Let’s face it, pointe shoes are beautiful the first day you get them, straight out of the maker’s shop but a few weeks later, or even less, they don’t look so pretty and reliable anymore.
Pointes are the most important part of a ballet dancer’s gear and unfortunately, they can be costly… (Around £40 in the UK). Even The Royal Opera House launched a fundraising campaign last year to make up for the cost of pointes.
Pointes last on average 10-20 hours. Of course, if you’re an occasional dancer, they should last longer than if you’re dancing everyday. Either way, we have a few tips for you so your pointe shoes can live a long and fulfilled life:
1. LET THEM DRY
You dance, you sweat and so do your feet. Pointe shoes are definitely not waterproof and they need time to dry: about 36 hours actually… yes, we know… it’s a long time… So don’t put your shoes in a bag straight after use and let them breath! Remove all the padding and tie them to your bag for example. Once at home you can preheat your oven, turn it off when it’s hot, stuff your pointes’ boxes with tissue, paper towels or newspaper so it won’t shrink and put your shoes in the oven to dry overnight. Never put your pointe shoes in a plastic bag as they need to breath. A mesh pointe shoe bag is the best! If you dance in shoes that are still damp, take our word for it, you won’t keep them for very long...
2. KEEP THEM DRY
Or at least do your best! Never wear pointe shoes with barefeet for example and prefer fine cotton socks to nylon tights. Spray your feet with antiperspirant before class just in case and never ever leave the padding inside the show after dance class.
3. GET SEVERAL PAIRS
If your pointes need almost 2 days to be perfectly dry it can be tricky if you need them the next day. Make sure you have an extra pair or more and take good care of them too.
4. HELP THEM TOUGHEN UP
When you first get your pointe shoes, apply some glue to the shank and the box, basically the parts that may die quickly. Don’t do it on shoes that have already been used a lot, otherwise it will not work. You don’t need any special brand just a good super glue. If in doubt, there are loads of tutorials on YouTube so check them out before doing anything. We suggest this video.
5. ASK THE MAKER
Every maker works differently and every shoe react to its owner in a different way. The shoemaker will be a very good source of advice to help you make your pointe shoes last longer.
The pointe shoes toolbox:
- A sewing kit with some thread and a needle are always handy to fix your pointes
- Waterproof tape to protect your feet from nasty blisters
- A first aid kit for your feet if dance class was tough
- A mesh bag for your pointe shoes
Want to know more?
Check out this very interesting short video of a New York City Ballet dancer talking about her pointe shoes:
Any questions? Leave a comment below!