How to Increase the Lifespan of Pointe Shoes

Dancing on pointe but find yourself constantly wearing out your shoes? Try these tips for increasing the life of your beloved dancing shoes.

Dancing on pointe is a privilege for any ballerina. Although painful and frustrating at first, the joy of being promoted to the world of pointe is usually enough to combat these initial feelings toward this step-up in the arts. However, as any experienced ballet dancer knows, dancing on pointe is also a much more expensive commitment than dancing "on flat" in regular ballet slippers. Between the constant wear from everyday lessons and the need to quickly "break in" new shoes, the life span of these fine ballet shoes is fairly short. Because of this, taking proper care of your shoes is crucial. Following the points below can help increase the lifespan of your shoes, benefiting both your dancing and your wallet.

1. Always sew your ribbons onto your shoes in a way that will minimize stress and strain on both the ribbons and shoes while dancing. The best method for this is to sew on the ribbons in a "crossed box" stitch. This is accomplished by sewing a full (about one inch by one-half inch) rectangle attaching the ribbons to the shoes (behind the midpoint seam, at an angle that allows for minimum strain when the ribbons are pulled over the ankles). Next sew an "X" in the rectangle, connecting opposite corners of the box. This stitching pattern is the best way to guarantee that the ribbons will not rip off the pointe shoe material while dancing.

2. Eliminate the possibility of getting "runs" in your point shoe ribbons. Most pointe shoe ribbons are sold as one long piece that must be cut into four evenly sized lengths by the dancer. This cutting process opens up the possibility of introducing unwanted "runs" in the ribbon. To minimize this problem, paint both sides of the very tips of all ribbon pieces with clear nail polish. This will secure the ends of the ribbons, and the loose threads that start the runs will therefore not exist.

3. As the material covering the boxes of your pointe shoes begins to tear away from the shoe, clip off the ripping fabric to expose the less covered box beneath. While natural wear and tear should cause this part of the covering fabric to eventually rip off anyways, carefully cutting it off yourself can help to ensure that the smallest amount of cloth is lost.