Also, for The Adult Beginner’s shoes
I really love how dirty your (ballet) shoes look!
Dying, dirty shoes are so much prettier than new ones. New ones have potential, but what you do with them, how they get worn out and how you repair them, defines them. New shoes are like schrodinger’s cat, stuck forever being neither alive nor dead but both at the same time, and when you wear them you choose one, define their fate.
And that’s beautiful.
Okay, time to tone down the Philosopolly and go to class. Watch, now that I’ve talked about how pretty worn out shoes are, my job today is going to be 4 hours of wearing down shoes with a box grater…such is life.
Here is my fave method of distressing shoes for theater:
“hey you! First-year lighting-design student fulfilling your required costume hours! Yeah you! Put these boots on, go outside, and run back and forth across that field twenty times! If you could trip a few times that’s fine too. Don’t fall though, you’ll need your hands later.”
Looks made of love and sweat. A great “patina” for our favourite ones, right?
Shoot, they’re just starting to get good.
Of course, my idea of “really good” involves at least two pairs of strategically-placed duct tape!
If you truly want the ballerina-grunge, “I’m in class all the time” look, deshank your old pointe shoes when they die, take the ribbons off, and wear them as slippers for technique class. When the pointe shoes are good and dead (or when the shank breaks on its own,) peel back the sock liner, remove the tack, and dig out the thing that looks like a popsicle stick. The ex pointe shoe should now have only slightly more support than a technique slipper.
Take the ribbons off by carefully snipping out the stitching, wash them, and plaster them against the side of the refrigerator to air-dry. You can get a pair of ribbons to last you about three or four pairs of shoes. Voila–@ approximately $3.50 a set of ribbons, you have now saved yourself ten bucks.
Warning, do not attempt this with Gaynor Mindens. You will just destroy the shoe totally. You will be left with some satin rag, something that looks like a salad dressing ladle, and assorted pieces of what looks like varying densities of sponge rubber.
Depending on how fast you go through pointe shoes, compare that with what you now spend for slippers. Add the amount that you saved on slippers to your savings.
Second warning, do not attempt to go all the way up on a pair of deshanked pointe shoes. They are now just technique slippers with the remnants of a box. They will not support you for more than a couple of seconds.
I regularly deshank old shoes, and haven’t bought technique slippers in about three years.
I totally look forward to the day when I actually kill a pair of pointes, so I can do this to them.
Your slippers are beautiful!
Thanks for the tipps odile! First I had to find out what you mean by deshanking (I’m German) but I got it and it’s such a cool idea!
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