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Pointe Shoe Sizing – Get Exactly The Right Fit

Fitting pointe shoes.

I’ve had more inquiries lately about fitting ballet toe shoes, and the same old theories pop up. I read the Q & A’s on places like, and similar sites – and dancers are still telling others to get ballet toe shoes 2 (or 3) sizes smaller than your street shoes! Please don’t!!

Pointe shoes come in many shapes including:

  • length
  • width
  • shape of box-wide, tapered, narrow etc.
  • depth of shoe, depth at the heel
  • low or high vamp-the section of the shoe going over your forefoot (corresponding to short or long toes)
  • narrow tapered-box shoes accommodate the Compressible Foot-the foot that looks wide but compresses in the shoe

At the ballet store, try on as many brands as you can. The same size shoe in a different brand may feel different on your feet. In each pair, do a demi plie in a small second position, making sure your toes are not jammed into the end of the shoe. If so, the shoe is too short or too narrow.

Wear any toe shoe padding you plan to use-Ouch Pouches or lambswool will take up space. Wear your tights, not thicker socks.

If you have a highly arched foot you will need a stronger shank, or sole of shoe. If your ankle is less flexible, you can wear a lighter shoe.

If you have one foot slightly bigger than the other, you must fit your ballet toe shoes to the bigger foot. The smaller foot may need some extra padding so that the shoe isn’t too loose.

There are specific foot exercises described in The Perfect Pointe Book to help you prepare for pointe. These exercises will keep you busy for a few minutes a day, while strengthening the smaller foot muscles.

The Perfect Pointe Book also give you tips on how to get more flexible in the ankle joint.


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