1. I wear Grishko Maya I's with a medium shank (it's a 3/4 shank, i.e., the shank "breaks" at the top of your arch rather than coming up under your heel - 3/4 or full shank is a personal preference)
  2. First I put the shoe on (with toe pads) and mark the high point of my arch. This is where the elastic/ribbons need to pull the satin up to hug my foot.
    See where the satin is baggy? Gotta pull that ish up.
  3. Then I sew the elastic and ribbons on each side.
  4. Then sew the elastic to the back.
  5. Then I cut the satin off of the platform (for better traction) and singe the edges with a lighter so they don't fray. Ribbons also get cut to size and singed.
  6. Then I step on the box a few times to soften it up.
    The box is the rounded part your toes go into. It's pretty solid/unbendable until the paste starts breaking down.
  7. And work on the wings and vamp with my hands, giving them a nice little massage.
    The wings go up the side of the shoe. The vamp is on the front/top of the box, like where the mouth of the shoe is.
  8. I walk around the house on demi pointe (i.e., on the balls of my feet) and roll through the shoe up to full pointe/do relevés a bunch of times.
  9. Aaaaand they're ready for class. They'll still feel stiff and hard to work with for the next couple of hours (so like 3-4 classes) but then they're a delight.
  10. Average shoe life span is 10 hours but this last pair lasted 13 because I glued the shanks when they started to get too soft.
    Fun fact: ballerinas use model airplane glue to keep their shoes alive.