Why Are My Pointe Shoes Dying So Fast?
How long should pointe shoes last? If you do an hour of pointe work per week, one pair should last you two to three months. But what if your shoes are getting soft faster than that? Why is it happening? Here are some possible reasons why your shoes are "dead" too soon, and what to do about them.
Breaking in - if your shoes get too soft the first time you wear them, you may be breaking them in too much. The correct method is described in these videos. If you were doing anything different, then you've found the reason why your shoes weren't lasting!
Sweaty feet - Shoes are made of paste, and sweat softens paste. Never wear pointe shoes with bare feet - always wear tights or cotton liners (if your feet are bare, the sweat has nowhere to go but into the shoe!). If you wear toe pads, use gel ones (which form a barrier between your foot and the shoe) not foam ones (which absorb and hold the moisture against the box). If your class is longer than an hour, bring a spare pair of shoes and change into them half-way through.
Carrying and Storage - Never put your shoes in your dance bag after class. Just twenty minutes in an enclosed bag can destroy a pair of pointes, because the moisture can't escape. Pointe shoes need to breathe - get a mesh bag. Even then, take them out of the bag as soon as you get home and let them air dry.
Drying Time - It's vital that your pointe shoes have enough time to dry out totally before you wear them again, and that means at least 24 hours and preferably longer. If you're doing two classes a week, then buy two pairs of shoes and alternate them, so each pair gets a chance to dry properly before the next class. If you have three classes a week, it's worth buying three pairs. I know it sounds expensive to buy three pairs of shoes at once, but then each pair will last more than three times as long - so in the long run, you will save money!
Remove all your padding from the shoes as soon as you take them off, don't put them in an enclosed bag, and put them in an open, airy place to dry when you get home.
Glue - If your shoes use a B paste like the Bloch Synergy, you must use glue or shellac to "set" the box after breaking them in, or they'll soften again every time you wear them. However, if you're a shoe destroyer, then you should be using glue even on ordinary shoes. The most popular option is Jet Glue, but the new Satellite City glue is getting a lot of good press.
Never apply glue to brand new shoes, because you'll never be able to break them in! The time to apply it is after your first class. It takes practice to apply properly, so try it out on a pair of "dead" shoes first. If you have some "semi-dead" shoes, it may even be enough to revive them.