History of Pointe Shoes

Ballet shoes have been in constant evolution since the first ballerinas removed the heels from their dancing shoes in the 1700s, to better articulate their feet in jumps. Later, to promote an ideal of unreal lightness for ballerinas, some were suspended on wires to allow them to skim the floor on their toes or rise into the air. In the early 1800s, dancers began rising to their toes on their own. Maria Taglioni is known as the first ballerina to dance a full-length ballet on pointe (La Sylphide in 1832). But Taglioni’s shoes were nothing like the pointe shoes of the 21st century. The first pointe shoes were simply flat slippers, lightly reinforced by the dancer; Taglioni’s only support was darning around the toes. With such light support, the earliest pointe work consisted merely of brief rises to pointe. Over the course of two centuries, ballet technique and the technique of shoemakers developed hand-in-hand, producing the more supportive shoes we know today.

The perfect pointe shoe should provide support while allowing articulation of the foot, elevate the beauty of the foot rather than detract from it, and allow the dancer to develop and use her own strength rather than be propped up in a stiff shoe. Pain and deformity, once considered inevitable companions to pointe dancing, should be prevented through the design and materials of the pointe shoe. Finally, each dancer should wear pointe shoes that are suited to her unique foot shape and technical needs.

Russian Pointe crafts every shoe with these ideals in mind. The most beautiful pointe shoes of the 21st century, Russian Pointes are light and delicate in appearance, and brilliantly engineered to be supportive, formfitting, comfortable and long-lasting. They include only the natural materials that best protect feet, allowing airflow, molding to the foot and softening gradually. With an array of options to provide each dancer with a custom fit, and constantly evolving to serve today’s dancers, Russian Pointe represents the best in modern pointe shoe design.