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Changing pointe shoes, not only a matter of esthetics

You have bought your new pointe shoes only a few weeks ago, love them and would love to wear them forever, they are so comfortable !

They probably are not as clean as when you received them the first time. They have taken your feet morphology and are less and less supportive with weeks.

This is absolutely normal ! Do you know that :

  • During a ballet lesson, shoes support a 5 Tons – not far from 5 cars’ weight !
  • 80 % of Those 5000 kilograms are mainly supported by the end of the shoe, something like 4 square centimeters !
  • Those 4 square cm are the only contact area between the dancer and the floor !
  • Your beloved shoes "drink" about 2 moisture liters during a ballet lesson !
  • You pull a strength of about 100 kilograms each time you do a relevé to go from flat to en pointe !
  • The average life duration for a pair of pointe shoes (based on a weekly 1 to 3 hours ballet training) – ie. the time during which pointe shoes can be worn and used with the highest level of safety – is only 3 to 6 months.
  • Not enough supportive pointe shoes will bring :
  • Burns : The foot will rub more and more to the inside of the shoes, the skin will become burnt.
  • Tendinits : ankle and knees muscles will need to work twice more to counter-balance the low arch support
  • Muscular distorsions : Shoes can loose their shape – or worst, collapse- while en pointe.
  • Micro bones breakage : Those are microscopic parts of bone reduced to calcium powder, mainly due to the direct contact of the toe withe floor, without any protection.
  • Incarnated Nail : Probably the most painful, this is when a nail grows to the bottom instead of straight forward, because nails are in direct contact with the floor.

You can "simulate" all this pain (well, do you really need to ??? No, Do not do that !), just try to go en pointe without wearing pointe shoes (off course, hold to a chair / a barre / whatever).

All those traumas – althought they can be repaired – may highly impact your overall health and considerably shorten (or definitely end) your Ballet Dancing Life !

Aware of this all, probably those little dirts that have appeared on your shoes (yes, you will never keep them as clean as the first day if you use them) are far from beeing important, aren’t they ??

Isn’t your safety more important than those small details ? It is, certainly !! 

 Anyway, here come a few tips to give a few more life to your pointe shoes :

  • After your pointe lesson, never put shoes in a plastic bag. Hang them somewhere – away from any heath source – for at least 3 days.
  • Put talcum powder in your shoes before you wear them and once they are dry. Remove the excess before wearing them also ! Not only this will make them dry a little more, they will also have a good perfume, like babies 😉 
  • Pointe shoes are yours and only yours. Never let an other girl wear or use them. They are your pointe shoes !
  • To avoid mould in not used for a long time shoes, you can use moisture absorbing pouch you can find in most electronic appliances. Just put a pouch in each shoe.
  • You can divide by 3 the traction strength on your shoes by just adding rubber bands over the "cou de pied" on your shoes.
  • Whenever possible, buy 2 pairs of shoes, and use each one lesson out of two .
  • Avoid as much as possible wearing pointe shoes outside and, if you really have to, wear a pair of socks over. You also can use those sort of rubber / latex socks used around pools, and wear them over your shoes.
  • Do the same in your ballet school when you leave the dance mat, place those socks over your shoes.
  • Last, always keep a spare pair of pointe shoes, they can sometimes be very long to get 🙂

If your shoes already seem a bit too old, you can try the following tips (this will not avoid buying new ones, just give you a few more time to :

  • Put your shoes in the fridge for a few hours.
  • Apply a thin layer of colourless wood varnish on the toe of your shoes
  • Put a few nail varnish on the most broken parts of the shoes.

All those tips and informations will help you feel better in your dancing, and dance better !

 

Feel free to contact me for any comment / question or whatever !!

 

Olivier

  • ETTA

    when i go up on pointe i have a hard time straightening my knees. when i do straighten i fall off my pointe shoes.

    help.

  • Flore

    “During a ballet lesson, shoes support a 5 Tons ”
    How does that work…? Not sure this is very scientifically correct…

  • Sarah

    DO NOT PUT SHOES IN THE FRIDGE!!!! Despite what people think, making them cold is not the way to go….think of how they make pointe shoes……they bake them. When you put your shoes in a cold atmosphere and then remove them from a cold atmosphere, condensation forms and only moistens and breaks your shoes down faster. If anything stick them in an oven…..with tin foil wrapped around them. Or just plainly dry them out….but don’t stick them in the fridge OR freezer!

  • Tia

    When i go up on pointe, my feet somehow have strange shape… my toes can curl sometimes…

    How do i must fix it?

    Help me..

  • puzzled

    im 12 and have been going to ballet classes once a week since i was 4or5 am i ready to go en pointe? if so, how do i ask my teacher?

  • Patti Jo

    I have a collection of wooden shoe forms. I am told they were from a successful ballet shoe maker from Kankakee, Illinois. This gentleman hand-made ballet shoes. The forms are stamped with different sized. They are wooden with the word Heggs and JAN 52 on them. They are very intersting as the bottom shows what I assume are nail or needle holes from making the shoes. I would like to know where I can get more information on the making of ballet shoes and possible who this person was. Do you know where I could get more information? I appreciate any advice.