Starting on pointe is a very exciting time for a female dance student, I still have my very first pair of pointe shoes in my bedroom now!
I remember vividly going to a dance shop in London with my mum and trying on my first pair of pointe shoes – I was so excited to get them home, but like so many dancers (and parents) I wasn’t really sure what to do with them next!
There are a number of different things that I would like to share with you when it comes to starting on pointe, from what accessories you really need to looking after your pointe shoes in between classes and more.
These 5 Points for Pointe Shoes will be informative for any student already dancing on pointe and for students who are about to start on pointe too…
My 5 Key Points for Pointe Shoes are:
Pointe Shoe Accessories
Preparing Your Pointe Shoes
Breaking in your Pointe Shoes
Looking after your Pointe Shoes
Re-using your Pointe Shoes
1. Pointe Shoe Accessories
There are a number of pointe shoe accessories that you will need to purchase along with your pointe shoes. Some of these accessories are essential and others are a matter of choice and preference.
The first thing that you will need are Pointe Shoe Ribbons. Unlike many flat ballet shoes, pointe shoes don’t come with the ribbons pre-sewn but don’t worry I talk about sewing ribbons a bit later!
You will need something to help to protect your toes from blisters, especially when you first start on pointe. Most students choose Toe Pads, which wrap over the ends of your toes and help to prevent the inside of the shoes from rubbing against your skin. You only need the protection on the top of the Toe Pads so make sure that you are wearing them the correct way! Remember to try your Toe Pads with your pointe shoes at the time of your pointe shoe fitting.
The traditional thing to use in your pointe shoes is animal wool and though this can be very soft next to your skin it does need changing regularly. If your toes overlap each other or you suffer from bunion pain then you could try using toe separators inside your pointe shoes as well. Though it is important that your feet are protected don’t overfill your shoes with unnecessary padding as you need to be able to move your toes freely within your pointe shoes.
It is worth buying some Pointe Shoe Elastic as this can be sewn onto the shoes to stop them slipping off your heels. Pointe shoe elastic is also quite useful for performances, exams and auditions as it provides extra security in case your ribbons come off! I used to use a pointe shoe scraper underneath my pointe shoes for performances as it would give the shoes extra grip and stopped the soles getting too slippy.
You should definitely have a specific Pointe Shoe Bag for your pointe shoes as this will help to keep them clean and safe in between your classes. I would highly recommend a bag that is breathable and I will explain why later on!!
My Essential Pointe Shoe Accessories:
Pointe Shoe Ribbons
Toe Pads or Animal Wool
Breathable Pointe Shoe Bag
My Optional Extra Pointe Shoe Accessories:
Pointe Shoe Elastic
Pointe Shoe Scraper