The first misconception is that a certain brand must be used or is preferred over another. While it is true that there are good brands and bad brands as with anything else, you should never let someone tell you that you must go with a certain brand. I have heard of studios that require that all their dancers use the same brand. If you dance with one of these studios then you need to find a new studio. Every girl's feet are different and so their shoes should be different too. Some brands are better for girls with wide feet, some with narrow, girl's with a narrow heel will be drawn to a different brand just as girls with little arch will be drawn to a different brand than girls with a very pronounced arch. A bad pointe shoe is not only painful, but downright harmful to a dancer's foot. When shopping for the first pair of shoes you should try on as many brands as you can and go to a speciality shop with someone who has been fitting pointe shoes for years. A good fitter will be able to guide you in your search for the perfect fit. Your pointe shoes will become an extension of your body and it is important that they are as unique as you are.
Another misconception is that one pointe shoe fits all, meaning that one pair of pointe shoes is sufficient for a dancer. When starting out this may be true, but as you progress you will learn that you need different shoes for different dances. In some dances you will need more support, in others you will need a lighter shoe. Experience will guide you as you select pointe shoes for each individual piece you dance. It is also important to note here that you will go through pointe shoes at an alarming rate. The first pair will probably last you the longest, but after that, depending on the intensity and frequency of your dancing, it is possible that you will go through shoes in a matter of weeks, and at the top spheres of technical dancing, a matter of days. It is very important that when your pointe shoes are dead you do not use them anymore except for barre work if you would like. Dancing on a dead shoe to save money is incredibly harmful to your feet and may eventually lead to surgery or removal from ballet altogether. When you get a new pair of shoes it is important that you try on each pair and not just order them online to get better prices. All pointe shoes are made by hand, which means they are all different. Once you've determined you favorite brand, size, and style you will still find that the shoes will vary. Sometimes the variances won't be noticeable, other times they can be painfully obvious. Just keep in mind that these shoes are not made on an assembly line, each a carbon copy of the one before. Whenever possible try on each shoe you intend to buy to make sure that it fits properly and provides you with the support you need.
Hopefully this little guide will help you find your first pair of pointe shoes and many pairs after that. Don't rush the process, take your time and find the right shoe. Listen to an experienced and fitter and most importantly listen to your own feet. Your pointe shoes should give you the support you need while still being light enough to feel the floor and maneuver gracefully.