The History of Ballet Pointe Shoes


With their potential to lift a dancer to a superhuman dimension both literally and symbolically, Pointe shoes are the ultimate emblem of a ballerina's ethereality and hard effort. Receiving the first pair of Pointe shoes is a rite of passage for pupils. The shoes have a supernatural quality to them since they're a never-ending source of lore and ritual, with tricks, tips, and stories passed down through the years.

The evolution of Pointe shoes from a finely mended slipper launched in the 1820s to a technical tool that allows dancers maximum mobility onstage today may be seen in the history of Pointe shoes.


The History of Pointe Shoes

The Pointe shoe is the most well-known dance shoe. Ballet dancers that perform en Pointe are those who perform on the tips of their toes. These shoes were created in response to ballet dancers' desire to dance en Pointe for extended periods of time, and to fulfil the need to appear weightless, light-footed, and graceful while jumping and to appear lightweight as if defying gravity.

The history of ballet Pointe shoes began in 1681, nearly twenty years after the order of the establishment of the Académie Royale de Danse by King Louis XIV of France. Heels were originally used in Pointe shoes during this time period. In the mid-eighteenth century, ballerina Marie Camargo of the Paris Opéra Ballet demonstrated the first non-heeled shoe by performing leaps that would have been difficult in traditional heels of that time.


All conventional ballet shoes were devoid of heels after the French Revolution. These flat-bottomed shoes are the forerunners to today's Pointe shoes. Ribbons attached the shoes to the dancers' feet, and pleats under the toes allowed them to leap, pivot, and fully extend their feet.

Charles Didelot invented the forerunner of traditional Pointe shoes in 1795. He devised the "flying machine," which lifted dancers off the ground and allowed them to stand on their toes before leaving. After his innovation, many choreographers started looking for methods to add more Pointe figures into their compositions.


The ambition to dance en Pointe without wires arose in the nineteenth century. Marie Taglioni, the first ballet performer, wore shoes with leather bottoms and darned sides and toes to help the shoes maintain their shape. Dancers generally rely on the strength of their feet and ankles for support because the shoes of the time were uncomfortable.

In the late nineteenth century, a new type of Pointe shoe debuted in Italy. Compared to an earlier type with a sharply pointed toe, this new model had a solid, flat platform at the front end of the shoe. Since they were made without nails and the soles were only stiffened at the toes, Pointe shoes of this era became more silent.


The first contemporary Pointe shoes were created by a Russian ballerina named Anna Pavlova, who inserted unbreakable leather soles into her shoes and hardened and compressed the toe area to form a box in the early twentieth century. Shoes provided additional support to the feet in this way.

Since ballet dancers have different arch flexibility, toe lengths, and foot shapes, manufacturers create different models of ballet shoes or custom ballet shoes. Light pink is the most popular colour for Pointe shoes. Ballet dancers utilise a variety of Pointe shoe styles depending on the performance. A more aggressive style necessitates stiffer Pointe shoes, whilst a more lyrical technique necessitates softer Pointe shoes.


They're produced with the turn shoe method, which involves making shoes inside-out on a last and then turning them right-side-out before completing. Ballerina's feet can be replicated with lasts. To avoid discomfort, ballet dancers must break in their new Pointe shoes.

Demi-pointe shoes are comparable to Pointe shoes, but they lack the firm construction of Pointe shoes and do not have a shank, making them gentler. They are used by Pointe technique beginners to strengthen their ankles and feet. Dori shoes combine the toe box and heel to allow classical ballet and other dance disciplines to be performed.

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