Woessner Pointe Shoes

I am always amazed how pointe shoe companies can seem to disappear from the face of the planet. I can spend hours researching and hunting for information about pointe shoe makers that were, at one time, in business during the last 50 years and come up with no proof of their former existence.

Woessner Pointe Shoes

Made In West Germany

Where Did The History Of The Woessner Dancewear Company Go?

I could find no proof during my internet hunt that anyone named Woessner actually made pointe shoes in West Germany. The photos of these pretty shoes say otherwise. These are not old photos, either. I just found them several days ago.

Woessner Pointe Shoes

Woessner Pointe Shoes

When I get to an information roadblock like this, I start hoping that a reader will contact me with the missing puzzle pieces.  I also wish I was able to travel all over Europe solving some of these mysterious shoe puzzles.

Surely, if I showed up in West Germany somebody would know something about the maker of these beautiful pointe shoes. I find it more than sad when those responsible for creating beautifully hand-crafted pointe shoes such as these don’t have a special page of dedication or even a small acknowledgment of their contribution to the performing arts. The Woessner brand is very, very intriguing..

37 responses to “Woessner Pointe Shoes

  1. i used these shoes in college (1986-1990) and they were the most beautiful shoes i ever owned. They made your foot look so beautiful and at that time, they were cutting edge and lasted considerably longer than other shoes. i just found an old pair in my trunk i was cleaning out and they still have their shape and box. i can’t believe i can actually still wear them! 🙂 just did a search to see if they were still out there and sadly no.

  2. Hi Michelle,
    How wonderful that you still have a pair of these beautiful shoes 🙂 I am still in shock as to how their history has disappeared from the face of the planet. It looks as though you may have a real collectors item with those shoes. I would love to see a pair in person.

  3. I danced professionally and wore Woessners from about 1979- ’84 or so. They were a wonderful fit for my feet and the fiberglass reinforced box always lasted longer than the pressed glue brands. The color was a slight bit more “peach” than “ballet pink” but not enough to make a difference on stage. I remember having to trace each of my feet on paper in various positions to send to them for my initial pair. From then, they were custom made for me….I do remember them being about double the price that my colleagues (or the company) paid for Capezio or Selvas or whatever the going brand was at the time. I still have a couple of pairs in my “memory box.” One pair was dyed (ahh!) white by our costuming department for the Mirliton variation from Nutcracker!

  4. Hi Lisa,
    These great reviews make me even more curious to find out what happened to Woessner as a company. What a wonderful idea to save those pairs in a memory box ! 🙂

    • I love to hear these stories! I started point in Woessners and I loved them. They were hard to get up on at the beginning but were so much more comfortable and lasted forever. My last pair was signed by Baryshnikov and I keep them in a special spot so I can see them when I feel a little blue.

  5. I danced in Woessner shoes in Southern California in the 1980s. I used to order them for $28/pair from a source in San Francisco, and I was told at the time that they were from Austria. One had to trace one’s foot on a piece of paper, and possibly answer a few questions. Once you made your first order, the company kept all your info on file for the future, so a reorder was quick and easy. The shoes had a a fiberglass box and a decently long vamp, teflon outersole and square tip. There was not much depth to the box. The square tip gave you a very secure placement, assuming you stepped fully onto it. If you didn’t, it was more difficult to roll up, so you learned quickly. Putting a small piece of moleskin from the end of the outersole and covering the tip (instead of darning) seemed to help. As you can tell, I loved those shoes. And I got a better fit through the mail (and better service) than I ever did in a regular dance shop. I’m sorry they are no more. I still have an almost new pair in my old dance drawer. And, yes, the color is somewhat warmer, more peachy, like an antique pink, than typical Capezios of the time, which were closer to a true pink.

  6. Appreciate your comment,Phoenix…..this is so interesting to me. Wow, $28 dollars for a European brand is amazing. Boy, have prices changed in the pointe shoe market!

    Now that you mention Woessner being marketed from Austria,I will look in that direction. From the comments here, it seems Woessner was at least in business through the mid 1980’s. Thanks for the information.

  7. I too worn Woessner’s in the 80’s. And now I am struggling to find a pair of pointe shoes for my daughter. Naturally, I found my old pair and did an internet search and have come up empty handed. I loved my Woessner’s and I too had to draw my foot out on paper and had them made in San Fransico. Any ideas for a shoe close to a Woessner for my daughter, let me know.

  8. Hello Karen,
    The Woessner brand sounds like it has a lot of fans. It is a real shame that this shoe seems to have vanished. The closet thing I can think of to a longer vamp model with modern fiberglass or elastomeric toe boxes is Gaynor Minden.

    I have read that Salvio’s of Australia and Schachtner of Germany may create models with fiberglass toe boxes, but I can’t be sure. Good luck finding the right pair for your daughter 🙂

  9. I danced with Wöessners in the late 70’s early 80’s. They were the most comfortable and quickest to break in! I drew my foot on the paper etc…after that I just remember sending money with my name and getting my custom fit pointe shoe when I needed them.
    Wish I still had a pair now that they are no longer in business 😦

  10. Hey, Woessners still exist. Just not on the internet. I order them regularly at around $44 a pair (not including shipping). When you first order, you have to send them drawings and measurements of your feet, so that your shoes can be custom-fit. After that, they keep your size on file and you can just tell them when you want another pair and they’ll ship one out to you. Also, Schachtner shoes ship from the same company: Ballet International. hrbuhl@cs.com

  11. Well, well, this is very interesting! This is wonderful news for those who really miss this brand. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  12. Can’t find a website for Ballet International at all. No response to the email address Meghan provided back in June.

  13. Elizabeth Francis

    I ordered a custom pair of Woessner pointe shoes in the 80’s, they required an outline of your feet. They sent me the most amazing shoes along with detailed anaylsis of my feet. The shoes were fabulous, with a plastic box that lasted forever and you had to have strongly developed ankles to get up, but once you were up it was a breeze, like you were nailed in, how tragic they are gone, wanted to share my memory of those fabulous shoes

  14. Hi, I just stumbled over your text on Woessner pointe shoes. Those were my first point shoes (early 90s), my model was Susan, and i too had to provide the outlines of my feet. However, I am surprised how many of you adored the shoe, since looking back I actually did not like the shoe, the shank was super soft and the box, which was made of plastic, was pliable too (however I do not recall whether it started out like this or went soft after some time). i could actually squeeze the box in my hands. However, demi point was super easy in those shoes and I recall no breaking in was required. The look was very narrow and the box very flat, unlike normal pointe shoes. Today’s Gaynor Minden actually remind me a lot of the old Woessners, and I wonder if Woessner had a similar technology back then. If so, it would be sad that the acclaim never went out to Woessner’s.
    I googled the company and it must be out of business. Their founder Hugo Woessner died in 2004 (age 78) and the company was cleared out of the official German company register in 2007.

    • Elizabeth Francis

      Thanks for the post, yes, the gaynor mindon’s are almost identical to the woessners but their box is stronger and wider too also the shank is not so soft, however at $130 a pop that’s quite a bit of money but with a good shoemaker you can patch the toe with suede which doesn’t affect your pointe work at all and they last practically forever even with heavy use, I like the gaynors much better even though they are not custom made

      • I danced exclusively in Woessners for years and can honestly say that I never wore a better, more comfortable shoe. Butt lasting practically forever? They lasted maybe a little bit longer than a non-fiberglass, but they still broke down like any pointe shoe. And taking them to a shoemaker? For me, when the ‘satin’ wore off the toe (Day 2) rosin scuffed up the box enough that it wasn’t a slipping hazard…they weren’t stage-worthy, so who cared if the material was gone? I’m curious to why you take your pointe shoes to a shoemaker? How often are you wearing them?

  15. Thank you, German Dancer. I appreciate the extra information about Hugo Woessner and find it disheartening that the company didn’t carry on after his passing. With this news, owning a pair of his shoes makes them real collectibles now.

  16. German Dancer….you write that you are “surprised at how many of us adored the shoe.” I’d wager that those of us who danced professionally found your criticisms of the shoe to be widely sought-after qualities….flexible with little break-in time, and quite flattering. For me, they were like wearing a glove! Perhaps for a student with an underdeveloped arch or issues of foot strength wouldn’t be pleased, but everyone I know who ever wore a pair loved them. BTW, the box was fiberglass, not plastic.

  17. I’m only 15 years old, and I’ve started to get this brand when I was 13. Apparently, they’re still available? But I was curious to see if they’d have a website because I’ve never heard of this brand before my teacher brought it up. They still make this brand, and it comes from a manufacturer in California, I believe. But I would agree that these shoes are the most beautiful I’ve ever owned, and they’re really comfortable to dance in.

  18. I wore Woessner shoes in the 1980s. I had been through many brands, including Schachtner (I think they were Austrian), and would have stuck with Schachtner, but at the time all the big stars were wearing them, and usually they were all sold out. So I called Ballet International, which also sold the Schachtners, in San Francisco and spoke to Mr. Harold Buhl the proprietor. I couldn’t have been happier with the shoes — yes they are very like Gaynor Mindens, which were not invented at that time. The Woessners supported my foot perfectly, so that my Achilles tendons, which were always sore, simply stopped being sore. And they looked lovely, very slim and flat, so that after I started wearing them, other brands always looked to me like battleships. I could talk to Mr. Buhl always graciously answered my questions on the phone, and made whatever adjustments I needed. This was a whole other world than the one we live in now. I stopped dancing on pointe in about 1987 when my knees gave out and I started teaching. I had a brand new pair that I kept for years, and finally gave them to a 13-year-old student.
    Mr. Buhl was I think around 60 at the time, so it is not surprising that his email and the address are no longer functional. It would be interesting to find out if somebody else has taken over the business. Very sad to think that those wonderful shoes are gone.
    Beth Kurtz

  19. I forgot to mention that the Woessners actually seemed to last forever. I wore them till the satin had completely disappeared, worn down to the muslin lining — but the box and shanks were still in perfect condition!
    Beth Kurtz

  20. This brings back so many memories. My dance teacher insisted that I start in Woessners. She was a very strict RAD teacher and I didn’t have “ideal pointe feet”. If fact she did not want me on pointe at all and said the only shoe I could wear was the Woessner as it would force me to get stronger and not rely on the shoe. In the mid 80’s we would drive to San Francisco and meet an older man in his house on 19th Ave with the 2 vases in front. His front room had a bar, hardwood area, mirror and he would fit me. My Mom and I always thought it was a little unusual but we came for the shoes. These shoes lasted much longer than my fellow dancers’ Capizio’s or Blochs and I liked the line from foot to shoe better. Later I was allowed to switch brands but after others, I didn’t switch. At my daughters’ dance studio the other Mom’s were taking about pointe shoes and no one had heard about Woessners – made me really doubt my memory till I found this sight.

  21. I wore Woessners when I was dancing professionally for several years in the late 80’s. I loved them. I do remember placing my first order, but after that my ballet company ordered them and paid for them. They lasted forever. We were allocated a specific number of shoes during the ballet season and since mine lasted forever, I still own about 20 pairs of unused shoes. Wondering if I might be able to sell them somewhere.

    • I also wore Woessners when I danced professionally(in the 80s!) l loved them. They changed my life…no exaggeration. They were the only shoe that worked for me with a foot that my orthopedic docs say should have never been able to dance at all, let alone en pointe. Re your question about selling them? Why not donate them? Footloose is a charity designed to enable aspiring dancers to study dance. They collect new and even lightly used dance shoes and donate them to less fortunate dancers. Visit them at http://www.footloosemission.com

    • I doubt they are my size shank and camp lol I would buy them if so lol

    • Hi Erin, I am in the process of writing my thesis for my M.S. in Textiles and my topic is pointe shoes. I have spent the past 1.5 years investigating the history of the patents and am very curious about this brand. Would you be willing to sell me 1 or 2 pair? I would like to take apart at least one shoe for further analysis. My PhD will be researching ideal materials to address the physics of dancing en pointe. Sounds like Woessner was ahead of his time and SOME body wanted to eliminate competition so they could continue to take advantage of a market that relies so heavily on this unsustainable product.

  22. I never knew something like the footloose dance shoe charity existed. A great program! Thank you for sharing the link.

  23. I will definitely do that…I also saw a UK company that supports dance in Africa called Anno’s Africa.

  24. I used to wear wossners! I switched to studio2s by freed when I was 18. That was 18 years ago. I was looking to find some cause o want them for when I teach pointe .. no shoes lasted as long and we’re so reasonably priced.

  25. wow such a long comment train, it is too bad the namesake maker is gone, from all the good stuff people have had to say about the shoes, but thats german products for you most of their stuff is really well made, though from the read of other shoes some are not so great, or they are made like tanks and dont function like they should.

  26. I have 9 pairs of unused Woessner pointed shoes that i just was about to throw away when i found this thread. Maybe i should find somewhere to donate them instead.

    • Pick me!!! I just replied to Erin’s comment but I will reply to yours as well. I am in the process of writing my thesis for my M.S. in Textiles and my topic is pointe shoes. I would LOVE to take apart at least one shoe for further analysis. My PhD will be researching ideal materials to address the physics of dancing en pointe.

  27. Hi Svenskasofia! What a treasure you have found. I have loved reading everyone’s stories of dancing in Wossener Pointe shoes. I recently returned taking class and spent the afternoon trying on pointe shoes to find the fit and comfort of my beloved Woessners – no luck. I know that chances are slim, but what size are your shoes? For comparison, I wear a 5.5 XX Grisko. I would love to dance in Woessners again.

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