Pointe shoes are an essential tool in a ballet dancer’s life. They allow the dancer to dance ‘en pointe’ or on the tips of their toes. They were initially used so the dancer looked like she was effortlessly gliding across the stage. It is vital to obtain a well-made pointe shoe that fits the foot perfectly to reduce risk of injury and pain.
The Grishko Pointe Shoes
Grishko Pointe Shoes are beautiful, handmade pointe shoes manufactured in Russia. They are completely handmade using natural and environmentally-friendly glue/paste which becomes flexible on exposure to high temperature and humidity, which allows the box to mould perfectly to the shape of the foot. One of the special characteristics of a Grishko shoe is a well flattened sole: this promotes stability when standing flat. Most pointe shoes made by machine cannot achieve this and the sole can be quite thick and uneven. The platform of a Grishko shoe is hammered and smoothed by hand and extra attention is given to the sides of the platform so that it is even and well-defined. The shoes must stand upright by themselves before they leave the factory.
Grishko offers multiple models, and in these various models, the company offers five width fittings plus five different shank strengths ranging from Super Soft to Super Hard. Some models also come in a performance ready shank.
Traditionally made pointe shoes are only designed to last between 6-12 hours of use and require 36 hours to dry out. The shoes will last longer if a dancer has multiple pairs in rotation. Contrary to popular belief, the shank strength has no influence on the longevity of the shoe. The dancer’s strength and size should be taken into consideration when selecting a shank strength. The dancer should feel uplifted and supported, yet at the same time be able to roll through the shoe and get up and over the platform.
In summary, Grishko’s attention to detail includes:
- Balancing each shoe by hand.
- Using cotton drawstrings to protect against tendonitis that over-tightened elastic can cause.
- Using glues that help the toe box mould beautifully to the foot.
- Maintaining shank mobility at the heel without sacrificing support.
- Designing both platforms and soles to be flat and stable for excellent balance on and off pointe.
- Selecting only the finest satin for a beautiful appearance.
Pointe shoes must be fitted by an experienced trained fitter. A poorly-fitted pointe shoe can lead to injury, pain or even prevent the dancer from getting on to the box. Lauren is a podiatrist with 12 years’ experience, current adult ballet dancer and a trained pointe shoe fitter. She offers professional Grishko Pointe Shoe fittings at the Perth Foot & Ankle Clinic.
The Durability of Grishko Shoes
This study performed dynamic testing of the pointe shoes to highlight the fatigue properties (cycles to failure) of the toe box under repetitive loading conditions. Grishko Pointe Shoes lasted three times longer than a Capezio Point Shoe and eight times longer than a Freed Pointe Shoe, making them a durable and thus cost-effective shoe.
Try them out! You’ll like them!