Our passion! A complex, important, and exciting issue! We are delighted to use Russian Class shoes in our courses.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. How old should you be to start Pointe?

    Really, there is no absolute answer for what age – what is important is that every dancer is individually assessed and considered, looking at both her physical dance ability and maturity. Yes, age is important in that you need to be mentally mature enough...

    See this IADMS resource paper for more.

  2. Why do you need intrinsic foot muscle strength?

    When the foot is in the Pointe shoe, correctly pointed (long straight toes) and correctly supported in the shoe, it is the intrinsic foot muscles that do all the work, supporting most of the body weight. When a shoe is too big, and the toes are all scrumpled...

    There are many excellent resources for good exercises - some of the below links may be helpful:

  3. Why are demi-Pointe shoes essential in preparing for pointe?

    We were not anatomically designed to stand on our toes in pointe shoes, yet most people, when they think of ballet, imagine a dancer on pointe, and so it is every girl’s dream to reach that stage whether a hobby dancer or not. Teachers, therefore, often feel...

    R-Class makes a super range of soft blocks/ demi’s/ exam shoes- the best seller being the RC31 Exam. We have noticed a big difference in girls who wear demi-Pointes first- ask your teacher if you can progress to them.

  4. Why do you need excellent core muscles and good turnout?

    When you dance on pointe you not only rely on the shoe for support, but also to dance 'out' of the shoe needing huge strength in your legs, hips, and abdominal muscles...

  5. Why do R-Class Pointes need to be fitted so snugly?

    R-Class Pointes are designed to support the whole foot, encasing and gripping the metatarsal heads into the box. When a Pointe fits correctly, the shank of the shoe melts into the arch, supporting the rest of the foot...

  6. Why is the shape of the pointe shoe and vamp height important?

    Pointe shoes, in our opinion, should be considered an extension of a dancer’s foot, so when buying a pointe shoe you firstly need to look at the shape of your foot, then look at the available Pointes to see which shoe matches your foot shape and start there...

  7. Sewing on Pointe Shoe Ribbons

    Everyone has their own way of sewing on ribbons but we believe this method is one of the most secure, and really helps the shoe and foot work together, with the heel piece securely attached...

    Our passion! A complex, important, and exciting issue! We are delighted to use Russian Class shoes in our courses.


  8. Breaking in Pointe Shoes

    Each R-Class pointe shoe is beautifully handcrafted. Please do not hammer, shut them indoors, bend them over the barre, bend them with your hands, or anything else that will damage them. This can make them unsafe. R-Class will not replace any shoes that have been tampered with in this way. If one part of a shoe is compromised through ‘breaking’ or bashing, other parts are put under too much strain and will break!

    The best way is on your feet, when all the parts of the shoe are supported together. Pointe shoes should be prepared correctly before dancing in them. Treat them with respect and they will serve you well. Don’t do any breaking in unless your teacher is happy with your shoes or has such a rapport with your local fitter that she is usually happy with the fitting.

    Face the barre, with two hands on the barre for support.

    1. Rise onto pointe, then roll down, very slowly, on both feet.
    2. Pony trots, alternating feet.
    3. Rise onto pointe, bend both knees forwards and push over on to, and right over the box.
    4. Repeat, but on alternate feet.
    5. Repeat steps 1 to 4 in turnout position.

    (Repeat until you find the shoes softening at the demi-pointe break)

    You can also wear your new shoes around the house with a pair of socks over them (never go up and down stairs), or even sleep in them!

    Lisa Howell has a good way of getting the shoe to start breaking in the right place- do it VERY VERY GENTLY !! (see video link here)

    Breaking in pointe shoes- Lisa Howell

    NB: The DreamPointe shoe requires no breaking in and should not be manhandled as the plastic shank will snap. It is already ‘bendy’

  9. Caring for Pointe shoes

    Your new R-Class Pointe shoes are durable, but you do have to look after them!

    Always make sure your shoe fits you properly- a shoe that doesn’t fit well will not last as the pressures on the different parts of the shoe are unbalanced.

    Break your shoes in carefully according to the suggestions above.

    After you have worn your shoes for the first time, mark them Left and Right.

    Each day, after class, pop your feet back into your shoes to get their shape back, take out any padding you may have used, and then hang them up to dry thoroughly.

    If you do several classes a week, do buy 2 pairs at a time so you can rotate them and let them dry. If the box is danced on when wet, it will break down and more stress will be put on the shank causing it to break early.

  10. When is a shoe dead?

    If you are dancing en Pointe daily, then you need to own more than one pair of shoes. These dancers should have a minimum of 3 pairs on the go at the same time, changing them after 45-60 mins of work. If your feet perspire heavily, change them after 30 mins of work. Pointe shoes will last longer if they are changed, drying out thoroughly for a MINIMUM of 24 hours before reusing. (take any padding out!) The average lifespan of a pair of shoes is actually only 4-12 hours of work; of course, that depends on the type of classes you are taking and the level of pointe work you are studying. When Pointe shoes have reached the end of their life, injuries can occur. An experienced dancer will know when her shoe is worn out, but if you are new to Pointe work, then please ask your teacher for advice.

    Pointe shoes usually need to be replaced when:

    • either the platform is no longer stiff,
    • the toe box has become too soft,
    • or the shank no longer offers you the support you are used to.

    You need to be aware enough to notice these things. You may:

    • start feeling pain in areas you never felt before,
    • find you are no longer able to push right over the box,
    • be falling off pointe when you try to balance, or
    • find yourself falling forwards out of turns.

    If the toe box or shank becomes mushy, soft, cracked, or damaged in any way, it is definitely time for a new pair of shoes. A lot of dancers only use the shank as a guide to when a pair of shoes needs to be replaced, but the box is essential too for support of all those toe joints.

    Never dance in shoes that have become too soft as the shoe could collapse

    NB- when wearing the DreamPointe:- Once the box has lost its support, you should stop wearing the shoes (you should for any style of shoes) but in the DreamPointe, this is more important, as without the support from the box, the shank of the shoe may ‘snap’ suddenly.

  11. Why should I not buy Pointe shoes on the internet?

    In order to find the right pair of pointe shoes for you, a good pointe shoe fitter will try on at least 2 shapes and probably 5-6 pairs of shoes (sometimes more) to get the right fit. A good pointe shoe fitting can take over an hour. A first fitting usually takes the longest as girls don’t usually know how the shoe should feel. (You should not be able to slip a pair of R-Class Pointe shoes on like slippers- they should feel like second skin, really snug and supportive, and sometimes it takes a lot of trial and error to achieve this.

    Once you have had your first pair of Pointes fitted, don’t assume you can just order the same shoe again.

  12. What happens if my feet are different sizes?
    Your fitter will always try and get you fitted in one pair of shoes, and there are devices by Tendu called inlays (see photo below) which can change the size of a shoe by 1/4. See this link for how to insert

  13. What do I do if I am vegan?
    Some ballet shoe manufacturers can make vegan ballet slippers and some vegan pointe shoes for vegan customers. At present we do not have access to a steady supply but watch this space!

    Vegan shoes and slippers are special order items, so you will have to be prepared to wait 6-10 weeks for them. Visit your local stockist for a fitting and they can then order them in for you. They will ask you for a deposit, and of course being special order, these items are non returnable. If they are not prepared to do this, please get in touch with us.

  14. What if my local R- Class stockist does not stock an item that I want?
    All of our UK R- Class stockists have access to any item made by R-Class in Russia- they can order them from us. If it is a stock item of ours it will be dispatched in a day or 2, but if we need to order it in from Russia, it may take 6-10 weeks. If you have any problems, do get in touch with us, but your local stockist is usually very happy to help!

  15. How do I get hold of coloured pointe shoes?
    At the moment we don't have access to alternative coloured Pointe shoes other than standard pink- it is something we will work on. When we do have access to them, Coloured pointe shoes will always be a special order item . You may need to wait 6-10 weeks. You will need to have a fitting regular shoes first and then order the colour you want from us.

  16. How is it possible for my feet to fit equally into several different widths of shoes?
    One of the things we have noticed with a foot that does not have good intrinsic muscle bulk under the metatarsals, is that the foot is very ‘squishable’. i. e, one can squeeze a seemingly wide foot into a narrow shoe because it does not have enough muscle bulk to hold it firm. This is of course potentially risky as you could land up in a shoe that is too narrow without knowing! This is another reason why you must work really hard to strengthen your intrinsic foot muscles. We fitters want to feel a good solid mass underneath the metatarsal area when your foot is pointed. It should not feel like we are pushing our thumbs into marshmallows.

  17. How do I attach Suede Tips?- see video here
    As a quicker alternative to darning your pointe shoes, Tendu offers Suede patches to attach on to the platform. Take the round part of the suede tip, and place it over the platform edge, so that the edges around the top part of the circle/ platform are smooth and flush with each other. Then fold the 'extra, overhang' part with the logo on it down towards the sole of the shoe. Depending on the size of the shoe, this may overlap the front part of the sole. If so, trim the suede patch so that it sits flat next to the front of the ballet shoe sole. (don't worry if you have to trim some of the logo off!) Then use a strong adhesive suitable for fabric / leather such a High tack or UHU strong adhesive, to glue the patch to the platform and underneath . Do check your patches before each use of your shoe- you would not want them coming off while you are dancing!

    At last- I made a video.

  18. What about padding in Pointe shoes?
    A well fitted R- Class shoe should not need or have space for much padding at all.

    See this video for more info.

Photos & Videos

We have made a few to help you with Pointe shoe fitting

How to sew pointe shoe ribbon securely


Demi-Pointe shoes to prepare for Pointe

How to handle feet of different sizes?

All about padding in Pointe shoes