Pointe Shoes

Teachers will advise when a student is ready to start using pointe shoes. Many things are taken into consideration to reach this decision including the technical ability of the student and their physical development. The fitting of pointe shoes is a specialist skill and the school always arranges a special session at Arabesque's retail outlet in Westcliff-on-Sea when students are ready to buy their first pair. One of Arabesques' specially-trained staff will be present as well as one of The Weston's ballet teachers. Many people believe there should be "room to grow" but, as with all ballet shoes, this is definitely not the case. Different styles of pointe shoes fit different types of feet and this is why fittings can take a long time and shops have to stock so many makes. Moreover, the requirements change as the body gets used to working on pointe and it may be necessary to change styles over time.

Once the student has been dancing in pointe shoes for a while, they will need to buy further pairs (either as they wear out or the foot changes). Subsequent purchases do not need the teacher present but you are advised to check the new shoes with the teacher before wearing them or attaching ribbons. If a student has problems and needs to change styles, the teacher will accompany the student to another fitting, if this is felt necessary.


Once the pointe shoes have been purchased ribbons have to be attached.

  • Cut 4 pieces of ribbon, approximately 22 inches, each.
  • Find the proper place to attach ribbons by folding down the back of the shoe,so that it touches the sockliner. Use a pencil to draw lines at the creases.
  • Place the back edge of the ribbon against the pencil line. The end of the ribbon should be all the way down by the sockliner. Angle the ribbon so that it is on the diagonal. Don't sew through binding.

image showing where to fold

Sketch showing where to fold


image showing ribbons in place

Sketch showing ribbons in place

If in doubt do check with your teacher - wrongly fitted ribbons can cause considerable problems.

We would like to thank San FrancisCo Dance Expressions for the use of these sketches