TIL that the New York City Ballet has a shoe budget of $780,000: the dancers go through 500 to 800 pairs of pointe shoes performing The Nutcracker over 6 weeks, and use up even more pairs in 2 weeks performing Swan Lake.

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The thing people don’t realize is pointe shoes are like 1 or 2 time use only. You can find pairs that’ll last you up to 2 weeks maybe but they’re basically disposable and pretty freaking expensive (shitty brands are like $50 a pair at the minimum). Professional dancers might go through 3 pairs per show. It’s not like *some other sports where you can spend $200 on shoes that’ll last you through the season. Source: I danced classical ballet for 9 years until I couldn’t afford it anymore. $100-$150 a week in shoes just isn’t doable for a full-time college student Edit: for those saying you don’t need to replace shoes that often, consider 1. How often you’re dancing and 2. Skill level. When you’re first learning, your ankles and feet aren’t strong enough to fully break in the shank and box so you could maybe go 40+ hours of practice before needing new shoes. In my program we practiced 4-5 hours a day for 4-5 days a week. After 3 years en pointe, we were all going through pairs every other practice. The fact is a lot of dancers simply do not replace their shoes enough. Either they don’t know they have to or they’re trying to save money (been there) but wearing shoes with a worn down shank and looser box is extra damaging to your feet and ultimately damaging to your practice. If you’re still dancing, I’d take a pair into a shop after 2/3 practices and have an expert look at them. You probably need to change them more often than you think. Edit #2: for those of you asking how my feet look today (perverts), I do have a lot of problems with them. My big toes are the worst as they’ve tilted inwards. There’s a good chance I’ll have issues with bunions and bone spurs. Every time I bend them, they make a loud snap noise. My parents used to joke that they could tell I was awake when they heard the sound of cracking on tile. I thought the sound would fade over time but it has not. My second and third toes have hammer toe so finding regular shoes that don’t give me blisters and calluses is a treat. Sometimes I get Charley horses out of the blue that cause my toes to contract on top of each other. I have to pry them apart with my hands. My nail beds are permanently darkened and thick and they give me the worst ingrown toenails. I have to trim my toes every other day to keep them at bay and even still I’m digging one out every other month. And my pinky toes are FUCKED from being broken countless times. It’s something I wish my parents had been more informed of when I started. And keep in mind, I didn’t even dance for all that long. Needless to say, I aim for closed toe shoes most of the time because my feet are NOT sexy Edit #3: okay sorry to the people informing me that other sports actually do change their shoes every game. Didn’t mean to gatekeep.


I’ve heard that physical effort required in dancing one of the lead roles in Swan Lake is the equivalent of running a full marathon. No wonder they go through the ballet shoes!


The alberta ballet sells the dancers’ signed pointe slippers. The proceeds go directly back to the dancer; toward buying new slippers. I have bought a pair from my favourite dancer to show my support. These dancers spend so many hours and dedication to their passion. I have them displayed to remind me about perseverance. These dancers spend so many hours creating an artform for others to enjoy yet get paid a fraction in comparison to athletes and celebrities.


What’s with all the hot takes full of horrible math? Read the article. $780k is the annual budget. They go through 9000-11,000 pairs annually. That’s like $70 a pair. Not cheap for single use by any means but not a grand a pair as some are suggesting.


When these dancers wrap up their career…how do their feet feel? Are they just in pain all of the time?