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Caring for Your Pointe Shoes

Depending on your level of dancing and how much time you spend in your shoes per week, pointe shoes can last between several hours (for some full time and professional dancers) to several months and if you are lucky sometimes even a year. However good treatment and care can significantly extend the life of your shoes, and save you some time and money!

You Don't Need to "Break Them In"

I know you've seen the Tik Toks where you watch the professional break in and manipulate their pointe shoes. It is a habit they have developed out of the necessity for needing to soften their pointe shoes before going on stage. Softened shoes tend to be more comfortable and quieter, however the danger comes when dancers think that "breaking in" literally means breaking you shoes. Taking to hammering them against walls, doors and other inanimate objects.

Pointe shoes are made of layers of fabric and glue allowing for the box and shank to provide your feet with the needed support to allow you to dance on pointe. Pointe shoes are a delicate balance of being both supple and flexible as well as incredibly strong, because of this your pointe shoes will naturally soften and "break in" from the minute you put them on, and when you have been fitted correctly and work through your demi pointe there is no real benefit to pre breaking your shoes. Weakening your shoes prior to wear will only shorten their lifespan, and whilst ultimately it is your decision, you will require new shoes far more frequently.

Alternate Your Shoes

Eventually you will find that one shoe will feel better on a certain foot, but prior to that we recommend alternating the shoes between feet. This will lengthen the lifespan of your shoes and allow them to wear evenly (especially if one foot is stronger than the other) before finding what is most comfortable for you. 

Let Them Breathe

Airing out your pointe shoes each week ensures that any sweat or moisture dries out quicker and lessens the likely hood of your shoes softening or going mouldy. The longer the shoes remain damp, the more the shoe will begin to break down and the shorter their lifespan will be before you will need new shoes. We recommend at the end of each week, take them out of your bag and allow your shoes to breathe, a good method for this is utilising a mesh pointe shoe bag, as the light fabric allows air to come through and dry your shoes. Simply take them out of your bag and place them on your door handle to give them the freshening up they need. Don't forget to also remove your ouch pouches and other accessories, don't leave them in your pointe shoes as this will also accelerate their break down. If you get into the habit of airing them out regularly then it won't be long until you will see a difference in your shoes. 

Water is the Enemy

Remember that pointe shoes aren't water proof and yes that includes sweat! Whilst a little sweat in class is fine, to prolong their life make sure that you take them off straight after class and keep your shoes in a seperate compartment to your water bottle to avoid any accidental spills. And no matter how tempting it may be to try to wash off a stain, stay away from all liquids all together, as not only will moisture damage the structure of the shoe, it will also leave a pretty ugly stain. So the moral of the story, water and moisture are the enemy and should be avoided to prolong the life of your pointe shoes.

The Correct Fit

 At the end of the day your best defence against prematurely worn shoes is to get the correct fit. Nothing will make your shoes break down faster than having a poorly fit shoe with the incorrect shaped box, or a shank that is too weak for your foot. To be certain that you get the right fit, being professionally fit in store with one of our Showtimes fitters is essential. Your feet change often, especially in your younger years (and get stronger) and sometimes that may mean needing a change in your pointe shoes. Having a chat with your fitter will allow us to understand any issues you may be having with your shoes and get any problems you are having sorted. In person our fitters have access to your feet and can therefore assess and find the perfect pair of pointe shoes for you feet.

Following all of the above tips will allow you to get the most out of each pair of pointe shoes. Remember though pointe shoes are quite robust they are also very delicate, so treat them with care and kindness and they'll do the same for your feet!


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