Pointe Shoes

Three tips for trying on new pointe shoes:

  1. Buy new pointe shoes late in the day when the feet are larger.
  2. A dancer should always try on new shoes in the tights and with the padding she will be wearing in the shoe.
  3. Pointe shoes should be resized at least every three years throughout a dancers career, even after growth is over. Even in adulthood the feet continue to spread. Resizing should be done even more frequently during adolescent growth spurts.

New shoes should be purchased when:

  • the dancer’s old pair no longer fits properly.
  • the shoes have softened so much that they no longer provide proper support to the foot on pointe. Usually the tip of the pointe shoe or the shank of the shoe weakens, or “dies”, first.

Important parts of pointe shoes

The 3 most important parts to be familiar with are:


The platform is the flat part at the tip of the shoe (the part you stand on). The box includes the stiff area around your toes. It is the hard part around your toes that provides support to your foot.
There are different widths of boxes for different widths of feet.

The vamp is the front part of the box, or the part that covers from the tips of your toes to your knuckles. The vamp is mostly referred to, to say how deep it is. This is important and should be relative to the length of your toes.

The shank is the stiff piece that supports your arch. It lies under the insole. Different shoe makers have different stiffness for their shanks.

How to tie pointe shoes

Tying pointe shoes incorrectly can be dangerous and can cause serious injury to the dancer.

Put the shoe on your foot.

Tie a double knot on the inside ribbon first and cross it over the arch of your foot and wrap around your ankle completely finishing at the inside of the ankle just before the ankle bone.

Hold this ribbon firmly and take the outside ribbon and wrap across the arch of your foot and all around your ankle crossing over the other ribbon and finishing at the same point. Both ribbons should be lying smooth over your foot.

Tie a double knot on the inside of your ankle and tuck the spare ribbon away. Cut this to about 2-3 inches length if the ribbon is quite long. Never tie too tight so your ankle is restricted. When tying your pointe shoe it is more comfortable and secure if you tie while your foot is in the en-pointe position.