Some teachers use demi-pointe, or shankless, shoes for pre-pointe training. Demi-pointes have a shaped box like a pointe shoe, but no stiff shank in the sole.
Wearing demi-pointes gives dancers a more gradual transition from ballet slippers to pointe shoes. They can get used to the feel of a pointe shoe before learning to dance on pointe.
Dancers should use demi-pointe shoes only according to their teacher’s instructions, and they should never attempt to stand or dance on pointe in a demi-pointe shoe.