Whether you are new to darning or you’re looking to improve your darning skills, this article is thought for you. Keep reading to discover everything you’ve always wanted to know about darning and discover the best darning technique I know.

What does darning help with?

Natascha Meir for Dance by Lina dancewear

Natascha Meir for Dance by Lina dancewear

I have been darning my pointe shoes since I started my pre-professional training. At first, I was only trying to imitate the older students in my school who used to darn their shoes before classes. I was fascinated by beautifully darned shoes and spent a lot of time looking for the perfect darning technique.

Darning prevents the tip of the shoe getting soft too fast, which means  your shoes will last longer. Darning also helps with balancing and turning on pointe since it creates a broader, more stable platform.

What differences do you feel between a darned and a non-darned shoe?

Once I learned how to darn my shoes efficiently, I realized how helpful darning was: my shoes were lasting longer and I was feeling confident and stable on pointe. I also noticed how darned shoes gripped the floor better when the studio was slippery.

I find darning to be particularly helpful on pointe shoes that have a very rounded box as it creates an edge that prevents you from rolling over. When I wear darned pointe shoes, apart from nailing my balances and turning more smoothly, I feel a better grip of the floor and more control as I roll through the shoe.

How do I know if my darning is good?

The ground rule of darning is making the shoe stand on its own. If you take a brand new pointe shoe and try to put it vertically on the floor it either falls back or forward because its platform is not square but slightly rounded. A well darned shoe stands vertically on its own.

How long does darning take and how hard is it?

Once you are familiar with the process, darning takes around 15- 30 minutes per pair of pointe shoes. Many people think that darning is extremely hard, but it is not! After some initial practice, it becomes automatic and fairly easy.

Lucia Rios for Core de Ballet, wearing a Dance by Lina plum skirt

Lucia Rios for Core de Ballet, wearing a Dance by Lina plum skirt

How can I darn my shoes?

What thread and needle should I use? Do I need any accessories?

I recommend using a thick (6-8 mm) crochet or cotton thread and a curved needle or a straight thick needle. A sewing thimble is an essential accessory for whenever the needle gets stuck (and believe me, it will happen often).

What else should I know before I start darning my shoes?

Darning can not be undone so make sure that you practice on old pairs of shoes before you decide to darn the ones you wear for class. The first couple of tries will not be that great, be patient.

Draw the path on the tip of the soe with a pencil before starting: it will help keep the darning straight. Don’t worry about missing a stitch or going a little bit out of line, as long as the final result is compact, small mistakes won’t matter.

A personal advice is to wear your new shoes a little bit and do a couple of relevés before darning them, the box will get slightly softer and therefore easier to darn.

Tutorials

This video, filmed by Dance by Lina with Abigail Oliveiro, shows step by step how to darn your pointe shoes efficiently. It’s definitely my favorite tutorial! Abigail’s method is simple, it looks neat and lasts for a very long time.

Also from Dance by Lina’s YouTube channel, here is a great tutorial on how to darn Gaynor Minden pointe shoes with Dense Parungao.

I hope that this article cleared out any doubts you might have had on darning. If you have any further questions, just leave a comment.

Do you darn your shoes? If yes, what is your best piece of advice when it comes to darning?