What’s the matter with those weird crimpled heels with “air” inside? Why is it so difficult to fix it?
When you are standing flat on the floor, your pointe shoe heels fit just perfectly! Yes but only until you start rolling up en pointe. While you’re on your demi pointe, you already feel that there is an empty space in your heel. The higher you go, the bigger it gets. You compare your reflection with the ideal photo in the catalogue of pointe-shoes, or your classmates, and realize that something’s wrong...
So where did the heel go?
So, we are given the following: when en pointe, there is an empty space in the heel. (Btw: if your heels feel loose even when you are standing flat, your pointe shoes are just longer than needed). There can be two reasons for that:
1.The pointe-shoe box is too wide, the foot “falls” to the bottom of the pointe-shoe and your toes are moaning under your body weight. If this is your case, your feet (toes, knuckles, bunions, midfoot) may start hurting right from the first moment of your class, or a few minutes later.
2. The second reason is exactly what this post is about. The width is right, the shoebox fits perfectly, and the foot doesn’t slip in. It's just, when your foot raises on tiptoes, the heel bone “slides inwards”. While one other dancers’ heels would stay as is, round and full, yours goes flat. It doesn’t hurt, or doesn’t influence your movement on pointe but it leaves that empty “bulge” in the heel part. The issue is called "Disappearing heel".
√ What is important here? Not to confuse the first and the second reasons. The first reason has to be dealt with immediately; the second one has to be accepted... and disguised to a certain extent.
√Another important thing! Very often, dance teachers discover this empty “bag” and conclude that the pointe-shoes are too big/long. As a result, dancer ends up with new pointe shoes that are too short for him/her now, and the binding of the heel is tearing the Achilles tendon.
What can you do about the disappearing heel?
- You can search for a solution among pointe shoe models that were developped by different brands, with this issue in mind.
- If you like those DIY lifehacks, here are some heel adjustments that I learned from my clients.
- If you are not sure if this is your case, or wondering if your pointe shoes are just too long, you can always ask our fitter's opinion: fill out the "Get Fitted" questionnaire today, and let us do our magic!