How to Break in New Pointe Shoes

How to Break in New Pointe Shoes

How to break in pointe shoe with a standard paper or cardboard shank.

This article is for standard paper or cardboard shank pointe shoes.

New flex shanks, thermoplast or split sole shanks should NOT use this technique as they are constructed as already "broke-in"

How do I “break in” my new pointe shoes?

Pointe shoes are elegant, handcrafted creations. They do not need to be hammered, slammed in doors or any other extreme methods of ‘breaking-in’. These methods will only damage your shoes. Pointe shoes are made with special materials that will react to the heat and moisture of your feet and quickly form to them. All that is required is your feet and a little bit of time. Your Pointe shoes may even be scored under the metatarsal area of the shank to help you rise onto pointe easily.

By Hand:

  • Before putting on your shoes to break them in, you can gently work the arch of the shoe to better match the arch of your foot. To do this, place the shoe on your foot then turn the heel piece inside out. Now feel down to your instep and mark it on the inside of the shoe, on the shank. Remove your shoe and use your thumbs to work the part of the shank you marked until it bends softly. Place the shoe back on and it should have a softer bend in it and fit closer to the arch of your foot.
  • You can work in the metatarsal area of your Pointe shoes by placing your thumbs on the inside of the shoe then rolling through demi-pointe against the floor. This will make the shoes easier to break-in when you put them on.

By Exercises:

These can all be done by facing the barre and holding it with both hands for support.

  1. Rise onto and roll down from pointe very slowly on both feet.
  2. Alternate Pony Trots on each foot.
  3. Rise onto pointe and bend both knees forward, applying light pressure to move onto and over the box.
  4. You can perform all of the above exercises in turnout position and repeat until you feel the shoes are softer at the demi-pointe position.
  5. Shoes can be worn around the house, with a sock placed over them for protection. Never go up or down stairs in your pointe shoes.