Are you new to the world of ballet and struggling to break in your pointe shoes? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there! Breaking in pointe shoes can be a daunting task for beginners, but with these tips and tricks, you’ll be twirling around like a pro in no time.
In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the steps to break in your pointe shoes and make them comfortable for dancing.
The subsequent sections will discuss specific methods to break in pointe shoes, such as bending the shank, softening the box, and increasing the flexibility of the upper, and offer maintenance tips to prolong the lifespan of the shoes.
By following these sections, beginners can avoid pain and dance en pointe confidently. So, let’s put on our dance shoes and get started!
How to Break in Pointe Shoes for Beginners
Here are few ideas to break in pointe shoes for beginners quickly
Understand the Anatomy of Pointe Shoes
Understanding the anatomy of pointe shoes is crucial for any beginner who wants to properly break in their shoes. As mentioned before, the shoe consists of a rigid box that provides support for the toes, a shank that runs along the arch of the foot, and an upper made of satin or other materials.
It’s important to note that a properly fitted pointe shoe should hug the foot, without any gaps or spaces between the shoe and the foot. This will ensure that the dancer has the necessary support and stability when en pointe.
By understanding the anatomy of the shoe, beginners can also identify any potential fit issues and address them before attempting to break in the shoes.
Select the Right Size
The next step to breaking in pointe shoes for beginners is selecting the right size. This is crucial for not only comfort but also safety.
A properly fitting pointe shoe will allow for the correct control of movement and decrease the chance of injury. During fittings, the dancer’s foot is assessed to determine the correct size, taking into consideration the length, width, and shape of the foot.
It is recommended to try on different styles and brands to find the perfect fit. The snug nature of the fit may feel unusual at first, but it is essential for proper foot positioning and support.
A correctly fitted Bloch pointe shoe considers all aspects of the shoe’s anatomy, ensuring the perfect fit for the dancer’s foot. Remember, a loose shoe is not only uncomfortable but also increases the chance of injury.
Bending the Shank
After selecting the right size, the next step is bending the shank to match the shape of your foot. To do this, gently flex the shoe at the ball of the foot and at the arch until it matches your foot’s curvature. You can also try rolling through demi-pointe positions during pointe class to make the shank more flexible.
It’s important not to force or overwork the shank because it may cause irreversible damage. By bending the shank gradually, you’ll increase the level of flexibility and support for your foot.
Softening the Box
Softening the box of pointe shoes is an important step to ensure comfort and prevent injuries. To soften the box, one can gently close the box with their hand, but only to a certain extent as one shouldn’t overdo it.
Another effective technique is to use a hammer to soften the box, but one must be careful not to ruin the shoe. Another popular method is to roughen up the sole with a file or even sewing on elastic.
Remember, the box should conform to the shape of your toes, but avoid dipping the shoe directly into any liquids. Lastly, check the fit of the shoe after softening the box, as the softening process can change the fit slightly.
Increase Flexibility of the Upper
To further increase the comfort of pointe shoes, dancers can work on increasing the flexibility of the upper part of their feet. This can be achieved through a variety of methods, such as ankle stretches, thera-band exercises, and focusing on proper alignment and technique when dancing.
Additionally, the use of a shoe stretcher can also help to gently widen the upper of the shoe and provide more room for the foot to move. By taking the time to slowly and safely increase flexibility, dancers can not only improve their comfort in pointe shoes, but also enhance their overall performance and technique.
Double-check the Fit
After breaking in your pointe shoes, it’s important to double-check the fit before dancing in them. A correctly fitting pointe shoe should feel snug and provide little room to wiggle the toes, but not so tight that it causes numbness or discomfort.
To ensure the perfect fit, it’s recommended to seek the advice of your dance teacher or dance physiotherapist before sewing on the ribbons, breaking in the shoe, or dancing in them. When trying on your pointe shoes, bring the padding that you plan to wear inside the shoes with you to the fitting.
This will ensure that you get an accurate fit. Remember that it’s not possible to fit pointe shoes with growing room and a loose shoe increases the chance of injury. With the proper fit, you’ll be able to dance confidently and safely in your new pointe shoes.
Maintenance is key to ensuring the longevity of pointe shoes. After breaking them in, it’s important to continue taking care of them to get the most out of your investment.
Some tips for maintenance include marking your shoes to keep track of which ones are worn, airing them out after use, and using a small nail brush to clean them.
Pointe shoe hardener or French polish can also be applied to retain the shoe’s shape and prevent moisture from entering the block.
Breaking in pointe shoes can be a process that takes time and patience, but it’s worth it to achieve the perfect fit and line for your feet. By understanding the anatomy of pointe shoes, selecting the right size, and properly preparing your shoes, you can make the breaking in process easier and more effective.
With these tips and techniques, beginners can confidently break in their pointe shoes and step onto the stage with grace and confidence.