Whether you’re just beginning to perfect your pointe work or are a seasoned professional, a bespoke pointe shoe fitting is an important, non-negotiable step in every dancer’s training. But while you may be thinking 'why do I need to visit the store for a pointe shoe fitting? I already know my ballet shoe size, I can order online, right?' that's most definitely not the case.
Shoe size and style are the first things to consider, but there are also many other elements to observe when having your first pointe shoe fitted. Every single BLOCH pointe shoe is distinct. Uniquely-crafted and individually fit, the same size and style will feel differently from one dancer to the next.
Once your ballet teacher has given you the green light to begin your journey on pointe, it's time to book your BLOCH pointe shoe fitting — here’s what to expect at your first appointment.
The fitting process
Once you’ve arrived at the BLOCH store and established exactly what you’re looking for, an expert fitter will evaluate your feet. They will observe the shape, and possibly ask you to work through the arch, stretching through tendu or rise to relevé from a parallel position. Watching your foot performing ballet movements in action will highlight ankle bone structure, hypermobility in the knees or legs, and give the fitter an overall better sense of how your body works.
"There are small variations in pointe shoe fitting based on the shoe’s shape, shank, vamp, and the heel," says a BLOCH pointe shoe fitter in New York City. "These details might seem insignificant to a beginner, but this information can make a huge difference when deciding which shoe is right for you".
Trust the fitter
To the novice pointe shoe buyer, the styles displayed inside the store could appear to all look the same. Step forward: the refined eye of a BLOCH pointe shoe fitter, who understands this is far from the truth. If the shoe’s not the correct shape or doesn’t feel comfortable to you, the fitter’s expertise will help you discover what’s not working and suggest a different size or style.
However, it's important to remember that the fitter can only go on what they see and is unable to know exactly how it feels on your foot, which is why it's so important to speak up when a style is causing discomfort — don’t be shy! Creating an open and honest dialogue with the fitter is key to finding which style is right for you.
On the flip-side, a shoe can appear eyebrow-raising to the fitter, but feel great to you. In addition to the dozens of BLOCH pointe shoe styles available, there are also a variety of accessories and different types of toe padding available to customise your individual fit.
A pointe shoe fitting is all about trial and error. Each appointment takes approximately half an hour, and the more information you give the fitter, the more effective the fitting will be, so allow enough time not to be rushed. If you have danced on pointe before and are looking for a new style, make sure to bring your old shoes and padding with you, as this will provide helpful information for the fitter to gauge how you work in your pointe shoes.
Your feet are ever-changing and BLOCH is always introducing new styles and trends, so it's a good idea to be fitted annually. Getting up on pointe for the first time is an unforgettable milestone for a dancer, and your first fitting will set the bar for this experience, so take the time to enjoy the process and get it right.