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How To Size Ballet Pointe Shoes How To Size Ballet Pointe Shoes


How To Size Ballet Pointe Shoes

Written by: Ricky Mcclintock

Discover the perfect fit with our guide on how to size ballet pointe shoes. Find the right size for your ballet performance and ensure comfort and support.

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Table of Contents


Ballet pointe shoes are iconic symbols of grace and beauty in the world of dance. These specialized shoes allow dancers to showcase their incredible strength and technique as they rise up on their toes and perform seemingly effortless movements. However, finding the perfect fit for ballet pointe shoes is crucial for both comfort and safety.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of effectively sizing ballet pointe shoes. Whether you are a beginner dancer or a seasoned professional, understanding the nuances of sizing pointe shoes is essential. We will explore various aspects to consider, such as foot length, width, and arch shape, as well as provide tips for trying on shoes and ensuring a proper fit.

Properly fitting pointe shoes can enhance your dance performance and minimize the risk of injuries. Ill-fitting shoes can not only cause discomfort but also impair your technique and impact your overall experience as a ballet dancer. Therefore, it is important to take the time and effort to find the right size and style for your unique feet.

Whether you are a ballet student, teacher, or enthusiast, by following the guidelines in this article, you will gain the knowledge and confidence to select the perfect pair of ballet pointe shoes. So, let us dive into the world of ballet pointe shoe sizing and ensure that you are ready to take your dancing to new heights!


Understanding Ballet Pointe Shoes

Ballet pointe shoes are specifically designed footwear that allow dancers to perform on the tips of their toes, creating the illusion of weightlessness and greater height. These shoes feature a reinforced box at the toe, which provides support and protection for the dancer’s feet.

The toe box of a pointe shoe is typically made of layers of fabric, glue, and/or cardboard to provide structure and stability. Inside the shoe, there is usually a supportive shank, which runs along the bottom of the foot, helping to distribute the dancer’s weight evenly. The shank may be made of several materials, such as plastic or leather, and can vary in flexibility depending on the dancer’s preference and level of experience.

It is important to note that ballet pointe shoes should only be worn by dancers who have reached a certain level of strength and technique. This is because dancing en pointe requires a high level of strength in the feet, ankles, and legs to safely support the body’s weight in this position. Dancers typically start training in pointe shoes after several years of ballet training and once their instructor determines they are physically ready.

The style and fit of pointe shoes can vary depending on the brand and individual preferences. Some dancers prefer shoes with a higher vamp, which covers more of the top of the foot, while others may prefer a lower vamp for increased flexibility. The width and shape of the shoe’s box can also differ, allowing dancers to find the most comfortable and supportive fit for their feet.

Understanding the components and variations of ballet pointe shoes is essential for selecting the right size. In the next sections, we will explore how to measure the length and width of your feet, consider the shape and strength of your arches, and ultimately find the perfect fit for your ballet pointe shoes.


Finding the Right Size

When it comes to ballet pointe shoes, finding the right size is crucial for a comfortable and secure fit. Ill-fitting shoes can not only hinder your performance but also increase the risk of injuries. Here are some steps to help you find the perfect size for your ballet pointe shoes:

  1. Consult with a Professional: If you are a beginner or unsure about sizing, it is best to seek guidance from a professional ballet teacher or a reputable dance store. They will have the knowledge and experience to accurately assess your feet and recommend the appropriate size and style of pointe shoes.
  2. Measure the Length of Your Feet: Using a measuring tape or ruler, measure the length of your feet from the back of the heel to the longest toe. Take this measurement in centimeters or inches, as different brands may have varying size charts.
  3. Determine the Width of Your Feet: Measure the width of your feet by wrapping a measuring tape or string around the widest part of your foot. This will give you an idea of how narrow or wide your feet are, which is important when selecting the right pointe shoe width.
  4. Consider Arch Shape and Strength: Your arch shape and strength will also impact the fit of your pointe shoes. If you have a high arch, you may require a shoe with a deeper vamp to provide adequate support. Conversely, if you have a lower arch, a shoe with a shallower vamp may be more suitable.
  5. Try on Multiple Sizes: Once you have gathered your measurements, it is time to try on pointe shoes. It is recommended to try on multiple sizes and styles, as the fit can vary between brands. Start with the size that aligns with your measurements and adjust accordingly.

Remember that pointe shoes should fit snugly but not be overly tight. Your toes should be able to lay flat in the box, with enough room to wiggle them slightly. The shoes should also provide support to your arches and prevent any excessive shifting or movement within the shoe.

Overall, finding the right size for your ballet pointe shoes requires careful consideration of your measurements, foot width, and arch shape. It may take some trial and error to find the perfect fit, but investing the time and effort will ultimately contribute to your comfort, performance, and overall enjoyment of dancing en pointe.


Measuring the Length of the Feet

Accurately measuring the length of your feet is a crucial step in finding the right size ballet pointe shoes. Here’s a guide on how to measure the length of your feet:

  1. Gather the Necessary Tools: Grab a ruler or measuring tape and a piece of paper large enough for your foot to fit on.
  2. Prepare Your Feet: Find a flat surface, such as a hardwood floor, where you can comfortably stand with your weight evenly distributed on both feet.
  3. Place Your Foot on the Paper: Step onto the piece of paper, ensuring that your heel is firmly planted against a wall or straight edge.
  4. Trace the Outline: With a pen or pencil, carefully trace the outline of your foot on the paper. Make sure to keep the pen or pencil perpendicular to the ground for accurate measurements.
  5. Measure the Length: Using a ruler or measuring tape, measure the distance from the back of the heel to the longest toe on your foot. This will give you the length measurement in either centimeters or inches.

It is important to note that foot size can change over time, so it’s best to measure both feet and use the larger measurement as a guideline for finding the right size pointe shoes. Additionally, factors such as age, activity level, and weight may also affect foot size and shape.

Once you have your foot length measurement, consult the sizing chart provided by the pointe shoe manufacturer or dance store to determine the corresponding shoe size. Keep in mind that different brands may have slightly different sizing systems, so it’s always a good idea to refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Remember, finding the right size pointe shoes is essential for comfort, support, and the overall safety of your feet. Taking accurate measurements and referencing the sizing chart will help you start your pointe shoe fitting process on the right foot!


Determining the Width of the Feet

In addition to measuring the length of your feet, determining the width is equally important in finding the perfect size ballet pointe shoes. Here are some steps to help you determine the width of your feet:

  1. Prepare Your Feet: Once again, find a flat surface where you can stand comfortably with your weight evenly distributed on both feet.
  2. Observe the Widest Part: Look at your feet and observe the widest part, usually located around the ball of your foot. This is where you’ll want to measure the width.
  3. Get a Measuring Tape or String: Grab a measuring tape or a piece of string and wrap it around the widest part of your foot. Make sure not to wrap it too tightly, as this may lead to incorrect measurements.
  4. Take the Measurement: Take note of the measurement by either reading the numbers on the measuring tape or marking the string and measuring it with a ruler. The measurement should give you an idea of how narrow or wide your feet are.

It’s important to keep in mind that pointe shoes come in various widths, usually denoted by letters, such as Narrow (N), Medium (M), Wide (W), or Extra Wide (XW). Each brand may have its own width scale, so it’s essential to reference their sizing chart to determine the width that corresponds best with your measurement.

When trying on pointe shoes, the width should allow for a snug fit without feeling overly tight or constricting. The shoe should enfold your foot comfortably, providing support to the ball and sides of your foot. If the shoe feels too tight or creates excessive pressure points, you may need to consider a wider width. On the other hand, if the shoe feels loose or slides around, opting for a narrower width may be necessary.

Remember, every person’s feet are unique, and the width measurement can vary from person to person. Don’t be discouraged if you have wider or narrower feet than the average. Many ballet shoe manufacturers understand this and offer a range of widths to accommodate different foot shapes.

By accurately determining the width of your feet and referencing the manufacturer’s sizing chart, you enhance your chances of finding the perfect fit and ensuring the comfort and stability necessary for dancing en pointe.


Considering Arch Shape and Strength

When it comes to ballet pointe shoes, considering the shape and strength of your arches is crucial in finding the right fit. Here are some factors to consider:

Arch Shape: The shape of your arch refers to how it naturally curves when your foot is at rest. There are generally three arch shapes:

  1. High Arch: If you have a high arch, your foot will have a more pronounced curve. This often means that more weight is placed on the ball and heel of the foot, rather than being evenly distributed.
  2. Normal or Medium Arch: A normal or medium arch is considered the most common and balanced arch shape. The foot has a moderate curve, allowing for effective shock absorption and weight distribution.
  3. Low Arch: A low arch, sometimes referred to as a flat or fallen arch, has minimal curve. This can lead to less shock absorption and make the foot prone to rolling inwards, known as overpronation.

Arch Strength: Arch strength refers to the muscular strength and control you have in your feet and ankles. Developing strong arches through exercises and proper training is essential for executing movements en pointe with stability and control.

When selecting pointe shoes, consider the following:

  • High Arch: Dancers with high arches often require pointe shoes with a deeper vamp, which is the part of the shoe that covers the top of the foot. A deep vamp provides additional support to the arch, preventing it from collapsing or overextending.
  • Normal or Medium Arch: Dancers with a normal or medium arch have more flexibility in terms of pointe shoe selection. A variety of pointe shoe styles and vamps can typically accommodate this arch shape. It’s still important to ensure the shoe provides adequate support and stability.
  • Low Arch: Dancers with low arches may benefit from pointe shoes with a shallower vamp, as it allows the foot to elongate and maintain a more natural alignment. However, it is crucial to ensure that the shoe still provides sufficient support and stability.

Keep in mind that the shape and strength of your arches can change and develop over time with proper training and conditioning. It’s important to work closely with your ballet teacher or a professional fitter to assess the needs of your arches and select the most appropriate pointe shoe style.

By considering the shape and strength of your arches, you can find pointe shoes that provide the necessary support and alignment for dancing en pointe. Remember, a well-fitted pointe shoe that accommodates your arches will contribute to your overall comfort and enhance your performance on the ballet stage.


Trying on Ballet Pointe Shoes

Trying on ballet pointe shoes is an exciting and essential part of finding the perfect fit. Here are some tips to consider when trying on pointe shoes:

  1. Bring Your Ballet Accessories: When going for a pointe shoe fitting, remember to bring your ballet tights, toe pads, and any other accessories you typically wear during dance class. This will give you a more accurate sense of how the shoes will feel during actual dance movements.
  2. Work with a Professional Fitter: If possible, seek the assistance of a professional fitter who has experience in fitting and selecting pointe shoes. They will be able to guide you through the fitting process, offer insightful advice, and ensure you find the best pair for your feet.
  3. Try Various Sizes and Styles: Begin by trying on pointe shoes that align with your measurements and width. Walk around in each pair, point and flex your feet, and relevé to get a sense of the level of comfort and support they provide. Don’t hesitate to try different sizes and styles to find the best match.
  4. Check for Proper Toe Box Fit: Your toes should be able to lay flat in the box of the pointe shoe, with just enough room to wiggle them slightly. Avoid a shoe that cramps or squeezes your toes, as this can lead to discomfort and limit your range of movement.
  5. Assess the Support and Stability: Walk, relevé, and perform some simple ballet movements while wearing the pointe shoes. Assess if the shoes provide the necessary support and stability to prevent excessive shifting or rolling of the feet. A well-fitted pointe shoe should make you feel secure and balanced.
  6. Listen to Your Teacher and Body: Throughout the fitting process, listen to the advice and recommendations of your ballet teacher or the professional fitter. They have valuable expertise and can help guide you towards the right fit. Additionally, trust your own body’s sensations and instincts to find a shoe that feels comfortable and aligned with your needs.

Remember that the process of finding the perfect pair of pointe shoes may take time and multiple fittings. Patience is key, as it is essential to find the shoe that provides the optimal combination of comfort, support, and stability for your unique feet.

Once you have found the right pair, take some time to walk and dance in the pointe shoes to ensure they continue to feel comfortable and supportive. Making slight adjustments, such as adding extra padding or elastic, may be necessary to further customize the fit.

Properly fitting pointe shoes will not only enhance your comfort and movement but also contribute to the overall aesthetics and technical execution of your ballet performances. Enjoy the process of trying on different pointe shoes and discovering the pair that will support you beautifully as you dance en pointe.


Ensuring Proper Fit and Comfort

When it comes to ballet pointe shoes, ensuring a proper fit and maximum comfort is essential for a dancer’s performance and overall well-being. Here are some tips to help you achieve the best fit and comfort:

  1. Secure Heel and Snug Fit: The heel of the pointe shoe should fit snugly and securely against your foot, preventing excessive movement or slipping. Avoid shoes with a loose heel, as this can lead to blisters and discomfort.
  2. Comfortable Toe Box: Ensure that the toe box provides enough space for your toes to lay flat without feeling cramped or restricted. While it should be snug, there should still be enough room for slight movement and wiggle. Consider trying different styles or widths to find the most comfortable fit for your toes.
  3. Proper Arch Support: Look for pointe shoes that provide adequate arch support, as this is crucial for maintaining good alignment and stability en pointe. The shoe should support and engage your arches without over-compressing them.
  4. Secure Ribbon and Elastic: Properly sewn ribbons and elastic will keep the pointe shoes securely in place on your feet. They should be snug but not so tight that they cut off circulation or cause discomfort. Ensure that the ribbons and elastic are securely attached and properly placed to provide optimal support.
  5. Pay Attention to Pressure Points: While trying on pointe shoes, pay attention to any areas that may cause discomfort or pressure. Everyone’s feet are unique, and certain spots may be more sensitive. Communicate these areas with your fitter, who may be able to make some adjustments or suggest alternative shoe styles to alleviate discomfort.
  6. Consider Padded Inserts or Toe Pads: If you experience discomfort or pressure points while wearing pointe shoes, consider using padded inserts or toe pads. These can provide additional cushioning and protection for sensitive areas of your feet.
  7. Regularly Check and Replace Pointe Shoes: Over time, pointe shoes wear down and lose their support. It’s important to regularly check the condition of your pointe shoes and replace them as needed. Using worn-out shoes can jeopardize your safety and hinder your performance.

Remember, comfort is key when it comes to pointe shoes. While it may take some time and experimentation to find the perfect fit, investing in the right pair of shoes will greatly enhance your enjoyment and success in dancing en pointe.

Additionally, communicate with your ballet teacher or professional fitter throughout the process. They can offer advice, make adjustments, and provide valuable insights based on their experience and knowledge of pointe shoe fitting.

Lastly, listen to your own body. If something feels uncomfortable or painful while wearing pointe shoes, it’s important to address it promptly. Taking care of your feet and ensuring their comfort and well-being will contribute to a more joyful and fulfilling ballet experience.


Maintaining and Caring for Ballet Pointe Shoes

Proper maintenance and care of your ballet pointe shoes are essential to extend their lifespan, ensure optimal performance, and keep your feet healthy. Here are some tips on how to care for your pointe shoes:

  1. Rotate Your Shoes: It’s recommended to rotate between two or more pairs of pointe shoes. This allows each pair to fully dry and regain their structure between uses, prolonging their lifespan.
  2. Avoid Moisture: Moisture negatively impacts the lifespan of pointe shoes. After each use, remove any padding or toe pads and allow your shoes to air dry in a well-ventilated area. Avoid direct heat sources that can cause the shoes to warp or shrink.
  3. Store Properly: When not in use, store your pointe shoes in a breathable fabric bag or a shoe box with air holes. This helps to preserve their shape and prevent odor and moisture buildup.
  4. Protect the Soles: Consider applying a thin layer of shellac or fabric adhesive to the soles of your pointe shoes to protect them from wear and tear. However, be cautious not to make the soles slippery.
  5. Reinforce Weak Areas: If you notice specific areas of your pointe shoes that wear out quickly, such as the platform or the sides of the box, you can reinforce those weak areas with adhesive tape or glue. This can help extend the life of your shoes.
  6. Clean Regularly: It’s important to clean your pointe shoes regularly to remove dirt and sweat build-up. Use a soft cloth or a damp sponge to gently wipe the exterior of the shoes. Be careful not to soak the shoes, as excessive moisture can weaken the materials.
  7. Seek Professional Resoling: Over time, the platform or the tip of the pointe shoe may wear down. When this happens, consult a professional shoemaker experienced in pointe shoe resoling. They can replace the worn-out parts, restoring the shoes’ support and balance.
  8. Replace When Necessary: As pointe shoes age, they lose their support and become less responsive. It’s important to recognize when it’s time to replace them. If you start to experience discomfort, lack of support, or decreased performance, it may be a sign that it’s time for a new pair of pointe shoes.

Remember, proper maintenance and care of your pointe shoes not only ensure their longevity but also contribute to your overall comfort and dancing experience. By following these tips, you can get the most out of your pointe shoes and keep them in excellent condition.

Lastly, always prioritize the health and well-being of your feet. If you experience any persistent pain or discomfort while wearing pointe shoes, consult with your ballet teacher or a healthcare professional to address the issue promptly and prevent potential injuries.



Finding the perfect fit for your ballet pointe shoes is a vital aspect of a dancer’s journey. Properly sizing and selecting pointe shoes can greatly enhance your comfort, support, and performance en pointe. By understanding the nuances of fitting ballet pointe shoes, considering factors such as foot length, width, arch shape, and strength, and following the tips outlined in this article, you can ensure a seamless and satisfying pointe shoe experience.

It is important to consult with a professional ballet teacher or fitter who can provide personalized guidance and recommendations. They can assess your unique foot characteristics and help you navigate through the process of finding the right size, style, and width of pointe shoes that best suit your needs.

Remember, the fit and comfort of pointe shoes play a significant role in not only your performance but also your overall well-being as a dancer. Prioritize proper fit, support, and maintenance to prevent injuries and extend the lifespan of your pointe shoes.

Whether you are a beginner embarking on your first pair of pointe shoes or a seasoned dancer seeking improved comfort and technique, understanding how to size and care for ballet pointe shoes is essential. By striving for the perfect fit, you’ll have the freedom and confidence to express your artistry with grace, beauty, and precision.

Enjoy the journey of finding your ideal ballet pointe shoes, and may they become your trusted companions as you embark on the magical journey of dancing en pointe.

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