The Best Pointe Shoes
by Emma Bolton | Last Updated:
The foot is the foundation for all movement in ballet. A ballerina's ability to properly align her body, carefully distribute weight, and utilize that weight efficiently allows her to maximize her artistry while minimizing the risk of injury.
As the foot is the foundation for all movement in ballet, this means that if your pointe shoes don't support and align your feet correctly, you're headed for trouble. It's extremely important to take care of your feet by wearing good shoes, stretching, and doing exercises. And, if you are in pain while dancing en pointe, you should definitely see a doctor.
In addition, there are many different types of pointe shoes from which to choose depending on your body type and dancing needs. In sum, pointe shoes are about as individual as the ballet dancers who wear them. They must offer proper support and alignment for your feet without sacrificing quality or artistry. It is incumbent upon every dancer to take care of her body by wearing good equipment and exercising diligently. To learn more about how to choose the best pointe shoes for your foot type, read this review.
Best Overall: Russian Pointe Rubin Pointe Shoes
- Stable platform
- A lighter shade of satin
- A new model from a company with more than 20 years of experience
- Made of natural materials
- Suitable for wide feet
- Price slightly above average
The Russian Pointe Rubin Pointe Shoes is one of the best well-rounded pointe shoes out there. It is the most famous model of Jewels Collection by Russian Pointe. It's made from high-quality material and is available in a number of different widths, colors, and sizes. Furthermore, it has a medium shank that can be broken in easily without sacrificing support or structure. The toe box is also the perfect shape for fitting an average foot comfortably as well as being sturdy so you don't have to worry about the shoe falling apart after a few hours of dancing. However, some ballet dancers have trouble fitting this type of shoe at first because the vamp is a little stiff for comfort. But a serious break-in period can fix it.
The peculiarity of this model is that it is sewn from a lighter satin than usual. This is perfect for some looks on stage. Rubin’s platform is wide and squared off at the edges, providing the dancer with stability. A more streamlined appearance is achieved with a double-lined satin. This is a strong shoe that can be used for demi-pointe, or en pointe work.
Overall, The Russian Pointe Rubin Pointe Shoes are one of the best pointe shoes for beginner and professional ballet dancers who are looking to buy their both first and 100th pairs. The model has an anatomic shape of the foot, which provides comfort in use. The toe box is elegant and narrowed. V-cut vamp without drawstring or U-cut with elastic drawstring, medium toe platform. It is available in different widths, and sizes with a modern streamlined look perfect for all level dancers.
Regarding the price, this shoe has an average budget, but which is more drawn to the higher end.
Best for Professionals: Freed of London Studio 2
- Two types of shanks are availible
- Beautiful stage shoes
- Perfect for professionals
- Sturdy and durable
- Made from natural and biodegradable components
- Price above average
The Freed of London Studio 2 pointe shoes are one of the most famous and best-selling pointe shoes on the market. This brand is based in London and has been making quality pointe shoes it since 1982. The Studio 2s are made for perfectionists because they come in a number of different widths, shapes, and sizes so your foot will always fit perfectly. Furthermore, each shoe is handmade to exact specifications so they are comfortable, durable, and supportive. They are made in the UK from natural and biodegradable components. Plus the only part of this shoe that isn't leather is the satin upper while the sole is leather. The vamp is V-cut and deep. Also, Studio 2 are great stage pointe, they really have amazing look.
The toe box is steady, secure, and pleasant to use while supporting body weight during pointe work. The medium or hard shanks of Studio 2 are available. It brings you more opportunities to get the fitting dance shoes. However, these shoes can be difficult for beginners because they require multiple fittings in order to get them right. And they are incredibly hard and strong, you must be an expert pointe dancer to put them on because they are stiff.
They cost around $100. Despite its few flaws, The Freed of London Studio 2 pointe shoes are worth the price if you have a narrow foot with high arches. They work well for women who have more of an arch rather than just very low arches.
If you're looking for an amazing pair of dancer's shoes that will last all season, then look no further than the Freed of London Studio 2.
Best Pointe Shoes for Egyptian and Greek Feet: Grishko 2007
- Well stitched
- Lasts a long time
- Made of high quality materials
- Branded ribbons and elastic bands are included
- Pointe shoes are not always available for the wide feet
The Grishko 2007 is an outstanding pointe shoe for beginners and professionals alike. It's made from premium quality Russian materials, so it lasts longer than most other ballet shoes on the market today. The upper part is made of special satin, and the inner part - cotton (canvas). All pointe shoes are handmade only. Grishko pointe shoes sewn very high quality. The threads do not stick out. The glue is not sticking out. Nails in the sole does not protrude.
The shank is strong and supportive but still gives you that little extra bit of flexibility for those hard-to-reach positions. The toe box is also incredibly sturdy and well made; it won't collapse on itself, which is great news if you plan on dancing en pointe for hours at a time.
Grishko has 5 types of fullness, from X the narrowest, to XXXXX, for very wide feet. Stiffness comes in several kinds. From S- soft sole, to SH- very hard. Here is where to choose individually. From experience, "H" stiffness insoles break very quickly. "M" insoles are more elastic, but the shoe fails quicker.
Best for Wight Feet: Capezio Ava 1142W Wide Width
- Well stitched
- Ideal for dancers with wide feet
- Great value for money
- Very popular among ballet dancers around the world
- Box isn't high enough to offer extra support
- Not for beginners
Capezio, the oldest pointe manufacturer in the world, still makes beautiful ballet shoes today. The Capezio Ava 1142W wide width ballet pointe shoes are suitable for the ballet dancer with wider feet.
The box is medium/high, which might not be best for beginners who need more support. The tip, however, looks like it's built to last (the shank is slightly firmer) but still gives you some flexibility for those harder positions. The upper part of the shoe is made out of satin, and the inner sole is made from a split-made suede material. The sole is leather. The color is Petal Pink which is very pretty. High and wide platform provides stability. Flexible 2.5" insole for instep support. Antibacterial microfiber lining.
The Capezio 1142W is not as durable as other ballet shoes on this list, it's sewn together using only the basic techniques. It is also more expensive than some of its counterparts, but if you have feet that are wider than your standard D width, then these could be the right pointe shoes for you.
The Capezio Ava 1142W is a great choice for the dancer with wider feet, because it allows you to dance comfortably in pointe shoes without worrying about your foot being squeezed into an unnatural shape. If that's what you're looking for then this is the shoe for you!
Best Value: Sansha Women's Recital II Pointe Shoe
- Reasonable price
- Highly durable shank
- Great support for beginners
- Comes in a wide range of colors and sizes
- Perfect for beginners or professionals
- Can be difficult to break in (but not impossible)
- Does not last nearly as long as other ballet shoes on the market today
The Sansha Women's Recital II Pointe Shoe is another one of the best available today. It's made from quality material and has a very supportive shank. This particular pointe shoe also has a great shape to the box which gives you a lot of support and makes it easier to balance, making it perfect for beginners because you'll be able to stand strongly en pointe without worrying about falling off or tripping over your own feet.
The Sansha is arguably the most popular pointe shoe out there for good reason. The satin material used to make this one of the best pointe shoes is very durable and strong, allowing you to use it pretty much every single day without worrying about it wearing down too quickly. While some other pointe shoes can't be used for more than a few hours, the Sansha can easily be used for an entire work day.
The shank of this pointe shoe is very supportive and sturdy which means you won't roll your ankles as much (depending on how well you've broken in your shoes).
It's also one of the most inexpensive pointe shoe out there, so if you broke a few pair last year and need a new one it won't cost you an arm and a leg to replace them.
Buying Guide – Choosing the Best Ballet Pointe Shoes
To find the perfect ballet shoes, you first need to understand their parts and varieties. Even today, in spite of progress, pointe shoes are still made by hand. Each shoe has about 50 parts. About the main of them we will tell below.
The most important one is the box - the hard toe of the pointe shoes. The main secret of each company is in the glue to create the box. It is vital that there is no pressure on toes or balls of feet. The toe-box should hold the toes so that the load on them is distributed evenly. In a properly selected shoe, the toes are placed together, do not crawl over each other and do not slip into the box.
You can find a "right" fit depending on the type of foot:
- Greek type (the second toe is longer than the rest).
- Egyptian type (big toe longer than the rest).
- Square type (foot with toes of equal length).
For example, the Grishko 2007 model box fits all three types of feet.
It is the front of the shoe. The vamp can be цith a minimum of openness and a maximum of openness. To choose correctly, take into account the length of the toes and the strength of the foot. The smaller and shorter the toes, the less closed the vamp should be chosen. At the same time, for strong feet, a more closed and high box type is more suitable. The vamp also comes cut in a U or V shape.
Shank is the part between the heel and box. The shank should be strong enough to support arching of the foot. The flexibility of each shank varies. The stiffness of the shank determines the level of support for the foot. The key factor of choice here is the strength of the foot. A strong foot will bend a shank, and the pointe will quickly fail, that is, "break". A hard shank will not allow a weak foot to work. The shank should support the foot, but not interfere with the work.
Hard shank shoes are used by many professionals because they allow the performer to dance en pointe for extended periods of time.
The platform is the base. The main function of the platform is to support the arch and evenly distribute weight through the foot. He should make it possible for you to stand on demi-pointe (up on your toes) for some time. The platform's size is seldom used as a criterion for choosing which shoe the dancer.
Sole - made from leather, suede or other material sewn to the upper. The sole should be 2-3mm thick to give strength without weight and have a recessed space where feet bend at pointe, called the channel. Sole is usually scored with channels for flexibility along center line of foot.
The wings (arches) must hold the foot so that it does not slip forward and backward, but still allows you to move freely.
So, how does one go about choosing the best pointe shoes?
Well, there are a few points that you need to know.
- First, you need to find out your shoe size. You can check that by standing barefoot on a piece of paper and mark the longest toe with a pen. Then, measure from this line to heel. By the way, do not take ballet pointe shoes with stock. The basic rule - the shoes should fit tightly on the foot, but not to squeeze it.
- The second thing that you need to find out is the width of your shoe. Different feet have different widths, and not every size will fit on every foot. You'll want a snug fit that doesn't pinch or squeeze your toes, but a little wiggle room for the balls of your feet.
- The third thing that you need to keep in mind is the shank of your pointe shoes. It'll determine how flexibly the pointe shoe bends.
- The last thing is the hight of the box that is vamp. Depending on the length of the toes, the strength of the foot, the flexibility of the arch of the foot and the width of the foot, choose a more closed or more open box.
There are many other things that you could consider, but it all comes down to personal preference. Just remember these four points and you should be alright.
What is the best brand of pointe shoes?
There are many companies that make pointe shoes. There are many popular brands on the market that make quality and comfortable pointe shoe. Among them are Russian Pointe, Capezio, Freed of London, Grishko, Sansha, Bloch, Geynor Minden etc.
Their prices are about the same, except that Geynor Minden is more expensive and Sansha is cheaper than the others. There is no consensus on which is best, because everyone's feet are different and feel differently. There is only the path of trial and error.
How to prepare pointe shoe for training?
First the ribbons and elastic bands should be sewn on. It is very important to do it correctly. It could be not very convenient, but serves to ensure that the shoes fit perfectly on the foot. The place of stitching ribbons each ballerina determines it individually, depending on her foot. Most often, fold the heel and sew ribbons, starting from the fold.
The inner ribbon should be 2 inches longer than the outer ribbon (approximately 18.5 and 20.5 inches). Why? Because in this case the knot that is formed by tying it is easy to hide.
Be sure to buy in advance toe pads. There are several kinds of toe pads: silicone perforated and plain (without holes), gel and fabric. It is impossible to say which toe pads are best - it's up to you.
Then you have to stretch/break in the pointe shoes. Each ballerina has her own techniques. But the essence is the same - to stretch and pull them apart, to make them more stable and flexible, to sit well on the foot.
Demi Pointe Shoes vs Pointe Shoes
A demi pointe shoes have a look as a regular pointe shoes. It can also be called pre pointe shoes. It is a point shoe with a really soft sole so it has a little bit more resistance than a ballet slipper but it still has the outer shank which is like all leather. And then the box is hard but it's not as hard as like a regular point shoes. This is a good way to teach your child to become pointe gradually. There are several such models in the Grishko line: Exam, Alice, Novice.
How to store pointe shoes?
First of all, remember, the life of pointe shoes is short. Depending on the intensity of use, they can last even less than a month. Therefore, it is important to follow all the rules of storage of such shoes.
- After purchase, pointe shoes can be stored up to the first repertory for no more than a year (at 22-24 ° C and humidity not higher than 65%).
- After training they should be dried.
- Then store in a special case or pouch.
- Do not put pointe shoes on the bottom of the bag, they will deform. It is better to buy a dance bag where there is a special compartment for pointe shoes.
- If satin gets dirty, you can clean it with acetone or nail polish remover.
Pointe shoes are an important part of a ballerina's life. They come in many different shapes, sizes and types to suit your needs. When choosing the right pair for you, make sure that you take into consideration such factors as comfort (try them on!), fit size (make sure they properly cover the foot), style (do they match your body type?) and price point. So what are the best pointe shoes? Remember: The perfect shoe doesn't exist! What is most important is finding what works best for YOU. Good luck!