Pointe shoes are an essential but expensive part of being a classical dancer. Over my years of training I’ve learned how to maximize the life of my shoes so I’m feel strong, supported, and comfortable while dancing. Here are my five best tips for making your pointe shoes last!
1. Rotate Shoes
Don’t try to survive with only one pair of shoes, especially in a preprofessional or professional company. I have at 3 pairs of pointe shoes on hand at all times, I will usually have two pairs of shoes that are newer and slightly broken in that I will rotate between for wearing for barre and part of center in company class and for some rehearsals. Then I will usually have one pair of really broken in shoes that I’ll wear for petite and grand allegro and rehearsals for pieces that don’t require intense pointe work. By doing this I’m wearing each pair for just a fraction of each day as opposed to wearing, sweating, and dancing one pair all day long.
2. Air Them Out
Once you are done wearing a pair of shoes don’t throw them in your dance bag, this will only cause the moisture in the shoes to condense and further soften the shoe. Instead, let them sit out so the air can circulate around them to help them dry faster.
3. Jet Glue
Especially if you are in a pinch, like your pointe shoes are on back order and your are trying desperately to make the ones you have survive as long as they can, jet glue is key. Carefully apply the glue to the parts of your shoes that you need more support. I also recommend letting the glue dry for a couple hours or overnight to really maximize your results.
4. Socks & Paper Towels
When I take off my shoes I put socks or paper towels in the box as quickly as I can, this will absorb any extra moisture in the shoes and prevent the sweat from being absorbed into the shoe itself which would cause it to soften. I will leave the shoes with the shoes in them and have them air out outside of my dance bag in my locker overnight once I’m done dancing for the day.
5. Improve Your Foot Strength
The best way to not “kill” your pointe shoes so quickly is to not have to rely on them for strength and support as much. This means using your one foot and toe strength to lift your feet up and out of your shoes as apposed to sinking in them. You can increase your strength by working with resistance bands and doing plenty of relevés.
Got the Pointe?
Hopefully these five tips will help you extend the life of your pointe shoes. I know as a professional dancer that point shoes are an essential part of my job and how I dance. So it’s important that I feel that my shoes are exactly as they should in order for me to feel comfortable and perform my best. If you want to read more about my pointe shoes regime read my How I Sew My Pointe Shoes blog. Plus let me know if you have any pointe shoe saving hacks of your own!
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