Anatomy of Pointe Shoes

pointe shoes ballet

Dancing en pointe for the first time is very exciting. However, wearing perfect fitting pointe shoes is essential to avoid injury. Finding pointe shoes that are the right size and support the dancer’s particular anatomy is imperative. Therefore, I advise all dancers to go to a dancewear store to get professionally fitted for pointe shoes.

Below are the general components of a pointe shoe.


The vamp on pointe shoes refers to the part of the shoe that envelops the toes and the front of the foot. Regarding an ideal size, dancers can purchase pointe shoes with a vamp the same length as their toes. For example, dancers with longer toes can purchase pointe shoes with greater length in the vamp.

anatomy of pointe shoes ballet

The Box

The box envelops the toes. Regarding an ideal fit, the box has an assortment of structures that range from a square to a tapered box.


The platform is the top part of a pointe shoe that enables the dancer to execute pointe work (en pointe).

Profile Height

The profile refers to the height of the shoe and can be high or low. A high profile pointe shoe box appears to have a cylindrical shape and a larger space between the outer sole and the vamp. A low profile appears flatter and has a small space between the outer sole and the vamp.

Outer Sole

balerina on pointe

The bottom part of the pointe shoe that touches the floor.


The shank is the supportive insole.  


The wings are an extension of the vamp on each side of the point shoe. The wings provide support.


The opening of the pointe shoe is the throat and is closest to the toes.

Side Seam

The side seam joins the front and the back of the pointe shoe.

Heel Seam

The heel seam is in the back of the pointe shoe. It divides the quarters that are behind the side seam.

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