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  • Writer's pictureShannon Gallagher

Your First Pair of Pointe Shoes!

There is probably nothing more exciting or highly anticipated in a dancer's life than being given permission to go en pointe. It's a goal that so many dancers set for themselves, and that feeling of trying on your first pair of pointe shoes is something they'll probably always remember.

Here are some helpful hints to make your first experience buying pointe shoes a positive one:

  • Even if you have experience with buying pointe shoes (mom was a dancer or a sibling dances en pointe already), please go to a dancewear store. Do not order your first pair of pointe shoes online!

  • Be sure to tell the person fitting your shoes that this is your ​first ​pair of pointe shoes. No matter what your feet are like, you will need to buy pointe shoes that are meant for a beginner, not an advanced dancer.

  • Pointe shoes do not feel like any other shoe you have worn before. They are not comfortable, so do not expect them to feel good.

  • Be sure to tell the person fitting your shoes exactly what you feel – if your toes are ​squished, ​or bent inside your shoes, if your toes are on top of each other rather than next to each other, or if your toes don't even touch the end of the pointe shoes. ​Speak up and tell the person helping you​!

  • Pointe shoes cannot have any “growing room” in them. If there is extra space in your shoes, your feet will move around inside the shoes and cause blisters.

  • Your toes need to lie flat next to each other, not bent and not crossed over each other. In other words, your pointe shoes need to ​fit like a glove!​

You will need the following, in addition to the pointe shoes:

  • Ribbon - I prefer dancers use WIDE ribbon. It provides much needed support.

  • Elastic - I prefer WIDE elastic, for the same reason I prefer wide ribbon.

  • Something* to put in the toe of your shoe – gel pads, toe pads, lambs wool...

*There are many choices of what to put in your pointe shoes. There is no right or wrong choice. It is a matter of preference, and you may have to try a few different things before you find what is right for you.


Please do not allow your dancer to wear her pointe shoes until her teacher has checked them! ​If she wears them, writes her name on them or gets them dirty, you will not be able to return them if they are not the perfect shoes for her. After the first day of class, please only allow her to practice at home what you have learned together in class! And she should only practice holding onto a chair or countertop (or a portable barre). I know that your dancer is excited to try new things, but we want everyone to be safe and avoid injuries.

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