Trying to classify the different types of pointe shoes available on the market today depends on what part of the shoe is being categorized for classification. Pointe shoes can be classified into different groups according to their construction methods, popularity, functionality, and other variables.
Starting with the very first stages of construction at the factory, the shoes will be labeled as either a machine- made or hand- made model. Within those two categories, they can be classified as either “stock” or custom-made. A custom-made shoe sits by itself and can’t be categorized any further. After a pointe shoe is classified as a stock model, the design specifications of the shoe will determine if it is one these different types of pointe shoes:
• Demi-pointe or Pre-pointe
• Beginner or student
Within the design classifications we can further break them down into categories. For example, a hand-made, stock beginner shoe with hard shanks works for dancers that have higher arches. A machine-made professional model with a flexible shank and split-soles can be considered “performance ready”.
After the design specifications of each model are known, dancers and teachers alike will categorize certain models as better for barre work than for center work. Some pointe shoes are known as “workhorses”, while others are extremely light weight. Classification can also be done by the pasting methods used in the factory during construction.
At the retail level, certain models are either popular or not recommended. As you can see, there are many ways to classify the various models that are being produced in the world today. Here are the different types of pointe shoes:
• Traditional paste or polymeric
• Machine-made or hand-crafted
• Stock or custom-made
• Demi-pointe, beginner, intermediate, advanced, or professional
• Design specifications that include shank strength, profile/box shape, vamp length, and platform size
• Teacher/ dance academy recommended
• Retail popularity and best sellers
Listing the design specifications of each individual model would entail writing a book. There are hundreds, if not thousands of models available in the world today. There are so many different kinds of pointe shoes available today, that there is a right shoe for every foot-type if you keep searching.