1.How should a new pointe shoe feel?
Your pointe shoes should feel snug but should not pinch and the block should feel as though it is ‘cupping’ the toes. They should not feel as roomy and as comfortable as your regular street shoe. When standing flat or in a demi-plie position, the big toe should be touching the end of the shoe but should not be curled or squashed in any way. You should also be able to wiggle your toes slightly. When the shoe fits properly, it gives gentle support but does not prop up the foot. It is normal for the material at the heel to “bag” a little bit when the foot is en pointe.
2.Why can’t I buy pointe shoes a little bit bigger so that I can grow into them?
Pointe shoes must be fitted very closely to the shape of your foot. It is dangerous to wear a pointe shoe that is too big and that has room for growth. Shoes that are too big do not provide the necessary support for the foot and may cause calluses, bruises to joints and even accidents to ankles and toe-joints by letting the foot move about inside the shoe.
3. How do I sew on ribbons?
For maximum support and comfort, ribbons should be sewn low down inside the shoe keeping in mind that their purpose is to hold the entire heel of the shoe against the foot and not just the edges of the side of the shoe. To position the ribbon for attaching, fold the heel of the shoe forward against the insole and place the ribbon inside the fold. Hold the ribbon in place and open up the shoe. Following the crease, attach the ribbon so that it is angled diagonally forward so it does not become baggy when tied around the ankle. When attaching the ribbon, be sure to sew through the lining only and not through the satin. Also avoid sewing through the drawstring.
4. How can I protect my toes inside my shoes?
Some dancers find that after wearing their shoes for a prolonged period of time their toes become sore and are in need of some extra cushioning. There are various types of toe pads available, however remember the aim is to relieve pressure and not to fill up the block! For this reason try to avoid padding that is too thick or bulky such as those that are made from foam or thick gel-filled plastic which will not allow the dancer to feel the floor through their shoes. Instead, it is recommended to use a small amount of lambs wool or a toe pad made with a very thin layer of fabric-covered gel. White cotton tape (not the plastic kind) is also highly recommended to protect individual toes.
5. How can I make my shoes last longer?
To prolong the life of your pointe shoes, place them where they can dry naturally and thoroughly as soon as you have finished wearing them. Do not leave them inside your dance bag as they will not dry properly and do not place them in plastic bags as this tends to keep the moisture inside the shoes. When dry and ” broken in” to your satisfaction, thin coats of shellac or pointe shoe hardener can be applied to the inside of the block and to the insole to resist any further absorbtion of moisture. Another way in which you can extend the life of your shoes is by purchasing two pairs of pointe shoes and alternating them for each class. This will ensure that each pair will dry thoroughly between usage.
6. How do I know when it is time for a new pair?
During a prolonged period of wear, the shoe will inevitably begin to crumble. While this should not occur too quickly, it is nevertheless a part of the process of wearing pointe shoes- especially those that are made of natural materials. These shoes mold to the foot quickly and break down when they are moist. The shoes also break down because of their role as a shock absorber. While blocks made from synthetic materials do last longer, they also transmit the shock of the impact with the floor directly to the bones of the foot, resulting in increased danger of bruising and impact fractures. Once you feel that the shoe is no longer providing the necessary support (you are going too far over on pointe and you can feel the ground as though you were not wearing any shoes) then it is time to purchase a new pair. However for beginners, it is normal to grow out of a shoe before it wears out.
How old do I have to be to do pointe work?
Generally, most places will require you to have reached grade 5 ballet before you start on pointe work. As it varies between people at what age ballet is started, it varies on the age you have to be to start pointe work. It is better to work from grades than ages!
~*~ Be Good To Your Toes ~*~
Here are some tips to make the pain associated with pointe work bearable...
ALWAYS wear tights when doing pointe. If you don't, then you can get blisters on the backs of your feet!
Try out different kinds of toe pads and find the one that keeps your toes most comfortable! The types of toe pads include: lamb's wool, gel, cloth, and foam.
Keep your toenails short. NEVER cut your toenails right before you dance though, because, out of experience, it HURTS! You should always cut your toenails at least the day before you have dance classes or performances.
Different types of pointe shoes fit different types of feet better. So, don't just settle on one brand; try out different brands and find the one that fits your particular foot best.
Break in your new pointe shoes! Good ways to do this include: using a hammer (very lightly), closing them in a doorway (slowly & carefully), banging them on the floor, bending them back and forth (slightly), walking around the house in demi, or going up on releve. But, be careful not to break them in too much, or they could actually BREAK, which would make them useless! If you are a beginner, have your teacher show you how to properly break them in before trying any of these techniques!
If you get really bad blisters on your toes while dancing en pointe, try wrapping your individual toes in toe or surgical tape. To buy toe tape (very inexpensive) go to your local dancewear store or go to any of the suggested websites (under ~*~dance retailers ~*~)
Have Bloch Pointe Shoes? Well, here are fool-proof, perfect ways to break in your Blochs. I got this from their website (www.BlochWorld.com). But, of course, as always, you need to be careful when breaking in these or any brand of pointes, as you don't want to actually 'break' them! I hope you find these techniques helpful!!!
Use Break-In Technique A
Serenade - Strong
Suprima - Strong
Use Break-In Technique B
Alpha 3/4 Outsole
BPS - Professional
Signature Rehearsal - Strong
Synergy 3/4 Shank
Synergy Full Shank
To get the best out of a Bloch Pointe shoe, please adhere to the below techniques for "breaking in" the shoe. Technique A and technique B are very similar; they differ due to two different paste types and two different construction techniques.
Break In Technique A
A little extra time needs to be taken to break in these shoe types. They are made with a harder paste than Technique B and are therefore susceptible to "snapping" if treated roughly at first. Once broken correctly they have a long life span.
Doing barre is the best way to break in a pointe shoe. We understand however that you can't stand at the barre with a new pair of pointe shoes and expect to do a tendu, so the shoe needs to be prepared for barre by gently softening the shank and box by hand. Concentrate on the demi-pointe area of the shank being careful not to crush the box. Then work your way up to the heel gently massaging the shank until it is at a point where tendu and releve to demi-pointe is comfortable. Softening the box is not always necessary and is left up to the individual. If softening is necessary then concentrate on gently softening the sides of the box. Lots of dancers stand on the top of the box in order to soften and widen it. We advise that standing on the box or squashing the box can permanently damage the shoe. Please do so at your own risk. If you must stand on the box, you need to concentrate the pressure on either side of the box centre. This is important because the top centre of the box is the weakest point and prone to the most damage if stood on.
Once the shoes are ready for barre, 1 to 2 hours barre will be a sufficient time to shape them to your foot. At this point the shoes will be evenly softened with no weak points resulted from incorrect breaking technique.
Break In Technique B
These shoes are made from a paste that is designed to soften when moisture is applied. The technique here is simple to understand. Follow break in technique A. After 1 to 2 hours barre the shoe will become moist and shape itself to the dancers foot. Once the shoe dries it will have set in the shape of the dancers foot. At this point it is possible to apply Shellac to the inside of the block and shank. This will not only harden the shoe in its current shape, but also stop any more moisture entering the shoe. So we are left with a strong shoe, molded in the shape of the individual dancers foot on the inside, whilst leaving a quiet exterior.