Foot Shape: Which Pointe Shoes Fit Better for My Feet?

Updated on October 2, 2019
Marisa Wright profile image

Kate Swanson is an Australian writer and dancer with nearly 40 years' experience in ballet, jazz, flamenco, ballroom, Latin and bellydance.

Pointe Shoe Fit Basics

Fitting pointe shoes is a skill that takes years of experience! So don't expect to fit your own pointe shoes after reading this article. However, it will help you understand what your fitter is talking about, and help you narrow down a shortlist of shoes which might suit your feet.

There are three basic foot shapes, each of which is defined by a different configuration of the toes.

Three Basic Foot Shapes

  • Grecian
  • Egyptian
  • Peasant/Giselle

When choosing pointe shoes, the first step is to look at your toes, which can be one of three shapes—Egyptian, Grecian or Giselle. Once you know your toe shape, you can narrow down which shoes will fit you best—tapered, somewhat tapered or square.

Grecian foot
Grecian foot | Source

Grecian (Somewhat Tapered)

The Grecian or Morton's foot is one where the second metatarsal is longer than the first metatarsal—which simply means your second toe is longer than your big toe.

The solution is to fit your shoe to suit your second toe. You can fill the gap under your big toe with padding. A toe separator may also help.

The good news is that most pointe shoemakers offer at least one shoe suitable for the Grecian foot, so there's quite a wide range to choose from. Probably the best starting point is the best-selling Grishko 2007 shoe. Capezio's Contempora and Aerial shoes are also worth considering.

Egyptian foot
Egyptian foot | Source

Egyptian (Tapered Foot)

An Egyptian foot has a big toe that's longer than all the other toes.

The pressure on the big toe means that girls with Egyptian feet can be at greater risk of bunions, especially if their shoes aren't well fitted. The good news is that if you have an Egyptian foot, the pointe shoes that suit you will be among the prettiest, with a beautifully shaped box. The bad news is that the range of shoes for Egyptian feet is much more limited than for Grecian or Giselle foot shapes.

Bloch is unusual in having three models: the Bloch Suprima, Sylphide and Axis.

Giselle and Greek foot side by side
Giselle and Greek foot side by side | Source

Peasant/Giselle Foot

It may not sound very glamorous to have a Peasant foot, but if you have, you're lucky. It's the easiest to fit and the best suited to pointe work, with the first three toes all the same length so the load is evenly spread.

Some people call this the Giselle foot, which sounds more elegant!

The negative is that you need a square box, so you're not going to be able to wear those beautiful tapered pointe shoes. Sorry!

The runaway best-seller in this category is the Capezio Glisse. Bloch has several good models for Giselle feet, including the Balance European and the Serenade Mk II with its new generation heat-activated paste.

Additional Pointe Shoe Considerations

All these factors allow the fitter to choose a shortlist of shoes that may suit you—but there's more!

You must also consider whether you have a low or high arch; how long your toes are; whether your foot is highly compressible or not; and what your foot profile is. Armed with all that information, a good pointe shoe fitter can narrow down the list of suitable shoes even more—but it's not over yet. The next phase is the actual pointe shoe fitting—trying on the shoes and assessing their fit at all the key points, both while you're on the flat and on pointe.

Eventually, you'll arrive at a shoe that seems to tick all the boxes, but you still won't be sure until you dance in it. The search for a pointe shoe is something every ballet dancer goes through—some may strike it lucky with their first pair, whereas others never find the perfect shoes. Even some professional dancers still swap from one brand to another!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      8 years ago from Sydney

      Thanks for your post, Sue, it sent me off on an interesting research quest!

      I'd never heard of metal-shanked shoes but it seems that some German brands did indeed have steel shanks at one time. Obviously they're good for longevity, but they're no longer used.

      The reason is that it's too strong - the student doesn't need to build strength to get up on pointe or support her own foot, but relies on the shoe instead. If a student dances for years with her foot sinking into the shoe - which is possible with a steel shank - the pressure will damage her feet, more so than a student who is taught proper technique.

      I've also read some suggestions that if the shoe broke, the steel shank could cause some nasty injuries - but I couldn't find any specifics. I'd love to know more about the shoes if you'd care to share - if you'd like to write a guest post on your experience for my pointe shoe blog, I'd be thrilled!

    • Sue Adams profile image

      Juliette Kando FI Chor 

      8 years ago from Andalusia

      I always used the German "Zubiller" type of pointe shoe, with a metal bar built into the sole for greater strength and longevity. While it is a great feeling to be on top of yourself in decently fitting pointe shoes, the sacrifice is that feet do get permanently damaged by them.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      i am getting my first point shose thise on coming monday and this website has really bosted my confurdence because i am just ten and i am nevus.

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      9 years ago from Sydney

      Some dancers never do find the right shoe, Ellen! In the olden days (when I was dancing ballet), there weren't so many shoes to choose from. So we just had to "make do" and used to do all kinds of awful things to our shoes to try to make them fit, like ripping bits out and sticking bits on. A lot of dancers still do that, rather than go through the tedious process of trying on lots and lots of shoes.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      wow I never knew you had to do all that! it must be really hard to find the right shoe!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thank you this helps a lot considering i am taking my first pointe class next year! i'm really excited!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      This helped a lot! I am going to buy my first pointe shoes & this really narrows things down.

    • Marisa Wright profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Swanson 

      9 years ago from Sydney

      @thanks cupcake! When you get your shoes, remember to check out my website, for all the information on how to sew on the ribbons, padding, and how to care for your shoes.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Wow this is so so so cool! Thank you so much for taking the trouble to create this website! This has helped me so much to find tips about stretching, bar exercises, and most of all stretches that will help strengthen my feet for point shoes! (I am hoping to get them some time next year)!! :-) Anyway i am going to recommend this to any dancers I see and meet! Thank you so so so so so much!!!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I think that my foot is a Giselle!! Thanks for this hub, it was very usful and know I know what sort of pointe shoes i should look for :)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Thank You for designing this website, it was very nice and useful. I thought it was very thoughtful to personally share information about each individual foot type. I am very eager to go on pointe, and when I do I'll be sure to refer back to this website or any other websites you created. Wish me Luck in my dancing!!!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Very interesting. My daughter will love this, she's into ballet and will find this very useful.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Pretty interesting to read about types of feet and the shoe selection criteria. Very informative and "sole"ful! The ballet shoes look very elegant.

    • billyaustindillon profile image


      10 years ago

      mmm I wonder what my feet are like?

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 

      10 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      I never knew the shape mattered. Nice hub

    • msorensson profile image


      10 years ago

      Lovely and informative hub. Thank you!!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)