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!
Senior Apprentice Laura Peterman
Q. How do you prepare your pointe shoes?
A. My routine is very simple and standard. I sew on my ribbons first, then a loop of elastic on each shoe to keep my heels from slipping off. If I'm wearing traditional shoes, I might jet glue the tips before wearing them if it is especially humid or if I know I need them to last longer.
Q. What kind of padding do you wear in your shoes?
A. I have experimented with lambs wool, paper towel, no padding, tape...almost everything! I am happiest right now simply wearing a thin cloth pad that has a layer of gel inside it. If I have a bad blister, I will tape it or use an amazing product called Second Skin.
Q. How long do your pointe shoes usually last?
A. My pointe shoes last about 2-3 weeks if I am smart. Sometimes I can wear them a little longer if I need really soft shoes for rehearsal or something. I average about three pairs of shoes a month - new shoes are my favourite to perform in.
Q. How many years have you been dancing on pointe?
A. I have been dancing on pointe for nine years now - since I was eleven.
Q. Was it hard to find a good fit?
A. I am actually in the middle of changing shoes. I've worn the same style shoe for the past four years, but my foot has changed so it is time to move on. I am currently trying a new brand in hopes of finding something that lasts a long time, is very supportive, yet still flexible. Finding a good shoe has been really difficult! I'm hoping that I find something soon.
Q. Any fun pointe shoe memories?
A. I will never forget my first year of pointe class! I was so elated to be en pointe, but I remember the pain after those short little 30 minute classes! Being able to balance on the tip of your pointe shoe just perfectly is the best feeling.