Explanation of Diagrams:

Vamp: The distance from the ball of the foot to the top of the platform of the shoe.

Arch: The area on the bottom of the foot that curves upwards into the instep. This is what gives the beautiful arched appearance en pointe.

Instep: This is the area of the foot that is located directly on top of the arch.

Profile: This is the area that is measured when the foot is placed flat on the floor. For our purposes, it is measured from the floor to the top of the bunion/ metatarsel joint. For instance, a low profile foot would be a foot that has a profile at 1 inch or lower, a medium profiled foot would be a foot that has a profile higher than an inch, and a high profiled foot would have a profile of 1.25 inches or higher.



Length of Toes






Toe Configuration



Correct Placement of Ribbons and Elastic








This is an "elastic don't". Using a small loop for the ribbons to pass through was once the solution for dancers who had problems with the heels of their pointe shoes popping off. Recently, this practice was studied by leading podiatrists and was found to actually cause achilles tendonitis.

Hopefully, these explanations will help clarify the terms located on the Pointe Shoe Suggestions Form and some of the questions about elastic placement that has been coming up on Ballet Alert as of late.




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