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Dancingdd

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Reply with quote  #1 
DD10 was told to buy pointe shoes as was almost everyone in her class. However, there was no mention as to what to look for in a beginner pointe shoe. I didn't want to risk it since I'm not a dancer so I took her to a flagship store and got her professionally fitted.
The ballet teacher is then supposed to examine what you bought in case it needs to be returned. Some girls were told to get a bit bigger sizes because theirs fit very snug and their feet are still growing.
She liked what DD got but wished the shank was softer. I wish I had paid more attention as I now see the box says N for Narrow and DD has never ever worn a narrow as it hurts her bunions and hammer toe. [frown]
Now I'm upset they didn't meet with the parents to inform them of what to look for for beginners. Such a simple thing and they didn't do it.
Hopefully she won't suffer too much since they only do some barre work in them for 20 minutes twice a week.
Other woes..... may need a separate post.

So for those of you who bought pointe shoes for your daughters... were you told what to look for? Such as lower vamp, softer shank, wider platform, etc. ?
I really think I'm losing my patience with this school. Decisions seem to be made haphazardly.
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #2 

We've never been in a situation where parents were told what to look for in a shoe. Instead, they would recommend places to get fit and specific fitters. I saw this at 2 different ballet schools that dd attended. It should not be necessary to tell the parents if there's a good fitter. A good fitter will know by looking at the dancer's feet, hearing that this is a first pair of shoes, etc. And if there isn't a good fitter, it really shouldn't be up to the parent anyway, especially if the parent has never worn pointe shoes. I did wear them for a few years but my foot is so different than dd's. I don't remember having any difficulties finding a shoe that worked. My mom took me to a flagship store as well. We bought a pair and I stayed in that style for my "career" (one that ended by the time I was 16 LOL)

Remember that a narrow in a pointe shoe for a 10 year old may not be the same as a narrow in a street shoe. The shoes are supposed to be snug. Growing feet are irrelevant. A pointe shoe with growing room, as I've been told, is a recipe for danger. The shoes are supposed to fit snugly. The biggest issue with growing feet, IMHO, is that you need to buy shoes more often, possibly before they end their life. 

We were only given some advice after the initial fitting once dd was in shoes. Every pair, for the first year or two, was brought to the teacher first for approval before elastics and ribbons were sewn. I actually like the way her old school does it now. They bring a fitter in. About 2 weeks later, they have a class in how to sew the ribbons and elastics on and the kids do it, not the parents. 

 

As an aside, it sounds like your dd needs some additional help in her shoe. There are spacers and other extra things that some dancers need. By hammertoe, do you mean that she has a longer second toe? If so, she made need a tip for the great toe to balance things out. 

Can I ask what store you took her to? You can PM me. I am at least somewhat familiar with the brand name stores in NYC and where the better fitters are.

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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #3 
Tendumom pretty much covered it.  Pointe shoe sizes have nothing to do with "real" shoe sizes.  My dd wears a 9 or a 9.5 in real shoes and a 6.5X in Freeds.  Does the box actually say "N for narrow"?  Because N may not mean narrow......it could be the maker's name - it could mean a lot of things.  The pointe shoe world is completely different and if you ("you" in general) are going to pay for them, you should  educate yourself.  Sign into BTFD and just read the pointe shoe threads.  You don't have to post - just read.
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Dancingdd

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Reply with quote  #4 
Thanks. I did some research so I already purchased gel spacers and light padding (real wool with some gel attached to the end for a little padding) so she could Be fitted with them on.
Her hammer toe is her big toe, not second toe. And I can't find any information what can help that! Everything I've found is for the second toe! [frown]

And she will have a class soon on how to sew on her own ribbons and elastic. Parents are invited but the girls are encouraged to do it themselves.

About the fitting... most got fitted with the same brand and style and the teacher wasn't happy. The vamp is really high so they won't be able to get their foot over it and the platform was so small. The only thing she liked about it was the soft shank.

I knew going to a flagship store meant only one brand to try. It was what I was willing to give up for a professional fitter.

Thanks again for your replies.
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hopefuldancer17

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Reply with quote  #5 
What I realized was that even with an experienced fitter, new dancers en pointe don't really know how their shoes are supposed to feel and fit, and so it's not uncommon for the first pair (or first several pairs) to not fit well. And then, they get into a shoe that works, only to find that down the road, it isn't "their shoe" anymore. Feet change, technique improves and they get a better sense of how they want their shoes to work.
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Angel2228

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Reply with quote  #6 
We are only encouraged to go to one fitter who is very experienced and good at what he does. Dd has never had a shoe sent back and he's very knowledgable. Dds first fitting, she was only sent with the info to get a super soft shank. But when we told the fitter, he knew already since it was her first shoe. He asked tuns of questions and would push on her palm to show her how it was supposed to feel in the shoe. Really it was all in the fitters hands the shoe that she got. She brought it back to her teacher who just verified the shoe. She's pretty picky and has sent back some from other fitters and students with an explaination of why it's wrong.
With dds feet changing and gaining better control she has changed what she looks for in a shoe.
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NCKDAD

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Reply with quote  #7 
Although we have a few local options we all drove about an hour to the best fitter without reasonable distance. We received a letter talking about what to expect in terms of the fitting and how they should feel. She did request a full shank at this point in their training. Also guidelines about foot shape and what to expect. What you ended up with was on you and the fitter. Then we got approval by teacher. Only one had issues to be refit.
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ggsmith

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Reply with quote  #8 
The most basic advice for pointe shoes, advice I've heard over and over from many sources, is that they should fit snugly.  10 year old girls have growing feet, as do girls at 14 or even older.  Unless you wait until the feet are completely done growing, you may find yourself buying shoes that will be outgrown before they are worn out.  All sorts of alarm bells go off for me when I hear a teacher sending students back for shoes with growing room. 

You really don't have to go to a flagship store to find a good fitter.  We are 1000 miles from a flagship store but we do have some good fitters in our area.  As they gain experience with pointe shoes, the students learn what works for them and soon you will find yourself waiting with your wallet while the fitter and your dancer work together.




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threegirlpileup

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Reply with quote  #9 
I do think that part of the challenge is what was stated above--new pointe dancers just don't know what pointe shoes should feel like, and can't distinguish from pain that means the shoe doesn't fit properly from just the normal discomfort that comes with pointe shoes.  And all fitters are NOT equal--when I look back at the first shoe that my dd wore, I now realize it was totally inappropriate for her foot shape.  She was able to make it work, but  it got much better once she switched shoes.

I agree that BTFD is such a great resource for information on pointe shoes.  The fitters there will even look at pictures of your dancer's feet and recommend styles and general parameters for shoes.  I learned so much on there.
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #10 
In NYC, the best known "master" fitters are all at flagship stores. It's kind of annoying that in NYC, we only have one store that carries multiple brands. Otherwise, you go to Gaynor, Bloch, Capezio, Grishko, Freed/Chacott, or Sansha. 
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momcrew

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Reply with quote  #11 
As elastics and ribbons have not been sewn on, can you return? Can you maybe hit up a couple other "flagship" stores and see if something fits her better? 

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pirouettemom

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Reply with quote  #12 
I’m questioning the safety of your dd going on pointe. She is only 10 and there is also the issue of her hammertoe. Pointe work could be painful and make the hammertoe worse.
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Phx115

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Reply with quote  #13 
There are some great books out there regarding pointe shoes and what to consider based on the physical makeup of the feet. The one I liked best, and found most informative, was:

The Pointe Book: Shoes, Training, Technique by Janice Barringer

I checked it out from the library, but I'm cheap that way.


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karenc

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Reply with quote  #14 
Wow..guess we're lucky.  We all went to a store (specializing in pointe shoes & carries most brands) for our daughter's first pair as a group to be fitted by professional fitters and the girls' dance teachers met us there so it was a collaborative event with lots of picture taking!  They must take a pre-pointe strengthening class and earn their first pair so it was a special day.  Can't imagine if it had been just left up to me.  The girls then brought their new shoes to their next pre-pointe class & were taught to sew the elastics & ribbons themselves.  That was the best part of all!
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #15 
We have two or three local stores that have at least one competent fitter on staff (and not as competent fitter if you show up during the wrong shift).  But we have driven 4 hours to a store with a wider (more brands) and deeper (more models) selection, with fitters who know the differences between shoes.  The drive has generally resulted in happy dancers.  Particularly if they've learned there's something they don't like about their current shoe, and are looking for something with different vamp, wing length, whatever.

I can't imagine someone wanting to leave "room for growth."  You sure it wasn't that they were literally too snug, toes were curling?
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Dancingdd

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Reply with quote  #16 
I don't know if they said exactly the words room to grow but they said if they are too tight you'll have to buy new ones in a few months and let's not waste your money. Or to that effect.
I'm leaning towards driving to Philly next time. It's less than 2 hours away and we can make a day out of it.
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hopefuldancer17

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Reply with quote  #17 
I agree that I've never heard of anyone suggesting that a dancer leave room to grow in pointe shoes. They need to fit, and we as parents have to accept that we might have to by new shoes before they're dead if our dancer has outgrown them.
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PasDeChatMom

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Reply with quote  #18 
The Rosin Box in Philadelphia is good with fittings and they don't just carry one brand like the flagship stores do. If I may ask, what changed your mind about allowing her to go on pointe? I know you weren't so keen on the idea at first. Between your initial hesitation and the seemingly haphazard way this is all being handled I think your concerns are valid.
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Dancingdd

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Reply with quote  #19 
PasDeChatMom - I changed my mind because I spoke with some parents at the studio and found out they only put on the pointe shoes towards the end of class to do some barre work. My husband made the point that 30-45 minutes a week on pointe won't damage her feet. (And that's not all at once either).
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tiptoemom

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Reply with quote  #20 
If you come to Philly definitely go to Rosin Box! You can make a day of it and go to shake shack for a meal. Hit the bathroom before you try on shoes because there is no restroom. We've had to make a dash to Shake Shack for a quick bathroom stop, lol! We are lucky to live in Philly and have access to them. We've been going there since daughter was 10 and she was just there last week as she turned 18!
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tappinmom

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Reply with quote  #21 
We are lucky that we are within 30 minutes of the National Ballet School of Canada and The Shoe Room.  Our ballet mistress has never refused a shoe our girls had fitted there.
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Dncrx2

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Reply with quote  #22 
My dancer's ballet teacher joined us when we went to get fitted for new shoes.  She did not like how the previous brand was fitting her and wanted to help her find the correct fit.  I am so glad she went!  She loves her new shoe and is on her 2nd pair of them.  I would also raise a red flag at the "room to grow" comment and being in pointe shoes at 10 - did she have xrays of her feet to determine if her growth plates were fused?  It was a requirement at our studio to have a doctor's approval letter before going en pointe . I have heard horror stories of girls starting so young and ruining their feet because they were not physically ready to go en pointe.    
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tiptoemom

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Reply with quote  #23 
There are a lot of red flags for girls going on pointe, but I have to tell you that my daughter trained a pre-pro international boarding school and no one was required to get x-rays. She knows girls at other big schools in NYC and they did not get xrays. Not sure if I'd use that requirement or lack thereof as a flag.
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