Frequent enough, there’re lots of dance-related questions in the world of dancing. One topic that most footwear brands under this category find themselves chatting about with their customers is ballet pointe shoes.
But what are pointe shoes made of? What are they or how do long they last anyway? The mystique surrounding this footwear form is pervasive, so we found it great to talk you through some of the most common questions.
Pointe is a kind of dance performed on the tips of the toes. It is an aspect of classical ballet that involves pointe work where ballet dancers or rather ballerinas put all their body weight on the tips of their toes while wearing pointe shoes.
Pointe shoes, therefore, are specially made shoes that enable ballerinas to dance on the tips of their toes. At a glance, these shoes may look delicate, but they are not. They usually include a reinforced toe box and a hard inner sole known as the shank.
What Are Pointe Shoes Made of?
The tip of a pointe shoe features a firm, rigid box of densely packed layers of fabric and paper hardened with glue. Other parts of the shoe might be made up of cotton, leather, and satin. And contrary to regular shoes, pointes are essentially handmade, meaning no two pairs are identical.
One important note to remember is that pointe shoes are more of a professional tool. They have to fit tight to provide the much-needed support and allow the dancer to execute her moves safely on point.
It’s also good to note that during the performance, the dancer places her entire body weight on the tips of her toes, which is not actually natural. In fact, pointe shoes have evolved and improved over time to help ballerinas perform in the safest way possible.
If a pair of pointe shoes leaves extra space in it, it’s not precisely the right fit or design, and will not do what it’s meant to do.
That means your feet and ankles will have to bear all the strain and pressure- which can be dangerous. Pointe shoes should fit your feet correctly and presently, not the size your feet will be in four or five months. The process of making pointe shoes perfect for dancing may vary from dancer to dancer.
Most dancers use some form of toe protection inside their pointes, probably for a little pain relief. However, experienced hardcore dancers won’t bother as they prefer being able to feel the floor with their toes.
You might want to sew ribbons and elastics on the sides of the shoes so that they stay secure on your feet. Some dancers will also prefer some customizations to the shanks and boxes based on the strength of their feet and legs.
Also Read: Are Nobull Shoes Good For Wide Feet?
What is The Lifespan of Pointe Shoes?
Unfortunately, this question has a complicated answer. Some dancers can get long on their first pair for a year and others only a day.
However, the longevity of a pair of pointe shoes will be influenced by how and when they are used. For instance, if you do one pointe class per week, your shoes are likely to last longer than when you’re attending three or four pointe classes per week.
For someone with moderate usage, a pair of pointe shoes can last somewhere between a few hours up to twenty hours of wear. Otherwise, this can extend to weeks and even months for different dancers.
For armatures, the good news is that their shoes will not wear out as quickly as more experienced dancers, giving room for longevity. On the other side, those with very strong feet may wear a pointe shoe out much faster than someone who is still building strength.
For starters, a pair of pointe shoes will often last longer and probably grow out before the shoes actually wear-out. The longevity of your pointe shoes is rather subjective and is not something a teacher or footwear experts will tell for sure. All they can do is to make an informed guess based on your strength, growth rate, technique and how often you use them.
So Why Do Pointe Shoes Wear Out Fast
Several factors will dictate how long your pointe shoes will last. This may include the types of steps you’re performing, the amount of perspiration your feet produce, the humidity in the area and how well you take care of your shoes after classes. Remember, proper care is a hack to prolong most things in life, and pointe shoes are no exception.
Dancers and Pointe Shoes
Pointe shoes are designed to help the dancer to balance, slide, spin and perform other movements by offering adequate support for the toe dancing. Ballerinas use pointe shoes that are specially designed for the work, so they can best balance their weight to the shoe directly within the arch and toes, something other shoes don’t provide.
Now with the modern-day invention, dancers can perform styles and turns they couldn’t manage sometimes back when only ballerina slippers were available.
Teachers basically put a few factors into consideration before deciding if their student is ready for pointe shoes, including assessing the stage of physical development, strength, foot alignment and such.
For beginners, the first pair of pointe shoes can hurt at first as they get used to wearing and dancing in them. It is also advised to take care of your shoes as you practice by cleaning them regularly. This will prevent dirt and general wear and tear, and enhance longevity.