Welcome to the first of many posts about pointe shoe myths! Pointe shoe myths exist across all brands and models. Typically, these myths are rooted in some degree of truth--however, the myth stems from very outdated information. We don't expect your average teacher or dancer (let alone parent/caregiver) to stay up-to-date on all of the changing methods and technology surrounding pointe shoes! Our professional pointe fitters at Allegro have made careers out of this education and service. It takes time, understanding, and practice to truly understand the functions of pointe shoes.
The Allegro Pointe Fitting Team knows that these myths and pre-conceived notions can mislead dancers. These dancers can be young dancers receiving misinformation from the beginning of their pointe career, to more mature or professional-bound dancers missing out on an opportunity to experience shoes that might change the game for them entirely.
We've spoken to Allegro's fitters to break down some of the most harmful myths we have heard in pointe fittings.
Myth: There are specific shoes for all beginners and specific shoes for all professionals!
Facts: This is both true and false. Both beginners and professionals need soft shoes. Both beginners and professionals need hard shoes. Both beginners and professionals need everything in between. The most important fact is that we always fit to the foot in front of us in a fitting, however, there are styles that to lend themselves better, depending on where the dancer is in their training. We also take the time to get to know teachers' preferences, so that we send the dancer home with a shoe appropriate for the training they'll be doing.
As a brand-new pointe dancer, the goal is always to ensure they're getting over the platform, are well-supported, and confident en pointe. Sometimes, teachers want this result with shoes that are harder and break lower, sometimes, they want shoes that are softer and break higher. We never rule out any one style of shoe just because they are new to pointe work.
Some brands, do offer shoes that are geared more towards beginners. This will typically have to do with the materials used to make the shoes. For example, the Merlet Belle, is made of softer, more supple materials that are meant to support a smaller dancer with less mass and less force in the shoe, which could describe some beginner dancers. Russian manufacturer, Nikolay, offers a collection of shoes called "Three Steps To A Dream," offering beginning dancers three models: Exam (demi-pointe), Alice, and Novice. These shoes transition the dancer from flat shoes to a full soft shank pointe shoe.
When a dancer is beyond just their first couple pairs of pointe shoes, their individual pointe shoe needs will become clearer. It is important at this stage for dancers to get regular fittings, so that the pointe fitter can continue recommending shoes to match their training requirements. There is no brand or style of shoe off-limits at this point(e).
While there is not a "professional" shoe, there are some pointe shoe situations we only recommend for career-bound/professional dancers. For example, most youth and adolescent dancers in training do not need custom-made shoes. Oftentimes, these dancers have been in the base model of their custom shoe for years and know exactly what they need. Another good example are Freed Classics. These can be a tricky shoe for dancers in training who might rely heavily on the consistency of their pointe shoe. When a certain style shoe is generally recommended for more advanced or professional dancers, it is because it requires the dancer to be less reliant on the shoe, and is meant for dancers who have reached a plateau in their training and possess an expert-level of body awareness.
We hope this clears up a little of the confusion surrounding pointe shoes and the level dancer recommended to wear them. We encourage you to always come in to a fitting with an open mind and to always ask your professional pointe fitter questions in order to promote pointe shoe education. The Allegro Fitters love teaching as part of our fitting process!
Looking to book a fitting in the near future? Click here to schedule a fitting now. Not located within driving distance, but interested in have an Allegro fitting experience? Book a Telepointe©️ Fitting now. Not ready for a fitting but need another pair of shoes? Shop here and use the code FRESHPAIRDONTCARE for 10% off a new pair of pointe shoes.