Your Moment of Dance Zen: Freed's Mesmerizing Pointe Shoe Video

July 9, 2015

There’s nothing more beautiful, more glamorous, more elegant than a pointe shoe. But the creation of each pink satin shoe—the process by which canvas and thread and glue are hammered and sewed and baked into submission? It’s so humble, so ugly.

And so eternally fascinating.

GROSS! But also, COOL! (inside the Freed factory; screenshot from “Freed of London Pointe Shoes – Introduction”)

Seriously: I don’t think I’ll EVER stop being curious about the way the pointe shoes we live and die by are made.* Which is why I pounced on the video below, recently released by Freed of London. Positioned as an “introduction” to the Freed pointe shoe, it features totally mesmerizing footage of the creation process—in all its dirty, messy glory—and a ton of fun Freed facts.

For example: Freed pointe shoe production happens, start to finish, under a single roof. And the company’s makers create 700 pairs of pointe shoes a day—a total of 48,000 standard and 112,000 custom pairs a year. That is…a lot of shoes.

It seems like only yesterday this shoe was a just pile of canvas and leather. Now it’s standing on its own! *tear* (screenshot from “Introduction”)

Here’s my favorite factoid: While Freed of London was founded by cobbler Frederick Freed in 1929, it was Mrs. Freed, formerly a milliner (hatmaker), who improved the way the shoe was measured and cut. If you know how to fit hats to heads, you know how to fit shoes to feet, I guess.

Mrs. Freed, the hat/shoe expert (screenshot from “Introduction”)

Happy Friday, y’all. Enjoy!

*(Or about the ways ballerinas break them in, but that’s another story.)