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What's a shank on a pointe shoe?

I was reading a magazine selling pointe shoes, and it said super soft shank, medium shank, and hard shank.
Please tell me what shank is.

Best Answer - Chosen by Asker: Shanks are the hard things on the inside bottom of your pointe shoes. They support your arch when you are on pointe.

Soft Shanks - better for beginners or people with low arches. Soft shanks are easier to break in and allow the dancer to roll up on pointe easier. They also break down faster unless jet glued. (I use soft shanks...I love them).

Medium shanks - Are most commonly used. People with average feet - average arch.

Hard Shanks - People with high arches who need a lot of support or go through pointe shoes quickly use harder shanks. These are harder to break in but last longer. Some dancers tend to feel propped up if the shoe is yet to be broken in.

Good Luck