Sorting Through Grishko’s Beginner Series Pointe Shoe Models

Can I give away my age here? Way back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, most of the pointe students that I knew ( myself included) followed a certain training path that led from wearing soft leather ballet slippers for at least 2 years before graduating directly into hard pointe shoes.

Our toes were not allowed the luxury of ” bridge” pointes; shoes that are made to ease a student into the world of full-fledged pointe shoes. When the teacher said you were ready, you changed out of your comfy-soft slippers into the hard ones and wore them a few minutes per class until you got used to them.

Demi-pointe models are an interesting concept that creates a division of opinion between those in the dance community.  You can imagine my curiosity when I found out that Grishko now has 3 different student models that are meant to be worn in succession as though climbing a ladder to reach a pointe shoe pinnacle.

You Begin  With The Grishko Exam; A Soft Version Based On The 2007, Vaganova, Fouette And Elite



According to Grishko and the many dance supply companies that offer this model, the design incorporates wide toe boxes and no shank to provide comfort for growing feet. The shoe is meant to be used for ballet exam preparation or pointe practice.

Exam Specs Include:

  •  Medium u-shaped vamp
  •  Medium platform
  • A soft half-box
  • Lower heels and non-slip sole

After Graduating From The Exam, You Move On To The Alice



After you spend enough time wearing the Exam and getting used to a harder toe box, the teacher ( or the Grishko sales department) may say you are ready to begin wearing the training shoe model, Alice.

Grishko recommends wearing  this shoe for 3-6 months before attempting real pointe work.

Alice Specs Include:

  • A flannel lining
  • Machine stitched sole
  • 1/2 box shank
  • Flexible sole
  • Based on the 2007 design

Once You Finish With Alice, You Jump Into The Novice



Finally! We can now get on with the real reason we signed up for ballet classes in the first place; dancing on our toes. The Novice is supposed to be a student’s very first real pointe shoe.

Novice Specs Include:

  • Low box design for less toe pressure
  • Softer insole for comfort

Do We Really Need All These Stepping Stone Pointes?

This could cause a huge riot in the dance supply world, but the reality is that for hundreds of years most of the world’s artistically perfect dancers never knew what one of these shoe designs were.  Dancers made their own demi-pointes by yanking out the shank if they needed to and smashing down the boxes to make them as soft as possible.

The premise of a demi-pointe shoe is to ease a student from a soft, pliable slipper into one that contains her toes within a hard structure. The demi-pointe is supposed to help train beginners to walk within the confines of a hard shoe and balance themselves gracefully on the stiffer soles and rigid boxes.

Some ballet instructors recommend demi-pointes, some do not. Some students and dance parents find them to be one more expense they would prefer to avoid. What about you? Do you think beginners are better off with a transition model, or do you think that this is more of a marketing ploy designed to get people to spend more money than they need to?

You can see all three models and read more about each one on the Grishko Canada website.

6 responses to “Sorting Through Grishko’s Beginner Series Pointe Shoe Models

  1. this is amazing information especially for the young student and her parents and teachers.

  2. Thanks! Like your article a lot! What can you tell us about the Sansha step-up system?

  3. would you be interested in talking to Grishko pointe designers?

  4. Hello Bob,
    Both myself and my readers would welcome any information, so feel free to add to this post.

  5. Rosalind Wirsing

    In regard to the “Alice” and “Novice” shoes. I just telephoned an NC dance store which carries multiple pointe shoe brands and supplies some prominent ballet studios in the area. At my request, Grishko was contacted for the price and availability of these two shoes. Grishko stated that these two shoes are NOT available in the USA. they are made in Russia and not exported to the USA.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s