What's going into your pointe shoes?
What do you put in your pointe shoes? Are they an array of accessories or just that one toe pad?
Every dancer has different needs and preferences for staying comfortable en pointe. The purpose of toe pads, spacers, or tape, is to eliminate extra space between one’s foot and the shoe, thereby preventing any movement in the shoe that could lead to bruised toenails, abrasions and blisters.
However, while trying to make the shoes comfortable, we may end up with too much padding. How much is too much, and how would it affect our dancing? Depending on the situation, excessive padding could affect one’s feet articulation, and alignment, encourage bad habits, hinder technical development and even increase the risk of injury.
While pointe shoes must fit snugly, they should not be overly padded. One should still be able to “feel the floor” in their pointe shoes.
So how much padding exactly is needed? There is no set answer to that question. It differs from person to person! Ideally, when there is a perfect pair of pointe shoes, minimal padding is needed - that could be one toe pad or none! A nicely fitted shoe is less likely to cause discomfort, but most dancers need protection from the impact of being on their toes, especially if they are new to pointe work.
Aiming for the best fit and comfort (as much as possible) is crucial because pain and discomfort could hinder one’s focus when dancing. Distractions can be dangerous and increase the risks of injury.
What are some toe pads and pointe accessories that we would recommend? Here’s a compilation of some of your and our favourites!
Bunion to Bunion Gel Toe Pad
We know that our Bunion Gel Toe Pads have been a crowd favourite, and we are thrilled to introduce our new and improved version: the Bunion to Bunion Gel Toe Pads, or BTB Gel Toe Pads.
As the name suggests, these toe pads are designed to cover the bunions and toe joints. They retain the crescent shape of their predecessor but now feature wings of equal length to help distribute pressure more evenly across the toe joints.
Made with a durable fabric over the gel, these toe pads provide extra comfort and can be hand washed when needed. Like the Bunion Gel Toe Pads, the BTB Gel Toe Pads come in two sizes:
- Small: Pointe shoe size UK 1 - 4
- Medium: Pointe shoe size UK 4 - 7
One of our bestsellers: Principal Gel Toe Pad
Featuring a gel lining on top and lined with a lightweight fabric base, this toe pad protects the toes and metatarsals while still allowing one to feel the floor.
We love this because it allows one to feel their toes better while still providing protection. While its name may say “Principal”, we assure you that this toe pad is suitable for dancers of all levels, from beginners to professionals.
Available in size Medium: Pointe shoe size UK 4 and up
Sponge Toe Supporters: Cuboid and Crescent Spacer
Made with hydrophilic synthetic rubber, these toe supporters are designed to fill up any empty gaps that may appear in your pointe shoes. You may need the Cuboid (red) or Crescent (pale pink) Spacer depending on the shape of your feet. Both these spacers aim to help and encourage proper alignment in pointe shoes and can be trimmed if necessary.
Stretch Cushion Tape
Have a pesky spot that still experiences discomfort despite your toe pads? One accessory we highly recommend for that is the Stretch Cushion Tape.
The Stretch Cushion tape is hypoallergenic, water-resistant, and does not leave a sticky residue on the skin upon removal. It stretches in all directions and has just the right amount of cushioning to provide the added comfort you need. This tape saves skin, prevents corns, and can also help make bunions feel better.
What are some of your favourite padding accessories? If you’re curious to try them out, make a trip down to our Funan Flagship Store! Do note that if you are coming to try them in-store, be sure to bring your existing pair of pointe shoes with you to ensure a proper fit.
And if you’re ever in doubt, you can always book an appointment with our pointe shoe fitters for professional assistance!