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How to Tie Pointe Shoes


Pointe shoes are a dancer’s most important accessory. Choosing the ones that fit perfectly, deciding what ribbons to use to elongate the look of the foot, even choosing how to break in the shoes – all of these things are vital to a dancer serious about his or her art. One thing that cannot be customized, though, is how to tie pointe shoe ribbons. If done improperly, these ribbons can fall loose, come undone, or even do damage to the achilles tendon.

Step 1: Ribbon Length

Make sure your ribbons are at the proper length for you. You might have to trim the ribbons, but only do this after you decide which shoe is for the right foot and which is for the left.

Step 2: Wrapping the Ribbon

  • Wrap one ribbon over your instep, then wrap it around your ankle.
  • Keep the first ribbon tight (but not too tight) and flat while you wrap the second ribbon in the opposite direction over your instep and around your ankle.
  • Wrap the ribbon around your leg. Make sure it doesn’t go too high or low, as it should sit just above your ankle bone. While you’re wrapping the ribbon around your ankle, keep it snug or else it will come loose.
  • When you are finished wrapping, bring the ribbon ends to the inside of your ankle and tie a knot. Do not tie this knot over the back of your ankle, as you risk damage to your Achilles tendon.

Step 3: Securing the Ribbon

Trim the ends of the ribbons until there is approximately 2 inches of space from the ribbon ends to the knot you just tied. Fold the ends of the ribbons down and tuck them under the rest of the ribbon you just wrapped. Make sure they can’t be seen, and that they won’t come out while you are dancing. If a dancer is performing, they will often times sew the ribbons down so they won’t poke out. Do what you think will work for you.

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