My Top Pick: Gaynor Mindens Pointe Shoes for comfort, durability and price.
Before I explain what’s behind that pick, it’s important to understand that the type of shoe that someone chooses, whether a pointe shoe or not, will depend on their feet and their overall preferences. However, this guide for the best pointe shoes for beginners hopes to narrow down your selection process. I took time to try a variety of pointe shoes and will offer my favorite options and several other secondary choices.
Another thing to take into consideration is that a brand-new pointe shoe won’t always feel like a slipper or super comfortable instantly. This comes with wear and also personalizing it. In the past, I have softened the box at the front or on the wings a little (good idea if you have a wide foot). The shank (which will be discussed later) also can be softened a bit and made more flexible, which in turns leads to a more comfortable fit.
Speaking of fit, it’s important you wear the proper size. A thorough guide on how to get the proper fit is enclosed in this guide too. The level of fitting will make a difference in your overall success. Pointe work is hard and with a shoe that isn’t fit, you may become frustrated quickly. However, with the perfect fit, you will likely feel satisfied and able to succeed a lot faster and with ease.
As a dancer, it’s important that your pointe shoes fit you properly and provide the support that you need for your feet and the technique you’re using. The options available when I searched for the best pointe shoes for beginners are endless. However, thanks to my endless research, I have provided you this guide to help you choose the best for your needs and your feet.
Understanding Pointe Shoes
All pointe shoes have reinforced soles because of an inner shank between the outer sole and the insole. This is known as the shank. The shank is responsible for supporting the entire foot and is made of several layers of material. There are a variety of shank options that each dancer can use. Because of this, I can’t suggest specifics on the best pointe shoes for beginners I’ve chosen, but can choose an overall pick that will help you narrow down your particular search for them. Shank type will vary with the foot shape, strength and overall technique for each dancer.
As a beginner en pointe, I suggest a short to medium length with a flexible shank. This supports your foot, but gives you some give making the shoe more comfortable. Also, a wider platform is advisable when you’re starting out too as it gives you more surface area to balance on as well as more room for your toes.
Pointe Shoes Fittings
Before I get into my pick for the best pointe shoes for beginners, let’s talk fit. Your shoe should fit snugly when you’re standing, but your toes shouldn’t feel cramped. Your foot should fit comfortably with no bulging of the skin. The top of the box should sit against the skin too. You should be able to slip the tip of your finger into the shoes over your toes.
The wings of your shoes should come up to the side of the big toe. If they are too short, you may be more susceptible to bunions. The front of the shoe, the vamp, should be the proper length. If it is too long, you won’t be able to rise your foot right. If it is too short, the shoe may feel too loose.
The shank should sit in line with the sole of your foot when it is en pointe. If it is twisting, check the alignment of your foot. Oftentimes this occurs because the shank isn’t conforming properly to the arch of the wearer’s foot. However, this can happen if the box is too narrow too.
NOTE: Always check the fit of your shoe in an upright position before you put any weight on it. Place the tip of the shoe on the floor with your weight on the other foot. Press down slightly.
My Best Choice:
After trying a series of different types of pointe shoes for a period of a few months, this shoe fit the most comfortably and lasted the longest. In terms of value, it gives you the most bang for your buck.
Durability: Gaynor Minden shoes, according to the designer, last 3-6 times longer than other types of pointe shoes. While I can’t attest to lasting longer than other shoes, I can tell you that in the time I tested several types out that they showed the least amount of wear in the period I tried these pointe shoes out.
Fit: These pointe shoes have performance cushion that made wearing them a dream. They absorb impact well and I felt protected and supported while wearing them. This is especially important as it led to less aches in my feet after a long day of practice.
Style: What I enjoyed the most about these pointe shoes is that the drawstring opens at the side instead of at the throat. This didn’t irritate the top of my foot as much as other pointe shoes I tried. Also,
Ultimately, Gaynor Mindens pointe shoes are great for beginners as they promote the proper alignment of the foot and help to correct alignment. Both things are valuable lessons for beginning pointe students. Because they are so comfortable, it makes the process of learning pointe a lot less painful. Lessen your discomfort with this shoe! They’re my top pick!
During my quest to find the best pointe shoes for beginners, I tried a variety of shoes. What lies below are my secondary picks.
If budget isn’t an option…
I would go with Capezio shoes. Professionals complain that they wear quickly and I noticed that in my trial period that they showed more wear than other variations. However, if you’re looking for a professional fit and something that professionals have worn for years, these aren’t a bad pick in my book either.
If you require more support…
I would go with Bloch shoes. Some complain that they are a larger designer, but for different types of feet or preferences, they may do just fine. However, some professionals complain that you cannot get out of the box with this type, once again this could be a personal issue. Always choose a shoe that fits YOUR foot the best.
If you’re looking for strictly performance shoe…
I would choose Freed of London shoes. This is because they have a bendable shank with comfortable cushioning. However, because of this flexibility, they do wear faster. This makes them an excellent choice for performances and not practices.
Ultimately when you’re searching for the best pointe shoes for beginners, always remember that fit is the most important aspect of your shoes. The rest is merely preference, so choose accordingly to your own needs. Best of luck in your dancing future!