One of the biggest problems I see, is dancers who wear their pointe shoes for far too long. If you are dancing en pointe everyday, then you need to own more than one pair of shoes. These dancers should have the minimum of 3-4 pairs on the go at the same time, changing them after between 45mins and an hours work. If your feet perspire a great deal, then again have a number of pairs on the go.
A pointe shoe will last you longer if they are changed, and dried thoroughly for minimum 24 hours before re using. The average life span of a pair of shoes is actually only 4-12 hours of work, that of course does depend on the type of class you are taking. The other important factor to remember is, if you find you are breaking pointe shoes very quickly, talk to your fitter about the differing shank strengths, or models of shoes that are available to you. Most dancers seem to want to buy the easiest to break in pointe shoe, then are surprised when the shoe does not last them well. The more flexible shoe is perfect for exams, auditions or a stage performance, but they are not at all suited to the rigours of a regular pointe class. If you have difficulty in breaking in a harder shanked shoe, then just talk to your fitter about having the demi pointe roll through changed for you, that way you can have a softer roll through made in a stronger shanked shoe.
When you are first fitted in a shoe, you will be given a regular med shanked shoe, this shoe should be your guide line as to what works and does not work for you.
Grishko pointe shoes are one of the most adaptable shoes on the market, all those little problems can be sorted by having a pair custom made for you at very little cost. But do remember, that this will take 6-8 weeks, so please make sure you have allowed enough time when placing an order. Not enough dancers use this service, instead discarding a shoe as unsuitable for them, when just a little change could make them perfect.
When a dancer is using just one pair of shoes and it's coming up to an exam or performance you are taking a big chance that the shoe could break, if you always work with the minimum of two pairs, then you know that if any problem suddenly occurs, you always have another pair to wear, please do not put at risk all that hard work for your important exam, an audition or performance due to a broken shoes. It is up to you to take notice of your shoes, you are the only one who knows what is happening or what you are feeling. If you feel a shoe is about to die, please don’t cross your fingers and hope that they will just get you through an exam etc., because sadly more often than not, they won’t.
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, falling off pointe when you try to balance, or you may be 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 just use the shank as a guide to when a pair of shoes needs to be replaced, importantly forgetting that the box should be checked also. A box that feels immediately too soft once put on, are at the end of their life. The box is needed to support all those toe joints, if the box becomes too soft, there will be no support. It is EXTREMELY important that the box offers you complete support. If you find your shoes are wearing out frequently, it could also be that you may be putting too much of your weight on the box. Try to use your own core muscles for the support you need and pull up and out of the shoe.