Since my dream of pointe shoes became reality around 18 months ago, Bloch Serenades have always been the go to pair. I’m geographically challenged for pointe shoe fittings and getting to London to the Bloch store for fittings is a real treat and doesn’t get to happen as much as I would like.
The first pair (not fitted at Bloch) were Bloch Serenades in size 3.5 width D. Last summer I went Bloch to see if we could find an alternative shoe.
After trying on Sonata, Hannah and something else I cannot remember, I ended up staying in Serenade only with a smaller width.
As fellow ballerinas in my class have moved on to try different shoes and are currently in love with Grishko 2007s, I have stuck with the Serenades. This is mainly because they don’t hurt. But I wanted to know what else was out there so I went back to the Bloch shop and was fitted for Sonatas in January.
Wide platform for balance
More square box compared to Serenade
Wide platform for balance
Shorter vamp compared to Serenade
Gel cushion at inside shoe for comfort while en pointe
No tack/glue at heel of shank so bends easier at 3/4.
One of the main reasons for wanting to try a new shoe was vanity. Everybody wants beautiful arches in ballet. My feet are peasant/Giselle shaped, toes are short and I have high-ish arches (right is higher than the left by a mile).
The Serenade has a hard shank that takes a lot of bending to break in so they hug my arches properly so I wanted something easier. Last summer I didn’t feel my feet were strong enough for a softer shoe, but as my confidence en pointe grows I feel I understand more what I am looking for.
The shank of the Sonatas was instantly more bendy at 3/4 and didn’t need any breaking in like the Serenades. They hugged my arches straight away and certainly made them look more appealing. Sonatas certainly win in this department.
I also find it easier to get over the box in the Sonatas, especially with the left foot after a niggling Achilles tendon last year.
Ah, the pain factor. I am sure this is different for everybody! The Serenades kick Sonatas butt when it comes to comfort, as you can see in the above picture. When using Serenades I use ouch pouches and and a gel tip on my left big toe and elastoribbon due to the Achilles niggle last year.
The Sonatas? I could wrap my feet in 15 tog duvets and they would still hurt. Ouch pouches, gel tips on BOTH big toes, with lambs wool, without lambs wool. They even dug into my knuckles on my big toes, and there was pressure on my fourth toe on my left foot too. Also increased use of the ‘F’ word after long periods of use.
Putting the Serenades back on after these was like putting on a pair of slippers.
So, I am back in the Serenades until further notice/next fitting in London. Trying a different model has really opened my eyes to what different models can offer you. I always thought the Serenade would be mine forever but having tried something else I definitely think there is another shoe out there for me. I like the softer shank of the Sonatas and the fact it is just easier to get over the box in them. But I really appreciate the comfort and longer vamp in the Serenades and you can really feel the support in them. The tapered shoe also feels more comfortable. I did try on the Bloch Hannah model last summer which were instantly ‘foot pretty’ but I did not feel ready for a softer shoe. Perhaps these will be the next pair?