Many dancers consider pointe shoes an extension of their bodies. Although they have a short life, these shoes are designed to be comfortable, as well as stylish while allowing the dancer to move with grace. The best feature of the pointe shoe is how comfortable it fits. The shoes fit will prevent the dancer from injuring his or her feet, legs and angle and they help make en pointe work easier. Wearing a correctly fitted shoe is important for young dancers as they are still developing bone and muscle. An incorrectly fitted shoe can hurt their growth. There are a variety of styles and brands available. Not every brand will be right for every dancer. When finding the best fitting shoe, the shape of the foot and the dancer's strength and experience should be taking into account.

Bloch Pointe Shoes

The Bloch pointe shoe is a great shoe for beginners. It comes in a variety of different styles and colors. The main styles include Sonata, Serenade, Sylphide, Suprima, Aspiration, Triomphe, Concerta and Alpha. The Sonata, Suprima and Sylphide are the best shoes for beginner dancers. Beginners will love the Sylphide as it is available in wide widths which can help beginners roll into the pointe easily. Beginners will also enjoy using the Suprima as it allows them to maintain good arch support while providing flexibility. A few of the Bloch pointe shoes contain boxes that are very narrow and are not suited for those with large feet. For advanced students, the Alpha pointe and Aspiration shoes are a good choice. These shoes offer a lot of flexibility but the dancer needs to have very strong feet and ankles.

Bloch Balance European Pointe ES0160 (Adult 3.5 (D), Pink)
Amazon Price: $56.80 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 29, 2013)

Capezio Pointe Ballet Shoes

Capezio Womens Gliss Pointe ShoeCapezio Pointe is also available in many different styles. Each style is designed for a specific need. The original Glisse makes rolling into a pointe comfortable with its hard shank, U-shaped vamp and broad toe-box. The Glisse ES had a harder shank than the original Glisse. More experienced dancers should opt for the Glisse Pro and Pro ES as they feature lower side and back height with a hard shank. Pre-pointe students would do best using the shankless Demi Soft that is based on the Glisse design. For dancers needing a vamp that extends beyond the toe, the Plie is a great choice. The Plie I provides a medium shank while the Plie II offers a harder shank. The Tendu offers a quick break-in time and a medium shank. The Tendu II uses a broader box and wider platform. A Russian style tapered box is featured on both the Aerial and Pavlowa. The Pavlowa features a hard shank, heel height and a longer vamp. The Areial works great for those with high arches. For a wider, American type of wide-platform shoe, the Contempora is the way to go. It features a lower heel and longer vamp.

Capezio Women's Gliss Pointe Shoe,European Pink,10 M US
Amazon Price: $71.95 $49.95 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 29, 2013)

Freed Pointe Shoes

Freed Pointe shoes come in three different styles including the Classic, the Studio and the Studio Pro. Each style of Freed Pointe shoes are designed for each level of dance and their physical abilities. The Classic is handcrafted and is made for the experienced professional dancer. It includes a deep round vamp but does not offer much in the weigh of support. Those who need support should choose the deep V-cut vamp of the Classic Wing Block. The Studio line is designed for the inexperienced dancer and has extra support. Studio II Pointe shoes feature a low profile and a wide platform. The Studio Pro offers a V-shaped vamp and a 3/4 shank which is the perfect amount of flexibility for inexperienced dancers.

"Classic" Pointe Shoe,SBT1025.0XXX,multi-colored,5.0 XXX
Amazon Price: $70.50 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 29, 2013)

Grishko Pointe Shoes

There are two models of Grishko Pointe shoes including the Releve and Eleve. The two types of Eleve are the Ulanova I and II. Dancers who roll up on pointe often tend to use the Eleve models of Grishko Pointe Shoes. The Fouette and Vaganova are the two types of Releve styles and are made to accommodate the springing on point.

"Ulanova" Pointe Shoe,ULAIHRD5.0XXX,multi-colored,5.0 XXX HRD US
Amazon Price: $67.45 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 29, 2013)

Gaynor Minden Pointe Shoes

Gaynor Minden Pointe ShoeGaynor Mindon does not have styles or models but they custom make shoes based on shank, vamp, regular fit, heel, sleek fit and size. Every shoe they make minimizes shock of impact and snuggly fit every foot. Their vamp includes regular, deep and sleek and they are made to be either flexible or hard. The shank options available include the Pianissimo, Featherflex, Supple, Extraflex, and Hard. The deep vamp works best for dancers who have deep arches. The sleek vamp is a good choice for wide feet that get narrow towards the heel. Heel options include regular, low, high and sleek. Deciding which heel will depend on which one is the most comfortable. The regular and narrow fit are made based on width. Less heel and vamp are options that are included with the narrow shoes.

"ProFlex" Pointe Shoe,PF5.0X4,multi-colored,5.0 XXXX
Amazon Price: $67.45 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 29, 2013)

Suffolk Pointe

Shoes Suffolk Point shoes feature the Solo which includes a box that is tapered slightly and has a longer vamp. They are available in a wide range of types including standard, hard or light insole. All types expect the light include a standard box that works good for most dancers. The light version makes it easier to roll on pointe by using a flexible choice. The hard insoles are combined with a full or 3/4 shank so dancers have flexibility and support. The Solo Pointe has a low profile to provide comfort, support and function.

Which shoe is best for you?

Each type of Pointe shoe offers their own unique benefits. One shoe is not better than the others. You should pick the shoe that fits your foot the best. While one type of shoe will be comfortable for other dancers, it may not be comfortable on your feet. Knowing the major brands and types of pointe shoes can help decide which shoe is right for you. Choose a shoe that not only fits right but matches your dance experience and strength. It is a great idea to visit a local dance retailer who will fit your feet with the correct shoe. Trying out a variety of pointe shoes will help you decided which shoes work the best and will allow you to be the best dancer you can be.