How Alex Schooling of Oklahoma City Ballet Preps Her Pointe Shoes

Alex Schooling, company dancer with Oklahoma City Ballet

What kind of pointe shoes do you currently wear, and how do you customize them?

I’ve been wearing Freed Studio 1’s for a couple of years, and there are a few tweaks that I make to my shoes before wearing them. I always put them on when they are brand new to figure out which shoe belongs on which foot, and if there is anything unique about the shoe that I may need to adjust. 

What is your pointe shoe prep process like?

  1. I darn one row around the edge of the box. I find that it helps the shoes last longer and can give a more stable platform. Sometimes, if you get a wonky box that is tilted in a strange way you can do some extra darning to help even out the platform. 
  2. I take out the top nail on the shank, which helps the shoe mold to my foot. I’ve had the nail come out while I’m dancing, which is not fun, so it’s better to just take it out. 
  3. Sometimes I sew down the sides of the shoes if I feel like the shoe has extra fabric around the heel. I stitch along the sole of the shoe while my foot is pointed to tack down any bagginess. 
  4. I take out the insole of the shoe so it doesn’t roll or bunch up, and then put masking tape over the shank. My theory is that this helps to stop my sweat from disintegrating the shank material. 
  5. Finally, I Jet Glue the box and wings before wearing my shoes, in an effort to expand their lifespan. 
  6. Can’t forget about sewing the ribbons and elastics, but everyone does that!
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