|All the shoes I currently carry around|
(Thanks to a director who required me to wear a shoe that didn't fit [yes, the same jewel of a director who also made me weigh in], I have nerve problems in my left foot so it matters a lot that my metatarsals are happy.)
In the interest of full disclosure (because for some reason some people like this much information) here is the list of every pointe shoe I've ever worn:
Sansha--I can't remember what particular shoe I wore; this was almost 20 years ago. Anyway, my first teacher suggested Sanshas so that's what I got. I couldn't tell you if they were a good shoe or whether or not I liked them because they were my first shoe. I didn't think much about them, I just wore them.
Freed--After I switched to a strict ballet school I was told that I must wear Freeds. Every dancer in the school was required to wear Freeds and you had to have them fit by the lady at the on-site dance store. I think I found the maker I liked on my third pair. Anyway, one year the workers at Freed went on strike and there was a shoe shortage right before Nutcracker so I was forced to wear a shoe that was one size too long and too narrow ("they will cancel each other out and you'll be fine" except that, no, it wasn't fine). I continued to wear Freeds until my maker retired.
Freed Studio II--a friend of mine (who wore the same Freed maker as I did) really liked these shoes so I tried them. I don't like them. They don't feel good on my feet.
Chacott "Veronese II"--I tried these because I heard they were similar to Freeds. I was satisfied in them for a while.
Grishko" Elite"--after surgery to remove a nerve from my foot and two pregnancies I decided it was time to admit that my feet were drastically different than before, so I abandoned my quest to find a shoe like the Freed maker I liked so well and just found an entirely new shoe. Like I said before, I like this shoe. But if you're thinking of switching from a shoe like Freed (which are excellent right out of the box for things like rolling through 3/4-point) to a Russian shoe like Grishko (which are great for springing up and down) you should know that it is a very different shoe. Not bad, just different.
All that said, I'm curious about Gaynor Minden shoes. I might try those next.