Everything you need to know about pointe shoes!
How to Sew Your Ribbons
The video below describes very well how to sew your pointe shoe ribbons. Here are a few extra notes:
- You have the choice of cutting your ribbons into 4 equal pieces, instead of 2, and not having the ribbon stretch under your heel.
- If using 4 pieces instead of 2, try to cut the ribbons on a 45 degree angle to match the line of the shank as much as possible.
- Use thread that is similar in colour to your pointe shoe!
- Use an open flame to melt the edges of the ribbon to prevent fraying (very important for the side being sewn).
- The shiny side of the ribbon faces the shoe and the dull side faces the foot – shiny side out!
- When sewing, you can try to only pierce the canvas layer on the inside and not go through the satin on the outside. However, some brands do not have 2 layers, and it can be very difficult to not pierce the satin. As long as your thread colour matches the shoe and your sewing is tidy, feel free to sew through the satin.
- The sewing pattern should be all around the edges of the ribbon (like a box), then two diagonals across the middle (making an X).
- DO NOT CUT YOUR RIBBONS FURTHER until you have tied them and danced with them a few times. It is much easier to handle ribbons that are too long than too short!
How to Tie Your Ribbons
The video below describes how to tie your pointe shoe ribbons once they are sewn. It is a good idea to sew and tie your ribbons in a Trial & Error fashion (sew a little, tie the shoes, fix the alignment, sew a little more, tie them again, etc) to make sure you don’t completely sew them in the wrong direction. This means you should lightly sew one edge of each ribbon, put the shoe on, and test the angle. The first thing in this video below shows a wrapping of the ribbon in front across the ankle with no bubbling or folding. This orientation is key!
Caring for your Shoes & Your Feet
Pointe shoes are expensive, and they’re designed to break down. This means we’ve picked up a costly hobby! In order to make your pointe shoes last as long as possible follow these simple tips:
- DO NOT artificially break in your shoe by bending it in a doorway, with your hands, or stepping on the box. DO NOT score the sole of the shoe, or use heat or moisture to soften it in any way. Advanced dancers may use these methods with their shoes because they know exactly what they need from their shoe. Beginner dancers should let their feet break in the shoe through hard work, sweat, and maybe some tears. A strong shoe makes strong feet!
- Take your toe pads and other accessories out of your pointe shoes after each class to let everything dry out fully between uses! You can put charcoal or rice bags in your shoes to help them dry faster, or hang them up with the toes pointing up so gravity helps the moisture run out of the box.
- Keep the shoes out of direct sunlight, away from sources of heat, and don’t leave them in your car during the winter. Changes in temperature will break down the glue faster, and you don’t want cold shoes on your feet to start class!
- Do not spill water on your shoes! It will almost instantly kill them. Be very careful with having your waterbottle in your dance bag.
Other good practices to help your feet feel a little while training for pointe:
- Keep your toenails shorter than your toe length so they don’t get pushed in by the edge of the shoe. However, you want to keep enough nail to avoid ingrown toenails. Talk to your teacher if you think you might have an ingrown toenail as soon as possible!
- Massage your feet with a ball or your hands before & after Pointe class. They work hard in those shoes!
- Wrap any tender spots that are prone to blistering with bandaids or tape to prevent the skin from tearing. Clean blisters thoroughly, and if swollen, drain them with a sterilized needle and leave the skin on top.
Ask your teacher about any concerns you might have EARLY. Do not struggle with pain and discomfort for too long on your own. There is usually an easy remedy for what you’re experiencing – we’ve been through it all!
Have fun on your Pointe journey!