How to “Break In” Your New Shoes
You’ve seen a million YouTube videos showing you how to break in your pointe shoes and you can’t wait to get them home and tear into them. DON’T DO IT. If these are your first pair of pointe shoes, you don’t know yet what you need from them. Your teachers will be able to give you advice about techniques that will be right for you, but here are a few of our tips that you can follow.
New pointe shoes are not shaped to a right or left foot. This happens gradually as you wear the shoes, so it’s helpful label the shoes right and left after your first class and wear them on the same feet each time. After several classes, you will be able to see which shoe has moulded to each foot.
New shoes should be “broken in” very carefully. Don’t be tempted by the techniques professional dancers use - slamming it against a brick wall, crushing the block in a door or bending the arch in half. These professionals only need to make the shoe last one performance and you’re going to need it much longer than that. These extreme measures will shorten the life of your shoe and could cause serious injuries.We recommend you “break in” your new shoes using some of the following techniques
- To identify where your natural arch “breaks” in the shoe, try doing some tendus to the side, leaning heavily into the foot en pointe. After repeating this several times, remove the pointe shoe and following the shape your arch has made, gently bend the shoe with your hands. Repeat this on both sides.
- The block can be softened slightly by doing rises through the foot onto demi-pointe, continuing to full pointe while holding onto the barre. Repeat this exercise several times.
- Over time, heat and perspiration from working in the shoe will continue to mould the shoe as you dance.
- If you feel pressure from one part of the block, you can apply small amounts of water or rubbing alcohol onto that area of the shoe to soften it.
Need something different? No problem. We know you want to put your new pointe shoes on and show all your friends and family, but we ask that you please not wear your pointe shoes before your teacher has seen them. If your instructor has any concerns, the shoes can only be returned in “mint” condition. This means we will not accept pointe shoes with scuffs or marks on the inside or outside of the shoe, shoes that have been “broken in” or have ribbon and elastic sewn on.