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Bonbonmama

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Reply with quote  #1 
Ok, so DD (13) has been en pointe technically for almost 2yrs now (she got the coveted "you can begin pointe work" letter in Feb 2013, had a total of 5 or 6 lessons that spring which consisted of slow rises at the barre for 10-15min, only did a couple of privates during the fall and then honestly began actual pointe classes in Feb 2014). She has come a long way.
Her first pair of pointes were NOT fitted well for her feet. They FIT, they were just wrong for her feet and ability, but her SO/AD had a very strong preference for these shoes, so much so that all the girls starting pointe that year except 2(!) were fit in that exact shoe.... And the two that weren't, was because they didn't have their size in stock (I was there for their fitting and heard this myself!). These shoes were significantly hindering my DD.
So when we switched studios last year for various reasons, one of the first things we did was get fitted for new shoes as she was now free to wear whatever worked for her! She happily wore the new shoes (Grishkos) and was very happy with them. When she killed those, we ordered a new pair online (we live a min 2hr car drive from reputable fitters, besides for the local one at her former ballet studio which we will NOT go to). She was fine with the new shoes but did say they didn't feel as good as the first pair. Summer happened, and they didn't do pointe work for several weeks. When they were scheduled to start, I had her collect all her stuff, she put on her shoes and declared they absolutely no longer worked for her. Off to the fitter we went the next morning, luckily I had the day off.
Was fitted in a completely different shoe (freed). She was happy with them, I thought they looked odd from the front but she liked them. Of course she managed to get fit into an obscure maker who doesn't take special orders and was impossible to find..! So, when they started getting soft, up to the fitter we went for a "plan B" shoe as we couldn't find her Freeds anywhere. She was fitted in Suffolks and really liked them, liked them better than the Freeds. "Best shoes ever, so perfect". Killed those last month. I had to go to the city the fitter is in for another reason and bought her a new pair. Still super happy with the shoes.
Now we had reason to go to another, bigger, city with another fitter and since she now definitely needs at least two pairs in rotation, we went to check out what else might be a good fit. The closest fitter (2hrs) is very good but has a limited selection.
She was fitted in a different shoe altogether, a Mirella. It's a little cushy inside the box which DD really liked since she wears no padding. She now declared these the best shoes ever, and likes them even more than the Suffolks.
So now she has two pairs of new, well fitting, comfortable pointes to rotate.
This weekend, she went to a third fitter (again, just to try on different options) and the fitter there put her in yet another shoe, declaring that the Mirellas were too soft for her. So now she has a third pair, this time Russian Pointes, to add to the rotation. She says they are a lot harder than her other shoes and is a little hesitant to work in them, I personally can't wait to see how it goes today or tomorrow when she tries them in class. I'm going to be firm that no matter what, she will need to rotate these three pairs evenly regardless of what she likes, lol!!

I guess my question or invitation to commiserate is whether it's "normal" for them to find "the" shoe, be super happy with it, then as soon as something else comes along, this is now "the" shoe..? [wink] I'm OK with her having changing needs etc but I also want to preserve my pocketbook a little and I think it wouldn't be unreasonable for me to ask that she wears these three pairs in an even rotation so as to not favor one pair over the others and wear it out faster..?? She isn't going through pairs super fast by any means, I know several girls who are far worse, but when other girls/parents tell me how they are on their second pair of shoes in the same time frame.... I just need to remind myself that it could be worse, lol!

And yes, I read on BTFD and will post pics of all these for the experts there eventually, as I really value their input. [smile]
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Bonbonmama

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Reply with quote  #2 
I should probably mention that she does pointe sometimes twice/wk but most often 4 times/wk, class ranging from only barre en pointe to the whole 90min technique class en pointe. So I definitely know she gets decent wear out of her shoes for the time she is using them. They would last a lot longer if they only did a 20-30min barre class/wk, lol!
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iceberg*lover

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Reply with quote  #3 
I think it is totally reasonable to ask her to rotate her shoes. My dd, a few years ago, was killing her shoes really quickly. It was awful. She keeps all her old shoes, and this fall went through the pile and discovered several pairs that still had life. So it's interesting how their perception of what works or what doesn't can shift.

My dd was fit in freeds2.5 yard ago in an obscure maker but they are still her fave. We have gone through a lot of trail back up shoes. Her teacher actually doesn't feel that they are perfect for her. So I guess the hunt never ends.
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Psmom

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Reply with quote  #4 
Question-is it her choice not to use any kind of padding?
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tendumom

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This is totally normal. Not only are they learning what really works for them, their needs continue to change.. for a time.  And, no matter how many pairs they have in rotation, they will gravitate toward the favorite, even if it is the same exact style as the others! 

For one reason or another, my kid usually went through shoes faster than anyone else. Sometimes it was simply because they were dead, sometimes it was because the teacher would tell her the shoes were no longer working for her. We went through the latter far too many times. She'd come home with a new pair, and even have it checked by the teacher who would say "Yes! Those are MUCH better" only for the same teacher to say differently not much later. Very frustrating. As an aside, dd does not have an ideal foot for pointework. 

Fast forward a few years. She is much stronger and has worked very hard at improving her feet/ankles. She is at a new school were no one knows any of that. A retired NYCB principal was commenting on someone's amazing feet and the issues that person was having, turned to dd and said "Us average feet dancers need to stick together." Average feet? Dd took that as the highest compliment! LOL. But I digress..

Since the fall of 2014, she's only been wearing Freeds, either classics or wing blocks. Over time, we've come up with a short list of makers that work well for her and an even shorter list of her 2 absolute favorites. Her top choice is allegedly impossible to get. Yet, because I called the Freed warehouse in NY regularly, she's always had a pair or two around. This summer, I hit the motherlode. I called one day and they had 15 pairs of shoes of her top 2 favorites. I bought them all, hoping they would last through December. It's Feb and we are still using that stock! Have finally figured out that she needs 2 new pairs a month. She had been rotating up to 6 pairs, but currently only rotates 2 or 3 pairs. She jet glues them often and uses spray shellac inside the box occasionally. It makes a huge difference. Also, her wing blocks last longer than the classics. She is en pointe 7 days a week between classes and rehearsals. She takes a minimum of one 90 min technique class and one 60 min pointe or rep/variations or pas class 6 days a week. Several days a week, she takes an additional technique class that she either does en pointe or  just does from center on en pointe.  

Working with all these different makers is much like wearing different styles of shoes. If she knows she will be doing a variation or rep piece with a lot of turns, she might wear a certain maker's shoe. If she's going to be doing hops en pointe, she might wear yet a different maker. 

Oh, also dd will keep dead shoes for a while. She's found that by letting them dry thoroughly over a longer period of time, she can get a few more wears out of them.

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Ktyyyyyyy

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Reply with quote  #6 
We have been fairly fortunate with dd and pointe shoes. Her first pair at age 10 were Suffolk Solos. They were definitely not the right shoe for dd's feet, but at the time they were literally the only pair in the store that were small enough. DD only wore a size 13.5 street shoe at the time. Those shoes were never comfortable, but dd didn't know any better. She wore them for 8 months until she finally outgrew them. The shoes never died because I think she just wasn't able to work them properly. Next dd wore Grishko 2007's. I remember her trying them on in the store. She thought she had found the perfect shoe because it was just so much better than the Suffolks. She wore 2007's for two years. They worked really well for her, but when she started working with a different ballet teacher, he suggested that she try a different shoe. DD was reluctant at first. She was fitted into Russian Pointe Rubins. They look really good on dd's feet, much better than the Grishkos. They are definitely a harder shoe, but dd is used to them now and loves them. She gets about two to three weeks out of a pair, but she is dancing approximately 10 hours a week en pointe. Fortunately we are always able to find dd's shoe in stock.
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Bonbonmama

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Reply with quote  #7 
Yup. She uses a couple of patches of moleskin on a few "rubby" parts of her toes and in some shoes a spacer (in some she doesn't feel she needs it). She doesn't like padding because she feels it's too bulky and she can't feel the floor, but she is enjoying the small squishy part inside the Mirella box. [wink]

That's funny iceberg lover, in one of the stores they actually had her put on the same shoes (same size, everything) that she already had at home and has deemed no longer worked for her (the Grishkos). I have since found out via BTFD that apparently they changed the 2007 somehow, so that could explain it. Staying clear of those for now, she went home and tried her old pair (barely used) again and they still didn't work for her at all whereas the ones in the store were solidly in the "maybe pile"..!
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JojosDanceMom

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Reply with quote  #8 
It's so funny that you posted this today because my DD and I were laughing about this on Saturday when we went to get her new pointe shoes.  When she first started pointe at age 10 she was fit in a pair of Capezios that she absolutely hated from day one.  She tried other pairs before she finally tried the Grishko 2007s and deemed them "her shoe".  I remember that day, she was so excited to have finally found them!  Fast forward a couple of pointe shoe fittings later and, although she still liked her 2007's she wanted to try something new.  I mean, how could she know for sure that they were really "her shoe" when there were so many other options that she hadn't tried.  Well, as it turned out she couldn't know for sure, because she absolutely fell in love with the Russian Pointe Entrada.  For several fittings after that she would go back and forth between the 2007s ant the Entradas.  That was until we visited the Grishko store in NYC a couple of years ago and they fit her in the Nova's.  Yet another perfect shoe to add to the rotation.  For the last couple of years the Nova would be her go to shoe... until Saturday afternoon, when she decided that she'd like to try something different.  I seriously think it was for no other reason than for the joy she gets out of trying on new pointe shoes (at 16 she still loves it!).  LOL  Well, she ended up leaving with a brand new shoe... for her... the Suffolk Spotlight.  My DD doesn't do half as much pointe as yours (of the 20+ hours a week of dance that she does only two 45 minute classes are pointe... another 5 hours are ballet, but only technique), so her shoes last quite a while, but the desire to try new shoes has not subsided in the 5 years she's been en pointe.  She's usually gotten all she can out of the pairs she has before I'll replace them, but it is not unheard of for her to have a few different shoes in the mix.  lol  She would love to try Freeds at some point, but our local store doesn't carry them.  Oh, and she doesn't like padding in her shoes either, for the same reason you said your DD doesn't like it.  She's settled on the Pro Pads because there is just a little bit of gel cushion on the top and the part that goes under her foot is just the cloth liner to hold it on. 
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cynmckee

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Reply with quote  #9 
We are being sent back to "the store" this month too.  DD has been in Grishko for the last couple of years.  She loves her shoes and they fit her great, but for whatever reason Grishko is frowned upon at this studio.   They want her in Freeds or Mirella.  I am kind of sad because, I can't believe I am going to tell this here...but...   Dd's feet aren't growing anymore so I have been buying her shoes off of ebay...at about half the price.  They have been brand new in the box shoes.  We have hit on a couple of great sources and since she is burning through these shoes every month, this has been a cost saver.  Freeds are a little pricey if you are going to blow them out that often.  I know....whaa, whaa whaa from you ballet moms, but she is a comp kid and that is pricey enough.
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #10 
I hear you, cynmckee! I did the same. I bought shoes where ever I could find them at a discount, including Ebay. 

When I bought dd those 15 pairs this summer, I had an extra discount. There's a 20% discount at Freed for items bought between sometime in May and Aug 30 for dancers attending an ABT intensive. I suspect there may be for other intensives as well. The other way I get the Freed classics for a better price is through sales at All About Dance. They have free shipping and free returns, so when they have a sale, I buy a bunch of shoes. It's a game of chance as you cannot specify the maker. When I'm lucky, they send a bunch of makers. It's been another way dd has been able to try on a variety of makers. She can tell pretty quickly now if a shoe will work or not. 

If she does go with Freeds or Mirella, she'll need to make sure she takes care of them well to get the most life out of them... jet glue and spay shellac have helped a great deal!
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Mom2Girls

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Reply with quote  #11 
This thread scares me. 

DD11 started pointe in September. Loved the first pair she tried on--and they aren't elusive or expensive--Bloch Suprimas. She has had zero pain since the first 1-2 classes which gave her a blister or two. No bleeding, much to her dismay as the woman at the shop had told her she wasn't a real ballerina until her feet bled. They are only up an hour a week (half at barre, half not) so hers are still going strong. I thought this meant we had hit the jackpot and she will always be this easy, but this thread makes me afraid for what may come! 
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cynmckee

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tendumom
I hear you, cynmckee! I did the same. I bought shoes where ever I could find them at a discount, including Ebay. 

When I bought dd those 15 pairs this summer, I had an extra discount. There's a 20% discount at Freed for items bought between sometime in May and Aug 30 for dancers attending an ABT intensive. I suspect there may be for other intensives as well. The other way I get the Freed classics for a better price is through sales at All About Dance. They have free shipping and free returns, so when they have a sale, I buy a bunch of shoes. It's a game of chance as you cannot specify the maker. When I'm lucky, they send a bunch of makers. It's been another way dd has been able to try on a variety of makers. She can tell pretty quickly now if a shoe will work or not. 

If she does go with Freeds or Mirella, she'll need to make sure she takes care of them well to get the most life out of them... jet glue and spay shellac have helped a great deal!


I don't 100% get the makers thing.  How may makers are there?  Are the shoes that different between makers?  If I go into a store and buy can I specify the maker?  This seems a little scary for me.
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cynmckee

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom2Girls
This thread scares me. 

DD11 started pointe in September. Loved the first pair she tried on--and they aren't elusive or expensive--Bloch Suprimas. She has had zero pain since the first 1-2 classes which gave her a blister or two. No bleeding, much to her dismay as the woman at the shop had told her she wasn't a real ballerina until her feet bled. They are only up an hour a week (half at barre, half not) so hers are still going strong. I thought this meant we had hit the jackpot and she will always be this easy, but this thread makes me afraid for what may come! 


Don't wish for bleeding for sure.  DD's feet are nasty, nasty, nasty.  Last month she put on the shoes without the pads because she thought they were only going to run through the piece a couple of times.  She was wrong and her feet were a blistered bloody mess when she was done.    Told her I wanted to feel bad for her but she had done it to herself.  I don't think she will make that mistake again.
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Mom2Girls

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cynmckee
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom2Girls
This thread scares me. 

DD11 started pointe in September. Loved the first pair she tried on--and they aren't elusive or expensive--Bloch Suprimas. She has had zero pain since the first 1-2 classes which gave her a blister or two. No bleeding, much to her dismay as the woman at the shop had told her she wasn't a real ballerina until her feet bled. They are only up an hour a week (half at barre, half not) so hers are still going strong. I thought this meant we had hit the jackpot and she will always be this easy, but this thread makes me afraid for what may come! 


Don't wish for bleeding for sure.  DD's feet are nasty, nasty, nasty.  Last month she put on the shoes without the pads because she thought they were only going to run through the piece a couple of times.  She was wrong and her feet were a blistered bloody mess when she was done.    Told her I wanted to feel bad for her but she had done it to herself.  I don't think she will make that mistake again.


Yuck! No, I definitely don't! She would have liked a smidgen of blood, though. [rofl] I'm sure it's in her future when she starts doing it more, but for now, her feet are just as pretty as ever (which is another disappointment for her. Crazy kid.)
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happytappyfeet

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Reply with quote  #15 
I never knew about the maker thing and I've been buying point shoes for eight years now, and both DDs have used Freeds over the years. It was never mentioned by the DT, SO or where they go to get their shoes.

DD14 definitely goes through more shoes than DD17, even though DD17 does WAY more pointe. I realized a couple of things were going on. First of all, DD13 DOESN'T AIR THEM OUT! I finally made her pay for a replacement pair to teach her a lesson. She has definitely improved since then. Secondly, I realized that she also likes shoes brand new and hard. Once they start to break it, she doesn't like the feel anymore.

As for switching brands, just when I think one of them has settled into a brand, they decide to try something new, and off to the fitter we go. It would be so nice to just order them online.

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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #16 
Dd has been en pointe from age 11 and will be 18 this year. I think she has only bled once or twice. I remember once it was from a blister. 

Anyway, all hand made shoes are made by different people. A maker is a shoemaker. [smile] Even Grishko has makers, but they don't advertise them. If a dancer has worn, say Grishko 2007s for a while, they may notice some differences, usually slight, between the shoes. You can see who made a Grishko shoe by lifting up the casing on the inside and seeing some handwritten letters in Russian. 

Not all Freeds styles have such a wide variety of makers. I believe all of their shoemakers make Classics, but not all make other versions. The classics are the original Freed shoe. There used to be a list on the Freed of London site that indicated each maker, the general shape of the box (square, tapered or in between) and a few other details. I can't find it anymore. They do have a section where you can "meet" each maker and see their photo, how long they've been making shoes, and a few personal details. There are truly enough variations that a Freed shoe of some sort will work for just about anyone, especially once you add in customization which pro companies will do. The problem is that your local store will only get a random selection of shoes because there are so many variations on the theme. Most dancers who wear classics will eventually find that there are a number of makers that will work for them. 
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom2Girls
This thread scares me. 

DD11 started pointe in September. Loved the first pair she tried on--and they aren't elusive or expensive--Bloch Suprimas. She has had zero pain since the first 1-2 classes which gave her a blister or two. No bleeding, much to her dismay as the woman at the shop had told her she wasn't a real ballerina until her feet bled. They are only up an hour a week (half at barre, half not) so hers are still going strong. I thought this meant we had hit the jackpot and she will always be this easy, but this thread makes me afraid for what may come! 


Well, maybe I can make you feel better [smile]

DD has always been an easy fit and happy with whatever we could find for her if what she wore before wasn't in stock and we had to go with something else until the next time.  The new studio though had very particular ideas about pointe shoes so she made a switch to Suffolks in September at their insistence and is still using that same brand/style 6 pairs later.  She loves them and her teacher loves the way they look on her.  So it's a win win.  

As an aside, they are very much discouraged from wearing any kind of pads now and instead tape their toes. Took her a bit to get used to but she will not go back to any kind of pad now. Seems she really likes to feel the floor... and thinks her dancing has improved because of it.
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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #18 
Freed gives discounts to kids enrolled in many Summer Intensives.  I've always taken full advantage.  Thank GOD I don't have to buy them anymore!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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judie

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Reply with quote  #19 
I keep hearing all of the mistresses lamenting over Gainor Mindens (?)  do they nor make them anymore?

DD11 has Suffolk.  The only ones that would really work with her finger toes.  DD16 has gone from the RP something that isn't made anymore to the RP Entrada, to some other random shoe to the Capezio.  Which she loves.  She has the WIDE feet.  So I am saving tons of money on her capezios and LOTs of money on her sisters Suffolks.


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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #20 
Gaynors.. you either love them or hate them!  They are probably the most misunderstood pointe shoe on the market. 
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Mittenmom3

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Reply with quote  #21 
Well, I'm probably the wrong person to ask about the pointe shoe drama. Dd13 is on her 2nd year of pointe and she's on pair #13. Yes, she numbers them now. Lol!

We've been full circle. Started in Suffolk spotlights and they didn't work for her. Capezio Tiffany, did not hold up. Bloch European balance, too wide and boxy for her narrow foot. Grishko 2007, not bad. Bloch euro stretch, the new split sole, fine but still a bit wide for her. Russian pointe rubins, med flex shank, very nice on her. Back to suffolks for a bit only because DT/SO prefers that shoe. Dds foot strengthened enough to wear them again. This is her backup shoe. Now back to the Russian pointes as her go to shoe. SO absolutely forbids gaynors. No idea why. Never tried that shoe yet.

My dd has a very narrow foot with Egyptian tapered toes. Not an ideal foot for pointe and very hard to fit. I cringe whenever her DT or SO comments on her shoes. Dd hangs on their every word, so if they say the shoes are boxy, look funny, dead, etc., she starts bugging me to go pointe shoe shopping. I hold her off as long as possible and some of her older pairs have dried out enough to eek out a little more life.

There's a really good Russian pointe fitter about an hours drive from me. I'd like to take dd there just to see if the rubins are the style they would choose for her. Much bigger selection at this store.
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Bonbonmama

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Reply with quote  #22 
Thank you all for commiserating and sharing your woes!! [smile] Sounds like we are in good company [wink]

DDs shoes have been Bloch serenade (awful on her), Grishko 2007, Freed Classic Pro, Suffolk Spotlights (current), Mirella Whisper (current) and now RP Rubins (current). She just had her first class in those and guess what... They are now her new favorites, lol!! Eye roll..! The RPs did look really nice on her, so does the Mirellas and Spotlights. I'm hoping we can stick with these or any combination of these for a little bit. These are pairs 7,8 and 9 I think.... She hangs all her used/outgrown/dead shoes on her bedroom wall on a mural of a cherry blossom tree. I soooo wish I would have kept her teeny ballet slippers from her first year but I didn't. [frown] I have been tempted to go buy a pair just to hang up because I remember what size they were, but it would be cheating..! [wink]
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dancypants

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Reply with quote  #23 
I have dds first pair, she was 8? maybe 9 but just barely. They are super tiny. We were living overseas where they do that sort of thing- put 7-8 year olds in pointe shoes, so they had shoes in tiny sizes. and they were about 20 bucks, can't beat that! Local maker. But no, not a good idea, it's a long story, lol. Just the one pair, worn a few times a week for about 3 months, and never again.

Fast forward 3 years, and DD now dances, at 11. She has been through 5 different kinds of shoes, she is 13 now, and that doesmt count all the "maybe" shoes we bought, took home, tried on a final time before sewing and she said "oh gosh, no, these are not right". I think the problem is actually that she has very good feet- flexible,strong, good arches. They all look pretty nice, she can manipulate them well, so it's hard to tell in a store what is really the best fit.

I near of people who find a shoe, it fits, and they wear it forever, so I know they exist, but I never met one! I think the endless hunt is more typical.
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dancer456

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Reply with quote  #24 
Another thing to remember is that their feet change in more than just foot length. So as their feet get stronger or their ankles more flexible they need different shoes. That once perfect shoe is no longer perfect. Hopefully they can get to the point were they have a shoe that they like and you can order multiple pair online and you're good until they need the next size. And as they get more proficient, they may want some shoes because they are easier to balance in and another brand that is easier to jump in. Not that they are changing shoes mid class, but for performances they might.
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Dancinandlovinit

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Reply with quote  #25 
My dd has been on pointe since 11 and she's now 14.  She's gone through 4 different styles of shoes, because like what was said above, her needs changed as she progressed and what worked before didn't work later.  She started on Bloch Jetstreams but honestly they were way too hard for her.  Had trouble even getting over her box.  Then moved through two different types of Gaynor Mindens.  She liked the Gaynors but developed some achilles issues...the jury is out on whether it's related.  She's now in Bloch B-Morphs and likes those and they look good on her feet.  We've been through many more shoes than styles both due to killing them and outgrowing them.  

I'm reluctant to have her get into a shoe made by a certain maker because I just don't want to deal with all that...
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