After hours of rehearsals, practice, shows (or if you're especially hard on them) and various other things that dancers do, the pair of pointe shoes that you've got are probably pretty worn out.
Pointe Shoe Fun Fact: A pair of pointe shoes last only about 4-12 hours and should be changed after 30-60 minutes.
And the thing is, they are usually (depending on the type of pair that you (as a ballerina) get can be pretty expensive. Chances are there's even a pile of them somewhere in your house (whether that's in the closet or a "special" pointe shoe basket).
But before you chuck them in the trash, consider maybe trying one (or all) of these next time you want to do something with your pointe shoes, other than just letting them sit.
1. Turn them into DIY gifts
Painting or decorating pointe shoes is so much fun and as a bonus, it makes a great DIY gift for both friends and family (especially those that like ballet or are ballet dancers themselves). Use floral sprays to lay down base colors. Then sew on sequins, ribbons, or pearls for decoration . or anything else you want.
2. Pointe shoe tree
if you have enough pointe shoes from all of your year of dance (or go to a dance studio), pointe shoe Christmas trees are super cool and creative. It can also be a great way to involve other students in the studio.
3. Shadow box
Are you an older ballerina? Do you still have your very first pair of pointe shoes? If you answered yes, a shadow box is a great way to preserve them. Placing shoes in these 3D frames display all their beauty — but with none of the post-rehearsal scents. Maybe you could even put them side by side with your very first pair of ballet shoes. Ambitious ballerinas (who own a lot of shoes) could make murals out of their shadow boxes by placing different pairs of shoes in various positions.
4. You can donate them
One World Running is one of the many that accept ballet shoes that are still in usable condition. The shoes are shipped to the headquarters in Colorado, or taken to a drop-off location. Company founder Michael Sandrock says that One World Running primarily donates athletic shoes to those in need around the world, and he typically sends the dance shoes they receive to Cuba, where they are used at dance schools.
However, if your pointe shoes are not usable anymore. Textile recycling collection bins, such as those that are part of the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association or the World Wear Project, are a good place to drop pointe shoes that are "dead," (what dancers say when they can't be used anymore). Textiles recyclers will recycle unusable clothing and shoes into a variety of items like new clothes, wiping rags, insulation, stuffing, or fabric.
Whatever you decide to do with your dead shoes, remember that the sky is the limit! Get creative, and try to think of more things to do with your dead shoes