When you go to buy your first Pointe shoe toe pads, take your time. Let your parent know that you cannot be rushed or pressured in any way. It is very exciting, but you are composed, calm, and have some idea of the challenge of the sizing variations in Pointe shoes, the styles, the brands, and the possibilities of which one will be exactly the right fit for you.
You may already know your foot type and what type of Pointe shoe toe pads you need.
- A wide, shallow box, non-tapered, low wings and medium strong shank.
- A deep box, high vamp, high winds and very strong shank.
- A tapered box, narrow, medium vamp, more flexible shank.
And there are so many more variables! Every Bloch, Sansha, Freed, Capezio (and more and more) shoe have lots of shapes, strengths and styles. Since everyone’s foot is anatomically different, even though it belongs to a “type”, just try on a lot of shoes.
Your toes may feel constricted, but you should be able to wiggle them. You must be able to do a demo play at first and a small second position, without pain, although this will feel compressed. The wings of the shoes should cover your little toe as well as the other four toes.
You will probably want some type of toe protectors. Gel “ouch pads”, lamb’s wool, or an individual (for example, for a long second toe, or its neighbor big toe) toe shield may be needed. Padding can be used to equalize the pressure that will bear on the toes, which are always of varying lengths.
Many ballet students worry that their toe shoes will hurt too much for them to dance well. It cannot be emphasized enough that the stronger your sole-of-foot muscles are, the more control over the shoe you will have.
If the shoe is not the BEST fit, but pretty close, strong feet will still dance well.
Pointe shoe toe pads are not meant to fit quite like a glove. Snugly, yes, but you must be able to do a demo play in fifth and second position without excruciating pressure on the ends of your toes. On point, the toes should not be loose in the box (too long or too wide) either, or your feet will not be supported.