Hi! My name is Alice.
I have a question about dancers with wide feet. The first dance store I went to said that my feet were too wide for any of the shoes she had there, so she referred me to a different store. Will the awkward width of my feet hinder my ability to do pointe?
Thank you so much for your question! It is a common one that gets asked by many students. There are so many different shaped feet, that often finding the shoe that fits perfectly is a little bit tricky!
While it often does not seem like the most graceful ballerinas foot, often a wider foot can actually be easier to work with and less painful whilst on pointe. Each different company makes a variety of different width shoes; however some companies go wider than others. Some girls with wider feet find that Sansha shoes fit well; however keep in mind that many other companies also make a wide fit shoe. Unfortunately the only way to find your perfect shoe is to go to a well stocked store and try several different styles on with an experienced fitter.
Once you find a shoe that fits the width of your foot, take special note of how it fits at the heel. Often girls with a wide foot find that a shoe will fit well at the ball of the foot but is too wide at the heel. Try and find one that tapers, to snuggly fit the heel as well.With a very wide foot you may need to make some adjustments as to how you fit the shoe.
If your foot is very wide and you have short toes, you may need to build up the inside of the shoes to get a good fit. As the shoe is fitted to the width of your foot, your toes will not actually touch the top of the shoe even at the depth of your plié. In order to avoid a very blunt looking point shoe you can pick a shoe that is slightly longer. Then pad up the inside of the shoe by placing some padding (such as a carefully cut block of firm foam) inside the tip of the shoe, so that you can actually have some contact on the tips of your toes to gain some feed-back.
The actual width of your feet will not hinder your ability to perform on pointe; it is purely an aesthetic issue. However, you may have problems if your feet are very wide and very flexible. If your foot looks narrow when off the ground but on the ground it spreads out wide, you may have what we call a “compressible” foot. Sometimes this can change the fitting of your shoe. You must make sure that when your foot is actually in the pointe shoe and placed en pointe that it does not slide down too far. The shoe may feel slightly tight when standing flat, but when on pointe, the foot will be in a supported position.
Often girls with wide but compressible feet are fitted too wide and end up sliding down into their shoe. This often results in bruised toenails and painful blisters. If you have this kind of foot, it is necessary that you build up more strength to gain control of your arches and the position of your foot, before you start on pointe. Make sure you check out all of the videos on this site and also all of the previous articles about strengthening for pointe work.
Thanks for your question!
Talk to you soon.