Many men in ballet talk about dancing in pointe shoes and whether it is appropriate or even possible. Pointe shoes are made in men's sizes for the few classical ballets where pointe shoes for a male character are used. More importantly, developing foot muscles for ballet using pre-pointe exercises is an excellent idea for men in ballet classes.
For male adult beginners in ballet classes, there are many challenges.
Often strength in the large muscle groups is not one of them, especially if the men have been practicing high intensity interval training or weight resistance training.
However, the particular exercises for the intrinsic foot muscles do not show up often, even in ballet classes.
Here is where information about feet in general is needed for all dance students, and especially for men in adult ballet. Knowledge of foot muscles will prevent strain/sprain of the lower leg muscles and tendons, protecting the Achilles area. Developing awareness and strength in the foot muscles will prevent cramping and soreness in the feet.
If men in adult ballet classes wish to eventually get into pointe shoes to exercise and hone their footwork, they also need to know about foot types, and proper stretching of the ankle joint. Also, correct basic ballet technique - weight distribution on the feet, posture, turnout, and ballet positions, need to be understood completely. This education will give an adult dance student a better experience as well as faster progress.
Ballet is an excellent form of exercise. It compares to high intensity training. Ballet exercises are short, designed to challenge and completely load the muscles during the barre work. A well designed barre workout rests some muscle groups while engaging others, alternating, so as to warm up the whole body evenly.
For serious recreational ballet students, more is not necessarily better. Muscles need to recover properly, and several classes a week do not add strength. It would be better for an adult male ballet enthusiast to do an upper body training workout rather than another ballet class. If such a student feels unoccupied during off days - rent ballet movies, or ballet classes on DVD and study them while doing some gentle stretching on your floor.
Also do your pre-pointe foot exercises while watching your favorite ballerinas and their partners perform the amazing feats of classical repertoires. This trains your brain to assimilate the movement finesse it perceives, even when you are not active physically.
I think it is a great idea for men in ballet to eventually exercise in pointe shoes. It is not a necessity, yet you can be among the men in pointe shoes (the real ones)!