Pointe shoes are a delicate and fragile thing, and can be costly to replace. While the lifespan of pointe shoes is different for each dancer, make sure that you’re getting the maximum value out of your shoes with these simple steps.
Keep Pointe Shoes Dry
The main material used to create the box in pointe shoes is almost like papier mâché, so getting them wet pretty much makes the shoes dissolve. Store your shoes in a mesh bag so they’re able to breathe and dry out after being worn. It is recommended to hang the pointe shoes when you get home. Pointe shoes can’t be washed, but any accessories like an Ouch Pouch that you use typically can. Use a gentle soap to hand wash them and allow them to dry for a day or two before you put them back into your pointe shoes.
Keep Pointe Shoes Safe
Pets seem to love the taste of pointe shoes, so make sure they stay in a place where puppies can’t chew them up. Younger kids often want to try pointe shoes out, but they can seriously injure themselves if they do that, so keep them away from little hands.
Reinforce Pointe Shoes
Ask your teacher if they’ve got any recommendations for reinforcing the end of your pointe shoes so that the satin doesn’t split. Popular options are darning your pointe shoes with yarn or putting moleskin on the ends to protect the fabric underneath.
Break Pointe Shoes in Naturally
When you see dancers in the movies, often they’ll use aggressive ways to manually break in their pointe shoes. Doing this can actually snap your pointe shoe and ruin them before you get to dance in them. Letting your shoes break in by wearing them is a much gentler process and allows the shoes to form to your feet. One thing to keep in mind is that while it is gentler on the shoes, it will be slightly more uncomfortable for your foot until they break in.
Go Easy on Pointe Shoes
When you have new pointe shoes, it’s recommended to use them for barre work for the first few wears. Going straight into rigorous centre work can result in the rigid shank of the new shoes being snapped. If you have to go straight into centre work, ask your teacher if they have any gentle ways to break them in by hand to avoid dancing on shoes that are too rigid.
Mark Your Pointe Shoes
Brand new pointe shoes aren’t made specifically for the right or left foot, they’re neutral. Once you start wearing them, make sure that you mark your shoes with an ‘R’ or an ‘L’ to keep them separate. Identifying them like this lets you wear them on the same foot each time which in turn allows the shoes to form to each foot and result in a more comfortable, safer pointe experience.
We hope this was helpful for any first-time pointe users or pros who wanted a refresher. If you have any questions or tips of your own to add, feel free to reach out to us and let us know.
Inspirations Dancewear is Canada's Dancewear Superstore™, with our 13,000 sq ft Canadian retail store and warehouse full of year-round, in-stock dancewear.
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