How to Tie Pointe Shoes

of 10

Hold Both Ribbons

Hold ribbons. Tracy Wicklund

Although some ballet dancers prefer to dance without them, ribbons add extra support to your ankles. Pointe shoe ribbons should be tied tightly, but never so tight that they restrict movement of your ankles.

Note: Most ballet instructors teach their students to tie their pointe shoes with their feet flat on the floor, slightly flexed, to avoid cutting off circulation upon standing. In the illustrations that follow, however, the foot is held in an upright position for viewing purposes only.

  • Begin by holding both ribbons about halfway along their lengths and out to the sides.
  • Ideally, one ribbon should be slightly longer than the other.
of 10

Wrap Ribbon Around Ankle

Wrap One Ribbon. Tracy Wicklund

Always wrap one ribbon at a time in order to achieve the cleanest line.

  • Grasp the outside ribbon and wrap it over your foot, around the back of your ankle, stopping at the inside of your ankle.
of 10

Slide Ribbon Underneath

Tuck ribbon under. Tracy Wicklund
  • Slide the ribbon underneath itself on the inside of your ankle.
  • Keep the ribbon smooth and tight.
of 10

Wrap Other Ribbon

Grasp other ribbon. Tracy Wicklund
  • Holding the first ribbon tightly, grasp the inside ribbon and wrap it over your foot and around the back of your ankle.
of 10

Continue Wrapping Ribbon

Wrap ribbon. Tracy Wicklund
  • Continue wrapping the ribbon around to the front of your ankle and back around again.
  • Bring the ribbon around to the front to meet the first ribbon at the inside of your ankle.
of 10

Tie Ribbons Together

Tie ribbons. Tracy Wicklund
  • Tie the ribbons in a double-knot.
  • The knot should be tied just between your ankle bone and your Achilles tendon, never directly on the tendon itself.
  • Never tie the ribbons in a bow!
of 10

Secure the Double Knot

Double knot ribbons. Tracy Wicklund
  • Tighten the double-knot.
  • Make sure the knot in the ribbons is secure.
of 10

Tuck in Loose Ends

Tuck ribbons. Tracy Wicklund
  • Tuck in the knot and loose ends of the ribbons.
  • Make sure the knot does not show.
  • If the knot forms a visible bulge, trim the ribbons a little shorter.
of 10

Neat and Tidy Ribbons

Pointe shoe from side. Tracy Wicklund

Neat and tidy ribbons help accentuate the clean line of the leg and foot.

of 10

Practice Makes Perfect

Pointe shoe from front. Tracy Wicklund

It may take a few times to feel comfortable tying the ribbons on your pointe shoes. If the ribbons don't cross directly in the middle of your ankle, as above, untie the ribbons and try again. With a little practice, you'll be tying your ribbons perfectly every time.