Forum: Ballet / Pointe - Beginners

Pointe - Beginners
Could the vamp be too high?
By ErinJ_96 Comments: 0, member since Sat Jun 18, 2016
On Sat Mar 19, 2016 02:02 PM

Hi all!

I started ballet 3 years ago as an adult beginner. Our instructor supported our dream of learning pointe as long as we were dedicated and were strong enough to start. I got my pointe shoes back in October and it's been so much fun! Being a beginner, I know it will take time to build up more strength and flexibility in my feet. And I know that it's sometimes a trial and error process to find shoes that work for you.

I am wondering if the vamp on my shoes might be too high. I wear Grishko 2007 Pro Flex; I have long and tapered toes. They're not terrible shoes, but I wouldn't consider them perfect for me. Most notably, I have difficulty doing pique passes down the barre. It's like no matter how much I plie or how strong and straight I keep the leg I step up on, when I try to step up en pointe, I fall down to half pointe. I can't always get over the box. I've also noticed when we roll through our feet from flat to pointe, I will sometimes "pop up" to full pointe-like it's not a smooth roll-through.

Do you think a too-long vamp could be contributing to this or is it just that my beginner ankles need to build up flexibility and strength? My instructor has suggested that the vamp could be too long. And I've considered going ahead and trying a different shoe, but man they are pricey. :)

3 Replies to Could the vamp be too high?

re: Could the vamp be too high?
By Gracie220 Comments: 53, member since Tue Feb 24, 2015
On Mon Mar 21, 2016 12:40 PM
Ugh, pointe shoes are definitely pricey, and it can be a dangerous thing for us adult dancers with our own means of purchasing them lol, unlike when we were kids. ;)

That's too bad you're having trouble with 2007 ProFlex. I'm a Grishko 2007 wearer, myself - I've also worn ProFlex. The vamp does tend to be a little long and definitely makes demi-pointe a little difficult sometimes. What shank do you have? Medium or Hard? Sometimes if the shank is too hard, it can be difficult to get up and stay up on pointe. Also, with a harder shank, I notice that it tends to spring me up on to pointe more, rather than slowly roll up. In the regular 2007s, I love the Super Soft shank, or sometimes Medium. They seem to form to my feet really well and I don't have much trouble with them.

There might be some foot and ankle exercises you can do to help with the shoes you already do have - i.e. releves, ankle stretches, etc. Some of the other members on here are actual ballet teachers and may have better suggestions.

If you do decide to shop around for new shoes, Bloch Axiom or Axis might be a good fit for you. They have similar vamp lengths to the 2007s, but the box isn't quite as hard and the vamp isn't as stiff. I liked both pretty well. The Axioms are slightly less tapered than 2007, but they they do still taper and support well (I highly recommend the regular shank over the hard shank, though - but everyone is different). The Axis shoes have a special paste that can be heated up and molded to your toes and arches. Also, Russian Pointe Almaz or Sapfir shoes are very similar to Grishko 2007s, but you can get them in different vamp lengths. I have long toes, too, and I found their medium vamp (V2) worked well.

Good luck! If the problem is the shoes, better fitting shoes can really make a world of difference.
re: Could the vamp be too high?
By hummingbird Comments: 10442, member since Mon Apr 18, 2005
On Mon Mar 21, 2016 01:39 PM
I'm going to guess that you need to strengthen the intrinsic muscles of your feet to help that roll up become smoother, first I would do some slow rises to help with it also some metatarsal doming exercises and then some work with resistance bands. Here are a couple of threads that might help a bit. . . . . . .

re: Could the vamp be too high?
By taxi4ballet Comments: 137, member since Fri Sep 07, 2012
On Thu Apr 07, 2016 12:10 PM
Perhaps the vamp isn't too long (since you say you have long toes), but the shank is too hard? You might need to break-in and soften the shank a bit more, up under the the middle of your arch. Make sure also, that you aren't clenching your toes.

Grishko shoes are Russian and are designed for 'springing' up onto pointe in the Russian-trained style rather than rolling up through demi-pointe, which is why they feel springy.