Blog Post

I’ve Never Had Pointe Shoes Before!

We often get this comment when people are starting out with their pointe shoes.

Incidentally, they are not ‘point-ey’ shoes: ‘pointe’ is a French word meaning tip, because you stand on the tip of your toes (‘en pointe’) so you do not pronounce the last ‘e’. It’s pronounced like the English word, ‘point’,

In any case, these are very special shoes made of layers of glue and satin. A few layers of these are placed on to a mould, and then the whole thing is baked so as to give the rigid shape. The leather sole is sewn on to this concoction and in many cases this is a hand-made affair.  Each individual pointe shoe maker lovingly leaves a mark on some brands – such as a logo or little emblem – to indicate the person who has made that particular pair.

So what if you’ve never had pointe shoes?

Well, don’t try getting onto them without guidance. It is not they that are dangerous, it’s the very act of attempting to go en pointe without the proper strength or training. It might seem like a lot of fun – but it can be painful, and definitely is very painful if you fall off your pointes.

So what’s it all about?  Pointe work started in the 15th century in the French courts, to create the floaty feel / appearance of a dancer.  Marie Camargo was the first of these dancers.

This has gradually developed over time – but what hasn’t changed is that you need to build up the strength to carry your body weight on the tips of your toes.  Which also means that a healthy diet is important if you don’t want to hurt yourself.

Pointe shoes require particular care – they cannot be stored in humid conditions and need to be properly aired after use. You cannot clean them with a wet cloth, and you need to allow them to air between sessions.  As your classes become more frequent, you will need to perhaps alternate pointe shoes between classes to give them enough time to dry, particularly in hot and humid countries.

We will soon follow on with another article on fittings – though we have done this a while back.  Watch this space and meanwhile, contact us for a fitting.

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How are Pointe Shoes made?

Pointe shoes involve a complex manufacturing process requiring great expertise. Each manufacturer uses unique methods