How can I reuse or recycle ballet shoes and pointe shoes?

En pointe shoesWe’ve had an email from Flannery, saying:

i would like to suggest : pointe shoes.
i have ten trillion old ones and they’re just hanging around

We’ve already covered shoes in general, Crocs and high-heeled shoes – so there maybe some suggests that’ll apply to these shoes too.

Flannery’s “ten trillion” of them suggests they’ve been worn as much as they can/should be so giving them to, say, beginners or other dancers might not be an option. I suspect like with high-heels and other “pretty” shoes though, they might lend themselves to crafts, especially if they’re “shabby chic” slightly scruffy rather than completely trashed. A display like the one in the picture might be a wonderful decoration for a dancer, former dancer or ballet-fan’s house.

Any particular suggestions or other ideas?

(Photo by crisderaud)

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94 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle ballet shoes and pointe shoes?”


  1. Lynsey says:

    Could you use them to store things in? The ribbon lends itself to hanging up somewhere and perhaps you could store little bits and bobs in them. The other thing that sprung to mind was hanging baskets – not that you’d get much in them but they might look pretty!

  2. Agata says:

    Oooh,where do you live?I would totally take them if it’s not far away from my place ^^ PLZ respond!

  3. Devona says:

    If you stuff the toe into the heel of the next shoe over and over again, then you can glue them into a ring. Then the ribbons hanging down would make an awesome way to attach mobile items, like butterflies or snowflakes or something girlie.

    If you’d rather, you can remove the ribbons from the shoes and tie them into a large loopy bow and attach them in one corner and hang the ring of slippers up on a wall as a wreath. I love the pastel, shiny fabric. It would make an adorable decoration in a child’s room or dining room.

  4. Peg says:

    When my son was in Cub Scouts, he made a beautiful decoration from discarded high heeled shoes. The surface of the shoe was cleaned of all dust and grease. Dried pasta of various shapes were glued to the entire shoe. When the glue was dry, the whole shoe and pasta were spray painted gold. The one I received had a bit of florest’s clay in the heel with a few artificial flowers stuck in the clay.
    Regards, Peg

  5. Angie says:

    Take all of them to the nearest visual arts school. Artists love to create still life scenes, and these WILL be scooped up. Too bad I live in the U.S. or I’d scoop a few pair for myself!

  6. vikki says:

    Hey I will be happy to pay for shipping and handling if you can mail them all to me. I am a visual and performing artist, and I do ballet myself, but as far as one pointe shoes, I would love to make some sculptures or lamps out of them, please let me know if this is at all possibly I would GREATLY APPRECIATE this if you can do so THANKS

    VIKKI

  7. Anonymous says:

    They make very good house slippers once deshanked (the hard board inside ripped out). Just make sure you remove all the nails / pins.

    They can also be used as demipointes or died to make costume shoes for dress ups.

    • tutu60 says:

      Yes, that’s exactly what I did with a worn out pair of glisse’s-I took out the shanks, soaked them in water to really soften the paste, and now I have house slippers.

  8. Elise says:

    The absolute best thing to do is to give them to ballet companies who can’t afford the cost of new pointe shoes. The Ballet Nacional De Cuba for instance. Hope that helps. On my own blog shortly I’ll be doing just this, along with all the other things the dancers need but can’t get hold of, so you might want to follow me – and please do encourage others to do the same if they have shoes to spare !!! Thankyou for sharing your lovely blog and have a great week… best wishes

    • Lydia says:

      I find that my old toe shoes are too worn, soft, or stinky to be worn by serious dancers….

    • Donna G. says:

      What is the address for Nacional De Cuba? I also have a bunch of my daughters pointe shoes I would like to get rid of.

      • Ellen says:

        This is a GREAT idea! Found their website at: http://www.balletcuba.cult.cu/

        Probably a good idea to contact them first to find out what they will or won’t accept.

        I am still looking for pointe shoes, per my post below. Not only am I still working on my photography project (and many thanks to those of you who have donated shoes for it!), but have just discovered the wonderful world of napkin technique decoupage, and can’t wait to try it! (There’s a great post about it on the crafts board of dance.net.) Would greatly appreciate donation of any shoes too old and beat to be of use to dancers any more, and will gladly pay shipping.

        Many thanks,
        Ellen
        nectarine.ecrater.com
        nectarine.ecrater@gmail.com

    • Ellen says:

      Hope I’m not posting this twice, but it looks like my first reply didn’t go up. The NBC website it http://www.balletcuba.cult.cu/, and I’m sure you can contact them through it to find out what they do and do not accept in the way of donated shoes. I wouldn’t just send them shoes without finding out first.

      For anybody looking to get rid of shoes that are no longer useful for dancing, I am still working on my photography project (per my post below), and from the quality of the results I’m getting, I still have a long way to go! (Anybody interested can see some of my initial attempts, along with some of my other work, at:
      http://nectarine.ecrater.com/c/720782/ny-photo-note-cards.) Many thanks to everybody who donated shoes – you’re terrific!

      I have also just discovered the wonderful world of Tissue Technique decoupage done on pointes, and am really eager to try it (plus it’s a great use for the pointes once I’m done photographing them!). Again, if anybody would be willing to donate, I’d gladly pay shipping! Many thanks,
      Ellen
      nectarine.ecrater@gmail.com

  9. mx says:

    what if the ballet shoes still can be used can you try to fix them or not ?

  10. Jennifer Flynn says:

    I am looking for a pair of used point shoes-jennimedic@aol.com
    would pay you plus shipping -thanks!!!!

  11. George cZ says:

    Hello – Perhaps I am to late? I reside in Ga and would be happy to pick up several pairs of old pointe shoes. I have been trying to collect as many pairs as I can for a project that I am working on with our local ballet company. (old, ratty, moldy, single shoe – it don’t matter) This would be wonderful – would you please contact me? Sincerely George cZ

  12. George cZ says:

    Hello – Perhaps I am to late? I reside in Ga and would be happy to pick up several pairs of old pointe shoes. I have been trying to collect as many pairs as I can for a project that I am working on with our local ballet company. (old, ratty, moldy, single shoe – it don’t matter) This would be wonderful – would you please contact me? Sincerely George cZ – czar1259@netscape.net

  13. Luisa says:

    I am looking for about 20 pairs of used ballet pointe shoes to be used in an art project and photographs. I would be more than willing to have them shipped to me. I live in Toronto, Ontario in Canada. If anyone has any or suggestions as to where to get them I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance, Luisa

    • michelle says:

      i have a whole box of old pointe shoes (at least 20 pairs) that i’d like to get rid of ASAP. some are barely worn or new, but i wore most of them. please let me know if you’d like them. i live in NY, but the shoes are in IL. i think they are the equivalent of a US size 8. i would love to not just throw them in the trash and i don’t know if they’ll take them at donation centers.
      thanks.

      • Elaine Woman says:

        Hi Michelle,
        I would love them. I’m in Missouri. Please let me know ASAP. Thanks, Elaine

      • Shae says:

        Hello! i am probably too late. but, I was wondering…do you still anymore of your ballet shoes? I would love to have one because I will be taking ballet in the fall.

      • lauren phillips says:

        My name is Lauren Phillips. If you still have old pointe shoes that you are going to throw out. I was wondering if you could send them my way. I am doing an installation for Northwestern College.
        Please email me whether this is something you are interested in or not. Thanks for you time. Hope to hear from you soon.
        Lauren

  14. Bryony says:

    bryonyfayers@hotmail.co.uk

    Hi there,
    I’m looking to buy a lot of pairs of used ballet shoes for Billy Elliot’s 5th Birthday in London. It would be amazing if we could ship them from you for the event.
    We could either pay for them, or donate money to a (dancing?)charity of your choice?
    x

    • Paola says:

      I too have several pairs of used ballet shoes. Mainly pointe shoes (retired dancer) if u pay for shipping I would be happy to send them anywhere. Anyone interested? I would just ask for a photo of what you did with them so I could show my daughter. Teaching her the importance of recycling and reusing. Does anyone have any idea on what to do with gently used ballet wear.

      • Karen Thompson says:

        Do you still have the Pointe Shoes available? Regards

      • DANIEL ROSS says:

        if is not too late for ballet shoe to give, please contact me to; d.r.311@hotmail.com

      • lauren phillips says:

        Hi my name is Lauren Phillips. I am a college student at Northwestern College in the cites. I was wondering if you still had your old pair of pointe shoes? I would love to use them in my installation I will be creating. Thank you for your time. I Hope to hear from you.
        Please send me a message explaining if you still have them and are willing to send them or if you have already given them away.
        lauren

      • Sarah Fields says:

        If you have anything used that could be dontated…I live on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and would love to collect any clothing or shoes related to fitness or ballet/dance. Or any equipment such as old mats. I am hoping to open my doublewide trailer to community members for fitness time. I love ballet and apparently so does my 4 year old and even my 9 month old. I could pay postage.
        Please let me know.
        Thanks,
        Sarah

    • Noreen says:

      We were looking for ways to recycle pointe shoes–my daughter has > 20 pairs of used pointe shoes that she would be happy to donate if you paid shipping (we are in US). Depending on timing, we could get them over to UK in mid-June and ship to you there….

      • daniel ross says:

        HI if you have other used pointe shoe, i am interest to get all pointe shoe. i am searching for larger size. my email is (d.r.311@hotmail.com) thanks .

  15. Elaine Woman says:

    Hi, If anyone has worn out pointe shoes, I would love them. Please contact me at- greeneggsk9@yahoo.com Thanks! Elaine

  16. Paola says:

    I posted above here is my info paobeartrice@hotmail.com I live in PA, USA

  17. Lydia says:

    After every performance when the shoes are too soft or too small to wear, I sign them (or decorate them with sequins) and give them to a little girl who wants to be a ballerina too. :) Little girls who look up to you would love them as a memento to play in or just hang in their bedroom. It is so special for them!

  18. Amy says:

    Hello Everyone,

    If anyone has old pointe shoes they are looking to get rid of I’d LOVE to have them. I use them for arts and crafts projects and can’t find any used shoes right now.

    Thanks!!
    Amy

  19. noreen says:

    Also–what country are you in!

  20. Paola says:

    I have shoes, where do you live and are you willing to pay for shipping.?

  21. Shae says:

    Hello! I am probably too late. but, I was wondering…do you still anymore of your ballet shoes? I would love to have one because I will be taking ballet in the fall. Please email me at slarose1992@hotmail.com. Thanks!

  22. Ann says:

    Hi! I have about 15 pairs of used pointe shoes as well. They are too worn to be salvaged for dancing purposes, but they’d be great for art projects etc. Does anyone still need them?

    Thanks!

  23. Karen Thompson says:

    I am looking for OLD POINTE shoes. Does anyone have any?

  24. Kristi Ripley says:

    Hello!
    Does anyone still have any pointe shoes they are wanting to get rid of?? I am working on a project for my daughter and am hoping I can have it done by christmas! I am willing to pay for shipping etc..

    Please contact me!

    Thank you!
    Kristi Ripley

  25. Laura Powell says:

    I have many brand new pointe shoes that someone can have if they are willing to pay for shipping. Lolaleo2@yahoo.com

  26. Fiona says:

    I am looking for old ballet shoes to do a series of paintings studies with – has anyone got any they can give me? Thanks

  27. daniel ross says:

    I am searching for used or dead pointe shoes whith ribbon and elastic sewn on in size fitting street shoe size 10 or 11 for women. I will paid transportation to ship in canada. I hope an positive answer. my email is (d.r.311@hotmail.com) thank-you

  28. Jena says:

    I have 13 pairs of used pointe shoes…some with ribbon, some without, some Freeds, some Russian Pointes, and ALL desperately needing a home! They’re too worn to be used for dancing, but might be perfect for an art project. Please let me know if you’re interested, they’ve been sitting in my trunk for the past year because I really just don’t know what to do with them! My e-mail is j.bailey@ucla.edu. Thanks!

  29. Anne says:

    Oh god i need ballet shoes so badly including non point basic shoes and everything else too.
    just starting back but nothing i fits.
    please email me the details.

  30. Fiona says:

    Has anyone in the London area got old, used ballet pointe shoes they are giving away? As I am doing an art project with a ballet theme, and all I am missing is a pair of used ballet shoes, any size (adult) is welcome.

    Please email me if anyone has any to give away…..many thanks in advance

    :) x

    • Natasha says:

      Hi Fiona,

      I have about 8 pairs I’m looking to get rid of! I work in london so it would be pretty easy for you to find me.

      If you give me your email address we can organise a time and place to exchange them

      Xx

  31. I have a pair of size 3 X Freed wing block points (embroidered by my own fair hand – shoes how old they are; we used to embroider our own back then!). Hardly used as kept for performance only; ribbons sewn. happy to trade for pair of broken points size 4 or 41/2. contact Claire claire_reichel@hotmail.com

  32. Anonymous says:

    You should take a bunch of pairs of your old pointe shoes and decorate them to represent a different nutcracker character, then you can put them together in a circle. Now it is a wreath:)

  33. lynne says:

    Greetings,

    I am interested in previously worn also known as used ~smile~ pointe shoes. They will be utilized for home decor/craft projects. I will pay for shipping if you are located in the U.S. Kindly respond to me here: gerrelynne@gmail.com

    Thanks so much.

    Regards,
    Lynne

  34. I sincerely apologise to all who may have contacted me over the last year or so – I didn’t realise your responses did not come direct to my email so therefore didn’t realise no-one wanted my shoes! however – still have hardly worn pair of pointes (wing blocks) > not going to some green hanging basket!

    • lauren phillips says:

      Hi my name is Lauren Phillips. I am a student at Northwestern College in the cities. I am wondering if you still have those pointe shoes you where talking about in your post. I would really love to grab them if you haven’t given them away. I am majoring in studio art and Writing and I am working on creating an installation for my midterm piece. I would love to use pointe shoes because ballet has been a great joy in my life and I want to express that by using pointe shoes. if you could please get back to me as soon as you can whether you have them still and are able to send them or not. Thank you for your time!
      lauren

      • noreen says:

        Hi Lauren,

        My daughter has probably half a dozen “dead” pairs still around–how many do you want? Would you pay for shipping?

        Noreen

  35. ellen says:

    Hi, all! Am late to this thread, but am looking for any worn out shoes, ballet slippers or pointe, in adult size 5-8. I am located in the NYC area (US), and would gladly pay shipping for anybody who wishes to donate. As you’ll see from my website, I have an interest in vintage items, and I think this ties in to my life long interest in recycling and waste minimization! I am also a photographer and multi-media craftsperson (in the past I’ve done things like make quilts with odd materials, and make clothing out of vintage tablecloths), and am currently working on an idea for a project for which I need old ballet shoes and slippers (unusual colors particularly welcome; ribbons a plus). If you have some to offer, I’d love to hear from you: nectarine.ecrater@gmail.com. Many thanks, Ellen

  36. Savannah says:

    Noreen,

    I am looking to wear some dead pointe shoes for a black swan halloween costume this year. I was hoping to get a used pair so I can de-shank them/make them more easily wearable for walking around in. I live in California and would happily pay for shipping! Please email me at banannahpeel91@aol.com if you are still looking to send them away!

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Noreen and Savannah,

      I too am looking for a pair of dead pointe shoes for my Black Swan Halloween costume, and would definitely be willing to pay for shipping if you still have any extras! Something close to a street size 8 would be great. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide – the shoes would be put to good use, and I’d try to find something cool to do with them after Halloween too.

      All best,
      Sarah

  37. just to say my pointe shoes have now gone, to a worthy cause I hope. thanks for all enquiries.

  38. Dee says:

    Hi…I hope I’m not too late, as a 59yr old woman who always wanted to become a ballet dancer but grew too tall. I would love to own a lovely pair of pointe ballet shoes I can call my own. For many years I hung my very tiny ballet pumps in my bedroom but unfortunately they got lost in transit …I will pay shipping..thank you x

  39. Dee says:

    as above thanks

  40. shaundra watson says:

    if any one has any old pointe shoes id galdly take them off their hands please email me the info

  41. Dee says:

    Hi…I hope I’m not too late, as a 59yr old woman who always wanted to become a ballet dancer but grew too tall. I would love to own a lovely pair of pointe ballet shoes I can call my own. For many years I hung my tiny ballet pumps in my bedroom but unfortunately they got lost in transit …I’m also looking to create a small memento for my first grandchild.I live in Manchester England, if anyone has any they would like to seel you can email me at deniseclarke9@aol.com ..thank you x

  42. Jodi Traub says:

    I am looking for about 6 pairs fo pointe shoes for a crafts project. Happy to pay shipping and will be making a donation to a dance group with new shoes and/or money as part of a community service project. Any shoes would be appreciated. I am in Massachusetts.

  43. jeff says:

    If you need or want to get rid of old used ballet slippers pointe shoes
    jazz shoes old dance wear tights i have a place where you can mail them to to be recycled or re used to low income dancers…

    please mail to 5755 hiram rd, powdersprings ga 30127

    its free and the dancewear items always get used for someone or something..

    • Ellen says:

      Jeff, what organization is this? People should be careful who they send their used dance stuff to. I’m sure we all know there is a sizable community of people (mostly men) looking for this stuff for less than savory purposes . . .

      • jeff says:

        its a art program for my church west ridge we collect dance wear and shoes and recycle them for projects thanks for asking

  44. jeff says:

    If you need or want to get rid of old used ballet slippers pointe shoes
    jazz shoes old dance wear tights i have a place where you can mail them to to be recycled or re used to low income dancers…

    please mail to 5755 hiram rd, powdersprings ga 30127

    its free and the dancewear items always get used for someone or something. still needing ballet slippers tights for art. please help
    jeffdan123@yahoo.com can also mail tax write off for you

  45. tjasa says:

    Hi.
    I also would looooove to take pointe’s or slippers or even old worn out dresses for reciclyng into a special kind of embalage, so it’s no problem if they’re totally worn out. :)
    I’m from EU and would pay for all the postal service costs, the doner will have.
    If anybody is interested in donating some old worn out stuff, please contact me on tjasa.bosio@gmail.com.
    Thanks!

  46. jeff says:

    If you need or want to get rid of old used ballet slippers pointe shoes
    jazz shoes old dance wear tights i have a place where you can mail them to to be recycled or re used to low income dancers…

    please mail to 5755 hiram rd, powder springs ga 30127

    its free and the dancewear items always get used for someone or something. still needing ballet slippers tights for art. please help
    jeffdan123@yahoo.com can also mail tax write off for you.
    please help if you can.

  47. Bri says:

    Hi,

    I am looking for pairs of old dead pointe shoes for an artsy-type project (in my home, not for reuse or resale or anything, if you’re worried about that!)

    I could use at least 10 or 20 pairs, or more if you have them available. Would be happy to pay for shipping to California! Please contact me at brizzy.cheesy@gmail.com

    Thank you :)
    ~Bri

  48. Stacey says:

    I work as the Co-Chair of a non-profit ballet company auxiliary in WEst Chester Pennsylvania and we are in desperate need of old pointe shoes to use for gifts for our Nutcracker Teas…I’d be willing to pay for shipping costs if anyone might have any they would like to donate. We only have about 5 weeks to collect and decorate them. If anyone would like to donate, please let me know, we need about 100 or more shoes. If anyone knows of a site I can search for donations that would be helpful, as well. We understand there are times when dance shoppes have out-dated pointe shoes but we haven’t had any luck, as of late, in seeking any. Any help would be so much appreciated.



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