Your Pointe shoes have been made with skill and craftsmanship. When treated with a little basic care and attention they will reward you with good service.
Shoe Care and Maintenance
Pointe shoes should always be well aired in a warm dry atmosphere and never left damp in a bag, the shoes will absorb perspiration during class and retained dampness will weaken the structure and blocking in the toe therefore shortening the life of the shoes. Always remove the toe pads or lambs wool from the shoes to allow them to breathe and dry. A pair of shoes can take up to 3 days to dry out after a Pointe class.
Carry your Pointe shoes in a breathable mesh or cotton bag from class so the drying process can begin as soon as you take the shoes off. Make sure shoes are laid side by side and pointe pads and accessories are not stored inside the shoes. Once you're home you must take your shoes out of your dance bag and hang up for them to completely dry. If you do classes more frequently than every third day you may need more than one pair on rotation to give them sufficient time to dry, this will also extend the life span of each pair.
The toe can be darned for longer wear or suede toe caps can be glued in place, this also helps to grip the floor and create a quieter shoe.
Some dancers find their shoes last longer by rotating the shoes between the left and right foot. This enables the shoes to be worn evenly, as dancers frequently favour one foot over the other due to different strengths of the feet.
Pointe shoes do not last for any particular or definite period. Some dancers go through shoes quickly while other dancers find their shoes last for many months. The life span of a shoe will depend on what level of technique has been reached, how often the shoes are worn and how they are cared for between wears. Shoes should not be bent manually as they may be ‘broken’ incorrectly. The breaking in of pointe shoes should always be done on the feet.
The shoe should always be fitted correctly by an experienced fitter. An ill-fitted shoe can cause the wearer to misuse the muscles and tendons of her feet. As the dancer becomes stronger, her feet will change, so it is important for each new pair to be fitted until the dancer herself knows what she requires in a Pointe shoe.
This video shows you how to prepare and stitch normal nylon ribbons onto your Pointe shoes. Do not worry if your stitching is not neat inside the shoes, it is most important that they are stitched on strongly and that your stitches are not visible from the outside of the shoes. This is achieved by catching the lining inside the shoes when stitching.
When attaching the Elastorib Ribbons you must first get the placement of the elastic evenly across the back of your heel before you sew ribbons on sides of shoes. To get the placement correct you will see your ribbon has a shorter piece and a longer piece on either side of the elastic. The longer piece is for tying and the shorter piece for sewing to the side of shoes. Stretch elastic across the back of the heel and with the tension still on the elastic you can drop the short piece of ribbon around the front of ankle to the opposite side of the foot and this will show you exactly where your ribbon must be stitched. The elastic will be under pressure when ribbons are tied up so the tension on the elastic is critical to get your placement correct before sewing. We have made a video which will show you the above process.
Elastic Loop for Heel
A loop of elastic may be necessary to help secure the heel of your Pointe shoes. Using the centre heel seam as a guide, place your elastic about 2cm down into the shoe and about 1cm away from the centre heel seam, stitch securely. Now place foot into the shoe and bring elastic around the front of the ankle and back to the heel. Make sure the elastic is firm but comfortable. Now stitch the other side on the opposite side of the centre seam to create a loop.
Your Pointe shoes have been professionally fitted, however each dance teacher has his or her own requirements with regards to the fit of the shoes. It is your responsibility to check the fit of the shoes with your teacher before they are worn or any modifications or additions are made to the shoes.