How should I choose a pointe shoe vamp?
Russian Pointe pointe shoe models come with the option of either a V-cut vamp with no drawstring, or a U-cut vamp with an elastic drawstring. Each of these options provides slightly different support as well as a different appearance. As you choose a pointe model, take into account the dancer’s needs and preferences regarding vamp shape and drawstring.
V-cut vamps provide more support, security and stability for many dancers. Dancers with high arches sometimes benefit from the central V, which allows them to wear that supports the toes at the sides but doesn’t restrict the instep at the center. The V-cut also gives a classically elegant aesthetic.
U-cut vamps have a more contemporary, athletic aesthetic and expose more of the foot. The U-cut vamp includes a drawstring for refining the fit, which some dancers prefer.
Dancers may choose among three vamp lengths in each Russian Pointe model, without affecting any other feature or measurement of the pointe shoe. The medium vamp length (Vamp 2) is by far the most popular choice.
Choosing a shorter/lower (Vamp 1) or longer/higher (Vamp 3) is based primarily on the length of the toes. In general, longer toes need a longer vamp than shorter toes. Choose a vamp length that fully covers the toes up to the metatarsal area, gives appropriate support, and doesn’t cause pain or restriction in demi-pointe.
Vamp choice is also affected by the shape of the dancer’s instep and her technical needs. Dancers who have trouble reaching full pointe may benefit from a lower vamp to allow more movement in the foot (as long as it covers the toes adequately). Dancers with very high arches or weaker or more flexible feet may prefer a longer vamp for more support. Dancers with very full insteps may find a longer vamp restrictive but need its extra support; for these dancers, experiment with different models and vamp cuts.
When the vamp is chosen correctly, it supports the foot without restraining movement. If the vamp is too low, there isn’t enough support and the dancer might roll forward on pointe. The dancer’s toes also show too much for an elegant appearance. If the vamp is too high, it cuts into the foot, sometimes painfully. Movement might be restricted, especially during roll-through, or the dancer might have trouble reaching full pointe.