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Highland - General
Advice on shoe fitting
By StephLB Comments: 11, member since Thu Dec 04, 2014
On Sat Jul 15, 2017 02:38 PM

My daughter doesn't like tight shoes, at all. She wants her ghillies to be about 1.5 sizes too big, which makes them look pretty strange at the toe. Any thoughts or suggestions for figuring this out? I don't want to force her uncomfortable shoes, but she needs new ghillies soon.

14 Replies to Advice on shoe fitting

re: Advice on shoe fitting
By Claramel Comments: 36, member since Tue Oct 13, 2015
On Sat Jul 15, 2017 05:06 PM
A loose shoe doesn't show off your foot at all well, most dancers are always striving to get that lovely pointed look. Maybe you could try a pair of ghillies with thicker leather ( that won't stretch as much) and then get someone with similar foot size to 'break them in' for her.

We have a dancer in our school who absolutely hates the feeling of new shoes. Her mum has the same foot size so she wears them around the house for a bit and then they are more comfortable for her daughter to wear.
re: Advice on shoe fitting
By StephLB Comments: 11, member since Thu Dec 04, 2014
On Sat Jul 15, 2017 06:40 PM
She was so put off by trying on shoes today that she says she'd prefer to never dance again than wear ghillies that tight, and she loves to dance. After some questions, the specific issue is it squishes her toes and pulls on her toenails. Has anyone tried those silicone toe caps? I'm wondering if a bit of padding might help.
re: Advice on shoe fitting
By Claramel Comments: 36, member since Tue Oct 13, 2015
On Sun Jul 16, 2017 05:04 PM
Poor thing! Do you mind if I ask what ghillies they are? I find open toe much better on my toes than shoes with a front seam. I'd give the silicone toe caps a go, maybe even an ouch pouch (silicone cover that covers all toes). Ballet dancers wear them in their point shoes and I know at least one Irish dancer who wears them in her ghillies.
re: Advice on shoe fitting
By StephLB Comments: 11, member since Thu Dec 04, 2014
On Sun Jul 16, 2017 06:39 PM
She tried on Billy Forsythes and Thistle ghillies, and hated both. I was looking at the ouch pouches as an option, it looks like it would give a little more padding space, but the shoe should still be filled out and not baggy. It's hard to want to spend $80+ on a pair of shoes not knowing if she'll ever tolerate them.
re: Advice on shoe fitting
By marginalia Comments: 16, member since Tue Apr 11, 2017
On Sun Jul 16, 2017 07:49 PM
It sounds like the shape of the toe might be off if they're pulling on her toenails-- I know Hullachan has started to make a few different shapes, and so has Thistle (so it's a little odd that your daughter couldn't find a silhouette to fit). I, like a previous poster, need the open toe rather than those with a toe seam. It looks like all the models of the Billy Forsyth's have the seamed toe.

Anecdata warning: When I started to buy ballet flats, I found out my feet are much shorter and wider than I believed-- I had to buy a 3.5E in Bloch, the equivalent of a 5.5 extra wide in women's in America. I wear a 7 in my every-day shoes! Talk about a shock-- but the difference in wearing a 4.5D (6.5W) and a 3.5E (5.5XW) was stark; even though they both 'fit', the proper, smaller size was superior and more comfortable.

Does she have wide or narrow feet? A ghillie that's been lasted to the wrong shaped foot -- too narrow, too wide -- could pinch or sit at the wrong place, particularly around the toes, and tightly laced those differences in the seams based on the last could feel quite unnatural.

Have you considered faxing or emailing an outline of your daughter's feet to a few manufacturers? They'll usually look at them and assign the proper size and model based on the measurements and ratios/width; then you could go and try the prescribed size.

All the best!
re: Advice on shoe fitting
By Claramel Comments: 36, member since Tue Oct 13, 2015
On Mon Jul 17, 2017 04:29 PM
What about toe and heel gold in open toe? They are really comfortable and mould to the foot well wiithout pinching as much as others.
re: Advice on shoe fitting
By StephLB Comments: 11, member since Thu Dec 04, 2014
On Tue Jul 18, 2017 05:56 AM
Edited by StephLB (271580) on 2017-07-18 06:00:53
Her feet are in the middle, not narrow or wide, she does have high arches and prefers shoes to be high in the heel, or they slip off.

I actually haven't sent in any tracings, I didn't know I could go that without ordering. I'll look into that too. I had her try some on at a highland games event.

I will have her try toe and heel gold with the open toe next time. I'm going to keep trying, but I'm thinking about letting her just wear too big shoes, it's not ideal, but better than her quitting something she loves over shoes (she's also only 8, so maybe it will be easier as she gets older.)
re: Advice on shoe fitting
By marginalia Comments: 16, member since Tue Apr 11, 2017
On Tue Jul 18, 2017 06:08 AM
Oh, yeah! I thought she might be a little older. There's a little girl in our beginner class who has a hard time with tight shoes too. Good luck!
re: Advice on shoe fitting
By StephLB Comments: 11, member since Thu Dec 04, 2014
On Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:59 AM
Thanks :)

She is still pretty little, she's been dancing for 3 years now and works hard on it.
re: Advice on shoe fitting (karma: 1)
By highlandnorth Comments: 486, member since Sat Mar 21, 2009
On Wed Jul 19, 2017 07:10 AM
Not sure where you are, but it might be worthwhile taking her to a shop that sells a number of different brands to have her try them on and have them professionally fit?
re: Advice on shoe fitting
By jpnvickiPremium member Comments: 123, member since Sat Jan 17, 2009
On Wed Jul 19, 2017 05:39 PM
Try Celtic Corner. They have some of the Hullachans on sale (wider fitting). I use these myself because I have a wider foot and high instep.
re: Advice on shoe fitting
By jpnvickiPremium member Comments: 123, member since Sat Jan 17, 2009
On Wed Jul 19, 2017 05:41 PM
All the other advice is good too!
re: Advice on shoe fitting
By dmmtjm06Premium member Comments: 26, member since Wed May 02, 2012
On Fri Aug 25, 2017 04:48 PM
We also went through many brands before finding something that worked, then the company stopped making them. My daughter also has a number of issues with her feet- long, long toes, wide front, narrow heel, ingrown toenails etc. She now has Billie Forsyth shock absorbs for competition, but has toe and heel gold open toes for practice. For displays she has a pair of Paul Wrights which are similar to the Bloch highland ghillies - very soft leather that still allow toe wiggle even though they can be a good fit. Only down side of the last two are that they stretch a bit. This can be good though if her feet are quick growing! It is worth persevering (though costly). I wish you all the best.
re: Advice on shoe fitting
By FrozenGhillies Comments: 34, member since Mon Jun 17, 2013
On Sat Sep 02, 2017 06:33 PM
How long/short are her toenails? It seems rather insignificant, but I once knew a young dancer who had a great deal of trouble getting shoes that fit comfortably but were not way too big. Turns out that she had really long toenails, which impacted how comfortable her shoes were, as well as her dancing. Cutting her toenails much shorter really helped. I don't know if it would help in your dancer's case, but it might be worthwhile to see if cutting her toenails shorter would make any difference.

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