For professional ballerinas, the way their pointe shoes fit can mean the difference between success and failure, or even injury. Luckily, dancers can count on Freed of London, a footwear company that makes coveted custom pointe shoes. ShoesTV sat down for an exclusive interview with Freed of London's Professional Pointe Shoe Fitter Marie Johansson to find out what makes the perfect Ballerina fit.
Ballerina's dancing in Freed of London pointe shoes.
Frederick Freed founded Freed of London in 1928 and it has been going ever since. Every Freed of London shoe maker makes between 30-40 pairs of hand made pointe shoes daily, totally to 250,000 annually by Freed of London. Shoe makers use long nosed pliers, a smooth hammer, and broom handles to create the shoes. It takes a shoe makers three years of hard work before they begin to get special orders from individual dancers.
The Freed of London factory, in London.
Custom pointe shoes cost around $100, which adds up, given that most shoes are only expected to last for one performance. Still, Johansson says, $100 is well worth the benefits of a custom shoe. “Since each dancer has a slightly different foot, with some changes to the specification, the shoe can both show their foot as well as have the specific support needed," Johansson said. She explained that changing insoles is one way in which shoe makers customize shoes.
While dancers admittedly have their own routines with customizing shoes--everything from cutting them with razor blades to rubbing them with alcohol (sounds like a heavy metal concert, huh?)--Freed of London prides itself on offering a solid base shoe. A Freed of London shoe, Johansson said, "conforms easily to the arch of the foot as well as enables the dancer to roll up and down through the foot.”
Former principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, Susan Jaffe, pases on her knowledge to a ballerina.
With clients like the Los Angeles Ballet, Freed of London is a well-established ballet shoe company. For those dancers who just aren't that into ballet, Freed of London also makes sneakers and ballroom and jazz shoes.
Photo courtesy of freed/paulbgoodedance.com