Who invented pointe shoes? Though "toe dancing" was popular in London as early as the 1820s, it is believed that the first ballet dancer to dance en pointe with modified shoes was Marie Taglioni in the ballet La Sylphide in 1832. The first pointe shoes were little more than soft slippers, heavily darned at the toes. Today, pointe shoes are made of multiple layers of burlap, paper and glue. The hardened glue gives pointe shoes their stiffness.