Whether your new pair of pointe shoes are Capezio, Bloch, Grishko, or one of the other popular pointe shoe brands, knowing how to take care of them properly goes a long way in determining how long they will last and how good they will look. Until a ballet student becomes a corp member of a dance theater, she will have to cover the cost of her own shoes.
Preventing Pointe Shoe Satin from Fraying
As we begin to use our shoes for pointe work we will notice the satin on the platform beginning to fray. The simplest way to fix the appearance of the platform is to trim away the loose, frayed edges of the satin and apply a product like fray check to the cut edges.
Using this method usually means that the satin has worn away from the tips of the shoe and the paste layer is showing. To prevent the satin from wearing away the platform needs to be darned, which requires a bit of sewing skill and patience.
The pointe shoes in this photo are reinforced using the traditional method of darning. This method takes practice and patience to do correctly. Many young pointe students will turn to mom for help with this style of darning. The dancer uses a sturdy cotton yard and curved needle to apply a protective layer of cotton stitching over the satin toe box.
Quicker, No-Sew Darning
Today's pointe student has another alternative that is easier and quicker than traditional darning. She can use a product called a "no sew" cotton yarn toe cap. These no sew caps are pre-made and attached to the platform of the shoe using special glue. Someone else has taken the time to crochet the toe cap, which can be a real time saver and helps the student who is unsure about her sewing skills.
Even though this method does require some precision to do correctly, it goes a long way in preventing the platform tips from becoming frayed and worn out.
Pointe Shoes With Buit-In Suede Platform Tips
With the high cost of a new pair of pointe shoes, learning how to reinforce the tips of your shoes is a time-honored tradition in the ballet world and will make them last longer saving money. Some pointe shoe manufacturers offer models with suede toe caps to help the shoe last longer and for added traction.
Like everything else, suede toe covers are really an individual choice. Some dancers find them ugly to look at. Others simply get them because mom wants something that will last as long as possible. Paying for ballet classes and dance supplies isn't cheap. Especially the pointe shoes.
General Cleaning Tips for Satin
Pointe shoes can be spot cleaned by employing some of the same techniques that would be used for satin dresses or pumps. The challenge is not discoloring the satin or weakening the paste by using to much water. Dreft baby laundry detergent or Woolite mixed using 1 part detergent to 9 parts water makes a gentle solution. Too much detergent will leave a residue that can change the color of the satin.
1. Using an old toothbrush, remove any loose dirt.
2. Dip the brush into the soap then dab most of the moisture off the brush.
3. Go over any spots with the toothbrush and blot dry. This can be repeated as necessary. Stains that are deeply set in to the satin of a pointe shoe may require using a cover up like calamine lotion, or pancake make-up.
Get Break in Recommendations For Your Shoes By The Manufacturer
The best way to find out how your particular shoe should be broken in is to ask the one who made it. Every pointe shoe brand on the market today comes with its own unique combination of ingredients. Not unlike a recipe.
Some shoes are made with heat sensitive paste that mold almost immediately to the foot; while others are made with shanks and boxes so hard they can snap if using the wrong break in method.
To preserve the life of your shoes always follow the break in instructions that come directly from the manufacturer. Most pointe shoe brands follow traditional methods of breaking in, but there are several models that have special recommendations from the maker. Bloch, Capezio, and most pointe shoe manufacturers have instructions on the best way to break in their models.
Pointe Shoes Have Limited Life
Ballet-pointe shoes are not designed to have a long life. Moisture, wear and tear, and the rigors of class guarantee having to replace the shoes on a constant basis. Every bit of extra care that a student takes with her pointe shoes will help save her money until she becomes a professional ballerina whose dance company will pay for her pointe shoe needs.
Not quite ready for satin pointe shoes? Try a pair of pretty satin ballet slippers instead.
Scallywagbags(Flikr:Pointe Shoe Darning)CC by 2.0 www.creativecommons.org
RachelAndrew(Flikr:New Pointe Shoes) CC by 2.0 www.creativecommons.org