The Challenge Of High Arches

For many of us, watching a dancer on pointe is a thing of beauty. We become enraptured with a ballerinas grace and agility on stage. We cant help but focus on her feet as she performs. We admire the curvature and flexibility of her feet and consider the dancer with a higher arch as the ideal standard.

As beautiful as they are to look at, dancers with high arches have as many pointe shoe challenges as those with lower arches.

Finding a pointe shoe with the correct vamp length is often very frustrating. The vamp must be long enough to prevent the highly arched foot from “spilling over” the top of the vamp. On the other hand, if the vamp is too long  demi-pointe work is almost impossible.

Vamp elastic was created as an insert to be sewn across the vamp to hold the arch in and let the dancer have a short enough vamp for comfortable demi-pointe.

Shanks are another challenge. A strong, highly arched foot needs a very strong pointe shoe. The higher arch puts greater pressure on the shanks causing the shoes to wear out much faster.

Unlike the dancer with a lower arch who tends to wear out the box of the pointe shoe first, the higher arched dancer usually wears out the shanks of her shoes first.

Some of the following pointe shoe models were created to support the higher arched foot:

Capezio Glisse ES

Gaynor Minden

Grishko Vaganova

Prima-Soft Royale

Russian Pointe Sapfir

Bloch Signature Performance

9 responses to “The Challenge Of High Arches

  1. Heh I am literally the first comment to this great post?!

  2. I have ridiculously high arches, and all the girls in classes and performances are jealous, but I can’t make any of them understand how much of a challenge finding pointe shoes that will stand up to my feet is! This was a really helpful article, thanks for adding the list at the end!

  3. When I was dancing seriously, last in 1999, I wore the Grishko Vaganovas. I find it refreshing to know that my high arched, very strong foot would still be served well by that beautiful shoe. This was before the Internet, when I ordered from a mailed catalogue, several pair at once. I always specified the hardest shank too. I really miss pointe work, and hope that even as a mom in her mid-30s, I’ll be able to practice pointe again! Thanks for keeping this lovely blog, I enjoy it.

  4. I agree with you, LizWas. The Vaganova is a lovely pointe shoe. Best of luck in your future endeavors to get back on pointe. 🙂

  5. My daughter has very high arches and wide feet .. very difficult finding the proper shoe for her foot. As well, it seems due to her wide foot, many of the stores (and one retailer is is quite large) will not have her size in stock and we often get alternatives that seem ok in the store, until she dances on them. We just purchased a pair of Suffok Stellar’s and she can’t bore on them – this is the same shoe that was workable in the past. It makes me wonder if there is much lot to lot, or shoe to shoe variability in the same brand and size .. frustrating. Not sure where we will go next. 3 years on pointe and still not a proper fit.

  6. I have a very high arch and I found that the best Pointe shoes for me was the Grishko Nova points. The support my feet very well and would definitely recommend them for people with high arches.

  7. I have been a dancer for many years,and have been using Grishko 2007’s for the past 15 years. They wear really well for my very narrow and highly arched feet. I usually break down my shoes really fast anyway, but they are best fit, and best durability, (And affordable cost.)

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