Updated: Aug 2, 2019
Ballet Shoes & Pointe Shoe Fitting
Pointe shoes are an essential tool in a ballet dancers life. They allow the dancer to dance ‘en pointe’ or on the tips of their toes. They were initially used so the dancer looked liked she was effortlessly gliding across the stage. It is vital to obtain a well made pointe shoe that fits the foot perfectly to reduce risk of injury and pain.
Grishko pointe shoes are beautiful handmade pointe shoes manufactured in Russia. They are completely hand made using natural and environmentally friendly glue/paste which becomes flexible on exposure to high temperature and humidity which allows the box to mould perfectly to the shape of the foot.
One of the special characteristics of a Grishko shoe is a well flattened sole – this promotes stability when standing flat. Most pointe shoes that are made by machine cannot achieve this and the sole can be quite thick and uneven. The platform of the shoe is hammered and smoothed by hand and extra attention is given to the sides of the platform so that it is even and well defined. The shoes must stand upright by themselves before they leave the factory.
Grishko offer multiple models and in these various models they offer 5 width fittings plus 5 different shank strengths ranging from Super Soft to Super Hard. Some models also come in a performance ready shank. Traditionally made pointe shoes are only designed to last between 6-12 hours of use and require 36 hours to dry out. The shoes will last longer if there are multiple pairs on rotation. Contrary to popular belief the shank strength has no influence on the longevity of the shoe. The dancers strength and size should be taken into consideration when selecting a shank strength. The dancer should feel uplifted and supported yet at the same time be able to roll through the shoe and get up and over the platform.
In summary, Grishko’s attention to detail includes balancing each shoe by hand; using cotton drawstrings to protect against tendinitis that over-tightened elastic can cause; using glues that help the toe box mould beautifully to the foot; maintaining shank mobility at the heel without sacrificing support; designing both platforms and soles to be flat and stable for excellent balance on and off pointe; and selecting only the finest satin for a beautiful appearance.
Pointe shoes must be fitted by an experienced trained fitter. A poorly fitted pointe shoe can lead to injury, pain or even prevent the dancer from getting on to the box. Lauren is a podiatrist with 12 years experience, current adult ballet dancer, a trained pointe shoe fitter and offers professional Grishko pointe shoe fittings at the Perth Foot and Ankle Clinic.