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Are Pointe Shoes Supposed to Hurt?

The art of ballet dancing dates back many hundreds of years, and it is still incredibly popular throughout many western nations today. While it is a unisex discipline, the majority of people who join up as ballet dancers are young girls, who typically stick with the practice for many years. Professional ballet dancers almost always start out as young girls who loved to dance, and they have put in many years and thousands of hours of practice and rehearsals to present to you what you see on stage when they perform. Ballet is truly a rigorous discipline, and for that reason there is a lot of specific dancewear that dancers pick up in order to help them with their craft.

One of the must-have items of any ballet dancer is the pointe shoe. Vital to the genre, pointe shoes are footwear that was specifically crafted to help ballet dancers spin and twirl and stand on their toes. The idea behind their creation was simply that ballet dancers needed to appear weightless, like they were gliding and flying, and regular footwear was not achieving those results, and going barefoot was just too brutal on the feet of a dancer. Many dancers complain that their shoes hurt their feet. Are they supposed to hurt?

Yes and No

The average ballet dancer has callused toes and incredibly strong and pronounced muscles in the feet, from years of working with their feet in ways that most people would consider unnatural. Pointe shoes are going to hurt. They're going to cause discomfort until the person wearing them is used to how they fit and feel. These shoes aren't like any other sport shoe. They're basically very tight wraps that hold the ball of the foot, the bridge, and the toes secure, which enables the sorts of moves you see with ballet dancers, while the rest of the shoe is flexible. So, yes, they are supposed to be uncomfortable at first, but not for long.

Here are a few of the reasons that these shoes might hurt you.

Reasons Pointes Might Hurt

You're New to Dance

If you're brand new to the genre, then there's just no way that your feet are going to be ready for what's in store for you. While the finished product of ballet looks gentle and graceful, the long hours of practice that go into this art form can be brutal on your body, especially your feet, when just starting out. The muscles in your feet are going to hurt you when practicing, which may cause you to think it's the shoes you're wearing when it's actually your muscles growing stronger through being worked so hard.

Shoes Are Too Snug

Though it could also be your shoes. Because pointes are supposed to be very snug on the sides and front of your feet, a lot of dancers end up with shoes that are just too snug. They might need to go a half a size larger in order to give their feet some much needed breathing room. A good way to tell if this is the case is by seeing if the pain only comes and goes when your shoes are on and off. If you don't feel the pain when you take the shoes off, they might be too tight.

Your Toes Need to Callus

A ballet dancer's toes are usually callused up. This isn't a very attractive thing to see aesthetically, though it's essential for the ability to stand on one's toes while twirling and performing other moves. If your toes have yet to callus over, then you might be feeling some pain while in these shoes. Don't worry, though; this is something that goes away.

They Aren't Broken In

Of course, many shoes are going to cause discomfort when they're brand new. Most shoes have to be broken in, so that they become more comfortable, and pointes are no exception here. The longer you wear them, the better they're going to feel on your feet.

Overall, the best way to find a pointe shoe that won't cause discomfort is to shop for a high-end shoe from a reputable seller.