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As we have talked about the one edge of the feet shape scale (wide feet), it is time to examine the other edge. Narrow feet are even more rare than the wide ones - actually people with VERY narrow feet represent less than 10% of the population. They tend to buy street shoes smaller than needed, and their feet shape ends up kind of changed, as the toes break within the smaller sized shoe. Narrow feet usually have long toes and tend to be compressible, but these parametres we will discuss on another special article!
This type of foot shares the same problem as wide feet, concerning the difficulty someone faces to find his/her perfect pair of pointe shoes, but vice versa! People with this foot type have a difficulty on achieving the right function of the pointe shoes, which is going en pointe, due to the fact they are so narrow that can't fill totally the shoe, so it can support strongly the foot. Usually, there is no great balance between the box (or better the vamp - which is the height of the box) and the rest of the shoe, so there is a difficulty on going from demi pointe to full pointe - this is a very significant part taken into account when customizing special pointe shoes for people with narrow feet.
Manufactures of course understand this situation and - as with wide feet - they create pointe shoe size charts that include some sizes for the narrow feet. Of course it is very rare to find in stock these shoes and someone has to make a special order with his/her really unique measurements! Let' s find out some choices we have gathered on the very narrow width sizes:
• Grishko 's narrowest size in width is X, and the least widest models are Vaganova and Maya II.
• Russian Pointe has the W1 size, with Sapfir to represent its best narrowest model.
• Bloch 's size A is the least widest, but generally is not very known for narrow pointe shoes.
• Capezio also is not known for its narrow sizes, but the narrowest is N.
• Gaynor Minden 's best seller for narrow feet is in size Width 1 and Box 2.
• Siberian Swan - not very famous for very narrow sizes - has Pavlova with width X.
Neither when there is extra space in the box (a space in which our finger can be put) of the pointe shoes we use, nor by having pointe shoes that hurt us, we have a pair that works correctly for us. Apart from having the option to make a special customized pair of pointe shoes, we can also help ourselves by doing the following suggestions:
1. We could make our box more narrow by opening/cutting the box and then sewing it back tightly.
2. Sometimes the box size is OK but the sides of the pointe shoes are wider. In this case we could open/cut the seam of the sides and sew it tighter.
3. We also could sew tight elastic above the vamp of the box for more support AND adding some padding, like the "box liner". Its sponge will be compressed sometime, but who knows when that time will be...
A small fitting case story follows to fulfill the purpose of this article, which is to provide every possible guideline concerning narrow feet.
Morgan from Australia' s island, Tasmania, faced the difficulty of finding her perfect pair of pointe shoes, not only because of the fact that lives in a small island, but due to her very narrow feet, quite strong with a slightly tapered shape, Greek, medium-narrow, with long toes, tendency to be compressible and to have all kinds of other issues like knuckles and bunions. Before communicating with us she had tried the only brand that there is in her area (Bloch - Heritage in a 6 NX AND the Amelie soft in same size and width) and her current pointe shoe pair was a Capezio in size 9N - although its sizes are quite small for her.
According to her measurements (Right foot: Width - 9,5cm & Length - 24,5cm / Left foot: Width - 9cm & Length - 24,2cm) we gave her three choices. A wonderful Russian Pointe model called Sapfir which has space for the long toes - if her Capezios are size 8N (and not 9N - badly fitted because of her long toes), they would be a size 40, W3. Box length (vamp height): the good thing about Russian Pointe is that she could also order them higher or lower than the default vamp (V1, V2, V3). In her case, we suggested the longest vamp. Shank: we would suggest to start with a FM shank (the flexible-medium strong one). She could also try a Rubin in its narrowest (W1 or W2, same length). Or, the most basic choice for the local shops, a Grishko2007, size 6 XX M. The above two are not exactly her type but are enough long and tapered to have space for the toes. The other choice is a custom-made Siberian Swan Pavlovas (size 6 XX M, to be confirmed). What we would ask the manufacturer to do is to, basically, insert the sole of the 5.5 XX M to the last of a 6 - to have space for the long toes and not having the pre-arched structure misplaced.
We made some experiments and double checked her sizes, measurements and photos and noticed that the Capezios were a little bit smaller. The perfect match for her was a Russian Pointe's Sapfir, size 39, Width 3, Cut "U", Shank Flexible - Medium, Vamp 3.
Feel also free to fill out our questionnaire if you need our opinion about your own pointe shoe sizing and models and let’s get fitted!