In our "Dear Katie" series, Miami City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email email@example.com for a chance to be featured!
I recently learned how to cut my pointe shoe shanks, and I love the way three-quartered shanks make my feet look and feel. But altering the shank also makes my shoes die really quickly, and I can't afford a new pair every few days. What should I do?
Welcome to the eternal struggle: How can I get pretty-looking pointe shoes that don't die immediately? The answer is different for every dancer, so be prepared to do some experimenting.
I'd suggest adding Jet glue to the inside of the shank area, which will give you a bit of extra support after you three-quarter the shanks. Or, you could try my preferred alternative to three-quartering: Take the middle nail out of the shank. That allows the shoe to break in the right place without removing any of the shank itself. Just pop the nail away from the shoe with a screwdriver and wiggle it out. (You might want to have a teacher or another adult help you the first few times.)
If, after that, your shoes are still dying too quickly, try gluing the inside of the box. Often dancers will sit into their shanks if their boxes aren't supportive enough. A harder box will keep you from sitting back into the shoe, making each pair last longer.
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