This is a post compiled of information obtained in an email conversation with a very helpful online friend. She danced professionally for 17 years and began ballet at age 6, pointe at 11, and thought that she could help share some advice from her own seemingly endless pointe shoe quest. She danced professionally in numerous companies, US and European and we are so excited to have her insight!
Thank you Kelly!
All about FREED in Kelly's words.
In the end I found my shoe to be a Freed Wing Block maker Crown with cut down sides and lowered heel. Similar to Robbie, I have wide, rather square feet with a narrow heel. Now these shoes were a special order, but if you really are interested in trying to find a Freed shoe, maybe at least for auditions or performances, I would suggest you try to find a stock shoe in a maker that suits your toe configuration and then build a special order from that (shorten vamp, lower profile, cut down heel to help eliminate bagginess, customize shank, etc). The beauty of Freed is that you can change almost anything once you find the right length and maker. There is a spreadsheet I have with all the current Freed makers and their box shapes from tapered to wide and square, it might help if you are in a store looking by yourself.
My recommendation is to contact Clara76 (screen name) on “Ballet Talk for Dancers by Invision” . I read the pointe shoe posts weekly and am amazed how she can fit shoes, Freeds are her specialty, by looking at some photos of your feet and certain measurements. She is the shoe mistress for BalletMet and knows Freed, the makers, and how to help fix issues through special orders like nobody I have ever met. I would highly consider sending her the photos and measurements and photos they request and see what she suggests for size and makers to try.
The other shoe fitter on the site is Victoria Leigh and she could help with suggestions on shoes by all available brands. You have too beautiful of feet to be hiding your arches, whereas the right Freeds would be beautiful on you. Keep in mind though that Freeds, in general, are a softer shoe and will break down faster than say, Grishko. When I did not have a company paying for all of my shoes (sometimes 7-10 pairs a week) I would wear Grishko in class and rehearsal and Freeds for dress rehearsals and performances because you can break them in quickly and they are quiet on stage.
Otherwise, if you find yourself in NYC this summer for a SI make sure to make an appointment at the Freed USA store in Long Island (check out their Facebook page). I would ask to be fitted by Brenda, Marie, or Mary. Another source to check out a little more about Freed would be posts on YouTube. Check out the youtube video featuring Marie Johanssen talking about makers and different toe configurations. (embedded below)
Personal tip for Robbie: From watching Robbie's past videos I would stick to a classic Freed and stay away from the Freed studio line. They have a very strong 2.5 shank and can be hard to break in even for taller and heavier dancers. Robbie may also want to ask her teachers about 3/4 shanking her shoes. It is easy to do yourself and would really emphasize her arch. I would experiment on an old pair of Suffolks before trying on a new shoe since it does feel different.
Quick Tip: If you know your current Suffolk size that would be the same as your Freed size. Freeds are generally fitted 2 1/2 sizes down from USA shoe sizing.