GM – First Impressions

I finally sewed up those Gaynor Minden pointe shoes I bought back in… oh, JULY!

In my defense, the shoes are a major PITA to sew. Most pointe shoes have a separate inner layer of muslin-type fabric to sew the elastics and ribbons to (I sew my elastics on the inside… I know not everyone does that). In GMs the satin is fused to the inner layer which is some sort of flocked material. Getting a needle through all of that is un-fun, to say the least. My fingers still hurt days later.

Also, I had two other pairs of Freeds going and with rehearsals and such sewing up a new pair of pointes wasn’t high on my priority list.

But both pairs of Freeds (including my precious custom pair!) are essentially dead, so I didn’t have much choice with rehearsals looming in the near future.

Sew-sew-sew I go.

And then tried them out tonight for the first time in pointe class. I was hoping for the best, but I’m really not sure these shoes are for me. At best there’s going to be a pretty significant learning curve with these shoes and I’m just not sure I have the patience for it when I know the Freeds work.

Okay, let’s start with the positives, because it’s not all bad news.

They make my arch look really nice. And my feet have rather low arches, so that’s something. We were doing développés to the side and I was facing the mirror and though, holy Toledo, I actually look like I have bendy feet! Which I don’t. At all. So… that’s nice.

And… um… yeah, I guess that’s about it on the positives.

Argh. I really wanted to like these, especially since they are on the spendy side.

For one thing there is all the built in padding. It seems like a nice idea. Cushy inside. What ballerina doesn’t want some comfort in the shoes of death? But… I just felt like there was way too much going on in this shoe. I couldn’t put my finger on it until my teacher asked what I was wearing. She wears Gaynors so she is familiar with them (and obviously not anti-Gaynor like many teachers can be), but said that with all of the padding it can feel like you’ve got like an extra half inch of stuff in the platform and it means you have to go that much farther to get up en pointe. YES!!! That’s exactly it!

We weren’t doing anything particularly challenging in class today, so I was baffled as to why everything felt like a major ordeal. And that was a lot of it. I felt like my feet had grown overnight and I couldn’t figure out how to make them work.

Honestly, it kind of felt like I was trying to do pointe in a tennis shoe.

And then there’s the fact that they’re ugly as @*%#! Sorry. I know it’s stupid to get wrapped up in how a shoe looks, but these things look like boats on my feet. Again, I think it’s all the padding in the box that makes them look about twice as wide as my Freeds. The ugly box doesn’t quite make up for the pretty arch.

So… what to do, what to do? We’ve got rehearsals coming up and the show is only a little over two months away, so there’s no way I can get a new custom Freed order made up. I might look around to see if anyone has my maker in my size hanging around their stock room to get me through until I can get some customs made up. The other alternative, of course, is to just try to muscle through and figure out how to dance in these things. Probably more reasonable, but I’m just scared after how today’s class went.

Sigh… more to come, I’m sure. I’m not going to toss these shoes out quite yet, but I’m certainly not feeling any real affection towards them at this particular moment!

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9 thoughts on “GM – First Impressions

  1. Terez Mertes says:

    Wow, I really enjoyed reading this and the detail you go into. I could almost feel what you were feeling. This line cracked me up:
    >Honestly, it kind of felt like I was trying to do pointe in a tennis shoe.

    Back in the day, I turned to Freeds when Capezio stopped working, and it was love at first flight. (Little play on words there, get it?) Just loved the ease in rolling up to pointe, the better contact I felt with the floor. Just the rightness of it all, their pretty color and shape.

    So I can appreciate your comments here. And enjoy them!

  2. Rori roars says:

    Thanks, Terez! And YES about the Freeds… the first time I wore them I remember feeling like the stars aligned and the angels sang. Okay, not quite THAT miraculous, but they felt very right on my feet and I could work with them. I feel like the GMs and I are at cross purposes from the get-go. Maybe this little experiment will simply serve to prove that I am, in fact, a Freed girl!

  3. Interesting that the Gaynor Mindens actually put you higher up! Seems like people complain about not being able to feel the floor in the GM’s, but I’ve never heard anyone explain that it’s because the floor is actually further away.
    Whoever it was over at Freed that decided to do the whole maker-mark thing was a genius. Like, marketing genius. It’s so appealing, the idea of having a maker and being able to call around and ask shops if they stock your maker. I want to know my maker just for the heck of it, and I’m not even on pointe right now and I’ve never even held a Freed shoe. Genius.
    Bring your GM’s over next time, I’ll machine sew those bitches.

    • Rori roars says:

      Seriously, AB, if I get another pair of Gaynors I’m so taking you up on that offer. It would be worth the price of cross-country airfare to meet the amazing AB AND get my shoes sewn!

      And yeah, Freed marketing genius! There is something incredibly special about the Classic shoes straight out of the bag. I’m probably romanticizing it, but I can’t help but hold them with this strange reverence. To know that one specific guy in the whole world makes shoes that work for my feet… that he has even made bespoke shoes just for li’l ol’ me. Yah. Amazing.

      There’s a lot to be said for mass production (consistency being one of them!) and a lot to be said for the technological advances that go into newer shoes (improved dancer health and all!), but there’s also a reason that Freed has been THE supplier for so many companies. Their shoes are works of art and when you find the right artist to collaborate with the possibilities seem endless!

  4. Hi Rori! I’ve just started checking your blog, so please treat me as an ignorant. Be kind.
    So let’s see… I’ve never even seen Freeds in person (not sure if they’re sold in Brazil, I’ll google that later), but I had another brand before I got GMs.
    Actually, I only got Gaynors because it felt like my other pointe shoes were eating my feet during class. And, you know, I do ballet for fun, I don’t want unnecessary pain in my life.
    And as far as I know, that’s the exact reason most people spend all that money in GMs. And I don’t have that much experience, but I suppose everyone has a personal need when it comes to pointe – as much as for any shoes. I can’t wear some regular shoe brands because they hurt my feet, while other people love the same brands.
    Plus, if you had customized pointe shoes, maybe you can find someone to fix them for you – that’s the ignorant part, I don’t know if you ever published the picture of your old Freeds so I don’t know how bad they look, but the shops here sometimes offer fixing services. So your dear old friends could be in shape for rehearsals!

    • Rori roars says:

      Welcome, innerballerina, and thanks for posting! I look forward to checking out your blog.

      I agree, a lot of people like the comfort of a Gaynor and that was the fitter’s main selling point to me (that and the durability!). But as you said, comfort is very personal and though they felt okay when I was in the store, when it comes to actually dancing in them I find the Freeds far more comfortable even with very minimal padding.

      As for my current Freeds… they are dead, no two ways about it. They look okay, but the platform is getting squishy and my toes can feel it! There are some things that can be done to a shoe, particularly when its new, to prolong the life depending on what part typically “dies” first such as shank tacks or Jet Glue (which I use), but there is no way to make a shoe last forever. So it’s time for me to say goodbye to this pair. I’ve got another on order, just need to figure out my game plan until those get here!

  5. […] thought I could just wear those. Plan made without ever trying to dance in them. Whoops! Turns out I find them rather unenjoyable. I do not have the luxury of time with Nut coming up in less than two months including two pieces I […]

  6. […] At first I was all, “These suck, burn them at the stake!” […]

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