Starting out on a point can be daunting. It’s hard to imagine how you might learn to turn and jeté on the very top of your toes, but it is possible with the right amount of training and with the help of demi-pointe shoes! If you haven’t heard of demi-pointe shoes or if your dance teacher recommended them to you, but you have no idea what they are, demi-pointe shoes are a pre-pointe shoe. The word itself “demi-pointe” means half point.

They’re meant to get you comfortable and gradually help you transition from ballet slipper to pointe shoe, all while keeping you safe as you build strength. While they’re similar to pointe shoes, they have no inner shank; basically, they’re a slightly harder ballet slipper. Demi-pointe shoes help you get the feel for a pointe shoe as you train.

Every dancer ready to take the leap to full pointe should start out thinking about getting a demi-pointe shoe, let’s explore why:

Barefoot vs demi-pointe vs. full pointe  


Typically, to make sure a dancer is ready to start on pointe, your dance teacher might have you begin barefoot so they can see exactly how you’re moving your feet. Young dancers tend to claw their toes when they first go on pointe. This can lead to major injury, so dance teachers tend to do exercises with young dancers that help work the front of their feet like “tendu’s” and others that help create the “dome shape” of the foot the pointe shoe creates. Learn the right technique before demi and full pointe shoes and you’ll be a prima ballerina in no time!


Demi-pointe is meant for dancers getting ready to go on pointe, typically, a dancer on demi-pointe would be mostly at the barre and on pointe for only a few minutes at a time.

According to Washington University Orthopedics, this stage of ballet shoe is intended for children at least 11 years-old, however, the age a child’s foot is fully formed can vary. It’s important to consult your dance teacher and doctor before going on demi-pointe since the bones of the feet, “do not fully develop and harden until the 13-15 years of age,” it’s important to make sure you’re ready! While demi-pointe shoes are not as hard as full pointe shoes, you want to confirm from your dance teacher that you’re moving your muscles correctly so any errors in technique aren’t masked by the demi-pointe shoe. It’s important to check with your dance teacher that you’re working the right muscles before going on demi-pointe!

Once you’ve made sure that you’re ready and have the technique down, demi-pointe shoes are really the perfect way to prepare for full pointe, build on technique, and prevent from injury. Not only do they build strength by mimicking the feeling of real pointe shoes, but they help build resistance with their sturdy, full leather outsole, giving each dancer the strengthening techniques they need before going full pointe. Demi-pointe shoes help give all the practice you need in a safe and gradual way!

Full pointe

Again, absolutely make sure you consult with your dance teacher about your technique and your Orthopedist that the bones in your feet are fully formed as to prevent injury, before deciding to go full pointe! Going on pointe is the highlight of a ballet dancer’s journey, but you want to make sure you’re being safe first and foremost.

Unlike demi-pointe shoes which only have an outer shank, pointe shoes have both an inner shank and an outer shank, making them firmer and less flexible. This is where your technique comes in!

Full pointe is meant for dancers who have fully formed bones in their feet and the ability to properly dance in a pointe shoe. As long as you have these two things, you’re ready to go! 

How do I get fitted for a demi-pointe shoe?

First, fitting a demi-pointe shoe isn’t as hard as fitting a pointe shoe, because there’s usually less variety and they bear a lot of similarity to regular ballet slippers.

Since you’ll mostly be at the barre and will only be on pointe for a few minutes at a time, you don’t have to worry about the different widths and specs of the shoe, like you would regular pointe shoes. Typically, you’d go for a demi-pointe shoe the same size of the ballet slippers you have.

But you can also get fitted for demi-pointe and pointes shoes at your local dancewear store and virtually!

[Read more: Pointe Shoe Fitting Guide]

Best demi-pointe shoes to buy

There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to the best shoe, but the best shoe is usually the shoe that works for you! Everyone has their preferences when it comes to brands, whether it’s Capezio or Freed Bloch.  

Since demi-pointe shoes are so similar to ballet slippers, if you know you prefer one or the other, search for demi-pointe shoes on their websites, at your local dancewear store, and don’t forget to get your tights and canvas shoes with a subscription to Ballet Box!

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