Pointe Shoes: Brette Benedict

Pointe shoes are one of a ballet dancer’s most important tools. Pointe shoes, which are handmade out of layers of glue and cloth, come out of the box shiny, stiff, and without any padding inside or ribbons or elastics attached. Each dancer has a unique way of preparing her shoes for classes, rehearsals and performances. In this blog series, we’ve asked the dancers to share their pointe shoe insights and preparation process - some of their answers may surprise you!

Lead Artist Brette Benedict

Q. How do you prepare your pointe shoes?

A. I use a regular thin elastic around the ankle. I step on the box, break in my shank, and remove the nail that is in the heel. I also put a light bit of water at the demi pointe of my shoe. This past season, I also started darning my shoes which have helped them last a little bit longer. Once I wear the shoes through a couple exercises I take them off to jet glue the entire box as well as the lower half of the shank.

Q. What kind of padding do you wear in your shoes?

A. I wear toe spacers between my big toe and second toe to prevent my bunions from hurting. For toe pads, I cut the end of a normal pair of socks off. Then I tape a couple of my toes if I have a full day of rehearsal on pointe.

Q. How long do your pointe shoes usually last?

A.  I have gotten into the habit of rotating my pointe shoes so I go through a pair in about three weeks of wearing them. However, I usually only wear one pair per day in a week. So I have access to five pairs of shoes at a time. I would say those five pairs last for our fall season then I begin again for the spring season.

Q. How many years have you been dancing on pointe?

A.  I've been dancing on pointe for 15 years now!

Q. Was it hard to find a good fit?

A. I'm currently wearing custom pointe shoes - it did take a while to find the right shoe that I like and then commit to paying a little extra for a custom pair. But once you stop growing it's worth it because the shoe fits to your foot better. This prevents injury and makes the shoe last just a little bit longer!