Pointe Shoe Guide

Pointe Shoe Guide

Pointe Shoe Guide

Since our founder Jacob Bloch made his first pointe shoe in 1932, Bloch has been the innovation leader for these shoes, which epitomize the art of ballet. You will find our pointe shoes on the feet of leading professionals in dance companies around the world, as well as thousands of training ballet students.

Our handmade satin ballet pointe shoes balance superior construction with a dancer’s comfort. A correctly fitted Bloch pointe shoe considers all aspects of the shoe’s anatomy to ensure correct foot positions and the perfect leg line.

Whether you’re just getting started in the world of ballet or you’re ready to start training en pointe, our guide is packed full of information. From the anatomy of a pointe shoe to styles of pointe shoe by foot type, here is our guide to pointe shoes.


Pointe Shoe Anatomy and Glossary

First things first: pointe shoe anatomy. What is a typical pointe shoe structure, and what key terms do you need to know?

Anatomy of a Pointe Shoe

Pointe Shoe Anatomy Diagram

Pointe Shoe Glossary of Terms

The tape that finishes the top edge of the upper which also encases the drawstring.

The hardened surface area of a pointe shoe which includes the vamp, wings and platform, surrounds the front section of the foot. The Block/Box is made from the application of numerous layers of special fabrics, all with different shapes, bound together by the paste in between each layer. This process is very similar to the process of papier maché.

A length of either cotton cord or elastic cord encased within the binding that allows the upper to form a snug fit around the foot.

Heel Strap
A satin tab which is sewn over the joining seams of the back uppers.

The foot shaped mold which the pointe shoe is manufactured around.

The outer most sole of pointe shoes is made from leather.

A specially formulated glue type substance, which is used in both the process of hardening the toe Block/Box and attaching the insole to the inside of the pointe shoe.

The flattened surface at the toe end of the pointe shoe which allows the dancer to balance ‘en pointe’.

The measured pleating which draws the satin over the Box which meets the Outsole.

Shank / Insole
A combination of layers of special materials into a unique profile which forms the structural anchor similar to the way a spine supports the human body. Shanks/insoles are developed in different profiles creating various levels of flexibility.

Side Seam
The stitching on the side seam is a double French stitch which ensures strength and sews front Upper to the back Upper.

A thin suede or cotton fabric covering the inner shank.

All the parts above the shoe’s sole that are joined together to become a single unit which is then attached to the Outsole.

The lower forward part of the shoe’s upper, covering the forepart of the foot and includes the Block/Box and Platform.

Vamp (Modified)
The measurement from the centre middle of the drawstring to the edge of the Platform.

Vamp Shape / Throat Line
The shape of the entrance area for the front of the foot. In Bloch pointe shoes the Vamp shape is either ‘U’ shaped or ‘V’ shaped.

Each of the two symmetrical sides of the vamp directed toward the heel. The outer edge of the hardened toe Block/Box that contain a lesser amount of material and paste. The Wings can vary in shape and hardness depending on the style of pointe shoe or the dancers preference.

Different Types of Pointe Shoes

There are a variety of different pointe shoe structures available at BLOCH. We offer a combination of shank flexibilities, platforms, vamps and pastes, to suit different dancers. You can explore pointe shoes by foot type or dancer level, with all the information you need to find your perfect pair of BLOCH pointe shoes below.

 Table comparing Bloch Pointe Shoe styles

Different Foot Shapes to Consider When Buying Pointe Shoes

Depending on your foot shape, you may be better suited to certain styles of pointe shoes. For example, those with a Greek or Egyptian foot shape can opt for the Suprima pointe shoe, while a European Balance pointe shoe is better suited for a Peasant foot shape. You can see which pointe shoes are best for your foot shape in the table above.

If you’re not sure what your foot shape is, find out from the illustration below.


Illustration showing Greek, Egyptian and Giselle foot shapes

Pointe Shoe Width

Pointe shoes from BLOCH come in three different widths: narrow, average and wide. BLOCH pointe shoe widths can be identified in three different ways depending on the style. Some of the earlier developed styles denote widths with the A, B, C, D, E format and the later styles with either X or Y formats. With the different styles, widths and sizes available, BLOCH offers over 1000 variations of pointe shoes.

A table showing Bloch pointe shoe widths


Pointe Shoe Conversion Guide

We strongly recommend that dancers visit one of our BLOCH Stores for a professional fitting from one of our highly trained staff. This is to avoid potential injury caused by an ill-fitting shoe. For more information on sizing and conversion charts, visit our BLOCH US size chart page.

If you’re starting your journey en pointe and need to arrange a pointe shoe fitting, our guides What To Expect When You Visit a Bloch Store and What To Expect at Your First Pointe Shoe Fitting will ensure you’re totally prepared for the big day. Or, if you’re looking for new pointe shoe styles, visit our full range of ballet pointe shoes to find your new perfect pair.