Ballet Pointe Shoes Query - Lasting Longer

by Megan
(America)

My Ballet Pointe Shoes Query - Lasting Longer:- Hiya Odette, I've been dancing on pointe for quite a while now.






I wear Freed and I'm very happy with them, except they don't seem to last as long as I would like.

I don't want to change makes because I like Freed so I'm not really sure what I could do.

Is there anything I can do to make my pointe shoes last longer?

Thank you

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Reply by Odette

to Ballet Pointe Shoes Query - Lasting Longer

Dear Megan,

Thank you very much for your pointe shoes query, I hope the following advice will be in good use to you.

Every dancer's pointe shoes will break down eventually because the material naturally softens under heat, usage and pressure.

However, there are a few things I know that will help you make your pointe shoes last that little bit longer.

Firstly, make sure you let your shoes dry out after each time you use them. Letting them air will give them opportunity to harden again.

What many dancers do is have a couple of pairs on the go at the same time. By rotating your pointe shoes will make them last longer because it gives them a chance to dry out.

There are different products you can buy to make your shoes last longer. The most popular product is shellac, many of the top dancers use shellac.

It's available in most dance shops and you can easily buy it online. You apply the shellac to where ever the shoe needs hardening, leave it to dry over night and voila!

You can do it as many times as necessary. I often used a paintbrush to apply the shellac as it can become quite messy!

Handle your pointe shoes with great care and follow these instructions. I'm sure you'll find them lasting longer!

Let me know how it goes!

All the best,

Odette
ps.
Remember, just like I did before I went en pointe, ballet students MUST take responsibility for their own strengthening prior to beginning pointe work.

Australian dancer, Lisa Howell has made a video which explains how pre-point strengthening works.

Don't leave it to your teacher!

You can watch this pre-pointe video yourself here (just wait for the page to load up then the video is on the top right of the page).

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Ballet Pointe Shoes - Lasting Longer

by Ami
(Pennsylvania, USA)

Ballet Pointe Shoes - Lasting Longer

I just don't know... I'm a first year pointe student at age 11, and on my (freaking third) pair of pointe shoes! Is that normal? all of the other girls in my class are on their second, third, or fourth pair, and their in their second year! At first I thought that we were a bad generation of pointe students and let it go. But my teachers keep casting me in large roles with lots of pointe work meant for older girls! What did I do wrong (I mean right)?!
I asked some older girls and they said that their shoes lasted the whole year their first year! The pointe shoe store always loves working with me because I go right up on my pointes.

(Why are they doing this)


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Reply by Odette

To:- Ballet Pointe Shoes - Lasting Longer

Hello Ami,

Thank you for contacting me, it is great to hear from you.

Firstly, it is great you are getting cast in large roles. Whatever you are doing, keep up the good work!

Ballet pointe shoes can hugely vary with how long they last for depending many factors, such as your foot shape and the work load. If you say you keep getting cast for roles, this means you are doing a lot more pointe work and therefore you will need more shoes.

Some dancer's feet tend to break in the shoes more quickly because of high insteps. When I was a student it was also a case of strength, as when I gradually gained strength in my feet I didn't need to rely on such hard shoes to support me.

I understand it must be annoying (and expensive) to go through your pointe shoes so quickly. But do not worry, it is normal to go through shoes quickly and there are ways to make them last longer.

Perhaps try experimenting with different brands to find a harder type shoe. Also, try shellac which works as a pointe shoe hardener - it was my saviour when it came to hardening my ballet pointe shoes!

Take a good look at the Cheap Pointe Shoes page to get extra tips on how to make your shoes last longer.

All the best,

Odette

ps. To become the best dancer you can be, learn the Seven Secrets ..... go to my 'Seven Secrets of Ballet' page

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Ballet Pointe Shoes - Gap on Demi Pointe

by Rachel
(Texas)

Ballet Pointe Shoes - Gap on Demi Pointe

Hi!
So I just got a new pair of pointe shoes (bloch) and no matter how tight I tighten the drawstring, I still have a really awkward gap when I go on Demi pointe! They look great when I go all the way up, but how can I fix the gap???
Thanks so much!

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Reply by Odette

Ballet Pointe Shoes - Gap on Demi Pointe

Hello Rachel,

Thank you for your ballet pointe shoes submission, it is great to hear from you.

That is exciting to see you have new pointe shoes! I am a great fan of Bloch for young dancers, as I feel they give great support and strength which is necessary for all dancers during their training. They also have many different styles within the brand, so it is useful to have the choice of pointe shoes to choose from. I am very interested in dancer's opinion on their pointe shoes, I would love to know which style of Bloch you have got? Have you worn any other brands before?

Ok, so the awkward gap... my first instincts is to check the fitting of the pointe shoe. Are you absolutely sure these pointe shoes are the right size and width? Remember pointe shoes should always fit like a glove and feel snug to your foot, but always with enough room for your toes to be evenly spread.

I would also suggest you consider sewing extra elastics onto your pointe shoes, this should pull any excess material closer to your foot preventing the gap. You can sew elastics in a criss cross, like with canvas ballet flat shoes, which gathers the material more closely to your foot. Personally, I like to sew both ribbons and elastics to my pointe shoes as I feel this makes me feel more snug in my shoe and keeps the material tightly to the shape of my foot. The elastics can also prevent the heels slipping off which often happened to me.

I hope my advice helps, if not, perhaps send me a picture so I can try and further work out how to solve the gap!

Keep in touch!

Best Wishes,

Odette

ps. To become the best dancer you can be, learn the Seven Secrets ..... go to my 'Seven Secrets of Ballet' page

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Ballet Pointe Shoes Query - Preparing Pointe Shoes

by Emma
(Australia )

Ballet Pointe Shoes Query - Preparing Pointe Shoes:- Hello Odette, I've just bought my first pair of pointe shoes but I'm not sure how to prepare them for class.

They are very hard and quite uncomfortable at the moment, I need to somehow make them more comfortable or my feet are going to be in a lot pain!

Is there anything I can do to make them slightly softer? Or more comfortable? At the moment they are just like a plank of wood!

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Reply by Odette

to Ballet Pointe Shoes Query - Preparing Pointe Shoes

Dear Emma,

Thank you for you query; it's always very exciting getting your first pair of pointe shoes - a moment to remember!

Let me first repeat this advice:-

    Remember, just like I did before I went en pointe, ballet students MUST take responsibility for their own strengthening prior to beginning pointe work.

    Australian dancer, Lisa Howell has made a video which explains how pre-point strengthening works.

    Don't leave it to your teacher!

    You can watch this pre-pointe video yourself here (just wait for the page to load up then the video is on the top right of the page).


Brand new pointe shoes are naturally very hard. They won't be comfortable when you first put them on, but don't worry, I know plenty of ways to mold them into the shape of your foot!

The way to prepare a shoe depends on its shape. I think pointe shoes have to fit like gloves and so they look like they are part of the leg.

The best way to begin, is to put them on without any socks or tights - just your bare feet. Get a thick pair of woolly socks or slippers and put them over the pointe shoes.

Keep them on for a few hours and in the meantime your feet will begin to perspire which will gradually mold the shoe into the shape of your foot.

Make sure you also break in the demi-pointe so the backs of the shoes aren't so stiff. Also, you can bend them slightly in your hands to make them more flexible.

Now they will be more comfortable for your first class. They will gradually become more comfy the more you wear them.

Each dancer likes to break in their shoes in a different way. I'm sure you will find your own way too! Let me know how you get on!

All the best,

Odette

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Breaking in Ballet Pointe Shoes

by Kirsty
(Australia)

Breaking in Ballet Pointe Shoes

How do you break in your pointe shoes?? I really want to know how to break in my new pointe shoes, not so i break my ankle but to be able to point in them nicely without hurting my toes.

Thanks

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Reply by Odette

Breaking in Ballet Pointe Shoes

Hello Kirsty,

Thank you for contacting me, it is pleasure to hear from you.

Brand new ballet pointe shoes are naturally very hard and so they do take time to break in. The best way to begin, is to put them on without any socks or tights - just your bare feet. I like to get a thick pair of woolly socks or slippers and put them over the pointe shoes. If you keep them on for a few hours and in the meantime your feet will begin to perspire which will gradually mold the shoe into the shape of your foot.

Make sure you also break in the demi-pointe so the backs of the shoes aren't so stiff. You can bend them slightly with your hands to make them more flexible. After doing this, the shoes should feel more comfortable for your first class.

Make sure you do a few rises and releves in your pointe shoes before class, as this will gradually break them in too.

This is a great start to breaking in your pointe shoes. You will find that with each pointe class, they will gradually become more comfy the more you wear them.

All the best,

Odette

ps. To become the best dancer you can be, learn the Seven Secrets ..... go to my 'Seven Secrets of Ballet' page

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Ballet Pointe Shoes - When do I get a new pair?

by Claire

Ballet Pointe Shoes - When do I get a new pair?: -

when do i need a new pair of ballet pointe shoes?? i have had my first pair (gamba) for 2 years and was thinking about getting a new pair, but is it to early??
if not should i stick to the same make of shoes??

Claire
14 year old
wanting to become a professional

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Reply by Odette

To: - Ballet Pointe Shoes - When do I get a new pair?: -

Hello Claire,

Thank you for your ballet pointe shoes query.

Buying a new pair of pointe shoes depends on many factors and it is entirely individual to you as a dancer. It mainly depends on the strength of your feet, how much pointe work you do and what type of shoe you wear.

You should be able to notice when you need to buy a new pair as the box may become to soft, or the platform is no longer stiff. If the toe box becomes soft then it is definitely time for a new pair.

Two years is quite a long time so perhaps it is time for a new pair. It's vital to make sure you have full support within your pointe shoes so if you are unsure than perhaps ask your teacher to have a look at them too.

There are a lot of different shoe makers such as Bloch and Freed which are popular brands for student dancers. Take a look at my bloch pointe shoes page which will tell you about this popular brand.

If you are comfortable with the make of gamba then I would stick with it, but you do always have the option of trying different makes until you find the perfect pair.

All the best,

Odette

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Ballet Pointe Shoes - Sewing Ribbons

by Carolyn
(U.S.A)

Ballet Pointe Shoes - Sewing Ribbons

I got my first pointe shoes and have tried for a hour to sew the ribbons. Help! then once I get them sewn how do I tie them without them getting gappy?

-Carolyn
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Reply by Odette

To:- Ballet Pointe Shoes - Sewing Ribbons

Hello Carolyn,

Thank you for you ballet pointe shoes query, it is a pleasure to hear from you.

I always found sewing my ribbons on my shoes time consuming at first, but do not worry - you will get the hang of it, it just takes practice!

To get the right placement for the ribbons, fold the heel of the pointe shoe forwards towards the toe. Place the ribbon on the edge of the fold and this should be the estimated place to sew the ribbons. I always like to pin the ribbons in the right place so they are fixed and ready before I begin to sew.

When it comes to tying the ribbons, I always like to take the inner one first and wrap it around to the inside by the ankle. Then take the outer ribbon and wrap it around to meet the other. Tie in a double knot and fold in to hide the loop. Always do one ribbon at a time to get them smooth.

If you get stuck, I am sure your teacher would be happy to show you!

All the best,

Odette

ps. To become the best dancer you can be, learn the Seven Secrets ..... go to my 'Seven Secrets of Ballet' page

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Ballet Pointe Shoes - Do I Need a New Pair?

by Anne
(Arvada)

Ballet Pointe Shoes - Do I Need a New Pair?

Hi. So, Yesterday I went to ballet, and I was on pointe, (as usual) and my feet were hurting a lot more than usual, like, a LOT. And it was kind of hard to get up onto them, and I was not trusting myself as much. This is my first pair, and I've had them since Febuary, I think. They are Capezios. Do I need a new pair? How do I tell?

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Reply by Odette
To:- Ballet Pointe Shoes - Do I Need a New Pair?

Dear Anne,

Thank you for contacting me it is a pleasure to hear from you.

You ask a very good question, as often it is difficult to know when your shoes are too worn in and when you need new ballet pointe shoes.

Often you have to judge yourself whether it is time to buy a new pair. If the shoes are starting to look very scruffy or the soles are going too soft then this is a sign to get another pair.

When your shoes are too worn in, it is sometimes more difficult to get onto pointe because the material has changed shape over time with usage.

If you say your shoes don't feel quite normal and its hard to get up onto pointe, I would say it is time to start wearing a new pair. Especially if you had the shoes since february and doing regular pointe work, as it depends on how much pointe work you are doing.

When you start to do more pointe work, it is a good idea to have a few pairs of shoes at once so you can rotate them. I know this sounds expensive, but rotating the shoes will allow them to properly dry out and therefore they will last longer.

Best wishes, Odette

ps. To become the best dancer you can be, learn the Seven Secrets ..... go to my 'Seven Secrets of Ballet' page

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