My favorite trick to break in stiff pointe shoes is to use Purel to soften them! I always apply a dollop to my pointe shoe around my bunion area, and this softens my box to make my shoes flexible and quiet. Since Purel is a gel, it works well because it can be applied to specific areas to soften hard shoes. It doesn’t make a mess like rubbing alcohol, and it works significantly better than water because because it dries so quickly. So all in all, it’s a cheap and easy way to soften your pointe shoes and help you break in your pointe shoes in the specific areas where you use it. You should try it!