If you’re looking for some great options here are a few that are my favorites.
From one of the most trusted brands in dancewear, the Capezio Pavlowa Pointe Shoe is built “Russian-style” with a pre-arched shank and a long vamp for solid support to keep you light on your toes. A wide tip is great for dancers new to pointe, so they can find the top of their shoe more easily when rising to pointe. Overall, this shoe is a great shoe for dancers new to pointe.
The Serenade pointe shoe from Bloch is a great shoe for dancers who need a wider platform at the tip, great for dancers who are new to pointe and need some help with balance. Also great for beginners is the long vamp for support. The strong shank is great for stronger arches and for dancers who have a tendency to pointe over their center of balance while en pointe. With a narrow heel, this shoe fits very snugly. Overall, this shoe is a great value, especially for dancers new to pointe.
The Grishko Pro-Flex is easily one of my personal favorite shoes, mainly because it looks so beautiful on the feet. It is great for any level, from beginner to professional. With a medium-strength ¾ shank, this shoe breaks in quickly and is flexible. Like its popular sister shoe, the Grishko 2007 Pro, it is specially designed to remain quiet on the floor, ideal for performances on stage.
Arguably Grishko’s #1 shoe, these pointe shoes are meant to last. This shoe is quiet on the dance floor, as it has special space-aged materials to soften noise when landing from jumps and jetes. With a ¾ shank, this shoe breaks in quickly. The vamp provides great support while also allowing the dancer to rise to releve with ease. The particular pink color of Grishko’s are highly complementary to any dancewear or costume.
This just might be the cadillac of pointe shoes. If you are a seasoned dancer and you are looking to try a new shoe, this is the one to try. Innovative advancements in the lining make it moisture-absorbent for long hours of dancing. The lining also reduces mildew growth while keeping a comfortable fit inside the shoe.
The most innovative pointe shoe there is, the Gaynor Minden, is designed unlike any other pointe shoe. The shank and box are built with special elastomeric materials so that they will never break. Because of this, the shoe will feel comfortable and “dance-able” from day one – you won’t have to break them in! And, this shoe will last 3-6 times longer than a traditional pointe shoe.
Because of its unique design, the Gaynor Minden pointe shoe is sized differently than other pointe shoes. Not sure of your size/fit? Check out Gaynor Minden’s online fitting service.
What are Pointe Shoes?
Pointe shoes, also sometimes called toe shoes, are ballet shoes that allow a dancer to rise to the tips of her toes when she dances. This type of ballet shoe is only for ballerinas who have had years of training and have been recommended to dance en pointe by an instructor.
The history of the pointe shoe is very interesting. Ballerinas didn’t always rise to pointe on their own. In 1795, Charles Didelot invented a “flying machine” that lifted dancers to their toes. Audiences loved to see this type of performance on stage and so it was incorporated more into the choreography. It became less practical to use the flying machine throughout an entire performance, and so as dancers became stronger in their feet and ankles, the need for pointe shoes became more apparent. In the 19th century, Marie Taglioni was the first ballerina to dance an entire performance “en pointe.” Her shoes, however, were nothing more than satin ballet shoes that were reinforced with darning in the toes and sides. The famous ballerina Anna Pavlova is often credited with the modern pointe ballet shoe. She was actually accused of “cheating” by inserting a hardened leather sole into her shoe and flattening the top of her shoe to form a box. Now all modern pointe shoes have a stiff sole called the shank and a flattened area at the top of the box.
The technology of the pointe shoe has not changed much since Pavlova’s time. Dancing in pointe shoes can be somewhat painful. Over the years, ballerinas have found ways to make their pointe shoes more comfortable and easier to dance in. To make the shoes more comfortable overall, ballerinas will wear toe pads and/or lamb’s wool to help pad their toes in the top of the pointe shoe. Some ballerinas will even tape their toes to prevent blisters from chaffing. Rubber toe separators are also available that can reduce strain on the big toe inside the pointe shoe. The satin tip of the box is very slippery, and dancers often apply a strip of moleskin at the tip down to the sole. Another technique is to glue on a piece of hard rubber on the tip to the beginning of the sole, which makes the shoe have a lot of traction and feel softer to stand on. In every classroom, resin is available to help the dancer’s ballet shoes stick to the floor to prevent slips and falls.