Pointe Shoes: Lorianne Barclay

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!

Solo Artist Lorianne Barclay

Q. How do you prepare your pointe shoes?

A. I always sew nice secure criss-cross elastics with my ribbons because my foot tends to pop right out of my shoes with a single elastic. After they are sewn, I flatten the boxes with my heel to make them a bit wider and then put some jet glue in the box to harden the shoes up right off the bat. Finally, I take my shoes outside to some cement and hammer two carpet tacks inside the sole and through the shank just under where my arch bends to add more reinforcement to the shank.

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

A. I wear simple Ouch Pouches and sometimes a toe spacer depending on how swollen my feet are. I like to rub some arnica or tiger balm on my first metatarsal to keep inflammation from forming. I don’t tape my toes unless something is hurting.

Q. How long do your pointe shoes usually last?

A. I work hard to nurse my shoes along with Jet Glue and nails to save costs. My peak time is typically about two weeks. Every once in a while I’ll hit a sweet pair that feels perfect and lasts forever! I also try to rotate my shoes and wear different pairs for class and rehearsal, or even different shoes for different ballets within rehearsal to help them to last longer. I go through 2-4 pairs a month depending on what we’re rehearsing and performing.

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

A. I have been dancing on pointe for over 14 years.