How to Make Your Pointe Shoes Last Longer

Learn How to Store Pointe Shoes to Extend Life

new pair of pointe shoes
mararie/Flickr

Let's face it...we all wish our pointe shoes would last longer. If you're dancing several hours per day for most days of the week, you could very well be going through a pair of pointe shoes every couple of weeks. While this wouldn't be a problem if pointe shoes grew on trees, the fact is that they don't...pointe shoes typically cost at least $100, often more.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to extend the life of your pointe shoes.

The following tips are definitely worth a try:

  • Keep pointe shoes dry. After dancing in your pointe shoes, make sure you allow them to dry. It's impossible to keep your feet from sweating while dancing on your toes, so your shoes will become quite wet after a workout. As sweat can break down the toe box, allowing your pointe shoes to dry completely between uses is one the most important things you can do to extend their life. Instead of stuffing wet pointe shoes into your dance bag after class, try tying them to the outside of the bag instead. When you get home, set them under a fan and allow them to dry completely.
  • Apply pointe shoe hardener. Applying thin coats of pointe shoe hardener or shellac to your shoes will help with moisture absorption. Apply to the outside and inside of the toe box, to both side of the shank (inside and outside), under the shank, and to the pleats and seams. Allow the pointe shoes to dry completely before wearing them. Pointe shoe hardener may be purchased at dance shops or may be ordered online.
  • Alternate pointe shoes. Purchase two pairs of pointe shoes at once and alternate wearing them, allowing one pair more time to dry. Giving each pair plenty of time to rest and thoroughly dry will make them last much longer. If you wear pointe shoes that are even slightly damp, the glue will never get a chance to dry completely, causing the shoe to disintegrate much more quickly.

    Because they must mold so closely to the foot, pointe shoes inevitably retain moisture and deteriorate over time. Keeping your pointe shoes dry is the most important thing you can do to make them last longer.