How to Care For and Maintain Pointe Shoes
Pointe shoes are a dancer's tool and so careful maintenance and preparation is key. BLOCH pointe shoes are made using natural fibers and pastes so the foot absorbs less strain through the breaking down of the shoe, helping to minimize discomfort. Certain preparation and care is essential and recommended to extend the life of your pointe shoes.
Pointe Shoe Preparation and Care
Preparing your pointe shoes is a personal part of your pointe practice. Through a dancer’s training and evolution, each dancer will find the best ways to enhance the performance of their own shoe. Below are some tips on the absolute essentials of preparing pointe shoes, and how to care for pointe shoes.
Sewing Ribbons & Elastics
How to Break in Pointe Shoes
The easiest way to break in pointe shoes is through exercises during pointe class and simply allowing your feet to break them in naturally as you dance. However, if you’re looking for the fastest way to break in pointe shoes, at BLOCH we recommend rises in the first position parallel through demi pointe up to full pointe or walking on demi pointe. This will help soften the box and make the shank more flexible.
What Protection Should Be Used With Pointe Shoes?
Pointe shoes are designed to mold to and be at one with the foot, so some dancers prefer very little inside their shoes to help this process. So, the protection you use and how much you use totally comes down to individual preference. If you want to relieve a little pressure, a Pointe Cushion or Pointe Pad is a good choice, while lambs wool also offers an excellent barrier without bulk.
How To Maintain Pointe Shoes: Afterwear Care
Humidity and dampness are a pointe shoe’s worst enemies so a dancer should always remove any protection or padding from inside their pointe shoes immediately after wear.
Once the padding is removed, store your shoes and toe pads in a Mesh Pointe Shoe Bag to allow them to properly dry out. Do not stuff the shoes inside one another, this will not allow the shoes to dry out properly and can misshapen the box.
Once home, remove the shoes and padding from the bag and lay flat on a dresser or other similar surface to dry. Avoid bathrooms and basements as dampness and humidity will prevent the drying process. You can insert the BLOCH Odor Eliminator into each shoe to absorb the moisture from the toe box. Taking these steps will prevent moisture remaining in the box of the shoe which can lead to the premature softening of the paste and the shoe drying out in a distorted manner.
How Long Do Pointe Shoes Last?
Pointe shoes are only intended to last a number of hours. This can vary depending on several factors; how often they are worn and for how long, the season, weather and climate, plus what type of pointe work you are focusing on. The age of the dancer can also make a difference. For example, a young dancer who is having a couple of lessons a week may need their pointe shoes replacing due to simply outgrowing them, rather than the shoes wearing out. An older student can require two to three pairs of pointe shoes per term – but again, it all depends on the number and intensity of classes taken.
By following the steps above on how to care for pointe shoes, you can extend the life of your pointe shoe and get the most out of every pair. If you are unsure if it is time for a new shoe, check out our article on How to Know When You Need a New Pair of Pointe Shoes.
How To Make Pointe Shoes Last Longer
- If a dancer tends to roll or if one foot is more flexible or stronger than the other, rotating the pair of shoes from one foot to the other can help them to wear more evenly.
- Pointe shoes can take up to two days to fully dry. If you are a more advanced student or professional dancer dancing multiple days a week, it is advisable to alternate multiple pairs of shoes enabling one pair to dry out completely between wears.
Can You Size Up With Pointe Shoes?
As we mentioned, some younger dancers may need to replace pointe shoes more regularly as they are likely to outgrow them. So, many people ask, why can’t you just buy a pointe shoe with extra ‘growing room’?
Simply put, a pointe shoe that is too big will not support the foot en pointe. There should be no room for the foot to move around inside the shoe; it should be totally encased to ensure both comfort and support. With pointe shoes that are too big, you will experience movement in the shoe, causing friction, pain, and blisters. Pointe shoes should always fit correctly. To prepare for a fitting, check out our guide on What To Expect At Your First Pointe Shoe Fitting.
How To Strengthen Pointe Shoes
Pointe Shoe Glue can be used to strengthen the parts of your shoe that soften quickest. To maximize the life of your pointe shoes, apply a thin layer of our BLOCH Pointe Shoe Glue to the toe box and/or the shank where needed.
Incorrect Pointe Shoe Care: What Not To Do:
To retain integrity and promote longevity of your pointe shoes, the following practices are not advised.
Breaking or bending your shoes manually
Allowing your own feet to break the shoe in naturally is a great way to build strength and technique.
If you are not precise with where the shoe is bent in the shank, the shoe may no longer retain the integrity of its design and could become dangerous to wear.
Use of sticking plaster
The use of sticking plaster over the platform can cause moisture to be retained in the box and cause the platform to soften.
Use of calamine lotion
Using calamine lotion to take the sheen from satin can cause the block/box to collapse prematurely due to the moisture of the lotion.
Now you know how to properly care for and maintain your pointe shoes, why not check out our full pointe shoe collection? We offer pointe shoes in range of styles to suit all levels from beginner pointe shoes to professional pointe shoes, so you can feel comfortable and confident in the studio.