As ballet dancers, we know all too well that a pair of pointe shoes can make or break your dancing. With the correct pointe shoes, you feel like you’re on the top of the world, and you can pull off anything. However, sometimes, finding the perfect pair of pointe shoes that fit you can be difficult. Not to mention that your feet strength may change from time to time, or that you may require different pointe shoes for different purposes and variations. I couldn’t try out all the pointe shoes, but in this article I’ll be breaking down both the pointe shoes of Chacott and Freed, thanks to Chacott & Freed of London and their professional pointe shoe fitter Ms Michelle Wong.
About My Feet
To give you a more accurate idea, here are some facts about my feet, as well as my history with pointe shoes.
Foot type: Compressible
Foot shape: Slightly tapered
First time en pointe: (Most likely) 2006 (I can’t exactly remember)
Pointe shoe brands I’ve worn before: Bloch, Gaynor Minden, Grishko, Freed of London, Chacott
Current ankle strength: Moderately strong – strong
Current en pointe frequency: Twice a week for an average of 30-45 minutes each time
Note: The frequency stated above is for pre-COVID-19 days when I was still regularly going to the studio.
Freed of London Pointe Shoes
I’m wearing: Studio I 4E
I’ve worn at least 5 pairs of Studio I, and I’m pretty much convinced that this is one of the models that fit me best. The vamp isn’t too high, making going through demi-pointe comfortable. As I have a compressible foot, Ms Michelle fitted me with an “E” width, though at first glance my foot width looks like it could be an “EE”, which is wider in comparison. The width fits me well, and I like the feeling of the shoes compressing my feet slightly, which gives me a sense of being supported just right. The Studio I is has a full shank, and my shoes have a hard shank, while the toe box feels square and sturdy to me, but not chunky. With this combination, if I don’t work, the shoes don’t work, and I believe I trained my ankle strength a lot from wearing Studio I’s. The shank and toe box both usually start to soften at the same time, which works for me because I can’t dance with either part soft. Thanks to the vamp length, Studio I’s are easy to mould to my feet, and it usually doesn’t take much seasoning to get things going. Depending on the frequency of my dancing, a pair of Studio I could last me different durations. At the peak of my dancing frequency which was 5 days a week, with each session anywhere from two to six hours, I had to change my shoes every 3-6 weeks. After that, my dancing reduced drastically to just twice a week with minimal en pointe, and I had a pair that lasted me just slightly over a year.
Chacott Pointe Shoes
I’m wearing: C.O.A.D 23D
The first thing you’ll notice about these shoes is its unusual colour, which is more burnished gold than the usual soft pink. And that means you can’t use it for examinations, unless you can dye them to the correct colour. Compared to Freed’s Studio I, C.O.A.D.’s vamp is much higher – the vamp goes up to almost half my foot because my toes aren’t that long. Rising up on demi-pointe was troublesome because my feet felt like they were stuck at the in-between. Wearing C.O.A.D. also felt like they were compressing my feet even more than Studio I, but it was okay for me because I love a good, snug fit. During the first few times I wore them, it felt like it was difficult to mould them to my feet, but once you get to that comfortable stage, it’s a supportive pair of shoes. Compared to the Studio I, the profile of C.O.A.D. is also slightly flatter, and it has a slimming effect on the feet. However, the downside of C.O.A.D. is that the shank (also full) is definitely softer than Studio I. Two months in, and I’m “sitting” in my shoes, while the toe box is still hard enough to crack someone’s head open. During its “prime”, C.O.A.D. made me feel like there was nothing I couldn’t do, even the dreaded fouettes, which I did manage to pull off pretty well despite not training often (on average 8-10 turns with a maximum of 16, but still). C.O.A.D. is definitely supportive, but I do wish the shank wouldn’t soften so quickly compared to the toe box!
Personally, my top pick would be Freed of London’s Studio I. It fits my feet really well, and I know just how to work it, in addition to the fact that it can last me a good while if I use them correctly (I have a habit of sitting a little bit when I’m tired, and that wears out shoes faster). I’ve also tried Freed of London’s Studio Professional and Studio II shoes before, but Studio I will always be my choice, for now. I could also work with Chacott’s C.O.A.D. thanks to the immense support of its toe box, but I’d have to find a way to get the shank toughened up, or else I’d be buying new shoes before their lifespan is really over.
Note: I have Chacott on the left leg, and Freed on the right.
That said, do keep in mind that everyone’s feet are different, and what works for one person may not work for another. There are a lot of things to take into consideration when getting a pair of suitable pointe shoes, which is why it’s best to seek help from a professional pointe shoe fitter. A professional pointe shoe fitter will be able to determine your foot type, shape and strength, prescribing you with the correct pair of shoes. Check out some images of Ms Michelle at work:
Well, I’m glad that I have found a pair of pointe shoes that can help me really dance well, thanks to the help of Ms Michelle Wong! Did you know that Ms Michelle is Malaysia’s pioneer pointe shoe fitter? To read more about Ms Michelle, you can click here for an exclusive interview with her! To book your very own appointment with her for your pointe shoe fitting, you can get in touch with her at 016-7162586, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org! Big thanks go out to Chacott & Freed of London for sponsoring a pair of shoes for this comparison review as well!
Embarking on the journey of self-discovery through dance.