Extending Pointe Shoe Life

What are pointe shoes?

Can I make pointe shoes last longer?

Replacing pointe shoes frequently can be frustrating, and unless you’re in a company that pays for your shoes, it can be expensive!

With shoes made of natural, traditional materials, lifespan is necessarily limited. Most dancers know that keeping pointe shoes dry and un-squashed will make them last longer.

Here at Russian Pointe, we have also observed that a truly precise fit – including choosing the best possible shank – gives shoes a durability head start from the first wearing! Here, we offer answers to some of the most important questions about extending pointe shoe life.

How does choosing the right shank affect longevity?
When the dancer wears a shank that matches her foot shape and technical needs, it helps distribute the pressure of her weight throughout the shoe. Stress on the shank is reduced, so that shanks of a precisely fit Russian Pointe don’t have to be significantly “broken in.” Instead, the right shanks function correctly from the beginning, not requiring excessive pushing and straining to make them conform to the arch. This is especially noticeable with pre-arched models, especially for high-arched dancers. With any Russian Pointe model, the most important factor is correct choice of strength (length of the stiffer layer) and style (Standard or Flexible) for the individual dancer. Read more about shanks.

How does choosing the right toe box affect longevity?
The correct box shape also helps distribute weight evenly. Box shape comes from a combination of model choice and width choice, to best match the dancer’s foot shape. In just the right box, the dancer will be upright and centered, not sickling, winging, collapsing into the platform or falling off pointe. She is less likely to develop soft spots on the platform or uneven softening throughout the box. As the box gradually softens and molds to the foot, its smooth elegance and all-around support will be retained, and wear to the platform will be even.

Which will wear faster, the box or the shank?
This depends a lot on the dancer. The box’s hardness comes from glue, which will naturally soften with use. Russian Pointe’s shanks – due to a combination of high-quality materials and superb fit – tend to stay supportive for many hours of dancing. Also, dancers who rely on foot strength for most of their support are very easy on their shanks. For these reasons, the box is likely to soften before the shank gives out.

Why doesn’t Russian Pointe make the toe box harder?
For the best support, comfort and technique, the Russian Pointe toe box is specifically designed to mold to the foot. This allows better articulation – the shoe works with the foot, as one unit. Russian Pointes tend to be comfortable in the first wearing, reducing rubbing on the toes and break-in time. These factors can keep the feet healthier.