Getting your first pair of Pointe shoes is a very excited part of your dancing career. While they may be slightly uncomfortable at first, your new shoes will eventually wear and become fitted to your foot and its characteristics. To make sure you get the most of your Point shoes once you’ve broken them in, you will need to take special care of them. Here are some excellent ways to help extend the life of these ballet necessities.
- Get the Right Fit: Wearing the appropriate size will help you dance better, safer, and ultimately longer. Shoes that fit improperly will be exposed to wear and tear that is not necessarily normal for a usual shoe. While most materials will stretch over extended use, never buy a Pointe shoe with the belief that it will stretch substantially. Clearly if you’re Pointe shoes are too small they will eventually stretch and tear quicker and will obviously be painful. It’s also a bad idea to buy shoes on the basis that you will grow into them. Shoes that are too small hinder your ability to perfect positions and again will wear improperly.
- Let Them Air Out: Letting your Pointe shoes dry is imperative to their long life. Moisture that builds up in your shoe will cause a quicker deterioration. Not letting your shoes dry out appropriately can also cause them to take on a foul odor. In order to make sure your shoes dry out after use, remove any lamb wool or other inserts from your shoe and let them rest in a warm dry place. Never store your Pointe shoes in a bag for an extended period of time after wearing them.
- Take Proactive Steps to Preserve Your Shoes: Preparing your Pointe shoes before wearing them is another great way to extend their life. Many dancers suggest darning the point of your Pointe shoes to help cut down on the fraying that may occur from average wear and tear. After darning the shoes with thread and needle, you can also apply a thin layer of shellac to help reinforce the material around the tip.
- Alternate the Left and Right Shoes: If it’s possible, you should alternate your Pointe shoes. If your shoes are the same size on each foot and there is little difference between your right and left, you may want to consider alternating your shoes between feet. Label one shoe left and one shoe right and alternate on a daily or weekly basis. This will help keep wear equal on both sides. If you’re particularly rough on your right foot, you will be able to prevent wear that results from a dominant foot.
- Use Alternating Pairs: If it’s at all possible try to invest in a second pair of point shoes. A second pair of shoes will allow you to alternate pairs. Some people would assume you would save one pair for say performances and one for practice but that’s really not a great idea. If you don’t wear your performance shoes in you may be in for a painful and less then desirable performance.