Freed of London pointe shoe factory.

WATCH: Hackney factory hand-crafts pointe shoes for ballerinas

For almost one hundred years a small Hackney factory has hand-crafted pointe shoes for some of the world’s leading ballet companies.

Freed of London produces around 350,000 pointe shoes every year and around 250,000 of them are hand-made by 11 makers in the north London factory. 

Pointe shoes are specially made ballet shoes, which have been in use since the late 19th century and allow ballerinas to dance on the tips of their toes. 

When Frederick Freed initially opened the company in a basement in Covent Garden in 1929, he put a sign in the window saying he would make a shoe to fit the ballerina – before then pointe shoes had only existed in standardised sizes.

Freed of London is still renowned for making customised pointe shoes fitting to the specifications of each individual ballerina and supplies the likes of the Royal Ballet, New York City Ballet or Paris Opera. 

Watch below how pointe shoes are made below.

Freed of London: How a Hackney factory hand-crafts pointe shoes for ballerinas.

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