Have you ever seen a ballet show? If so, haven’t you ever wondered what shoes the dancers are wearing? Well they are called pointe shoes. They have been around since 1795, made by Charles Didelot, and first worn by Marie Taglioni. They allowed dancers to be able to stand on their toes with wires. This is very difficult on the feet because you’re on your toes almost ”crushing” them in a way.
Later on, pointe shoes have developed from wires to satin slippers. There are many parts of the shoe such as the soles, which were made of leather, which is attached to the bottom of the shoe. The box lies on the front part of the shoe. It provides a platform-like structure which a dancer must use to balance. Next is the shank, which supports the dancers foot, making an arch. And lastly is the platform, or the bottom/tip of the shoe that balances and supports all of the dancers weight.
All these parts of the shoe are important because they make the shoes. Pointe shoes are different from ordinary shoes because you’rebalancing on your toes, it’s harder than normal shoes, and they destroy your feet.
There are different brands of pointe shoes like Bloch, Capezio, Freed of London, Grishko etc. Each shoe is designed to shape any foot. But to really know what shoe is best fit for you, they’re is a fitting required. Next is finding the perfect shoe, which mostly determines the feel and size. In pointe shoes whatever your normal size is, it is 1-2 sizes smaller. It also depends on how narrow or wide your feet are. They’re are so many different sizes and shapes of pointe shoes. It may be hard to find the right ones for you and for others it may take months.
Since the shoes aren’t sewed, you must apply the elastic and the ribbons. Another thing is that the shoe must be broken in to make it easier to dance in. To break in the shoe, you can place your heel on the box off the shoe, which will make it less stiff. There are so many interesting ways to break in the shoe, like hammering it or putting it between a hinge of a door and slowly closing it. But it does depend on the person, because you’re trying to shape the shoe to your foot. A basic thing needed for dancing on pointe are toe pads. They sound exactly like the name. It is a thick layer of padding around the toes to take away the pain. Although in the 1700s, women would use a thin layer of wool.
Pointe shoes cost range depends on the brand of shoe. Usually costing up to ninety five to a hundred dollars each pair. Most professional dancers spend up to 2,000 dollars every month on shoes. Professional dancers go through up to 20 pairs of shoes every two weeks.
“I like to get new ones for every show,”says Tyler Peck, a former dancer at the New York City Ballet.
For my personal preference, I wait till my shoes are completely dead and then get a new pair, but since I’m not a professional dancer, I go through one to two pairs of shoes a month.
Ballet is the center of every style of dance. Learning the basics of that is challenging, but it can bring you new opportunities. Dancing is something I love to do and hope to do it for the rest of my life. So next time you see a ballet, you’ll know they’re wearing pointe shoes.