Oops, I did it again. That is, I waited until the last class to get new pointe shoes - only to find out that my size was not in stock at my local store! My plan B (out-of-town friend with access to another store) didn't work out either, and I was looking at two more very long weeks of dancing in dying-dead shoes.. You know there's no joy in there. That's why I did another online research on dance wear shops within the EU, to find out if I could possibly get my shoes sooner, and for a reasonable price. And I did!
My pointe shoes are from Bloch: Balance European (in size 6 XX). Here in Finland they cost about 60 Euros (75 USD / 45 GBP). At my current rate of two pointe classes per week, I need to replace shoes about every 10-12 weeks. I have never shellaced or glued my pointes before, but I'm going to do a trial with my new pair. That should buy me a few weeks extra usage. I'm also thinking of getting an extra pair, so I can switch my shoes from class to class. Pointes should be aired at least 36 hours between each use, for the glue to re-harden.
The first shops I checked online were Dance Direct and Porselli, but neither carries my model in their selection. Stores outside of the EU are not really an option for me, as shipping costs are too pricey - and you have to pay duty charges. I knew I could buy Blochs directly from Bloch UK, but they charge a whopping 19,95 £ for delivery to Finland. Even if the shoes themselves cost less there than here, I would need to order at least two pairs as not to exceed 60 € / pair. I did manage to find my model and size at Planet Dance, for 34.95 + 9.95 £ shipping, which would cost the same as buying them locally. I almost made an order, but then I googled some more.. and stumbled across Lazy Dancer (click here: Lazy Dancer).
Not only do they carry my Blochs, but the price is almost half of what I pay here! Darlings, for someone who's living and dancing on a very small budget, it's like striking gold. I was of course suspicious at first, and checked out all the details, terms and conditions, and contacts. I even sent an e-mail, just to let them know that I was interested in making an order. Turns out the store is a small but established family business in Athens, Greece - and everyone has a background in ballet. After I checked the payment system for security, I felt assured enough to place my order. I paid 35.10 €, shipping included.
Just one week later the postman rang and delivered my new pointe shoes. The shoes were in pristine shape, if you don't count tiny penciled markings on the inside for ribbon placements. The satin was new and smooth, and there were no tell-tale signs from over-fitting on previous customers. Normally I do not endorse stores, but I think this one's a pretty good deal. Of course, ordering pointe shoes online works only if you have been fitted before, and know your brand, model and size. You also have to take into account that there might be some small variation from one pair to the other.
I got my pointes this Monday, did some fast sewing (new shoes, old ribbons) and wore them to class the next day. What a relief, never mind that new shoes are always hard on you. Sure beats dancing in dead pointes! Anyway, by the time we got to center practice, I had already made friends with my shoes. Hope we're going to have a good time..
6.11.2011 EDIT: Since I ordered my shoes, prices have gone up. The same Blochs I bought for 35.10 €, cost now 42.00 Euros. Either Lazy Dancer started with low prices to get the business started, or they forgot to add VAT on the purchase price. I'm a bit annoyed that I didn't get to buy more with the "old price", but even the new prices are still a deal - at least for pointe shoes. But there's another problem which I find more troubling: the online shop hasn't been working. I've tried to purchase new flatties since the 2nd of November, but the shop won't let me add anything to the shopping cart. If I try to access my account, the entire site goes off-line. Five days later, and still it doesn't work. I have sent two messages to Lazy Dancer, and I'm waiting for the problem to get fixed.