Skates and pointe shoes

Flying Feijoa

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 22, 2019
Country
New-Zealand
Random thought, and hopefully not too niche: Does anyone here do ballet (in particular pointe), besides skating? If so, I'd be interested to know your pointe shoe and skate boot model/s, and how they correlate.

Skate and pointe shoes both fit snugly and their fit is crucial to performance. Of course, there are differences - ankle and instep flexibility and toe length are critical in ballet for determining the right shank strength and vamp length to allow toe articulation and to reach full pointe, while skating doesn't require such a large range of ankle motion except in ice dance (in which the free foot is pointed rather than the weightbearing foot, and toe articulation isn't applicable in a rigid boot). However, toe box shape and ball/heel width are critical, whether to prevent the heel from sliding up and down in the boot or the toes from sinking into the floor while en pointe. Arch/instep height (as an absolute parameter) are relevant in skating, but for different reasons than for ballet (more about finding the right footbed/heel height to prevent foot cramps or pronation).

For the record, I now wear a Jackson split width (on the wide side) with orthotics, after a long boot saga as described in another thread. For ballet I usually wear Russian Pointe Brava (narrow heel, slightly tapered box) in a wide width, medium vamp (for average toe length) and flexible medium-strength shank. I've also been making do with Freed Studio Pro width E as a back-up pair to rotate with.

It's a little frustrating that skate manufacturers don't offer as much variety in their stock range as pointe shoes, though understandable given the much higher production cost per unit and smaller customer base. I still find pointe shoes a lot more comfortable than skates :laugh: Hope it won't be too much of a shock to step back on the ice when the rink eventually re-opens...
 

hanyuufan5

❅*:・。.✨
Medalist
Joined
May 19, 2018
I never got anywhere near pointe level, but I did ballet on and off practically since I was old enough to walk until I quit in favor of figure skating at age 12 or so. I did both consistently and simultaneously from 10-12 and I never had any problems switching back and forth, but I was not at a very high level in either. Roller skating/blading, on the other hand... haha... that's for a different thread.

Not sure if it's a coincidence or not, but my feet are still very, very flexible with a really high instep from all that ballet while I was still growing, and I wear wide Jacksons, too.
 

Edwin

СделаноВХрустальном!
Record Breaker
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Jan 5, 2019
I never got anywhere near pointe level, but I did ballet on and off practically since I was old enough to walk until I quit in favor of figure skating at age 12 or so. I did both consistently and simultaneously from 10-12 and I never had any problems switching back and forth, but I was not at a very high level in either. Roller skating/blading, on the other hand... haha... that's for a different thread.

Not sure if it's a coincidence or not, but my feet are still very, very flexible with a really high instep from all that ballet while I was still growing, and I wear wide Jacksons, too.

Isn't working 'en pointee' a big risk of injury when done improperly, apart from a couple of minutes just for fun? It will no doubt strengthen the calf and ankle muscles, so important in jumping on skates.
 

Flying Feijoa

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 22, 2019
Country
New-Zealand
I never got anywhere near pointe level, but I did ballet on and off practically since I was old enough to walk until I quit in favor of figure skating at age 12 or so. I did both consistently and simultaneously from 10-12 and I never had any problems switching back and forth, but I was not at a very high level in either. Roller skating/blading, on the other hand... haha... that's for a different thread.

Not sure if it's a coincidence or not, but my feet are still very, very flexible with a really high instep from all that ballet while I was still growing, and I wear wide Jacksons, too.

In terms of switching, I find that if I skate the day after ballet, I'm a bit more perceptive of where my balance is on the blade (e.g. edges, sweet spot). Conversely, my feet get kind of stiff after skating so if I have ballet class afterward, I often need to massage the plantar area and toes to get them articulating properly.

I don't think that's a coincidence :D Pointe shoe fitters have told me that ballet tends to make the ball of your foot wider over time (whether through intrinsic foot muscle development or, for some people with a genetic predisposition, bunions) hence the need for dancers to be re-fitted regularly. And I've seen male dancers with gorgeously pointed feet, so it's probably not just pointe that does it!
 

Flying Feijoa

On the Ice
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Sep 22, 2019
Country
New-Zealand
Isn't working 'en pointee' a big risk of injury when done improperly, apart from a couple of minutes just for fun? It will no doubt strengthen the calf and ankle muscles, so important in jumping on skates.

For sure! Even 'a couple of minutes just for fun' is a very bad idea for people who haven't undergone the required training. That means 3-4 hours of regular ballet classes per week for several years for the typical non-professional dancer (e.g. someone taking dance as a high school subject), or full-time for a year in vocational schools (e.g. in places like White Lodge or Vaganova, girls enter at 10/11 years old then take a year or so to build up technique and wait for bone growth to be complete in the feet before beginning pointe). Even then the ballet teacher has the final say in determining when/whether an individual student is technically and physically ready for pointework.

I think pointework as conditioning for skaters doesn't really make sense unless they happen to have a strong pre-professional ballet background (which is quite rare, e.g. Katherine Healy, Tessa Virtue - and Emanuel Sandhu, but he's a bloke so no pointe for him:laugh:). Elite skaters need to prioritize their time on the ice - there are other more practical ways to strengthen the lower legs that don't require such specialised training. I'd reckon that as far as skater-oriented ballet training goes, barre, adagio (slow held extensions) and allegro (jumps) is probably sufficient.
 

Sibelius

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 28, 2017
Good information from you FF. My 11 (soon to be 12) year old will, if things return to normal, start pointe in the Fall. Ballet school is all online now, and she just had a private with her ballet teacher yesterday. She had been working very hard to make sure she was ready before everything stopped, no exams, no Spring performance. Summer was supposed to include a 2 week pre pointe workshop. She and her teacher were working on a variation to submit for a video audition before the shut downs. I hope she's still on track, she's been working toward pointe for 3 years now. As of now her school's Summer Intensive is still going forward, that will help insure she is ready.

As far as skating, she's also in a semi custom split width (A heel, C ball) Jackson Premiere. She just tried them back on after being off for 8 weeks (except for twice weekly "virtual" off ice with her coach). Still fit, thankfully. I wasn't really ready to spend another $1300 for boots and blades, and then start spending on pointe shoes at the same time. It sounds like you two have similar feet, so maybe mine will be in an RP or Freed. The fitter that comes to the studio in the Fall is considered one of the best in the U.S., and she brings a literal truck load of shoes with her. It seems like it will be a bit easier than getting her boots fitted.
 

Flying Feijoa

On the Ice
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Sep 22, 2019
Country
New-Zealand
Ooh exciting times! I must say your daughter been a lot more diligent than me in keeping up the dance practice at home...

Yeah, it does sound like we have similar feet in terms of the split width/'diamond-shaped' foot. I'd keep an open mind about the brand though, since each brand can offer many different models (RP just happens to be durable and offer some good options for skinny heels which is why I like it). For the most important things like box taper/vamp length/shank strength the fitter and her truckload of shoes will be crucial :D

Small word of warning - depending how seriously your daughter takes ballet in the future, skates might be cheaper!
 

Sibelius

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 28, 2017
Her school did an excellent job getting online classes ramped up so we were able to keep her going right away. Not as much fun and challenging (she loves being challenged) as regular classes, but it's what we have. If she misses too much her teacher says the bad habits come back quickly.

I have heard that comment about the pointe shoes/skates cost. I've seen the post Nutcracker photos of the dancers and their shoes from the season, so you're probably right. At some point I guess she'll have to choose. We'll push it off as long as we can though. Never thought I'd miss 5:45 a.m. at the rink, and the same day 8:00 p.m. at the ballet studio, but I do.
 

DanseMacabre

Final Flight
Joined
May 27, 2018
Country
Iceland
A bit late to the party but I when I was still dancing, I wore Gaynor Mindens and Bloch Serenades. Neither was ideal because they’re both a bit square in the box and I have tapered ties with broad metatarsals and narrow heels (this was before GM rolled out their newer models) but with the right padding I survived.

I currently skate in Edea Concertos which are the only boots that didn’t put unbearable pressure on my insteps. I still have “ballet feet” so high arches and insteps that are relatively flexible. There were a few Jackson models that weren’t too bad (I think the Premiere was one - it had a little more leather allowance over the instep) but even then they weren’t a great fit.

I wasn’t too keen on the Edeas at first because of the heel but the fit accommodated my arch/instep better than any other brand I tried so I learned to deal with it.
 

Flying Feijoa

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 22, 2019
Country
New-Zealand
Interesting! I'm the opposite - tried Edea Chorus a few years ago, but couldn't deal with the heel slippage and subsequent bursitis/Haglund's deformity. I get lace bite sometimes with my current Jacksons, but it's manageable for now. My arches are just about serviceable for ballet though, probably not as high as yours.

Ahh, Bloch... they owe me half a big toenail :mad: Though I recall my friend also had toe bruising in GMs (might be the square model that you had back in the day).
 

alyssamarie

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 23, 2017
Country
United-States
I wore Russian Pointes when I did pointe for 7? Years, but I don't know what style they were off the top of my head. Looking at the site the Rubin sounds familiar. Bloch didn't fit my feet right. I ended up choosing skating over dance, so the last few years I just had one pair per year for the 1-2 hours a week I was dancing, so it would've been cheaper for me to stick with dance lol. I wear riedell silver stars.
 

RebeccaAG

Spectator
Joined
Jun 13, 2015
I wore Russian Pointes when I did pointe for 7? Years, but I don't know what style they were off the top of my head. Looking at the site the Rubin sounds familiar. Bloch didn't fit my feet right. I ended up choosing skating over dance, so the last few years I just had one pair per year for the 1-2 hours a week I was dancing, so it would've been cheaper for me to stick with dance lol. I wear riedell silver stars.
My daughter does both skating and Dance and I would consider her "serious recreational " in both diciplines at this time she is about to go up on Pointe in dance (we haven't shopped for pointe shoes just yet) and has landed all doubles up to and including her double flip on the ice and she is 12. Not sure she will ever choose one over the other since we do not have aspirations ( or the money lol) for her to be either a Ballerina (a dancer maybe but not a ballerina) or an Olympic caliber skater. If you were to do it again would you still choose to focus in on one or would you rather have kept equal foot (no pun intended) in both sports. Pondering the benefits of choosing or not choosing to focus in on one over the other.
 

alyssamarie

On the Ice
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Mar 23, 2017
Country
United-States
My daughter does both skating and Dance and I would consider her "serious recreational " in both diciplines at this time she is about to go up on Pointe in dance (we haven't shopped for pointe shoes just yet) and has landed all doubles up to and including her double flip on the ice and she is 12. Not sure she will ever choose one over the other since we do not have aspirations ( or the money lol) for her to be either a Ballerina (a dancer maybe but not a ballerina) or an Olympic caliber skater. If you were to do it again would you still choose to focus in on one or would you rather have kept equal foot (no pun intended) in both sports. Pondering the benefits of choosing or not choosing to focus in on one over the other.
I was not serious at all. For skating I was doing basic skills and high school comps (1-3 a year, lowish level, and a few shows), and for dance I just did 2 hours a week with the nutcracker and a recital. During high school, I decided to focus more on skating, and had to cut dance down so I could skate more. I started pointe at 11ish. I have all my singles on ice, and was working on my axel and beginning doubles before COVID. I do like being able to do both, and a lot of the stretches/moves help for both. Before I chose to focus on skating, one day a week I was skating 1-3 hours in am, and going to dance for 1-2 hours in thhe afternoon, and it was getting to be a little too much with school. I feel like focusing on one as a more serious one would be better, but I knew for both I would never be pro/olympic material. Now, I'm a college student, and I skate at the intercollegiate level, and it's such a welcoming community (& cheaper lol). Last year I paid $250 which included all my ice time, competition fees, coaching time, and other stuff. The dance team at my school focuses more on hip hop, and tap is my favorite, so it works out well. Basically, a good foundation will never hurt, but there will likely come a time when its best to choose one to focus on.
 

RebeccaAG

Spectator
Joined
Jun 13, 2015
I was not serious at all. For skating I was doing basic skills and high school comps (1-3 a year, lowish level, and a few shows), and for dance I just did 2 hours a week with the nutcracker and a recital. During high school, I decided to focus more on skating, and had to cut dance down so I could skate more. I started pointe at 11ish. I have all my singles on ice, and was working on my axel and beginning doubles before COVID. I do like being able to do both, and a lot of the stretches/moves help for both. Before I chose to focus on skating, one day a week I was skating 1-3 hours in am, and going to dance for 1-2 hours in thhe afternoon, and it was getting to be a little too much with school. I feel like focusing on one as a more serious one would be better, but I knew for both I would never be pro/olympic material. Now, I'm a college student, and I skate at the intercollegiate level, and it's such a welcoming community (& cheaper lol). Last year I paid $250 which included all my ice time, competition fees, coaching time, and other stuff. The dance team at my school focuses more on hip hop, and tap is my favorite, so it works out well. Basically, a good foundation will never hurt, but there will likely come a time when its best to choose one to focus on.
Thanks for the reply and your thoughts! Your college situation sounds fantastic :).
 

skatingbeast

Rinkside
Joined
Nov 14, 2019
Country
United-States
I haven’t danced on pointe in 4 years and started skating as an adult 5 years ago. I wore freed and Suffolk pointe shoes, but can’t remember the details other than narrow and medium vamp and shank. I was in Edea ice flys but actually have an appointment with a boot fitter today after having issues with heel slippage and arch pain. I’ll also echo what another skater said about massaging and rolling out feet. Skating definitely is not helpful to maintaining a beautiful pointed arch.
 

Myblade

Rinkside
Joined
Sep 1, 2014
When I did pointe I wore Bloch European Balances. I also tried Suffolks but they didn't fit too great because I have rather wide feet (bunions on both sides...). For skating, I've always worn Jacksons and I love them!
 

Arwen17

On the Ice
Joined
Jan 20, 2017
As someone who started skating in her late twenties and went up on pointe for the first time in late twenties as well, so far skates have been far, far more comfortable than pointe shoes. I'm only a beginner at pointe and I'm planning to make a trip to a larger pointe store so I'll have a wider range of shoes to try on. But skates are just better. They've always fit my feet better, sometimes straight out of the box and sometimes with just a bit of heat-molding. Pointe shoes that fit well has been much more difficult. I'm "standard width" in skates, but I'm considered "very wide" in pointe shoes. I have a tapered foot that leaves the majority of the weight on my big toe, but I'm also boxy in that my other toes are all the same length. So they can't give me a box that is too tapered because I'm too wide and boxy, and yet I need a tapered box because of my big toe being longer than my other toes. There is no happy solution between being boxy and even on all the toes except the big toe.
 

Sibelius

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 28, 2017
My skater/dancer was fitted yesterday at her studio by the aforementioned fitter with the truck (van actually) full of shoes. She will be starting out in a Bloch Heritage. She tried others on, doesn't remember which ones, and those were the most comfortable.

The problem now is that her studio won't let the dancers who are taking class remotely start pointe work, and didn't relay that to the dancers when they announced the fitting schedule. There are a few heartbroken girls in her class. She is fortunate to have a private teacher and they are allowing her to start in her private lessons, but not in class. She'll get more training in those privates than her class anyway. We still hope she'll be able to go back to the studio once the county rescinds their orders prohibiting only one in person group activity outside of school (which she still does remotely as well). Things aren't looking good where we are though, cases ticking up. She at least gets to skate 6 days, with a couple of 2X days per week. Haven't figured out how to build a rink at home, and the barre, floor and mirror for ballet wasn't cheap either.
 

WednesdayMarch

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 24, 2019
Country
United-Kingdom
My skater/dancer was fitted yesterday at her studio by the aforementioned fitter with the truck (van actually) full of shoes. She will be starting out in a Bloch Heritage. She tried others on, doesn't remember which ones, and those were the most comfortable.

The problem now is that her studio won't let the dancers who are taking class remotely start pointe work, and didn't relay that to the dancers when they announced the fitting schedule. There are a few heartbroken girls in her class. She is fortunate to have a private teacher and they are allowing her to start in her private lessons, but not in class. She'll get more training in those privates than her class anyway. We still hope she'll be able to go back to the studio once the county rescinds their orders prohibiting only one in person group activity outside of school (which she still does remotely as well). Things aren't looking good where we are though, cases ticking up. She at least gets to skate 6 days, with a couple of 2X days per week. Haven't figured out how to build a rink at home, and the barre, floor and mirror for ballet wasn't cheap either.
Oh, I can imagine the tears from those girls! It does seem unfair and heartbreaking, but it is actually a really sensible policy on the part of the studio. The girls may not realise that until later life but it is absolutely the right decision on the part of the studio.

Really hope this Covid situation gets under control before the passing of too much more time. We've just gone into our second lockdown, so no skating for a month at least. The rink had only been open for less than 3 weeks. Still, as long as we stay safe, we're grateful.
 

axelanika

Rinkside
Joined
Oct 31, 2020
Country
United-States
I'm a competitive figure skater and recreational ballet dancer. I started ballet when I was 3 and planned to do it professionally. I started skating when I was 9 or 10 (don't remember) but it was mostly for fun. When I was 11 it became known to me that my hips were just not meant to do turnout as much as is needed to be professional nowadays (I naturally have 70° internal rotation and 20° external on my more extreme hip, and that's just 100% my genetics). So that's how I ended up with an injured hip that still haunts me to this day on the ice. Anyway, that's how I ended up switching to competitive figure skating while still having a serious background in ballet with enough training to go en pointe.
I'm currently not dancing because of COVID knowing that it is not my main focus, but I wear Suffolks and Edea Pianos. My skates are much more comfortable. I've done basically every customization imaginable:
What I've found is I can do much more to my skates vs my pointe shoes. My pointe shoes will always make my toenails and toes really hurt because that's just what pointe does, with my skates I can do much more customizations.
To my skates I:
  • Punch out the toe region
  • Add insoles
  • Cut off the tongue
  • Add a little ankle padding
  • Add more padding around the heel to keep it down a bit more.
  • Tilt my blade a bit.
  • Move my blade from center.
I just can't do the same to my pointe shoes. They will always hurt no matter what I do.
 
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