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10 Pointe Shoe Hacks For 2016

by | Dec 29, 2015 | Articles, Feet | Shoes | Pointe, Tips

Whether you’re new to pointe or already mastering fouettés, here’s a list of 10 pointe shoe hacks for the new year.

1. Use antibiotic ointment.

It’s no secret that pointe shoes are a pain. Some ambitious students want to appear hardcore by using only masking tape (not good). But most dancers will spend extra bucks on pouches and tips to help soften the blow. In the case that you don’t have this extra padding, try applying a small drop of antibiotic ointment to your problem spots and cover with a gel bandaid. The ointment will help moisturize and nurture the skin while the gel bandaid provides protection.

2. Remove the satin tips.

old used pink pointe shoes with reflection

The tips of your pointe shoes are covered with satin. Removing the satin exposes the fabric underneath, typically made of burlap or canvas, and provides more traction. To prevent slipping, use a razor blade to slice off the satin, or a very sharp set of kitchen shears to snip from the underside pleating near the toe. If fraying occurs, try using a lighter or match to carefully sear off the flyaways. To seal the deal, dab some clear nail polish along the edges.

3. Sew with dental floss.

ballet dancer tying pointe shoe ribbons on white floor

Instead of traditional thread, use dental floss to sew ribbons on your pointe shoes! It’s thicker and more durable, resulting in less unraveling accidents. Because it’s sturdier, it also requires less stitching. This way you can spend more time dancing and less time tediously maneuvering tiny needles. It’s a pointe shoe, not a quilt.

4. Add baking soda to your shoes.

pointe shoes and gym shoes

Pointe shoes, while very different from sneakers, are like any other athletic shoes. They collect perspiration from heavy use which leads to bacteria and unpleasant odors. After class, be sure to let your pointe shoes as well as your feet breathe. Take them out of your dance bag and sprinkle a half a cup of baking soda into each shoe. This will help neutralize odors and give your feet a fresh(er) start the next time you go to class.

5. Tint your shoes with lotion.

When dancers color their pointe shoes to make them less shiny, it’s called pancake. Unlike the warm, fluffy breakfast treat, to pancake a pointe shoe means to create a matte finish. To pull this off, use Calamine lotion. It soaks into the fabric, giving it a soft, powdery-pink look. If you have a darker complexion, or want to try matching a different shade of ballet tights, consider using liquid cosmetic foundation.

6. Use water instead of rosin.

single worn pointe shoe on rosin

Some studios do not have, or even allow, rosin. Rosin can be very messy, and some students tend to abuse this provision if left unchecked. A good alternative to rosin is a wet paper towel. Simply dampen a paper towel with a cap full of water from your water bottle or by dousing it under the bathroom faucet, then step on it. Just be sure to dispose of it immediately after class; most teachers won’t mind if you use this method, but they may be reticent to let you continue if you leave a mess behind. Also, don’t use tissue paper – it tears too easily.

7. Make pointe potpourri.

pointe shoes on wall decorated with roses

Repurpose your old pointe shoes into a flower pot, or a nook for potpourri. Pointe shoes are beautiful structures on their own. Add some delicate flowers, and you can create a lovely, feminine centerpiece. If using fresh flowers, spritz the petals with hairspray. It will help keep them from drooping (unless that’s the intended result).

8. Make an heirloom trunk.

mother and daughter with trunk of ballet items

Assemble a special heirloom trunk for a friend or relative. Gather old pointe shoes and place in a basket, chest, or trunk. You can add other items like flowers, jewelry or photographs to create an awesome gift. It doesn’t even have to be for someone else – create a unique memento to remind you of your love for ballet and all your hard work.

9. Pull out the shank.

old worn pointe shoes on wood floor

If you struggle to get over your box, consider getting a 3/4 shank, or sole. If you’ve already worn out a full shank, rip it out and use the dead pointe shoe as a soft ballet slipper. It will give the illusion that you’re wearing pointe shoes without the hard surface. Of course, you will no longer have the support a shank offers, but it will encourage you to practice articulating your arches and toes.

10. Decorate your door.

pointe shoes hanging on door

Decorate your home by hanging a pair of pointe shoes on your door. In place of a poster or wall sconce, hanging pointe shoes by their ribbons adds personality and charm to any room.

Some of these may be new, while others are tried and true. Do you have a pointe shoe hack?

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