Awww the beautiful, little slipper that ballerinas wear. Think again! Pointe shoes, from afar look silky, smooth, and light. Up close, knock on the box and many people would guess that they must have metal inside of them. Ouch!
The outisde of the pointe shoe is made from satin, making a feminine, ballerina look. The box, (where the ballerina stands on her toes) is made up of densely packed layers of fabric with cardboard or paper, and lots of glue. The shank, (the inside part of the shoe, running along the bottom part of the dancers foot vertically giving support) is typically made out of layers of cardboard. The shank can be custom ordered and replaced with leather (my personal favorite), plastic, cardstock or even layers of hardened burlap with glue. The sole of the shoe (the backside of the pointe shoe) is made out of a thin layer of leather.
Satin, cardboard, leather, and glue is all there is to make up the shoes that allow ballerinas to create that infamous illusion of whimsical beauty.