Jet Glue and Alternatives
Often, the box and platform are the first parts of your pointe shoe to "give". Applying special glue to the shank and inside (never outside) of the box will prolong the life of your shoes.
Some dancers treat their shoes while they're still new. If you'd like to do the same, break your shoes in to your liking first - the box will be rock solid once you've added the glue, and you'll have no hope of shaping it to your foot! You can still treat shoes when they're older, provided they're otherwise in good shape. Either way, be sure the material is nice and flat before you add the glue - any wrinkles will also set rock hard and give you blisters.
You can't use any old glue - you need something which won't go soft with sweat and pressure when you're wearing your shoes.
Jet Glue is a professional grade glue which dries fast and extremely hard. It may seem a bit expensive, but you only need a few drops to do the job, so one bottle will go a very long way.
I received this message in the Q&A recently about another alternative:
I see you have a ton of great information on pointe shoe care, but did you know that top ballet companies like New York City Ballet, Pacific Northwest, Boston Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, and others use Hot Stuff glue to make their shoes last longer? They have found Hot Stuff to be the most effective pointe shoe hardener which saves them the most money on their shoe budgets.
Most people I know use Jet Glue, so I was really curious about this new pointe shoe glue. Guess what? He's right! New York City Ballet dancers now use Satellite City Hot Stuff glue to strengthen their pointe shoes.
They even provide a good tutorial by Maria Chapman from Pacific Northwest Ballet. She explains how to strengthen the shank as well as the box.
Satellite City has several different glues, but the one suitable for pointe shoes is the Original version, which is available on Amazon. It was originally designed for craft work but it does seem to be attracting a lot of ballet dancers as customers these days!
Warning - be very careful about spilling either of these glues where you don't want it. It can be removed from satin with nail polish remover, but it will leave marks.