Different sizes of pointe shoes

A dancer has asked me for help with her pointe shoes. One foot is much smaller than the other and she had been stuffing extra padding into the bigger shoe, but this caused her a lot of pain and lots of problems on pointe. She has found out that one foot is actually 1/2 size smaller than the other and ever since she purchased two pair of shoes (1/2 size difference, but the same exact brand) she has been doing much better. She’s now fine with her pointe shoes, not having any difficulties with pointe, but she asked me a question that I really can’t answer.

Will the 1/2 size difference in her pointe shoes cause any imbalance in her hips, or cause problems with her spine? Is she better off working in the exact same size pointe shoes and building up the inside of the bigger shoe? My gut feeling is that it is more important that the pointe shoes fit properly and that 1/2 size is not that big of a difference. I had this same exact issue with my pointe shoes and always bought my shoes in two different sizes, and although I’ve hung up my pointe shoes many years ago, I DO have problems with my spine and hips — that’s why I’m beginning to question whether or not this is actually a good idea. I did have a few definite injuries that caused my back and hip problems, but could I have weakened this area or caused an imbalance by wearing two different size pointe shoes?

I don’t want to advise this dancer incorrectly, so I’m really curious to know what your thoughts are on this subject. I do not know this dancer personally, so I do not have any other details about her. Generally speaking, what do you think? I’m really stumped!

Thank you in advance for your time and your help.


Great question Lorie! I agree with your opinion that it is more important to wear pointe shoes that fit correctly instead of padding the larger shoe so you are wearing the same size.

I do not believe that wearing a half size different shoe is going to create problems for her at the hips and spine. You don’t spend that much time with the exception of sous sus and échappé being on both shoes. Typically, you are transferring from one foot to the other, or doing an exquisite balancing move on one foot.

Different sized feet are pretty normal, in fact. Having leg length difference is not unusual either, but greater the difference between leg lengths – the more influential on the pelvis and hip placement.

I have not personally seen shoe size be a leading factor in spine and pelvis issues. The fact that the dancer feels better with the 2 different size shoes is good feedback that she is on the right track.

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