Tag Archives: Pointe Shoe Tips

Grishko Fouette

Grishko FouetteThe Grishko Fouette

Now that I have tried the Grishko Elite, I can understand why so many dancers like Grishko pointe shoes.

I find them to be very well made.  The Fouette is another model in Grishko’s collection that is suitable for those with short toes and wider feet.

In my opinion the Fouette has a prettier aesthetic than the Elite. The Fouette with a medium shank is one of Grishko’s most popular models.


I am very tempted to try a hard Grishko shank just to see how hard they really are. Since the Fouette is a releve model, roll through might be a bit challenging.

One day soon, I need to contact Grishko and ask them why all their pointe shoe models show a nail in the middle of the insole.

Is there a reason the nail is left visible? Could it be that the nail can be removed to loosen the shank for more flexibility? Or will pulling the nail cause the shoe to fall apart?

I’m going to contact Grishko and let you know what they say……

*Grishko states that the nail cannot be removed. It holds the inner sole and shank together.

The Challenge Of Low Arches

Many beginning ballet students may suddenly find themselves obsessed with obtaining a high,  well developed arch. For some, doing arch enhancing exercises can make a difference. For others, no amount of arch enhancing exercises will  change the basic structure of the foot.

Unlike the higher arched dancer, those with low arches  have  feet that are less flexible. On the plus side, lower arched feet are stronger.

For a beginner with undeveloped feet, having low arches will make it more difficult to rise fully on pointe in the proper position. The weaker foot will also have difficulty breaking in new pointe shoes and will have to work harder at softening the shanks of her shoes.

After gaining strength, the biggest challenge  for a dancer with low arches is finding a pointe shoe that will maximize whatever arch she does have. Pointe shoes that are pre-arched are ideal for the lower arched dancer. Experienced dancers can also find a flattering fit with split-sole pointe shoes.

The ideal pointe shoe will hug the bottom of the foot closely and have maximum flexibility of sole and shank. Some of the following pointe shoe brands are suitable for the lower arched dancer:

Capezio Glisse

Bloch Balance European

Grishko 2007

Russian Pointe Entrada

R-Class Nika

R-Class Nika

I found another beautiful pointe shoe model from the R-Class brand today. This model, the Nika, is being sold through an Italian website. The shoe is described as a Russian style shoe with a medium strength shank. Very pretty!

En Pointe- A Comparison

Proper Positioning On Pointe

This is a very interesting and somewhat amusing illustration of the technique required for proper placement of the foot on pointe.

I have seen photos and videos of dancers on pointe who sickle or fail to get over the box, but I’ve never seen anyone pronate on pointe like the first illustration.

I can’t imagine any student being allowed to go on pointe without first mastering proper placement in soft slippers.

Suffolk Pointe Shoes

These are the general recommendations for the Suffolk pointe shoe according to Mark Suffolk;
“Our shoes are all classic paste English turn shoes. For the longest life possible, we recommend that you allow your feet to break in the shoes during normal wear. Most dancers have their own process that works for them. Some girls like to step on the box a little and others like to bend the insole at the 3/4 point a tiny bit. It is up to you! We always suggest to discuss any specific questions about your shoes with your pointe instructor or your shoe fitter”.

For more information on specific brands please visit Suffolk U.S.A.

Capezio Pointe Shoes

These wonderful break in tips come directly from Zoe Cleland, a professional pointe shoe fitter with the Capezio Dance Theater Shop.

“For the Capezio pointe shoes I do recommend a little breaking in. However I also recommend different types of breaking in depending on the shoe and the dancer’s feet.

If you have a specific model in mind or specific issue then I can be a little more specific because each shoe has its own special attributes (as does each foot).

My general advice for breaking in is:

1. Flatten the box a little by placing the palm of your hand on the crown of the box and gently press down to soften the glue and flatten the crown from being high and round to a little more flat and a little bit more reflective of your foots crown height. This also makes the shoe a little bit wider.
2. Take your thumb and index finger and gently work the glue in the wings to soften it a little. This will decrease the pressure on your metatarsal bunion area.
3. Put your thumbs on the top the shank near the heel and put the heel of the shank on the floor and roll the shank at the ¾ into a small arc so the shank follows the natural arch of the foot better and the shoe becomes more supportive.
4. Lastly, if rolling through demi-pointe is difficult because of the glue in the box or the stiffness of the shank behind the ball of the foot I recommend, once the ribbons and elastic are sewn on, to run across the floor with the shoes on, in demi, just a little.

* if you do any of these techniques too much you will kill the shoe and it’s support. I recommend making subtle gentle changes to the shoe and then trying it on after each step before doing more.

If you are interested in a specific model of pointe shoe please let me know and I will address that shoes special properties and break in tricks”.

Zoë Cleland

Minwax Wood Hardener For Pointe Shoes

Another great way to put some life back into those softening pointe shoes is using wood hardeners. Minwax isn’t cheap (about $9.00 a pint) but it does a great job of restoring hardness to the box area of pointe shoes.

You can find Minwax at any hardware store. There are two different consistencies in the Minwax formula. One is a thinner liquid and the other is made for the customer to create and mix according to preference.

How to use

1. Find a well ventilated area as Minwax is toxic and has unpleasant fumes

2. If using the thinner formula pour 2-3 tablespoons into the toe of the pointe shoe and swish the wax around making sure to coat all the soft spots. Let dry for 2-4 hours.

3. If using the thicker version a paintbrush works well to apply the hardener evenly. Follow directions for drying time from the label.

Minwax wood hardener is actually a plastic chemically. No, it won’t turn your Capezio’s into Gaynors, but it may buy you time until those pointe shoes have to be replaced. Minwax can also be used as a sealant on new shoes to lock out moisture so they last longer. Use the thinnest coat possible.

Here is some Minwax information