
  • Satin upper, suede sole
Cons

The hard shank may be difficult to break in at first

11. Capezio 197 Plie 2

11. Capezio 197 Plie 2
These Italian satin slippers will help every ballerina maximize their performance while staying comfortable and keeping their feet at ease. These dainty pointe shoes are created with side wings to help better form the shape of the shoe to your foot. This comfortable feel combined with the #3 shank provides the proper amount of support and stability.
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Quality Stitching and Materials
The satin upper is designed beautifully into the shape on the shoe while the tapered front adds a light flare and modern appeal. The soles of the shoes are made with leather and are elegantly stitched into the stain upper. Overall, these pointe shoes are created with quality materials that will hold up during any performance.

Wide Platform
For those with wider feet struggling to find a good pointe shoe, this is the answer. These shoes come equipped with a wide platform and a broad toe box for a snug fit that provides a little room for breathability.

Cost and Value
These shoes are of average cost. Cheaper than most other pointe shoes, I would say these are fairly priced. These shoes are good for beginners but do not offer the features used by professionals and this is why they are lower costing. Still a great pointe shoe, especially for those on a budget.
Pros
  • Elastic drawstring
  • #3 shank
  • Satin upper, leather sole
  • Wide platform
  • Broad toe box
Cons

Will not work for those with narrow feet

12. Bloch Serenade

12. Bloch Serenade
Bloch is a top leading brand in pointe shoes. This pointe shoe is a great example of the quality and reliability that Bloch provides. Featuring a firm shank and a longer vamp, these pointe shoes were made to help balance the bending of flexible feet. The square shaped vamp is great for dancers with squared toes and overall is recommended for intermediate ballerinas.
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Wide Platform
For those of you dancers with wide feet, this shoe is a great choice. The wide platform allows for the foot to sit better in the point shoe. Having a proper platform is critical in preventing injuries.

Aid In Flexibility
Having a flexible arch is an important feature of ballet on pointe, however too much flexibility can be damaging to the foot. The wide profile in these pointe shoes allows the dancer to be graceful and elegant on pointe without pushing the arch too far forward. This also helps to ease the pressure that can be created from this type of shoe.

Cost and Value
These pointe shoes are well priced for their features. Being cheaper than other pointe shoes, this is a great choice for those who are on a budget and are still looking for good quality pointe shoes.
Pros
  • Long vamp
  • Firm shank
  • Canvas upper
  • Wide Platform
  • Great cost
Cons
  • Made only for dancers with square shaped toes
  • May be difficult to break in at first

13. Sansha Debutante

13. Sansha Debutante
A great first pointe shoe for beginners, these shoes will adapt to the needs of the dancer. The medium vamp and flexible shank allow the dancer to easily move on and off from pointe. This pointe shoe outlines the shape of the foot while providing support and stability. A satin upper and a great price makes this pointe shoe and all around great choice for those learning to dance in pointe.
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Medium Width and Length
For those beginning to dance in pointe, finding your actual foot size takes time, trial and error. The medium vamp and width of the shoe is a great middle point to start at. It allows the dancer to move comfortably while teaching the areas that need a more form fit.

Great for Beginners
The flexible shank adapts to the movements of the dancer which is great for those just getting comfortable in their shoes. Pointe can be hard on the toes and feet which is why these shoes come with everything a beginner needs to learn the proper ways of pointe.

Cost and Value
These shoes are at a great price compared to most others. Recommended only for beginners though, this shoe provides all the basic features needed to learn the proper techniques of pointe dancing.
Pros
  • Satin upper
  • Medium vamp
  • Flexible shank
  • Medium width
  • Demi-pointe passage
Cons
  • May feel tight during first wear
  • Sizes run small

14. Grishko Maya

14. Grishko Maya
This pointe shoe is perfect for those who are really looking to enhance their dancing performance. The ¾ length shank and lighter box wings provide flexibility and comfort during each movement. Featuring a medium platform and a medium length v-shaped vamp, these shoes are a great all around size for ballet dancers. The beautiful satin upper and suede sole combine to add the final touch for a perfect pointe shoe.
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Flexibility in Movement
The v-shaped vamp may be a little difficult to master at first, but overall it is a great feature for constant movement in pointe. The strong yet flexible shank also works hard to adapt to your movements to provide support and stability.

Small Details Make A Better Shoe
These pointe shoes come equipped with cotton drawstrings that help secure the shoe onto your foot. Much better than elastic, this feature won't cut off your circulation. The shoes are also held together with innovative, strong glue that helps to keep the focus on the elegant design while also protecting the dancers feet.

Cost and Value
These pointe shoes are of average cost. Coming from a reliable brand and made with quality, these shoes will provide all the support and stability needed to perform on stage. These pointe shoes are still decently affordable while coming with features that make the shoe a top quality choice for all pointe dancers.
Pros
  • V-shaped vamped
  • Medium platform
  • ¾ shank
  • Satin upper, suede sole
  • Cotton drawstrings
Cons

May not fit well for those with narrow feet

15. Freed Of London Studio 2

15. Freed Of London Studio 2
Freed of London is a top quality brand in creating pointe shoes. Great for intermediate or professional ballet dancers, these pointe shoes prove the stability and support needed to perform successfully on any stage. Featuring a hard shank, a v-shaped vamp, wide platforms and a strong toe block, these shoes are made to help enhance each movement that the dancer makes. The wide platform and flat profile also creates a great fit for dancers with wide feet and square toes.
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Strong and Supportive
These pointe shoes are created with strong, sturdy toe blocks that help to protect the dancers toes from any pressure or damage. The wings on the side of the pointe shoes are also created to be strong, holding the dancers foot securely in place.

Great For Wide Feet
For those of you dancers out there with wide feet, you may be struggling to find a proper fitting pointe shoe. Look no further; these shoes come equipped with a wide platform and a deep vamp length that creates the perfect fit for all wide feet.

Cost and Value
These pointe shoes are priced at a very fair cost considering their brand reliability and supportive structure. If you’re truly looking to enhance your performance and don’t want to take a huge chunk of money out of your wallet, these pointe shoes are the best choice.
Pros
  • Hard shank
  • Created with natural and biodegradable materials
  • Wide platform
  • Flat profile
  • V-shaped vamp
Cons

Will not work for those with narrow feet.

Great pointe dancers need great practice. Great practice needs great pointe shoes. Great pointe shoes are constructed with the best materials for dancers–such as satin, canvas, and/or leather–and should have toe boxes or the option to add them yourself. All of the pointe shoes in this list are great choices for anyone who dreams of becoming a great dancer. They’re reliable, well-built, comfortable, and visually appealing.

If you’re ready to take your dancing to new heights, any of the shoes on this list can get you there. Don’t be afraid to try something new–and take a new pair of shoes with you.

Criteria for Evaluating the Best Pointe Shoes

Foot Alignment

Best-Pointe-Shoes-Criteria-2

Dancing in pointe takes a very skilled, strong and graceful dancer. No matter how good the dancer is though, without proper pointe shoes, dancing without injuries or discomfort is almost impossible. It’s very important for ballet dancers to find shoes that aid in their performance while also protecting the one body part that does all work; your feet.

When choosing new pointe shoes, the first most important thing you should do is check to make sure your foot fits comfortably in the shoes. When doing this it is also crucial to consider all aspects of the pointe shoes and how they align to your foot.

While the ultimate fit is important for comfort, you’ll really want to check pointe shoes in their upright position, just as if you were going to be dancing in them. Consider the toe box and the width of your feet. Your toes should be able to sit flat against the shoe without any scrunching or discomfort.

You’ll also want to make sure your foot doesn’t slide to the bottom of the shoe when on pointe. Your feet should stay secure, in place and not be too constricted inside the shoe. Pointe shoes that are too wide will cause your foot to move around and can also contribute to the back on the heel slipping on and off.

Ultimately, for the safety of your feet and the performance of the dancer, having proper fitting pointe shoes is a must. While every shoe fits different, it’s important to really take the time to get to know the shape of your foot and look for features that will help you to find correctly aligned pointe shoes. This is an aspect that is so basic and essential, yet truly completes the make of a good fitting pointe shoe.

All of the pointe shoes you’ll find on our best list feature a variety of fittings to help properly align your foot no matter what your size and shape is. Pointe shoes need to be created to the needs and fit of the dancer. You’ll find many examples of this here in our list.

 

Shank Strength and Position

For those of you ballet dancers new to the world of pointe, you may not understand what a shank is and why it is necessary to have in your pointe shoes. The shank is a layering of material(s) located inside the front toe box of the shoe as well as the bottom of the arch area. This area is vital in supporting the dancer and protecting the feet and toes. Since all of the dancers weight shifts to the front tip of the shoe, it’s important to find a shank that can support you in the correct way you need.

Shank strength and positioning varies from person to person and can be based on more of a personal level of comfort. This is a feature that is important for beginners as well as professionals, and usually changes in preference over the course of time, trial and error.

Softer shanks are a good choice for strengthening the dancers feet and building up the muscles needed for balance. They can be good for beginners to toughen up their feet and learn the ropes but too soft can also make it difficult to transition into pointe. Harder shanks provide more strength and allow the dancer to work on building resistance against the shoe. Shank that are too hard though makes it difficult to get over the box. Medium strength is the middle ground between the two and is usually recommended as a good start for beginners.

The shanks may move around in your pointe shoes if you don’t have the proper fit in the other features the shoe provides. For example, if the fit of the pointe shoes are too narrow, the shank may start to twist and change shape inside the shoe. This is not good at all and can be very harmful to the dancers toes and feet. This can also occur when the shank isn’t aligning with the arch, however, this can actually be treated by breaking in the heel of the shoe before wearing them.

We recommend to look out for all the different lengths and weight in shanks. While the true comfortable fit will come from trial and error, you can still set yourself up for success by finding shanks that seem right for you. Medium strength and length is a good place to start for beginners.

Toe Box and Vamp

Best-Pointe-Shoes-Criteria-3

The toe box is one of the most vital areas of the pointe shoe. Dancing en pointe pushes all the weight and pressure of the dancer against the toes. It takes a strong, graceful dancer and durable, reliable pointe shoes to make this type of dance complete.

The toe box works together with the shank to provide your toes with stability and support. It is important to know the shape and size of your toes in order to find proper pointe shoes. Your toe shape will not only determine the size of the toe box needed, but also the shape and length of the vamp.

There are 3 commonly used shapes in the design of the toe box area. They are: tapered, slightly, tapered and square. The shape of the toe box is going to be defined by the shape of your toes. Since most of the pressure is going to lay heavily upon them, you’ll want to make sure the area is comfortable. The toe box should provide a comfortable, snug feel in the pointe shoe while not being too tight or loose.

The vamp is the part of the pointe shoes that comes in contact with the outer surface. It is where you place most of your pressure and is meant to cover the area of the toes. The shape and length of your toes is what also determines the length and shape of the vamp. You’ll want to match the shapes; longer toes use longer vamps, shorter toes use shorter vamps, etc. This is also important for the shape too. You won’t want to choose a u-shaped vamp when you have square toes.

While you can narrow down your choices to the shape of your toes, finding your true vamp and toe box sizes are going to be based on the actual trial of each type of shoe. When buying pointe shoes online, do your best to consider these shapes and sizes as they will truly help you in finding a properly fitting pointe shoe.

 

Arch and Profile

Dancing en pointe challenges the arch of your foot and can apply a decent amount of pressure to that area. The shape of your arch is what’s used to determine the correct profile position and support needed in your pointe shoes.

Your arch is an aspect that used to determine the right size in almost all areas of your pointe shoe. Your arch helps to determine your shank strength, profile height and vamp length. Dancers focus really hard on creating a deep, flexible arch within their foot. Your arch is especially important in pointe because it is the area that is pushed the most.

When choosing pointe shoes, you’ll want to make sure that the arch of your foot fits secure and comfortably into the shoe. The arch should be compatible with the profile height and the amount of compression against the shoes. Pointe shoes that don’t fit correctly around the arch of your foot can lead to health concerns like overextending your arch and stress fractures.

While every other aspect of your pointe shoes may be perfect, having an improper profile height will be the end deal breaker. Every dancer has a different level of flexibility and that is why profile height is selective. The higher the profile, the deeper the arch; too high and you’ll be bending your foot in a direction it’s really not made to go in.

Finding the perfect profile height for your arch will take trial and error, as it will with every other aspect in a pointe shoe. An easy method to test if your pointe shoes are the correct profile height, is to try and insert your fingers underneath the throat of the shoe. If you’re able to fit your fingers underneath, your profile is too high and should be lowered.

While pointe shoes can get very specific, you’ll be able to find many examples of different profile and arch lengths through our best list. Just remember to pay deep attention to your foot shape and don’t listen to other people’s opinions because everyone’s feet are shaped differently. It’s truly important as a dancer to find the perfect pointe shoes that work for YOU.

 

Material

Best-Pointe-Shoes-Criteria-1

You may have already noticed the pattern in materials for pointe shoes based on our best list. It’s pretty easy to notice that there are two very common materials when it comes to making high quality pointe shoes; they are satin and suede. Not only are these two materials comfortable and visually attractive, but they also support the dancer and help the shoes to become longer lived.

Ballet dancing is all about the flow of movement, graceful strides and beautiful footwork. Since your feet are constantly taking on the spotlight, it’s important to wear pointe shoes that are classy and appealing to the audience. The shine of the lightly colored satin upper catches the eye in a gentle way that helps to enhance the appeal in the movements of the foot.

While canvas materials are great for regular ballet shoes, they don’t work as well for pointe shoes. Dancing en pointe is usually done for performances. While regular ballet dancers look for a long lasting, durable slipper, this isn’t as important for pointe shoes due to their short lived life. Canvas also isn’t equipped with the sleek, glossy shine that satin provides.

While the top of the shoe is important for catching the eyes of the audience, the bottom of the shoes need to be made with a durable material that prevents slipping. You don’t want too much grip though either, you need just the right amount of traction to allow for easy, graceful movements. This is where suede comes into play. Absorbing moisture and providing stability, suede soles are a great choice for every dancer.

Finally, you’ll also find that many pointe dancers have shoes with ribbons attached. While most pointe shoes do not come readily made with these ribbons, dancers will acquire them separately and stitch them into their shoes. The ribbon is usually made with the same type of glossy satin material found on the upper of the shoe. Using ribbons adds to the attraction of the shoes while also providing the dancer with a more secure fit around the calves.

These materials have been used for decades and have been proven to provide reliability to pointe dancers of all sizes and ages. The quality materials and stitching are truly vital for the creation of a strong and beautiful pointe shoe.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Q. What important features should I look for when choosing pointe shoes?

A. There are a variety of critical features you’ll want to consider and look for when choosing pointe shoes. After finding your true size and correct fit, you’ll want to consider some smaller features like cotton drawstrings and suede soles. These features help to aid in the comfort of the dancer while making the flow of movement more balanced. Important features like shank strength, vamp length and toe box are all based on preference but are completely vital in choosing a reliable pointe shoe.

Q. How do I choose the proper vamp length?

A. For those of you who don’t know what a vamp is, it is the bottom front area of the shoes that touches the floor when in pointe position. Choosing the proper length is vital to the dancers health and performance. To find that correct size you’ll need to consider a few factors like arch flexibility, compression and toe size. Typically those with longer toes will prefer a longer vamp and those with shorter toes need a short vamp. If the vamp is too long or too short though, you may find yourself coming across more concerns, so take your time to truly find the correct length.

Q. How strong of a shank should I look for when buying pointe shoes?

A. The type of shank you need to look for should correlate with the level of dancing you’re at. You also need to consider your foot strength, arch type and preferred weight and height. For beginners, you’ll probably want to start with a regular, medium sized shank. This size is strong yet still allows for flexibility which is great for those still getting comfortable in their movements. While softer shanks are good for toughening up the feet, harder shanks are good for building up strength from the resistance of the point shoes. Overall, you’ll find that truly finding the perfect shank comes from trial and error as a dancer. As you get more advanced, you may change your preferences, so most importantly, only wear what is comfortable to you.

Q. Are pointe shoes supposed to fit tight around the foot?

A. Pointe shoes are meant to be firm fitting and secure but never tight. If your pointe shoes are too tight, you’re most likely wearing the wrong size shoes. It is vital to find pointe shoes that won’t damage the dancers feet more than the dance itself already does. When trying on pointe shoes, you want to make sure your feet properly sits in the shoes with enough flexibility for movement but are not loose enough to fit your fingers in too. Also look for cotton drawstrings instead of elastic; sometimes the elastic material can constrict blood flow from the foot and this is any easy way to aid the situation.

Q. How can I protect my toes from damage while wearing pointe shoes

A. Pointe shoes that aren’t protective in the toe area can cause a variety of health concerns from ingrown toenails, stress fractures, corns and blisters. The first most important thing you can do to prevent these issues is to find a proper fitting pointe shoe. Do the research, take the time. Your feet will thank you for your thoughtful choice. For new pointe shoes, it is recommended to break in the shoes tough materials before actually stepping foot in it. Also, another good way to prevent injuries is by wrapping your toes or the back of your ankle in padded or athletic tape. If that’s too time consuming, there’s also products like gellows which are specifically made for protection around the toe area.

Q. How long do pointe shoes last? How often should I replace them?

A. You would think for the expensive pricing that these shoes are made to last long periods of time, but unfortunately that isn’t true. Pointe shoes take extreme amounts of pressure from the floor and the dancer. The weight adds up quickly and the shoes will start to show wear within a couple times of wearing them. On average, it is said that pointe shoes are only good to wear for less than 20 hours. If you dance for short periods of time, you can extend the shoes life to a few months but if you are a very active of professional dancer, your shoes are only going to last about 12 hours or one week.

Q. Can pointe shoes be customized to properly fit your feet?

A. At a professional level it is recommended that dancers get custom fitted pointe shoes. Unfortunately this is something that cannot be done online through Amazon. To get custom fitted pointe shoes, you’ll have to find a local retailer that is able to tailor the shoes to your specific needs. It is also recommended that when going to purchase new dance shoes, you should have your instructor or someone who is knowledgeable about ballet to help you find the proper fit.

Q. How can I find my correct size in pointe shoes?

A. Finding your correct size in pointe shoes isn’t as easy as remembering your regular shoe size number. A proper fitting pointe shoe should secure the foot in place of the shoe without feeling too tight or constricting. Since pointe shoes come in a variety of special sizes, you’re going to want to do some measuring. A couple things to check before searching for pointe shoes are the shape of your toes, the width of your feet and the intensity of the arch. These areas will help you find a shoe with a more customized fit for a better performance.

Q. Are ribbons necessary to have in pointe shoes?

A. Ribbons are more of an aesthetic and personal choice. Pointe shoes do not come with attached ribbons so it’s up to the dancer to add any of these extra features. Ribbons can add more focus to your footwork while dancing and also may help better secure the foot in the shoe. It’s important when adding any materials to the shoe that you make sure it is sown in away that doesn’t damage the original pointe shoe.

Sources

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