How To Tie Pointe Shoe Ribbons? A Guide For Beginners

Shoe ribbons not only keep the foot attached to the shoe but also provide support for your foot and ankle. Therefore, you should know how to tie pointe shoes’ ribbons correctly to wear the shoes longer and minimize the risk of injury. 

2 Types Of Ribbons You Should Notice

There are 2 common types of ribbons – satin ribbons and elastic ribbons. 

Standard satin ribbons give better ankle support but can cause pain in dancers’ Achilles tendons. On the other hand, elastic ribbons are a relatively new product. They are softer and give more support if they are tied correctly. 

You can choose to use either satin or elastic ribbon as your personal preference.

Two Ribbons Vs One Long Looped Ribbon

You can choose two short ribbons or one long ribbon as your personal preference. 

If you have just started with ballet dancing, you should use the two-ribbon type until you get a good feel for your pointe shoes, how long the ribbons should be, and how to tie them correctly. Then, you can switch to one long looped ribbon. 

Step-by-step Guide On How To Tie Pointe Shoes 

How to tie pointe shoes depends on the type of ribbon your choose. For two ribbons, you can start either from the outside or inside your pointe shoes. For the one-loop ribbon type, you can sew infinite-loop ribbons.  

Tie Pointe Shoes With Two Ribbons

If you have to cut ribbons to make them fit your feet in the break-in period, you should melt their ends with a lighter to prevent them from fraying. 

Start from the outside ribbon

  • Step 1: Wear the pointe shoes on your feet to start tying your pointe shoes. Start wrapping a ribbon by pulling it slightly and firmly above your ankle bone.
  • Step 2: Wrap it around the back to the other side of your foot, but not too high, around your ankle. 
  • Step 3: Thread the ribbon slightly through the top ribbon that you have just wrapped. Place the knot underneath the top ribbon to keep it secure.
  • Step 4: Continue with the other ribbon to make a cross in front of your foot. Pull it around the other side of your foot. 
  • Step 5: Loop the ribbon two times around your ankle and let it meet your first ribbon.
  • Step 6: Create two ties to make a small knot. Hide the knot underneath the two ribbons. The knot should be placed in a soft place between your ankle bone and your protrusion, and in front of your Achilles tendon. 

For satin ribbons, after making a knot, fold and roll the ribbons and tuck them under the ribbons around your ankle.  

Start from the inside ribbon

  • Step 1: Take a ribbon from the inside of your shoes and wrap it 1.5 times around your ankle.
  • Step 2: Take the other ribbon, and wrap it 1.5 times around your ankle, overlapping the first one.
  • Step 3: Make a knot, then tuck it underneath the two ribbons. The knot should be in a soft spot between your ankle bone and your Achilles tendon so that when you slide your feet up and down, your legs can’t hit the knot. 

Check more: How To Sew Pointe Shoes?

Tie Pointe Shoes With One Long Looped Ribbon

  • Step 1: Keep the ribbon untangled and untwisted, and separated from the elastic band. Crisscross the ribbon on the top of your shoe. 
  • Step 2: Turn the shoe over and make a second crisscross underneath the shoe.
  • Step 3: Bring the big loop that you have created on the top of your shoe. Stop here if you aren’t about to wear your shoes.
  • Step 4: Wear your toe pad on. Then, slide your feet into the shoes, under all elastic and ribbons. You don’t have to pull the elastic ribbons into place at this step.
  • Step 5: Pull the ribbons up over your heel, and keep them untwisted and straight. 
  • Step 6: The ribbons should be comfortable, untangled, and flat around your ankle. Plus, your feet should be stretched and flexed. After taking off the shoes, you should store them in a breathable bag to maintain a constant fresh air flow.  

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Some Useful Tips

  • The ribbon knot should be placed between your Achilles tendon and your ankle bone so that it can’t rub your skin. 
  • You should make a square or flat knot to prevent it from being undone. 
  • You can secure the satin knot by sewing it with several stitches. Or, you can switch to elastic ribbons for better comfort. 
  • Get your elastic and ribbon in large spools for a cheaper price. Or, you can ask your studio manager to sell the remaining spool, or share it with your dancer friend.
  • You can reuse the old ribbon on your new shoes, but not your elastic band as it can be stretched out with wear.  
  • If your heel falls off when dancing, you can try some tips:
    • Move the elastic band to a more supportive spot.
    • Pull your heel in the bottom of your tights, where your shoe’s end can touch your skin, not your tights. 
    • Scrap rosin on your shoe’s end.
    • Choose new shoes with longer heels.   

Final Words

Knowing how to tie your pointe shoes is a key skill that every dancer should know to make the shoes well-supported and tight when making steady movements. 

If you are a starter, you can start tying ribbons from the outside or inside the shoes. Yet, you can switch to tying the long looped elastic ribbon to save time for wearing shoes on/off. 

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