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Noel

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DD, second pair of pointe shoes, felt great in store, now that she's wearing them they are rubbing too much on the back of her heel, blistering.

Entirely possible that she has had a growth spurt since purchasing, she tends to as school starts every year. Also entirely possible that the switch to a different shoe, recommended by her teachers, has resulted in a shoe that is just a poor fit once she's really dancing in the shoes.

I think that the heel may be too "deep". Prior shoe was the new Capezio donatella, current shoe is the bloch European Balance. No issues with fit of donatella, the shank was deemed too stiff by her teachers and the toe box died very quickly. No blisters, perfectly comfortable the whole time she wore them, just frustration at not being able to adequately break them sufficiently for her flexible foot.

Any ideas. I'm wanting experienced voices about what can tend to make the back of the heel blister?
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wvpointe

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Heel blisters usually do equal too short shoes. You can see if loosening the draw string helps at all. There is actually a difference in the heel of the European Balance (and other Bloch shoes). It is actually extra heel seam padding which sounds like it would help heels, but maybe not your kiddo. It is good for people with "disappearing heels" who have trouble with the heel of their pointe shoes sliding off. Pointe shoes are so specific to each individual foot it is a complete learning curve to figure them out for everyone. My daughter had quite the journey finding her perfect pair of soft shanked shoes which led me to study up on pointe shoes like I was writing a thesis! Lol! I would recommend going shoe shopping again and try not only a large size Bloch European Balance, but also anything they have that they feel is soft shanked and will fit her foot.
Soft shoes my daughter tried were Capezio Tiffany, Mirella Whispers and Suffolk Solo Prequels. These, of course, may not be shoes that work for your daughter at all, but they are considered "soft" shoes. Sometimes just having some styles to ask to try gets the fitters looking harder I have found. In the end my daughter's "Cinderella shoe" was the Bloch European Balance [wink]. But she went through SEVEN brands/styles until she found them. I could think of that as roughly seven hundred down the drain, but I think of how much she may save on injuries/podiatrist fees in the future. I'm a glass half full kinda gal
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PasDeChatMom

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Reply with quote  #3 
The only time my daughter has had a heel blister in her 2 years en pointe has been when she's had a growth spurt. Sometimes it isn't even a big one and aside from the heel blister she doesn't have discomfort. When she is up on pointe are you able to pinch any material on the heels? I'm not a fitter but that's how my daughter knows it is a length issue vs something else. Good luck!
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Noel

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wvpointe I am only on the second sentence but I just had to say thank you a million times! Thank you. This is the kind of experience and knowledge I was so hoping to benefit from. Back to reading, but truly, thank you !

Edited to add: Her teacher attempted to loosen,then ultimately completely removed the draw string, still too tight. Had DD try on her donatellas ( dead box and all) (which still fit when she purchased these new shoes) and immediately she announced, these are too small now mom, I can get them on, but too small. So, even with the dead box that gave her a little extra room by default, I think it's clear her foot has grown.

In my research last night I read that once en pointe you should be able to grab 1/4 at the heel easily, if not, too tight, if you can stick a finger between the heel and the shoe, too big. I could grab 1/4 at the satin of the shoe itself, but the part where the drawstring is (the seam?) had absolutely no room, tight as a drum and digging in to her heel a little.

I am in complete agreement that this is the money you spend. DD's teachers, I trust them fully, and I asked twice, they assured me, no this is not a kid who is not grounded in the reality that pointe is not always 100 % comfortable rainbows and unicorns, this is not the right fit. They felt bad that we were immediately going to have to buy a new pair, but it's a small price to pay when you consider that the alternative is her growing and developing body having a problem.

I feel much more informed now, particularly about the heel seam issue you mentioned. I do think this was probably 60 % the heal seam (as the shoe would break in further and the box would form to her a little more under her body weight and she likely would have been able to work through these very small blisters) and 40 % she just grew again.

Unfortunately, although I am still so far into the newbie ballet mom arena I barely have an educated opinion, I know my daughter. From what I read I think she will "kill" boxes quickly and I think we're going to be needing new shoes, likely, every month for a while.

Thank you !
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Noel

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Thank you PasDeChatMom ! Funny, I edited my response above to add that I read about that last night. I'll copy and past my comment about that here. Am I understanding how you pinch and her results correctly?

In my research last night I read that once en pointe you should be able to grab 1/4 at the heel easily, if not, too tight, if you can stick a finger between the heel and the shoe, too big. I could grab 1/4 at the satin of the shoe itself, but the part where the drawstring is (the seam?) had absolutely no room, tight as a drum and digging in to her heel a little.

Also, great to hear another mom's description of when blisters happen. So many people are quick to tell me, well, it's pointe, blisters come with the territory, and while I'm sure a certain amount of blisters will happen, this seemed quite straight forward, not a blister to ignore, particularly not with new shoes, and particularly considering that, as a novice, she really is not wearing them enough to create a blister from sheer usage time if that makes sense.
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Noel

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Reply with quote  #6 
Would anyone else reading this be willing to share their opinions in general about what they have learned through their child's pointe shoe fit and selection. Knowing about the bloch seam was incredibly helpful. I'm a sponge, lol, help me soak it up !

I found Russian Pointe's articles very helpful. Ironic because DD really is not a RP girl, they are simply too narrow for her forefoot, but their articles were great. There was a great GM online article as well, ironic again, because as a novice she is forbidden from wearing those for now, but again, good info.
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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #7 
Hi Noel - my dd's experience is one I hope you do not have.  She has the skinniest heel I've ever seen (mine are too, but her's are even more).  We tried every shoe available in Phoenix and ten years ago, there weren't that many.  When she was 14, we made an appointment at the Freed store in Long Island and went to NYC a few days before her SI started.  It changed everything to have shoes that fit right.  Unfortunately, it meant paying for custom shoes and the hassles that come with trying to get the correct makers.  By then, her feet had stopped growing so we could order in bulk, which we did, but it was very stressful.  I would order 12 or so direct from London - takes up to 6 months and then order what we could get from the Long Island store.  The ladies there (especially Brenda) were amazing and would even me call when one of her makers came in.  

I hope that isn't going to happen with your dd.  It sounds like she grew to me, and I hope that's what it is.  I wouldn't recommend buying custom Freeds while kids' feet are still growing if you can help it. Not sure if you live somewhere with lots of choices, but I hope you do!!
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Noel

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Thank you, ballerinamom13 ! I believe DD will be able to find a shoe since the donatella was literally like Cinderellas glass slipper for an entire month. I'm thinking worst case scenario is that we buy them again and she learns (alongside her teachers) to just work work work work work that shank to fit her curves properly. From what I've seen some people take razor blades to adjust those puppies [smile]

Seriously, though, as a PT who makes custom orthotics, if need be will pay for custom shoes. We are not wealthy, and it would sting, but it would not sit well with me to have DD not have shoes that fit properly. The stress alone of knowing she was hurting to make do would keep me up at night. [wink]
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pirouettemom

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Reply with quote  #9 
I think Blochs have a cupped heel - which can lead to blisters for some dancers. Also Blochs have gel in the tip of the shoe, which can make it more difficult to get a really good fit.
How has she been breaking in her shoes so far? Just working in the shoes alone doesn't always work to get the shanks to conform to the arch. I looked up the Donatella shoe and it is supposedly has a skivved shank so it should bend more easily and it is supposed to be a softer shoe. I would recommend watching Lisa Howell's video on breaking in pointe shoes:

I wouldn't recommend custom shoes if her foot is still growing. Russian Pointes actually can run quite wide depending on style and width (think they go up to width 6x), so there is likely a style that would fit your dd. They are super hard compared to Blochs though.
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wvpointe

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Reply with quote  #10 
I totally forgot about that little spongy cushion thing in the to pirouettemom! My daughter always rips those suckers right out! That would give her a little bit of extra room Noel as a quick relief for the tightness. But still go on the new shoe search! If the Capezio's were feeling good they may be able to order same shoe with a softer shank. Try every Capezio style they have in the store too just in case she might find that feels comfortable but flexs better for her.
I learned a ton about pointe shoes on Ballet Talk for dancers. Clara 76 on that site is a genius! I watched YouTube videos about pointe shoes too. How they are made, how they are fit, etc. And asking questions at pointe shoes fittings and not letting fitters intimidate me or make my daughter feel rushed!
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dave9988

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noel
DD, second pair of pointe shoes, felt great in store, now that she's wearing them they are rubbing too much on the back of her heel, blistering.

Entirely possible that she has had a growth spurt since purchasing, she tends to as school starts every year. Also entirely possible that the switch to a different shoe, recommended by her teachers, has resulted in a shoe that is just a poor fit once she's really dancing in the shoes.

I think that the heel may be too "deep". Prior shoe was the new Capezio donatella, current shoe is the bloch European Balance. No issues with fit of donatella, the shank was deemed too stiff by her teachers and the toe box died very quickly. No blisters, perfectly comfortable the whole time she wore them, just frustration at not being able to adequately break them sufficiently for her flexible foot.

Any ideas. I'm wanting experienced voices about what can tend to make the back of the heel blister?


DD11 was complaining her almost new Blochs (think they were Euro Balance) were really digging into her achilles.  She has been growing like a weed, but her foot growth has slowed, and they really didn't look small, so we were stumped.

Drove 4 hours to a favorite dance store, to check their opinion.

They agreed that the shoe appeared to be sized correctly, but noted that the elastic drawstring seemed very tight.  And never really loosened, despite efforts.  They pulled out a new shoe - same model and size - and it didn't have the drawstring issue.

They offered to replace the drawstring (the shoes were almost new), but I didn't want to take the chance.  Remember, we had driven 4 hours, and were going back home that afternoon.  We also could have simply bought that brand new pair of the same make and model ... but didn't want to take that chance, either.  Was it something with how we (she) sewed the elastic?  Something odd with the shoe itself (simply a bad pair)?  Is there somehow a whole batch of bad shoes?

Anyway, I simply asked if we walked in with no shoes, what would they put her in.  She walked out with a beautiful pair of Suffolk Spotlights that are more comfortable for her and look far better on her feet than those Blochs ever did.  DD14 is in Suffolk Stellars, so I guess for now we're a Suffolk family.
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Noel

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Reply with quote  #12 
Thank you, pirouttemom. DD has been allowing her teachers to manually work the shank to their discretion and otherwise just working in the shoes by rolling up and down at the barre.

I'm going to watch this video w/ DD now. Thank you for sharing it.

wvpointe, yes ! Very proud of DD today. The store was a mad house and the fitter was definitely rushed, but DD politely held her ground. I was a bit surprised that he brought out the bloch again in a different size. He thought that perhaps her shoe was too narrow. But she held her ground telling him that she could feel the heel pressing against where her blisters were, she redirected him by saying that she was more comfortable in the donatella shoe. Surprisingly he did not bring out any capezios (they had plenty of them there).

She tried a Grishko (sp), a Mirella, Russian pointe, and finally a Suffolk. She felt comfortable in the Suffolk Solo Standard. She wants to try crossing the elastics rather than just one elastic. Before I sew does anyone have any suggestions on that?

I feel like it is likely this won't be the last stop, but hopeful that maybe this will work out as this shoe looked like it fit very similarly (on the outside) to the donatella. I don't think that DD alone is experienced enough to truly know if the shank in this shoe is better, but the fitter felt that it was a good fit for her. Had her hold her foot in point and flexed the shoe to fit her arch and was pleased.

I have a lot to learn, as does DD, but at least we've got this heel business worked out for the time being.
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PasDeChatMom

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Reply with quote  #13 
Check with her ballet teacher to see if she is okay with the criss-crossed elastics, some may have a preference. My daughter wears hers criss-crossed as it gives her hyper flexible feet more support. 

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Noel

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Thank you, PasDeChatsMom. It was her teacher who suggested it in the first place so I think we're good. I feel as though, looking at her foot in this shoe, she will benefit from the crossed elastics.

I'm very curious about anyone's observations about the Suffolk brand. Trying to learn more about them.
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Noel

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Reply with quote  #15 
Also... do I communicate with the original fitter about this shoe fail? Do they do anything when the fit of the shoe itself is a problem, when you've paid them to do a proper fitting? Is this just something you let go or should you speak up? At this point I am thinking the path of least resistance is to just wait until these Suffolks have died and let her know when DD needs new shoes. We had to drive a considerable distance to have her fitting today as this was the only store open on Sunday, so the original fitter of the blochs has no way of knowing that the shoes were a poor fit. We purchased on Aug. 4 and by Aug 15 she was in blisters. She had only worn them Aug. 14 and 15.
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PasDeChatMom

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Reply with quote  #16 
My daughter has been in Suffolks for the last few months (Stellar) and she loves them. She's worn a lot of shoes over the past two years as her feet have grown and changed but she's finding that she can get about 20 hours out of a pair, they look good on her, and the fit is nice.
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #17 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noel
Thank you, PasDeChatsMom. It was her teacher who suggested it in the first place so I think we're good. I feel as though, looking at her foot in this shoe, she will benefit from the crossed elastics.

I'm very curious about anyone's observations about the Suffolk brand. Trying to learn more about them.


What specifically would you like to know?  

My dd has been wearing Suffolks for years.  She loves them.  The handful of times she went with something else because she was in a pinch she was right back to the Suffolks again. 

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heikedog

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Reply with quote  #18 
DD12 has been wearing Suffolk Stellars for about nine months, after a frustrating experience with Freeds and retired makers.  She loved the Freeds, but they died almost instantly despite gallons of jet glue and her favorite maker retired.  Suffolks, for her, are the next best thing.  She started out with a stock Suffolk Stellar with a light shank and is now in a custom shoe built on the Stellar last with a standard shank.  Suffolk custom shoes are $116 versus $102 for the stock shoe ... just an FYI if you need to make tweaks to the shoes for a perfect fit.  8-10 weeks delivery time.
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beetle1

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Reply with quote  #19 
You might be able to save shoes that become a bit too tight. You can look it up - not sure what it's called to do this- but you clip/cut the heel on the seam where it is centered and then "thread it" so it has some give but won't come apart. My DD often even likes this better the shoes tend to fit perfect then especially if she is in between sizes.
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Noel

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heidi459 I was wondering about characteristics. Since we got a poor fitting last time the more I know (therefore the more DD knows) the better. For example, now that I know about the heel issues if a shoe is notorious for a deep heel "cup" or similar we will know to analyze that fit with a lot more scrutiny.

Wondering things like, great shoe but "dies" quickly in dancers with "xyz" characteristics. Or, great shoe for those with very flexible feet or great shoe for those with not great flexibility. I am so new that even my google searches aren't containing great key words and I just wind up with a lot of advertisements.

I am starting to become fluent in the parts of the shoe, the vamp, the shank, the profile.
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Noel

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Reply with quote  #21 
heikedog, that is outstanding ! Once her foot growth appears to level (for the time being it will level then spurt often based on her older sibling) custom is definitely something I would consider. Good to hear others that like the brand. I'm glad you said what you did as I was scouring BT4D last night and most of the posts on the everything suffolk thread were complaints about inability to find the shoe in the style and specifics they were looking for.
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noel
heidi459 I was wondering about characteristics. Since we got a poor fitting last time the more I know (therefore the more DD knows) the better. For example, now that I know about the heel issues if a shoe is notorious for a deep heel "cup" or similar we will know to analyze that fit with a lot more scrutiny.

Wondering things like, great shoe but "dies" quickly in dancers with "xyz" characteristics. Or, great shoe for those with very flexible feet or great shoe for those with not great flexibility. I am so new that even my google searches aren't containing great key words and I just wind up with a lot of advertisements.

I am starting to become fluent in the parts of the shoe, the vamp, the shank, the profile.


For each mfg, or course, there are differences by model.  Well, then there's Freed's.  Aren't those thoe ones who folks say differ by "maker" (the individual who makes the shoe stamps their code on the shoe).

I can tell you this ... my DD14 has gone from Suffolk Prequel to Suffolk Stellars.  I believe they both have relatively high wings, but the Stellars aren't as "bulgy" over the toes.  The store is customizing with a couple of tacks and also some vulcanite, for added stiffness and durability.  Oh, and I think she might also have an extra liner on the footbed of one shoe.

My DD11 is now in Suffolk Spotlights.  A lot less blocky than the Blochs; they look a lot better, and she has no trouble getting on the box.  There was another brand where she didn't quite get over on the box.  (Disclaimer ... I hope I have these models correct, but who knows).

The thing is ... as dancers get stronger, they change shoes.  Never mind growth, which can also change foot shape.  So DD14 is probably set for a little while, but who knows with DD11.
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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #23 
For each mfg, or course, there are differences by model.  Well, then there's Freed's.  Aren't those thoe ones who folks say differ by "maker" (the individual who makes the shoe stamps their code on the shoe).


Yes, they do differ.  DD has a thin, tapered foot with a very thin heel.  There were 3 makers that fit her best.  Some makers are better for wide feet, despite being able to pick from a X to XXX (being the widest).  It sounds kind of silly, but there really are differences in the shank strength and the way they fit.  But - like I said, I wouldn't buy Freeds until feet have stopped growing and the kid has been on pointe for a few years.  Even if someone's foot has stopped growing, the need for different shoes continues as the foot gets stronger and "reforms".
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pirouettemom

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Reply with quote  #24 
I think you are overreacting a bit to your dd's "poor fitting". Blisters, while unpleasant, aren't unheard of. You can get blisters after wearing a pair of pointe shoes just once. Even professional dancers who get custom shoes sometimes get blisters. You can communicate your feelings to the fitter - but know this is somewhat a process of trial and error. Sometimes a shoe may fit great at the store but not be as great when dancing.
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Noel

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Reply with quote  #25 
Yes, I understand your point pirouettemom. I think my reaction is based on the fact that her teachers and the fitter yesterday were all in agreement that this shoe is just too small for her. She can squeeze into it, but without dancing she didn't realize just how little room for moving there was. She is new to pointe and the fitter knows this. It's possible she grew over the course of 10 days...

I am a runner so I do account for blisters as a part of activity, I understand that.
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