Well, it’s finally happened… I purchased the same pointe shoe model twice.
The winner of today’s Pointe Shoe Challenge? The Chacott Veronese II — the same model I wore just prior to the decade-long ballet hiatus.
So maybe I did find The Shoe all those years ago and just didn’t know it? Possible, though I’m not 100% convinced.
I went to Big Overwhelming Dance Store for my fitting. I called a few days prior and made an appointment. Arrived about 5 minutes early for said appointment armed with my current pointe shoes & padding. I figured that on a weekday afternoon after the start of school it would be relatively quiet in there. I was wrong. There were tons of kids and parents looking for shoes and leotards. I was told to sit on a bench and the fitter would be with me momentarily. I then watched as she ran around getting ballet slippers for one young kid, tried to figure out what model jazz shoe another kid needed, and rustled up various lyrical foot thingies for an adult she obviously knew personally and who kept attempting to socialize with her. Meanwhile I took off my shoes, pulled out some Peds, and waited patiently. For 20 minutes. Yeah. Really glad I took the time to call and make an appointment.
When the woman finally got to me I started to explain my issue, that I’d done pointe but took 10 years off, had been fit in Russian Pointes when I started back, but they weren’t working for me, blah blah blah. She asked what I’d worn before that and I told her that I’d had Chacotts, but that I never had the same shoe twice, reiterated that that was prior to a long break. She suggested trying on the Chacotts again (which I wanted to do anyway) and also pulled out some Blochs and a pair of Capezios.
Then she wandered off.
Very different from my previous pointe-buying experience. I’d kind of expected (or at least hoped for) something similar. And I hoped that since this store is so large and is well known as an online distributor that the fitter would do a little more, well, fitting. A look at the feet, maybe some examination of the current shoes to check for wear pattern, etc. At the very least some sort of comment about, “Ah, we should find you a shoe with X profile, a Y-length vamp, a Z-shaped box.” I have no idea how she picked out the shoes she did. And I was not expecting to then be abandoned. I guess I’ll just be grateful that I’ve done a fair amount of research myself and knew things to look for in the fit.
Most of the shoes were out before I even tried standing en pointe because they had way too high of a profile. The closest I came was the Bloch Jetstream. It was okay, but was doing the same wonky platform-angling-inward thing that the RPs were doing. I crawled over to the shelf with the Chacotts and tried a few different size combinations and ended up with one width narrower and a harder shank that the old shoes. The lady came back long enough to say that they looked good on my feet and that if those had worked for me in the past maybe I should just stick with them.
But… what about all the other brands they stock? The Gambas, Suffolks, Repettos, Grishkos? Are there any of those that could be my shoe? Why did I only get to try these? Grr.
If I could’ve had the lady from the last store and the selection of this store I think I’d’ve been much happier.
But on the plus side… while I may not be blissful with the new/old shoes, I do think I’ll be happier in them. I had no problem getting over either box, the shanks are supportive while still making me look like I have some semblance of an arch, I didn’t have to fight the shoe to keep from sickling. I also realized after getting them home that I can actually wear these without padding. I mean, I wouldn’t go totally commando, but I could get by with tape and some loose wool (i.e., how I used to wear my shoes back in version 1.0). I heard somewhere that’s a sign of a well-fitting shoe.
I won’t officially retire the RPs quite yet. And I won’t give up on the idea of seeking out other pointe shoes that might work. While there’s a lot to like about the Chacott there are a few things I’m not so keen on, particularly the fact that the shoes are not at all sleek. The RPs have beautiful construction. While the box is rather too hard, they are perfectly smooth, no pleats, and the elasticized drawstring gives it a nice fit around the foot. The Chacotts look a little more, er… rustic, shall we say.
So, we shall see how the first pointe class goes once we’re back in class. Hoping these will at least serve to boost my confidence level en pointe!