Breaking in Pointe Shoes
Hi Dancers! Today I’m going to be talking about tips on breaking in pointe shoes. I recently did a video about this topic for our DDS YouTube channel, so check that out as well.
The important thing to remember when breaking in pointe shoes is to start slow. You can always soften your pointe shoes more, but you can’t really do the opposite. Jet Glue only goes so far!
The whole purpose of breaking in pointe shoes is to make them a bit more pliable and flexible so they can form to the foot nicely and be easily danced in. My number one suggested method is just doing barre work. Doing a lot of plié/relevés and roll throughs at the barre helps the shoe naturally begin to break in and soften.
My next suggestion is just to gently bend the shank back and forth with your hands. You want to start softening the shank at the highest point of your arch. Don’t start breaking in the shank too low or else you could begin knuckling in the shoes. You can also flatten the crown of the shoe with your hands to get the box more malleable and create a little more width in the shoe. If you need to go a bit further, put the shoe on the ground and gently step on the top part of the box with your heel, applying just enough force to make the box a little less rigid. Remember, traditional pointe shoes are typically made by layering natural materials with paste. It doesn’t take a lot to start breaking the stiffness.
You can also use a door to bend the shank of the shoe by closing the shoe between the door and the door jamb. Be cautious when doing this because if you apply too much pressure, you could snap the shank. This method can be helpful for shoes that are too hard to bend with just your hands.
Another helpful tip is to bang out your shoes on concrete. This helps lessen the loud sound that pointe shoes make when you are landing from jumps or running on demi. I’d especially recommend this before a performance. You want to beat the bottom part of the shoe, between the platform and the outsole. This is the area where traditional pointe shoes have pleats. Give each shoe 10-15 good whacks on some concrete and you’ll notice that they’ll be much quieter.
I hope these tips have been helpful. If you’re a student always remember to ask for a parent or teacher’s help before you begin modifying your shoes. Happy dancing!