Hello, and welcome back to my blog!
The most requested post category from my latest blog post poll, was Dance! Today I’ll be showing you guys my pointe shoes from over the years. I’ve only been en pointe for 3 years, but I have at least 8-9 pairs…
I’ll give you non-dancers (and maybe dancers too, I don’t know!) some info on pointe shoes before I get into this post! Some people refer to pointe shoes as “toe shoes” (which isn’t actually their name, but since dancers who wear pointe shoes are dancing on their toes, that’s where that came from).
Pointe shoes were first ‘invented’ in 1823. I say ‘invented’ because they didn’t really have any sort of support to hold the dancer up, like we do now.
According to various sources, In 1823, the Italian dancer Amalia Brugnoli introduced pointework to ballet audiences, rising up to the tips of her toes in Armand Vestris’ La Fée et le Chevalier. Brugnoli wore lightly stitched square-toed satin slippers, and had to use her arms and a visible amount of effort to get up on her toes.
In the late 19th century dancers wore shoes with a sturdy, flat platform at the front end of the shoe. These shoes also included a box made of layers of fabric for containing the toes, and a stiffer, stronger sole.
(The following info is found at www.danceus.org)
“Some background: the process of making pointe shoes is intricate and involved. Every dancer has unique feet, with variations that include toe length and shape, arch flexibility, and mechanical strength, so no two pairs of pointe shoes are alike. Pointe shoe manufacturers produce more than one model of shoe, as well as custom fitted shoes. But all pointe shoes share two important structural features that enable dancers to dance on the tips of their toes.
A box within the front end of the shoe that encases and supports the dancer’s toes. The front end of the box is flat, a perfect surface upon which the dancer can balance and pirouette.
In conventional pointe shoes, the box is typically made from tightly packed layers of paper and fabric that have been glued together and then shaped into an enclosure. When the glue dries, it becomes hard and provides the required stiffness. In some newer pointe shoes, the box may be made from plastic and rubber. The exterior of the pointe shoe is covered with fabric.
Pointe shoes have reinforced soles, thanks to an inner shank between the outer sole and the insole. This section is called the shank, which supports the entire foot on pointe
In most pointe shoes, the sole is constructed from a single piece of leather that is attached to the shoe with adhesive and reinforced by stitching along its edges. Shanks are typically made from leather, plastic, cardstock, or layers of glue-hardened burlap. The flexibility of a shank is determined by its thickness and the type of material used.”
Gaynor Minden pointe shoes have plastic shanks and boxes. This makes the shoes last longer for the dancer, as sweat cannot break down the plastic as it does with a traditional shank. I started out using Gaynors, but I found that they weren’t right or my unusually flexible feet 😂
By the way!! There are over 80 different brands of pointe shoes. I think that’s crazyyyyyy!!
(Disclaimer to any and all dancers reading this post: Please pardon the fact that my technique is bad in some of these photos lol. Some of these pointe shoes are extremely dead and or too small! Also, don’t pay any attention that some of my pointe shoes don’t have ribbons or elastics on them😂 **possible cringyness incoming**)
I’ll just let you guys know that my feet & ankles are veryyyyyy flexible, so it might look kind of scary seeing my feet in pointe shoes😂😆
These are my very first pair of pointe shoes. They lasted me about a year, which is AMAZING!!!! And (for all you dancers), These were the hardest shank that Gaynor Minden sold in stores (aka the green bag). By the way, I’m so surprised that my feet still fir into those for taking these photos 😂 These pointe shoes are also SO DEAD it’s not even funny lol. So, what does “dead” mean in terms of pointe shoes? It basically means that some part of the shoe has gotten so soft that it is no longer offering the support needed to dance in the shoe.
These shoes cost about $120.
These are my second pair of pointe shoes! I used these to finish up my first year of pointe, and into my second year. Please pardon the odd coloring, I think I tried to paint them at some pointe (thank you, I know that pun was just too much), but painting pointe shoes with a sharpie is not advised. And that’s the reason they look so awful and aren’t finished lol.
I honestly have no clue how long these lasted me. Probably about 4 months though.
Starting with this pair, I had to special order my shoes with a double-hard shank because the normal hard ones weren’t giving me enough support. They had to be shipped straight from New York (which is kind of cool), but it took them like 2-3 months to get here.
Doing this bumped the price up to $175 a pair. For buying a pair probably every 4 months.
My wallet hasn’t liked me very much over the years.
This is my third pair, and they are also Gaynors. As I mentioned previously, These are also the double-hard shank. These ones lasted me probably 3-4 months, and were used during my second year of pointe.
I actually used calamine on these shoes to make them have a matte finish instead of shiny. It also shrunk them, making it extremely hard to fit my feet into them again XD
These are my 4th pair of Gaynors. I did not even try to put these on because the shoe on the left I took apart to study how they are constructed. The shoe on the right shoe I experimentally jet glued to see how much the glue would stiffen the fabric 😉
These are my 5th and final pair of Gaynor Mindens. These ones are virtually brand new because I had decided to switch to a different brand right away. I actually still use these shoes for photo shoots when they come up! They’re all shiny and new looking, and they also make my feet look pretty! (even though they don’t support me enough to be able to actually dance in them lol)
These are my first pair of Russian Pointes, and my 6th pair of pointe shoes! The person who fit me unfortunately fit me into a size or two too small. As a result, these shoes would hurt pretty badly. All of my toes would be smooshed together, and they were so tight that my circulation wasn’t good, leading to my feet feeling numb😬 On the plus side, these shoes lasted me I wanna say like 5-6 months, and cost only about $90!
They’re also kind of grass stained because these were also a pair that I used to use for photoshoots.
My second pair of Russians are virtually new as well. These ones are a diffeent style than the last pair, and that’s why they look a bit different on my feet. 🙂
I bought these in January, but I don’t really wear them in class. For some reason, I can’t easily roll through these pointe shoes well. I tend to “get stuck” when I reach demi-pointe (half way up). Anyways, for this and a couple other reasons it wouldn’t be good for me to wear them in my classes. I will use them at home however, to do some roll-ups, rises, etc. 😉 These cost about $110.
Aaaaaand these are my Bloch’s! These shoes are my current pair of pointe shoes! I actually bought 2 pairs of these pointe shoes, so that I have another pair ready when I need them. (I didn’t take photos of the other pair, because they’re exactly the same (except for the fact that my other pair of these shoes are dead hehe)) My first pair of Bloch’s lasted me about 4-5 months, and they fit me SO much better than any other brand I’ve tried. I started wearing my current Bloch’s (the ones in the photos above), In January, and am still wearing them! These pointe shoes were only $85 a pair!
I will hopefully be doing some sort of general Info post about pointe shoes sometime in the future, just to tell you guys more about what the ‘being on pointe’ life is like, and how we/I deal with it!
do I even deal with it? why do I do pointe anyways….
That’s all for now!! I hope you guys enjoyed reading this post, and have a great rest of you week, and a wonderful Easter!! Make sure to comment and tell me what you thought of this post, and the little glimpse into my world! If you’re a dancer and do pointe, what shoes do you have?
I’d love to chat with you in the comments!