It’s common knowledge that one of the most graceful forms of dance, ballet, requires a lot of work with one’s feet. There are special shoes for ballet dancing called pointe shoes which require a lot of work to break into so that it is comfortable for the dancer to perform in them.
Any ballet dancer would tell you that the pointe shoes are one of the most important parts of a ballet dancer’s attire and the most crucial part for a smooth performance.
Breaking into the pointe shoes is quite a task, but not impossible with these quick and helpful tips.
1.Right and Left
The first step to breaking into your ballet shoes is to mark them according to your feet. Remember that ballet shoes do not come in right or left feet shape and so it’s important that you mark them. You must wear your shoes according to the foot you’ve marked so that they break into the shape of that particular foot.
2. Practise in and Wear Them
While this tip is common knowledge, let us just reiterate the importance of wearing your ballet shoes while practising so that when you sweat your shoes can take the shape of your feet. Wearing your shoes as much as you can, even if you’re not practising, can help with the breaking in. So initially try and wear your pointe shoes as much as you can and whenever you can.
3. Use Your Heel To Flatten
To reduce the stiffness, use your heel to flatten the top of your medium, tapered or square box pointe shoes. You can also use a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol to soften the sides of the big toe and pinky. Do not attempt to soften your ballet shoe by dipping them in some liquid. This will completely ruin your shoes. There’s no way but a slow and steady approach to soften and break into your ballet shoes.
4. Increase Flexibility
To increase the flexibility of your ballet shoes, you should hold each end in each of your hands and bend the insole back and forth. This will help increase the flexibility of the ballet shoes but you have to be careful while doing this trick. If you bend too much, you can also break the shank in half which will ruin your entire shoe. If you are not sure of how to do this, take your ballet shoe to an expert or professional dancer like your ballet instructor and ask them to do this for you. Professional and experienced ballet dancers will definitely know of this trick to increase flexibility of the shoe.
5. Do Some Exercises At The Bar
You can also practise some ballet exercises at the bar which can help in breaking into your new ballet shoes. Try to do some plies, roll throughs, also try to roll through to demi pointe then full pointe and then back. It’s important that you don’t overdo this because otherwise you can make your shoes too soft and they will not be able to support you when you dance.
6. Demi Pointe Walk
Try and walk on demi pointe, bare feet so that you sweat into your shoes and they break in. You will have to, however, ensure that you are following the proper technique and keep your knees straight. It will be difficult at first but gradually as the flexibility of your shoes increases, you will be able to do this more comfortably.
These are few tips in addition to the practises and dances that you’ll perform in your shoes. Never wear new shoes to a formal ballet performance because without breaking in, it will be very difficult and uncomfortable for you to perform in your new shoes.