Skates and pointe shoes

Ic3Rabbit

Patineuse élite et professionnelle
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Country
Canada
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.
Please explain why you would even cut the tongue off your boot? Do you cut it off completely? Because I would never.
 

Flying Feijoa

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 22, 2019
Country
New-Zealand
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.
I feel your pain (sometimes literally) since my feet are pretty similar :LOL: Have you tried Grishko 2007 or Russian Pointe Rubin/Brava? They actually run quite wide and fit lots of people I know with moderate toe taper - maybe not perfectly, but it might give some idea of what needs optimising. Also, a couple of years ago I started wearing a toe spacer for bunion alleviation; interestingly it also lets me fit a squarer box by somehow redistributing weight away from the big toe. That might help for you if you have space between 1st and 2nd toes (fitter knows best of course).
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.
Ooh, exciting! Bloch Heritage is also a good shoe for wide metatarsals and mildly tapered toes (which makes sense, since IIRC she wears/wore Jacksons?). I remember trying them at the fitter's ages ago - comfy, but the vamp was a bit short for me.
Agree with her studio, starting out en pointe definitely requires in-person instruction.
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:
Funnily I'm almost exactly the opposite, maybe because I have more experience with ballet than skating. I used to modify my pointe shoes a fair bit (vamp darning, superglue, random elastics everywhere), although after finding a pair that actually fit, all that extra work was unnecessary. I've had worse issues with my skates, but wouldn't dare adjust them myself (or even ask my tech to, unless they recommend it) since the boots alone (even rated for easier doubles) are 5x more expensive than the priciest pointe shoes 🙈
Have you tried any pointe shoes apart from Suffolk? I've never worn them myself, but English brands like Freed tend to place your toes closer to the floor (some people like that, others don't).
 

axelanika

Rinkside
Joined
Oct 31, 2020
Country
United-States
Please explain why you would even cut the tongue off your boot? Do you cut it off completely? Because I would never.
OMG no, just the sides so they don't dig into my ankles! Pianos have a very wide tongue compared to a lot of other boots I've worn.
Funnily I'm almost exactly the opposite, maybe because I have more experience with ballet than skating. I used to modify my pointe shoes a fair bit (vamp darning, superglue, random elastics everywhere), although after finding a pair that actually fit, all that extra work was unnecessary. I've had worse issues with my skates, but wouldn't dare adjust them myself (or even ask my tech to, unless they recommend it) since the boots alone (even rated for easier doubles) are 5x more expensive than the priciest pointe shoes 🙈
I'm very demanding of my tech. I used to not tell them what to do; I would only state the problem and they would fix it. Now I'm on my fourth pair of Pianos, so I know what works and what doesn't.
 

Ic3Rabbit

Patineuse élite et professionnelle
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Country
Canada
OMG no, just the sides so they don't dig into my ankles! Pianos have a very wide tongue compared to a lot of other boots I've worn.

I'm very demanding of my tech. I used to not tell them what to do; I would only state the problem and they would fix it. Now I'm on my fourth pair of Pianos, so I know what works and what doesn't.
Who isn't? LOL :) And glad to hear it wasn't the whole tongue, I was like OMG that is not good! :laugh:
 

RebeccaAG

Spectator
Joined
Jun 13, 2015
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.
Wow lots of ice time at least that is great! I have two daughters now on Pointe and in the spring when the dance studio went virtual they also would not allow my older daughter to go up on Pointe when doing virtual classes because there is no way for the teacher to be able to see their feet enough to make the critical corrections-it is a bummer but understandable. Now my skater daughter also just went up on pointe and she is two weeks (2 classes) in and we are starting to have to cancel classes due to Covid. Hoping we don't totally shut down seeing we just bought the pointe shoes and who knows if they will still fit when things finally fully open back up. She is 12 and hoping her feet are done growing between the skates and the Pointe shoes! She wears Reidell skates (C or D width) and Bloch Pointe shoes.
 

moonkat

On the Ice
Joined
Dec 13, 2013
Country
Antarctica
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.
oh I see, did you use perfectfitpointe?
 

Arwen17

On the Ice
Joined
Jan 20, 2017
Arwen17 said:
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.

I feel your pain (sometimes literally) since my feet are pretty similar :LOL: Have you tried Grishko 2007 or Russian Pointe Rubin/Brava? They actually run quite wide and fit lots of people I know with moderate toe taper - maybe not perfectly, but it might give some idea of what needs optimising. Also, a couple of years ago I started wearing a toe spacer for bunion alleviation; interestingly it also lets me fit a squarer box by somehow redistributing weight away from the big toe. That might help for you if you have space between 1st and 2nd toes (fitter knows best of course).

I was in Bloch at first and I liked that a lot. I'm in Russian Pointe now because the tiny local store owner simply no longer wants to carry Bloch. She's had supply issues with them or something and just doesn't want to deal with it anymore.
Russian Pointe is fine, but I think I went from a very soft "junior level" Bloch shoe with a wide toe platform to a very "advanced" hard Russian Pointe shoe with a tiny toe platform. (The one good thing about this is I won't destroy the shoe as fast I did in the soft shoe.) I adjusted to it quickly and I'm fine, but I don't know that it's a "better" shoe. It really just comes down to what she has in stock that actually fits my big feet at all. Her stocked shoes are usually not long enough for me, it's not a width problem. The majority of people in my area are about 5'5 or shorter (skaters and ballerinas). It's always just me and ONE other girl (in the rink and in the ballet studio) that is ever taller than this. All that really means is the other girl is a "shocking" 5'7 and stands out because of how short everyone else is. But I'm 5'9, so I realllly stand out. Which means her pointe shoe stock at the tiny store is heavily geared to smaller sizes because of the utter lack of tall girls. That's why at some point I need to drive to a big city just to get to a bigger shoe collection to choose from. The shoes I have work, they're just not perfect.
 
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