The Inspiration behind Pointelles
Do you love your pointed-toes shoes, but there's this one problem…?
Pointy-toed shoes have been around since the 1960’s, but in the 60’s the pointed toe of the shoe did not often extend much beyond a woman’s toes, so a woman’s toes were jammed into the pointed-toe section of the shoe. (Exceptions exist of course, when the pointed-toe section was two or so inches in length.) I developed an affinity for pointed-toe shoes around 2012. That is, pointed-toe shoes with a point extending beyond the tips of the toes—sometimes an inch or more. You might recall that a few years prior, round-toe pumps with huge platforms became the rage, but fashion is fickle. Flats or pumps with pointed-toes never truly go out of style.
While some high-end shoe designers continue to make their shoes with a pointed section of one inch, many pointed toe sections extend perhaps one-half inch or less beyond the tips of a women's toes. Yet, even a shorter pointed section can become unattractive; this is due to the force that walking/stepping forward put on the “empty” pointed-toe section.
The point is pretty when the shoe is new—nice, full, and rounded on top. Whether it’s a plain black flat or a fancy satin mule, that pretty point is part of what attracts you and makes you want to buy and wear that pair of shoes. But soon after your purchase—sometimes only after you have worn the shoes a few times, the pointy section creases, flattens, or turns upwards (what I call the dreaded “elf shoe toe”).
Like many women, I love my shoes, especially when they are brand new, and this particularly pertains to my pointy-toed shoes. But, as I am sure you have experienced, I would be so disappointed when after only a few wearings, the points on my pointed-toe shoes would bend and crease; they almost looked deflated. They looked so ugly! And I had just bought them!
Trying to "puff out" the crease and flattened ends of my pointed-toe shoes, I experimented by stuffing various objects into the toes of my shoes—cotton balls, toilet seat covers (while in the bathroom stalls at work), ballet pointe shoe toe covers that I trimmed to fit inside my shoes, and facial tissue, but these makeshift pointy-toe shoe “inserts” would either fall out, stick to my tights when I took my shoes off, or hurt my toes (those toilet seat covers really compress!). And—these hacks never really smoothed out the creased toe or puffed the pointed section back to its original, lovely shape.
I figured that other women must be experiencing the frustration that I was, so I decided to find a solution. It does not matter how much a woman spends on her shoes—she likes, or even loves them and wants them to hold up.
Long story made very short, after much experimentation with more suitable materials and shapes, I came up with an ideal material in specific measurements for a pointy-toe shoe insert that remains in the shoe, can be removed and used in a different pair of shoes, is soft enough to be trimmed (probably not necessary) can be used in new shoes to maintain the lovely shape, or be used in worn shoes to restore the shape they had upon purchase. They will also last the life of your shoes.
During the time I was researching materials and manufacturers, I was also endeavoring to obtain a patent on my creation. I did this without prior patent law experience and without a patent attorney. It took so much time, effort, money, and research that many times I wanted to give up. But what if I gave up? I would never know. After about three years, I was finally awarded a patent from the USPTO.
I have been using prototypes I had manufactured in my shoes for a couple of years now., and they have saved my favorites shoes so they look pretty. (I also have a “regular” job, so it did take me a while to get these amazing shoe inserts to you!) I have been able to wear my pointed-toe shoes until it's naturally time to part with them—because they have stretched out from wearing or they have developed holes in the soles one too many times to have the soles replaced. Not because the pointed-toe section has bent and flattened.
I did not start out thinking that I wanted to be an entrepreneur or a business owner. My inspiration was to help women solve this small but annoying problem. I have always wanted to help women out in some way. I taught aerobics/group fitness classes for 13 years—and derived great satisfaction making exercise fun and from developing relationships with my students. (Yes, a few participants were men :) ) If I can help women extend the life of their pointed-toe shoes, which in the long run saves women money on shoes, and makes them feel good about their shoes, I smile.
Pointelles--your pointed-toe shoes new best friend!