How should pointe shoes be prepared?

After her teacher has approved the shoes (for beginners), it is time to sew on the pink satin ribbons that secure them to the feet. The teacher will show students how to cross the ribbons across the instep, wrap them around the ankle, and tie them on the inside of the ankle (never on the Achilles tendon at the back of the ankle). Most dancers also sew elastics to their pointe shoes, for added support. Elastics may be sewn in a single length around the ankle from one side of the heel to the other, or in two lengths crisscrossing the instep of the foot from heel to side of shoe.

Properly fit pointe shoes require little or no other preparation. Professional dancers may have elaborate rituals for preparing their shoes, but beginners should never alter their shoes in any way unless their teacher or fitter recommends it. Banging or bending the shoes, or attempting to modify their design, can compromise their structure in potentially dangerous ways. The breaking-in process should be accomplished through exercises in pointe class.