Upgrade to new boots / blades for overworked ballet feet - adult skater | Golden Skate

Upgrade to new boots / blades for overworked ballet feet - adult skater

Joined
Jul 17, 2021
Hi, I'm an adult skater returning back to the ice after a 15 yr break - I was approx freestyle level 1 when I left the ice in my early twenties. I've also taken ballet classes recreationally regularly for 20 yrs (2-3 classes a week) and my flexible, overworked feet have had a lot of injuries (sprains, supination, cuboid displacement, feet surgery, etc) I was skating in $100 stock ice skates in my twenties - they're not in great condition anymore and I definitely need new skates / blades bc there's a lot of feet pain since I've returned to the ice (two weeks ago).

Given my history of feet issues and my desire to continue dancing and skating for the next few decades - I'm leaning towards custom skates so I can skate pain-free (as much as possible) which I know comes with an $$ investment. My dream scenario would be to invest in some skates now that I could just use long-term and I can work towards my single jumps again. I tried on the Jackson Ultimas at the pro shop and they didn't feel right and I worried about long-term damage for my feet, which are super collapsible and bendy.

Here are my questions:
Is it foolish to invest in custom skates as I'm getting back to skating - that I'll just need to swap to new boots as I gain more strength and need a stiffer supportive boot? (I'd like to invest in the stiffer supportive boot now and work on breaking them in rather than getting a softer boot that I'll just need to replace in a year or so. However, I'm not sure this is a realistic option)

My teacher for the group lessons I've signed up for - recommended I look at MK Gold Star blades, since I'm looking to invest in good skates for the longer-term. I see a lot of the posts here recommend the MK Pros as a good solid intermediate blade. Will it be difficult to get my skating skills back up to speed on a more advanced blade (that I could switch to another boot as I get better) or is it preferable to stick with a mid-level blade like the MK Pros?

I'm learning so much reading through these Forum posts so I'll keep on reading - I would appreciate any advice / guidance you have! I have an appointment with an SP Teri fitter / skate shop in Northern California next weekend but just doing some research in the meantime...

Thank you!
 

Sibelius

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 28, 2017
Here are my questions:
Is it foolish to invest in custom skates as I'm getting back to skating - that I'll just need to swap to new boots as I gain more strength and need a stiffer supportive boot? (I'd like to invest in the stiffer supportive boot now and work on breaking them in rather than getting a softer boot that I'll just need to replace in a year or so. However, I'm not sure this is a realistic option)

My teacher for the group lessons I've signed up for - recommended I look at MK Gold Star blades, since I'm looking to invest in good skates for the longer-term. I see a lot of the posts here recommend the MK Pros as a good solid intermediate blade. Will it be difficult to get my skating skills back up to speed on a more advanced blade (that I could switch to another boot as I get better) or is it preferable to stick with a mid-level blade like the MK Pros?

I'm learning so much reading through these Forum posts so I'll keep on reading - I would appreciate any advice / guidance you have! I have an appointment with an SP Teri fitter / skate shop in Northern California next weekend but just doing some research in the meantime...

Thank you!
Hi there,

You didn't say which Jackson boot (no blade) or skate (beginner blade attached) you tried on. They make many different models, most of which are built in the same basic shape (wider toe box, narrower heel) but with different stiffness levels. I'll post the Jackson "guide" below, which is based on skill and weight. It's a loose guide shall we say, some of their boots are stiffer than they market them as and are more or less appropriate for a given size and skill level.

Other mfgr's fit different feet, they include Riedell, Risport, and Edea, three of the more common "big brands" available here in the U.S. (and, if you're going to A&G in South San Francisco it's what they offer in addition to Sp-Teri. They DO NOT sell or fit Edea, don't ask, it's a sore spot with them. And, FYI, their stock of boots to try on is very limited, as it is in most shops these days.

It's not foolish to invest in a custom boot, if your feet require it. There are 2 problems with custom boots, one is cost, Jackson customs and Riedell's as well are $950 and up depending on your choice of materials and "options". Second, at least in the immediate term is time. I ordered a Jackson custom for my skater in early June, it won't be ready until the end of August. Other customs, Harlick (San Carlos), Avanta (Hayward) are at 18 weeks or longer. Reidell is also a long wait though I'm not sure exactly how long. Sp-Teri customs are, at the moment, not available at all.

As far as a blade is concerned, there really is no need for you at this point, or likely in the near future, to buy an advanced blade like the MK Gold Star. That blade is designed for skaters at the double Axel through quadruple jump levels. It won't hurt your skating, but it's just not necessary when an MK Pro, or Wilson Coronation Ace at $350 less will offer all you need. If you're doing 2A's when the MK Pro blade has lost it's life through sharpenings then invest in an advanced blade. You might discover that the MK blades aren't for you and a Wilson blade works better (different geometry) then you won't have spent all that $$$ on the wrong blade.

So, to sum up, if your fitter thinks customs are the only way and you have the $$$ and time, go for it. If they think they can get you into a stock boot that will fit you, and get you close enough with heat molding and punching and maybe insoles, save the money for extra ice time and private lessons!

Oh, while A&G is where we go, and they are the best (for us at least), if you want the possibility of trying more on you can try Teri-Ann and Lillian at Figure Skating Pro Shop located at the Bridgepointe Ice Rink in San Mateo. Teri-Ann is "prickly" but knows what she's doing as far as fitting. They used to have more of a selection for trying boots on (Jackson and Reidell) at least they did when they were located at the Redwood City rink.

Good luck in your quest.

Jackson Fit Guide
 
Joined
Jul 17, 2021
Hi there,

You didn't say which Jackson boot (no blade) or skate (beginner blade attached) you tried on. They make many different models, most of which are built in the same basic shape (wider toe box, narrower heel) but with different stiffness levels. I'll post the Jackson "guide" below, which is based on skill and weight. It's a loose guide shall we say, some of their boots are stiffer than they market them as and are more or less appropriate for a given size and skill level.
Hi - such great info here, thanks so much. The Jackson boot I tried on was the Jackson Ultima Freestyles - I don't know what blade it was but it came with the stock boot. My first pair of skates were purchased in South Korea so it's not a brand anyone here recognizes, and it cost $100 but served me well as a start off point :)


Other mfgr's fit different feet, they include Riedell, Risport, and Edea, three of the more common "big brands" available here in the U.S. (and, if you're going to A&G in South San Francisco it's what they offer in addition to Sp-Teri. They DO NOT sell or fit Edea, don't ask, it's a sore spot with them. And, FYI, their stock of boots to try on is very limited, as it is in most shops these days.

It's not foolish to invest in a custom boot, if your feet require it. There are 2 problems with custom boots, one is cost, Jackson customs and Riedell's as well are $950 and up depending on your choice of materials and "options". Second, at least in the immediate term is time. I ordered a Jackson custom for my skater in early June, it won't be ready until the end of August. Other customs, Harlick (San Carlos), Avanta (Hayward) are at 18 weeks or longer. Reidell is also a long wait though I'm not sure exactly how long. Sp-Teri customs are, at the moment, not available at all.

I'm heading to A&G Skate next weekend and getting fitted by George. I'll definitely take his advice - A&G Skate (George's son) did tell me during a phone conversation that custom SP Teri's are currently available - with a wait time of 10-12 weeks (I think?) The custom Harlicks are taking much longer (16weeks+)
As far as a blade is concerned, there really is no need for you at this point, or likely in the near future, to buy an advanced blade like the MK Gold Star. That blade is designed for skaters at the double Axel through quadruple jump levels. It won't hurt your skating, but it's just not necessary when an MK Pro, or Wilson Coronation Ace at $350 less will offer all you need. If you're doing 2A's when the MK Pro blade has lost it's life through sharpenings then invest in an advanced blade. You might discover that the MK blades aren't for you and a Wilson blade works better (different geometry) then you won't have spent all that $$$ on the wrong blade.

SO true! I'll see what George says but I'm guessing an MK Pro might be a good blade for me to start with....
So, to sum up, if your fitter thinks customs are the only way and you have the $$$ and time, go for it. If they think they can get you into a stock boot that will fit you, and get you close enough with heat molding and punching and maybe insoles, save the money for extra ice time and private lessons!

Oh, while A&G is where we go, and they are the best (for us at least), if you want the possibility of trying more on you can try Teri-Ann and Lillian at Figure Skating Pro Shop located at the Bridgepointe Ice Rink in San Mateo. Teri-Ann is "prickly" but knows what she's doing as far as fitting. They used to have more of a selection for trying boots on (Jackson and Reidell) at least they did when they were located at the Redwood City rink.

Hello neighbor :) I'm in East Bay (near Berkeley) area I went to the Oakland Ice Pro Shop and while they were super nice, I wasn't sure how well-versed they were at fittings and skate recommendations....the Jackson Freestyles I tried on there - were definitely not comfortable for me.
Good luck in your quest.

Jackson Fit Guide

Thank you again!!
 

WednesdayMarch

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 24, 2019
Country
United-Kingdom
I hear you on the sore, ballet- (and skating-) damaged feet! I was considering custom Harlicks for my poor, arthritic feet but ended up with Risport. The padding in the Royal Pros is just heavenly. They are unlikely to be the best boot for you from a stiffness point of view, but I'm sure @Ic3Rabbit (aka The Oracle) will have a better idea of what would suit you best. It is also important to consider that the right boot for you will generally not last "the longterm". Elite and high level skaters tend to go through at least one pair of boots a season/year, if not more. If a boot lasts you for years, you've been overbooted and unable to skate as well as you would have been in a less stiff/advanced boot. It's not a matter of just taking longer to break in; if a boot is too stiff to start with, it will compromise your ability to progress. It's far better to buy the right boot for your skating and a custom should be geared towards your level as well as your feet, so a properly fitted and constructed custom boot still shouldn't last you for many years. I hope that makes sense...

As to blades, @Sibelius is absolutely right. You really don't need MK Gold Star right now. Save those for the joy of the change much later on, when your skating is more appropriate for them. Right now, your best choices are either MK Professional or John Wilson Coronation Ace. Personally, although I'd say I'm an MK skater, I've never skated on the MK Pro. I did, however, like Coronation Ace a lot. In my book, Coronation Ace are pretty much always the right blade. Also, steer clear of the "Revolution" models. They are not ideal for learning catch-hold spins and spirals and it's far better to keep that extra lightness boost for when you'll really feel the benefit. That's definitely not on single jumps!

Enjoy your return! Skating as an adult is - or should be - all about the joy.
 

Sibelius

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 28, 2017
You are most welcome, and you're headed to the right place, at least in our area.

Aaron was being, let's say optimistic about the Sp-Teri customs based on my last conversations with he and George. I certainly hope they get it together in Tennessee, where he seems to spend half his "retirement" now. We really wanted Sp-Teri as an option since the fit is similar to Jackson in many respects, but at the time they were not making customs because of a staffing problem.

Steer clear of the pro shops in the rinks (except for Teri-Ann at BP) they don't know much about fitting figure skaters, mostly hockey, and don't let them sharpen your blades. Aaron and George are the only ones my skater will allow to sharpen her blades, so I go up every 4 weeks just for that.

The Freestyles are a "kit" with a beginner blade. They are good for a skater working on singles if they aren't too heavy (the skater, not the boot). It's the basic skate that the OIC (and San Jose) pro shop would put just about any freestyle skater in. The problem with them is that the blade isn't very good, it's a bit flat in the spin rocker. The MK Pro or Coronation Ace are far superior blades. It does however represent Jackson's basic fit (called the Elite last, wider ball, narrower heel) as I described. The next option from Jackson is the stiffer Debut boot which would be more suitable for an adult skater, and allow you to get the better blade for not much more money.

My skater is in her 8th pair of Jacksons (including 2 Debuts) with the custom 9th on the way, so it's what we know best. The only other boot she's ever tried on was a Reidell, and she had them on for 10 seconds before,"NOPE, hate them". If however Jackson doesn't fit your foot you have to look elsewhere and George will guide you to what you need. They have the most experience fitting Sp-Teri (of course) they sells lots of Reidells and Jacksons, and they are just starting to fit Risport, so not as much experience with them. They sound like wonderful boots, but we didn't think the heel lock would be right, so we stuck with what we knew.

Good luck, and go in and out of the office park in front of the Public Storage facility, it's not as steep and won't scrape the bottom (or the air dam) of your car. There's no sign, except a paper one on the front of the door. It used to be a candle factory!
 

Ic3Rabbit

Patineuse élite et professionnelle
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Country
Canada
Hi, I'm an adult skater returning back to the ice after a 15 yr break - I was approx freestyle level 1 when I left the ice in my early twenties. I've also taken ballet classes recreationally regularly for 20 yrs (2-3 classes a week) and my flexible, overworked feet have had a lot of injuries (sprains, supination, cuboid displacement, feet surgery, etc) I was skating in $100 stock ice skates in my twenties - they're not in great condition anymore and I definitely need new skates / blades bc there's a lot of feet pain since I've returned to the ice (two weeks ago).

Given my history of feet issues and my desire to continue dancing and skating for the next few decades - I'm leaning towards custom skates so I can skate pain-free (as much as possible) which I know comes with an $$ investment. My dream scenario would be to invest in some skates now that I could just use long-term and I can work towards my single jumps again. I tried on the Jackson Ultimas at the pro shop and they didn't feel right and I worried about long-term damage for my feet, which are super collapsible and bendy.

Here are my questions:
Is it foolish to invest in custom skates as I'm getting back to skating - that I'll just need to swap to new boots as I gain more strength and need a stiffer supportive boot? (I'd like to invest in the stiffer supportive boot now and work on breaking them in rather than getting a softer boot that I'll just need to replace in a year or so. However, I'm not sure this is a realistic option)

My teacher for the group lessons I've signed up for - recommended I look at MK Gold Star blades, since I'm looking to invest in good skates for the longer-term. I see a lot of the posts here recommend the MK Pros as a good solid intermediate blade. Will it be difficult to get my skating skills back up to speed on a more advanced blade (that I could switch to another boot as I get better) or is it preferable to stick with a mid-level blade like the MK Pros?

I'm learning so much reading through these Forum posts so I'll keep on reading - I would appreciate any advice / guidance you have! I have an appointment with an SP Teri fitter / skate shop in Northern California next weekend but just doing some research in the meantime...

Thank you!
You don't need a long term stiff boot right now, you'll overboot yourself and you'll injure your feet etc even more. You don't need an MK Gold Star right now either. MK Pro would be fine.

Now as far as boots, you never said what Jackson boot you tried, you also haven't told us anything about your foot shape, toes, or anything. That is what we need to help you.
I'm thinking you would want to try a Graf, and even a Risport may work for you. Jackson semi custom or custom would work as well but again, I can't tell you much of anything w/o the proper info.
 
Joined
Jul 17, 2021
@WednesdayMarch @Sibelius @lc3rabbit I appreciate all of your insight! I definitely would not want to overboot right now and damage my overworked feet already.

It's so wonderful @WednesdayMarch you were able to avoid the $$$ of custom Harlicks and find Risport stock boots that fit for you. Thanks to y'all - I'll be armed with more info when I go next weekend to A&G Skate (I really appreciate the parking lot tip too!)

Sounds like George is the right guy to meet up with there and I had my skates sharpened at Oakland Ice (my old 15 yr old skates) and no wonder I didn't even notice any difference on my edges...! What a mess.
 
Joined
Jul 17, 2021
Also - my teacher mentioned she wears MKs because the MK blades are a much "harder" blade and that John Wilson blades are too "soft" for her...but she did say it's up to me which kind of blade I like (I have no idea). I'm guessing people just blindly either blade as they advance from their beginner blade / skates- I wish there was a way I could try both :(
 

Ic3Rabbit

Patineuse élite et professionnelle
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Country
Canada
Also - my teacher mentioned she wears MKs because the MK blades are a much "harder" blade and that John Wilson blades are too "soft" for her...but she did say it's up to me which kind of blade I like (I have no idea). I'm guessing people just blindly either blade as they advance from their beginner blade / skates- I wish there was a way I could try both :(
Your coach must be imagining things then because mk and jw blades are owned by the same parent company.

ETA: Also, are you going to answer my previous questions so I can suggest proper boots for you?
 
Joined
Jul 17, 2021
Your coach must be imagining things then because mk and jw blades are owned by the same parent company.

ETA: Also, are you going to answer my previous questions so I can suggest proper boots for you?
uh oh - !! Good to know.

At the Oakland Ice pro shop - I tried on Jackson freestyles....the boots were super wide for me, even at the regular width. I immediately could tell they were not the right ones for me....My skates from 15 yrs ago were purchased in South Korea, where I first learned how to skate. It's an unrecognizable brand and there are no markings on the blade so I have no idea. I'm not even sure if that's helpful or not!! So sorry.
 

Ic3Rabbit

Patineuse élite et professionnelle
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Country
Canada
uh oh - !! Good to know.

At the Oakland Ice pro shop - I tried on Jackson freestyles....the boots were super wide for me, even at the regular width. I immediately could tell they were not the right ones for me....My skates from 15 yrs ago were purchased in South Korea, where I first learned how to skate. It's an unrecognizable brand and there are no markings on the blade so I have no idea. I'm not even sure if that's helpful or not!! So sorry.
I asked you to describe your foot, not the boot.
 
Joined
Jul 17, 2021
About my feet: I have narrow flexible feet with tapered toes - very collapsible, when I step on my feet - they essentially become "flat" feet even though I have medium high arches. No bunions thankfully - I have narrow heels too... my podiatrist has helped me find a good easy orthotics solution with cotton pad stickers that I essentially tape on the insoles of all of my shoes, which help with supination. I have sprained my ankles so much on both feet, my ligaments on my ankles are loose so my feet now supinate.

On my 15 yr old skates, I only needed a spot on my right ankle bone punched out and one spot on my toe on my left skate, they generally fit pretty well.

I have spent about $1,000 on ballet pointe shoes (about 8-9 pairs) all different brands that ultimately, none of them really don't work for me - I'm doing my best to avoid this kind of trial and error with my figure skates. Any help you would offer would be really helpful! Thanks so much
 

MCsAngel2

On the Ice
Joined
Apr 10, 2019
Country
Scotland
You definitely don't have typical Jackson feet. You should try on Riedells, also Harlicks might be good if your feet are also low volume (meaning you have a low instep), but with Harlicks you get into the semi/custom route.
 

Sibelius

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 28, 2017
About my feet: I have narrow flexible feet with tapered toes - very collapsible, when I step on my feet - they essentially become "flat" feet even though I have medium high arches. No bunions thankfully - I have narrow heels too... my podiatrist has helped me find a good easy orthotics solution with cotton pad stickers that I essentially tape on the insoles of all of my shoes, which help with supination. I have sprained my ankles so much on both feet, my ligaments on my ankles are loose so my feet now supinate.

On my 15 yr old skates, I only needed a spot on my right ankle bone punched out and one spot on my toe on my left skate, they generally fit pretty well.

I have spent about $1,000 on ballet pointe shoes (about 8-9 pairs) all different brands that ultimately, none of them really don't work for me - I'm doing my best to avoid this kind of trial and error with my figure skates. Any help you would offer would be really helpful! Thanks so much
Do you get your pointe shoes from Josephine at The Pointe Shop?

The Pointe Shop
 
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Ic3Rabbit

Patineuse élite et professionnelle
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Country
Canada
About my feet: I have narrow flexible feet with tapered toes - very collapsible, when I step on my feet - they essentially become "flat" feet even though I have medium high arches. No bunions thankfully - I have narrow heels too... my podiatrist has helped me find a good easy orthotics solution with cotton pad stickers that I essentially tape on the insoles of all of my shoes, which help with supination. I have sprained my ankles so much on both feet, my ligaments on my ankles are loose so my feet now supinate.

On my 15 yr old skates, I only needed a spot on my right ankle bone punched out and one spot on my toe on my left skate, they generally fit pretty well.

I have spent about $1,000 on ballet pointe shoes (about 8-9 pairs) all different brands that ultimately, none of them really don't work for me - I'm doing my best to avoid this kind of trial and error with my figure skates. Any help you would offer would be really helpful! Thanks so much
Okay, You need to look at Graf boots, those seem perfect for you with the narrow foot if you want to try to do a stock boot of theirs look at the Richmond Special. It's rated for doubles, but with your background in ballet and the fact that their lower boots aren't going to be supportive enough or come as a set with a not so great blade, so Richmond Special should work. My other brand suggestions would be Riedell and Harlick, you may also try Risport. For Risport boot, try the RF3Pro, because your feet sound so narrow you may have to get in an AA width, they also come in B and C. For Riedell look at the Vega.

Good luck! If you need any further specific help, I'm here.
 
Joined
Jul 17, 2021
Okay, You need to look at Graf boots, those seem perfect for you with the narrow foot if you want to try to do a stock boot of theirs look at the Richmond Special. It's rated for doubles, but with your background in ballet and the fact that their lower boots aren't going to be supportive enough or come as a set with a not so great blade, so Richmond Special should work. My other brand suggestions would be Riedell and Harlick, you may also try Risport. For Risport boot, try the RF3Pro, because your feet sound so narrow you may have to get in an AA width, they also come in B and C. For Riedell look at the Vega.

Good luck! If you need any further specific help, I'm here.
Thanks so much! If I were to go the Harlick route - would you suggest I go to the Harlick headquarters in San Carlos to get fitted there? Or does A&G do Harlick fittings?

It's great to see there may be other options with stock boots - will be curious what will work for me! Thanks everyone.

@Sibelius After a few bad pointe shoe fittings at SF Dancewear (now closed due to COVID) I mainly go to NYC for my pointe shoe fittings. I went to the lady who's been fitting all of the American Ballet Theater and NYC Ballet dancers (from the young ballet students to the superstar ballerinas) for decades - she's a fitter for Freed pointe shoes, she's been my most successful - however she only fits for one shoe brand, and the shoes she recommended worked fine for like two weeks :( I tried to buy another pair in the same style / size but since they're hand made, there is a lot of variation between shoes and essentially makes it a gamble to order another pair on the Internet without actually trying them on. I've also been fitted at the Russian Pointe US headquarters store in Chicago too - shoes that I liked but were so hard to break in, they're essentially still new and I'm waiting to find someone with super strong hands to help me break those in.

I've seen the Pointe Shop Instagram - maybe I'll check them out one day - I've been relying mainly on the experts who've had decades and decades of experience since I've had bad luck with bad fitters! I know figure skaters know what that experience is like...
 

Sibelius

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 28, 2017
Thanks so much! If I were to go the Harlick route - would you suggest I go to the Harlick headquarters in San Carlos to get fitted there? Or does A&G do Harlick fittings?

It's great to see there may be other options with stock boots - will be curious what will work for me! Thanks everyone.

@Sibelius After a few bad pointe shoe fittings at SF Dancewear (now closed due to COVID) I mainly go to NYC for my pointe shoe fittings. I went to the lady who's been fitting all of the American Ballet Theater and NYC Ballet dancers (from the young ballet students to the superstar ballerinas) for decades - she's a fitter for Freed pointe shoes, she's been my most successful - however she only fits for one shoe brand, and the shoes she recommended worked fine for like two weeks :( I tried to buy another pair in the same style / size but since they're hand made, there is a lot of variation between shoes and essentially makes it a gamble to order another pair on the Internet without actually trying them on. I've also been fitted at the Russian Pointe US headquarters store in Chicago too - shoes that I liked but were so hard to break in, they're essentially still new and I'm waiting to find someone with super strong hands to help me break those in.

I've seen the Pointe Shop Instagram - maybe I'll check them out one day - I've been relying mainly on the experts who've had decades and decades of experience since I've had bad luck with bad fitters! I know figure skaters know what that experience is like...
I think SF Dancewear was owned by the same person who runs SJ Dancewear (blech). Josephine fits the dancers at the school my daughter attended until she decided not to continue sadly, she would have been ABT 4A in the Fall after only 4 years. She's local in Oakland, might be worth a trip and a consult. Mine only started pointe last year, went through 2 pairs of Bloch Heritage shoes in 3 months! I know she reps Freed, RP, Cheater...I mean Gaynor, etc. The dancers get giddy when she brings her truck to the school for fittings. I miss it, I wish I could have convinced her to continue, she evidently had some talent.
 

Ic3Rabbit

Patineuse élite et professionnelle
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 9, 2017
Country
Canada
Thanks so much! If I were to go the Harlick route - would you suggest I go to the Harlick headquarters in San Carlos to get fitted there? Or does A&G do Harlick fittings?

It's great to see there may be other options with stock boots - will be curious what will work for me! Thanks everyone.

@Sibelius After a few bad pointe shoe fittings at SF Dancewear (now closed due to COVID) I mainly go to NYC for my pointe shoe fittings. I went to the lady who's been fitting all of the American Ballet Theater and NYC Ballet dancers (from the young ballet students to the superstar ballerinas) for decades - she's a fitter for Freed pointe shoes, she's been my most successful - however she only fits for one shoe brand, and the shoes she recommended worked fine for like two weeks :( I tried to buy another pair in the same style / size but since they're hand made, there is a lot of variation between shoes and essentially makes it a gamble to order another pair on the Internet without actually trying them on. I've also been fitted at the Russian Pointe US headquarters store in Chicago too - shoes that I liked but were so hard to break in, they're essentially still new and I'm waiting to find someone with super strong hands to help me break those in.

I've seen the Pointe Shop Instagram - maybe I'll check them out one day - I've been relying mainly on the experts who've had decades and decades of experience since I've had bad luck with bad fitters! I know figure skaters know what that experience is like...
I'd make an appointment with Harlick directly if you are going that route, but be aware it is pricey.
 

Flying Feijoa

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 22, 2019
Country
New-Zealand
After a few bad pointe shoe fittings at SF Dancewear (now closed due to COVID) I mainly go to NYC for my pointe shoe fittings. I went to the lady who's been fitting all of the American Ballet Theater and NYC Ballet dancers (from the young ballet students to the superstar ballerinas) for decades - she's a fitter for Freed pointe shoes, she's been my most successful - however she only fits for one shoe brand, and the shoes she recommended worked fine for like two weeks :( I tried to buy another pair in the same style / size but since they're hand made, there is a lot of variation between shoes and essentially makes it a gamble to order another pair on the Internet without actually trying them on. I've also been fitted at the Russian Pointe US headquarters store in Chicago too - shoes that I liked but were so hard to break in, they're essentially still new and I'm waiting to find someone with super strong hands to help me break those in.
Slightly OT but have you tried Suffolk? I've heard it's similar to Freed but a bit more durable.

For Russian Pointe, is it the shank or box that you find hard to break in? I use RP and find the box softer than e.g. Grishko. Agree that the shank is relatively hard (I use FM, feels like a Bloch strong). I usually alternate between bend the 3/4 mark over the edge of a table several times, and breaking the shoes in with my feet. They soften up better with sweat.

I tried Freed twice - Classics died in one class on a humid day, Studio Pros lasted maybe 5 hours of wear - then gave up on the brand entirely :LOL: Not an expert, but I think if your feet are injured and need support, a stronger shoe would be better (as long as it's soft *in the right places*)
 
Joined
Jul 17, 2021
Slightly OT but have you tried Suffolk? I've heard it's similar to Freed but a bit more durable.

For Russian Pointe, is it the shank or box that you find hard to break in? I use RP and find the box softer than e.g. Grishko. Agree that the shank is relatively hard (I use FM, feels like a Bloch strong). I usually alternate between bend the 3/4 mark over the edge of a table several times, and breaking the shoes in with my feet. They soften up better with sweat.

I tried Freed twice - Classics died in one class on a humid day, Studio Pros lasted maybe 5 hours of wear - then gave up on the brand entirely :LOL: Not an expert, but I think if your feet are injured and need support, a stronger shoe would be better (as long as it's soft *in the right places

Wow! Lots of ballet people here on Goldenskate - hello! I haven't tried Suffolk yet - but when I was younger, I danced on Capezio Niccolinis which were the narrowest shoe they made, and somewhat soft - which I liked because I could feel the floor (but not as soft as Freeds). Those are now discontinued of course...so I was back at square one when I went back to ballet as an adult. I was told Capezio doesn't make narrow tapered pointe shoes anymore - surely I can't be the only dancer who has narrow tapered feet??

The Russian Pointe shanks are just so dang hard. I can't bend mine over the edge of a table...I've tried to wear them a few times to sweat in them to break them in but just can't get past the really painful stiff stage....I think my feet are happier in a "softer" shoe with support in the right places. I was doing my best to make Grishko 2007s work for me, they weren't great - my feet lacked support and went numb but I tried to put in the box liners and did all kinds of stuff to just patch it through - I did my first adult performance in these after a 15 yr period - during rehearsals, I sprained my ankle twice - and a week afterwards - a bone broke off in my ankle (os trigonum) and I had to get foot surgery :( I tossed the 2007s after that.... I think my next fitting will be at OnStage Dancewear in NYC who has lots of different pointe brands (similar to The Pointe Shop, I guess) - for whenever my next trip out to NYC might be. The Pointe Shop might be worth a try...I've spent so much money on pointe shoes that just don't work for me so I'm a bit hesitant...

@Sibelius Your post reminded me I also had two fittings at the Gaynor Minden store in NYC to try to make those "cheater" shoes work for me - they feel so comfortable on my feet (I don't care how they look!) felt like the tennis shoe version of the pointe shoe. After about 10 minutes of glorious pain free pointe work- I get an unbearable pain in my big toe and if you do a search online, there are lots of people who have tried Gaynors and experience bruised big toenails which I feel would be my fate if I kept the shoes on any longer. I talked to the fitters at the Gaynor store to try to ask them for help in addressing it and they swore up and down they've *never* heard anyone who had that experience in Gaynors....

My pointe shoe search continues...I am hoping my skate search won't be as twisty / windy....all of your comments and feedback have helped so much!
 
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