Do You Really Feel The Effects Of Darning Your Pointe Shoes?

To darn or not to darn, that is the question. I started darning my pointe shoes back in 2012. (I think) I never, ever darned my shoes while I was at school. I trained at the School of American Ballet in New York City where it is an extremely uncommon thing to do. It never even crossed my mind.

Once I was in Denmark for a few years, I became curious about one of our principal ballerinas that always darned her shoes. I asked her all the questions that you are probably asking yourself right now.

Does it really help?
-Does it make your shoes last longer?
-Is it true that it can help your balance?
-How long does it really take?

Is it really worth the effort?

She swore by it for herself and told me to just try it out. I tried it and never stopped. Now, I hate wearing a pair of pointe shoes that haven’t been darned.

Here are my answers to the questions above. I hope it helps you!

Does it really help?
Yes! I can feel so much more in my shoe. The darning makes it so it is more difficult to roll over the front of my pointe shoes. Meaning, that I can now feel where the end of the platform is on my shoe when I stand on pointe. I can easily feel when to hold back or maintain my position.

Does it make your shoes last longer?
Yes! It eliminates the possibility of your shoes going soft at the tip/ top part of the shoe towards the vamp. TIP: I add HotStuff or JetGlue to the top part of my darning. The glue keeps the thread from falling down. See below.

HotStuff/ JetGlue

Is it true it can help your balance?
Yes! Because you can feel more in your shoes, it allows you to feel the entire platform that you are standing on. You will learn to know exactly where to balance.

How long does it really take?
If I am fully concentrated and I have all my supplies, I can do both shoes in 45 minutes. Realistically, I’m darning my shoes while I watch something on TV. 🙂 That easily adds an additional 15 minutes. I say, it takes 1 hour per pair of pointe shoes.

Would you really say it’s worth the effort?
Yes! I really like it. The best combination is soft and darned shoes, in my opinion. That is ballerina heaven for me. I wouldn’t make the darning too big even though it can be tempting. Stay away from “bigger is better.” If the darning becomes too large it can be very noticeable from stage and not the most elegant.

Confession: Sometimes, I wish that I had never started because it is a big, time consuming effort. It is very, very possible to dance wonderfully without it.

WARNING: Darning is like the Pringles saying, “Once you pop, the fun don’t stop.” Except it would go, “Once you darn, you just can’t stop.”



  1. Solveig

    Just the post I needed today!❤️ I have been dancing ballet as a kid, and have recently started again (I am 19 years old). I have always been a bit afraid of going on pointe, since I dont feel like my feet are “good” and strong enough. But today, I took a pointe/pre-pointe class at my studio, and I asked my teacher, if she thinks I am ready to go on pointe – and she said “you can easily do that!”. So now I am planning on buying my first pair next week! But would you recommend a beginner to start darning their pointe shoes? If yes, how do you do it and what do you need? No one at my current balletschool does it, so I am a bit confused (well, I am just confused when it comes to pointe shoes and how to “prep” them in general). Love from Solveig❤️

    PS, Thanks for a lovely Etudes Workshop in February!✨

    1. Post

      Hi Solveig!
      Huge Congratulations on starting up pointe! Very exciting! And I’m so happy to hear that you’ve re-discovered dance for yourself! *love* I think that when you get your beautiful pointe shoes, you should take a few classes before darning them to see how they feel first. For instance, if it is hard to get over on the toe then I wouldn’t recommend darning yet. IF you feel like you go too far over the toe then yes, I’d recommend darning right away. But there are lots of things that we can do to help break in the shoes before we add darning. I’ll get started on writing a blog post on how I break in my pointe shoes… then I would recommend to try a few of those tricks and if you are still curious about darning, I’d be happy to show you as well. 🙂
      Thank you so much for attending the Etudes Workshop! I hope to see you soon!

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