Padding & Toe Tape
Dancers use various types of padding and toe tape inside their pointe shoes. Here are a couple guidelines when considering which padding and tape to use and why:
Pointe shoe padding should be as thin as is comfortable for the dancer. While we want the dancer’s foot to be relatively comfortable in the shoe, it is important that a dancer is still able to feel the shoe and the floor to some extent in order to properly articulate the foot.
You will want to find out whether your teacher suggests a particular type of padding. Often, teachers have preferences based on their own experience and teaching methods and might have an opinion between, for example, gel pads and lamb’s wool pads. Different types of padding will affect the fit of the shoe and will vary in longevity and in the way they break down over time.
You will be able to try on multiple different types of padding during your first pointe shoe fitting. If your teacher does not have specific preferences, do not worry! We will be happy to talk through the options with you and guide you in finding the appropriate padding for the fit of the shoe and your foot.
You may be asking, “How and why should I use toe tape?”
Toe tape can have many benefits:
Prevent Blisters: If there are spots in the shoe that tend to rub against a particular toe or part of the foot, taping may prevent a blister from forming where there is friction and moisture.
Straighten Toes: Tape may be used to straighten toes that have a tendency to overlap or curl inside the shoe.
Relieve Pain: Taping toes or bunions may relieve pain in these joints.
We have multiple types of toe tape, and while it is up to the dancer’s preference which tape works the best, we would be happy to explain the various differences and share what has been useful in our experience and for other dancers we have worked with.
How Long Will They Last?
Pointe shoes are only expected to last 12-15 hours of dance
We know it’s surprising! However, in order for pointe shoes to be made in such a way that they soften and mold to your foot, they are not made for longevity. The impression that your pointe shoe is an extension of your foot is intrinsic to the quality of dancing en pointe. In fact, the first pointe dancers went up on their toes in soft ballet slippers! Additionally, pointe shoes cannot be sized for growing room, as they must fit like a glove to sufficiently support the foot and highlight the aesthetic of the foot on stage.
Special care must be taken, therefore, to ensure you get the best use out of your pointe shoes. Simple steps, such as drying out your pointe shoes after each use and not storing your pads in the toes of your shoes, can play a vital role in preserving the life of your pointe shoes. We recommend that you not wear your pointe shoes at home, but save them only for class, so as not to injure yourself or break in the shoes incorrectly.
We also strongly recommend that you not attempt to break in your shoe with your hands unless your teacher instructs you otherwise, as this will cause the pointe shoe to break down faster if done improperly. As always, you can ask any questions you may have about the structure and breaking in of pointe shoes during your fitting!
Ribbon & Elastic
Ribbon and Elastic are sold separately in different widths and finishes, and must be sewn on your new pointe shoes. As part of the fitting process at Grand Jeté, we will walk you through basic instructions for sewing.
For your convenience, we stock Stitch Kits, which contain durable thread that matches the pointe shoes, as well as two large needles and sewing instructions. These are excellent kits to keep in your dance bag and will last you multiple pairs of pointe shoes!
We will also include illustrated sewing instructions with your purchase, which you may access here for your reference.