Pointe Shoe Fittings


It is hard to tell an eager young dancer that she is not yet ready for pointe shoes. Students — and parents — must realize that teachers have to be firm: there is a risk of serious injury in introducing pointework too soon. Starting pointework is not just a question of age or physical maturity; readiness depends on strength, technique, attitude, and commitment.

The bones of the foot are not fully developed until sometime in the late teens or early twenties. Of course, there is a great deal of individual variation. If a young dancer attempts pointework without proper strength and technique, the significant forces created by the combination of body weight and momentum can permanently damage those not-fully-developed bones. Yet if a dancer is truly ready, if the introduction to pointework is gradual and always carefully and knowledgeably supervised, if the pointe shoes are well chosen and properly fitted, there is minimal risk of injury even if the bones are not fully formed.

Most dancers are ready to begin pointework between the ages of ten and twelve. Occasionally a supremely strong nine-year-old can safely go on pointe, but this is unusual. There is rarely any harm in waiting. A dancer who starts pointework a year later than her classmates almost always catches up. Many adult beginners are not ready for pointe either, but there is much less risk in their using pointe shoes because their feet have fully grown. In general, these are the criteria for readiness for pointe shoes:


Most dancers need at least two to four years of training in ballet technique, with a good attendance record, before going on pointe. Other forms of dance, or classes that mix ballet with other forms, don’t count.

Someone who regularly takes several classes a week can probably start at a younger age than someone who attends less frequently. During the first year of pointe you will probably be expected to take at least three or four ballet classes a week (a minimum of 5 hours).



Your demeanor shows that you have the maturity for pointework. Your attitude is attentive and hardworking, and your studio etiquette is exemplary.



Pointework requires a continual lifting up and out of the shoe. It’s the same strength and skill needed for attaining and sustaining a balance on high demi-pointe on one leg. That means that you can always hold your turnout when you dance, that your abdomen and lower back — your core — are strong, and that your legs, and especially your knees, are really pulled up.

You must be able to both relevé and piqué up to a balance. Calf and ankle strength are essential. Your relevé must be particularly strong; at least sixteen flawless ones onto a high demi-pointe center floor should be easy. You must demonstrate the correct use of plié in your dancing and know how to work your feet properly in tendu and all other exercises that require pointing the foot — no sickling.

Expert Pointe Shoe Fittings with Dance World


Discover the Perfect Fit for Every Dancer with Our Extensive Collection of Pointe Shoes. Here are a few tips before your first fitting.
  • Wear transition tights if you have them
  • Pick shorter pants or a leotard so we can see your feet and ankles
  • Take your time and try on a diverse selection of brands and styles. Allow yourself up to an hour for this process.
  • Trim your toe nails . Long toenail will cause extra pressure in the nail bed area while en pointe.
  • Throughout the fitting process, it is important to communicate with your fitter, as your feedback is essential to achieving the best possible fit. 
  • Instructors are always welcome and encouraged especially for your first fitting. If your instructor is unable to attend the fitting, its important you show your instructor the shoes prior to sewing on the ribbon and elastic.
Are you ready for your first pair or are you interested in trying new styles? Call and book with us! 248.477.0520