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Pointe Shoe Padding for Beginners


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I was wondering if other teachers have strict policies on whether or not new pointe students are allowed to use padding in their pointe shoes. My dd's teacher strictly forbids any type of padding for the first year at least. They cannot even have a paper towel over their toes. Tape is ok. My dd is strong and didn't have any problem when they were at the barre, but now that they are doing centre work, she has been in a lot of pain. I was thinking of hiding a compact sponge in the tips of her shoes :thumbsup::rolleyes:

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I can't imagine why any teacher would forbid padding, unless it's a bow to Ballet Darwinism, and the Survival of the Fittest. But I would avoid sponge in the choice of padding. It tends to wad up, and just sit there as a little hard, wet, pill. A natural or "silk" sponge is a better choice, and less likely to ball up. And of course there are modern microporous, microencapsulated gel products which come either preformed to the toes or in sheets.

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While there will be students who can handle this, it is generally NOT recommended for beginners. I find no reason to prevent any padding at all, especially with a child under 13. I don't prevent it with any of them, although I will check to be sure that they don't use too much.

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I went thru the same sort of thing with my dd when she began pointe, way too early, at the Dinkle. So, not only was pointe too early, but there were 'issues' about padding. After about a month of agony, I decided that the situation was ridiculous. As dd's mother (and with concern about the future use of her feet...in ballet or not!), I got her the padding and she used it. Period. I have zero regrets about it and neither does she. She still uses padding as does every single other kid she knows.


Your dd's are still pretty young and in some areas, as parents, we need to take control. Follow your instincts on this one.

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The shoes were fitted without padding, so she will probably need to be fitted again if I get something like ouch pouches, right? I wouldn't be able to do this discreetly . Chances are dd would rather suffer toe pain then go against her teacher. I hate to see her in so much pain. You're right AsleepATheWheel, they are my dd's feet and I should have some say in what happens to them. Maybe I can convince dd to try a bit of lambswool.

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DD's beginning pointe teacher discouraged the girls from using alot of padding. She told them to stick with lambswool only and to tape the "hot" spots before they blistered. Her reasoning was that she wanted them to feel the floor, and as new pointe students, she believes the tendency to overpad hampered that.


Now, having never had a pair of pointe shoes on, I can't relate much to the term "feel the floor", but I know all the dancers can. By the end of the first semester on pointe, the girls had learned more what they needed in terms of padding (or not) and had reached an equilibrium. Essentially, they add padding very sparingly until they found what worked for each of them. DD stuck with tape and lambswool for a very long time. Then moved to a thin ouch pouch.


In hindsight, I'm not so sure the teacher is really against any padding, so much as she had found a way to prevent the rush to padding and thus, overpadding. (I think . . . .)

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As a nurse...this makes me crazy. It's 2006 and I've checked...there's no medals of honor or bravery for bearing pointes without padding. I agree that overpadding is not appropriate but geez. If you think not feeling the floor is a detriment to pointe work... acute pain and absence of all toenails can make the toughest puddle...especially this early in pointework. :huepfen:


I'd have a conference with the instructor to see why the policy and explain your daughter's pain. You could get your physician to write a physician note stating that dd must have padding for pointe work. :hyper:


Ouch Pouchs are pretty thin and can be cut if needed to be less noticable. They come in sizes for short toes and long toes. You may not need to have another fitting if the shoes are broken in. For my dd, she began with Ouch Pouches, used lamb's wool for a while and is now back with Ouch Pouches.


We're supporting you dancingdaughters - keep us posted. :huepfen:

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I agree - padding seems necessary to my non-dancing self. DD's first teacher didn't like padding. Well, pointe HURT, so we went to a dancewear store and got the smallest, most fleshtoned pad we could find, trimmed it a little, and she just slipped it on under her convertible tights. Nobody ever knew. Not surprisingly, she was the only kid in that class who didn't ever get blisters and the only one out of 39 who is still dancing today! To this day, five years later, she still wears that pad, now thinner than a paper towel and much, much washed, for "luck" in the toe of her shoe, with whatever padding she currently chooses.

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not a parent , so delete if wanted .. I just wanted to say that at the Paris Opera Ballet School in France, the students are forbidden to have anything in their pointe shoes...

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I would also like to know the POB school's reasoning.


Thanks for your support, everyone. My dd was wincing with pain in her last pointe class, and she is known for being stoic! Most of the girls seem to be doing alright without padding. I spoke with dd's teacher and she OK'ed a bit of lambswool, so we will try that or maybe a thin toe pad. Does anyone know which brands are the thinnest?

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*knock knock*


not a parent, but thought I'd share what has worked well for me. I usually cut off the toe area of a sock to use as a bit of padding in my shoes. Any relatively sturdy brand, like what you would wear in tennis shoes, should work. I usually just run to Wal-Mart and grab a pack of a couple of pairs, slip on the socks, outline the shape I want the padding to be, and then snip away the rest. Not as high-tech as some of the other products out there, but they absorb the sweat nicely, hold up well to washing, and give me the little bit of cushion I need.


An added bonus: I once found an interesting pair of sturdy knee socks at a thrift store. After cutting off the toes, I snipped out the heels and voila! Calf warmers! :)

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Ouch Pouches are very thin, and are an excellent pad. They have several variants - regular ouch pouches look like half moons and cover the largest area (the whole area under the pointe shoe vamp, both above and below the toes), Ouch Pouch Jr's that look like a crescent moon and cover the toes, and ouch pouch pros that only have padding on the top half (above the toes), with just fabric below the toes. They may be thin enough that your dd can use them with her current shoes - take those in when you go to buy them and see how they work with her current shoes.


Depending on what about the shoe is actually causing your dd's pain, there are other types of products that may help, such as gel toe spacers. I recommend going to a good pointe shoe store with her current shoes and just trying everything. :)


I hope she finds something that works! Pointe is really a bummer when it causes pain.



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I was at the NBS shoe room the other day with one of my daughters. There was a lovely young girl there being fitted for her first pair of pointe shoes. She and her mom mentioned that the girl's teacher wouldn't allow padding, and Shoe Room staff were quite surprised! Of course they didn't push the girl to do anything her teacher wouldn't approve of, they said that padding these days is so much better than it was a number of years ago (well, they said pretty much what's already been stated by others in this thread). The Shoe Room always has ouch pouches in various sizes for dancers to use as they try on pointe shoes, so I'm assuming it's something that the NBS does not discourage.


The really sweet thing is that now they take photos of dancers buying the first pair of pointe shoes! I'm not sure how they GET the photo to you (I believe they used a digital camera), but I thought it was a nice idea. We didn't stay around to watch the photo being taken, but it was clear that the girl was going to be beaming!



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  • 2 weeks later...

Could your daughter maybe use Bunhead's Jelly toes? They slide on over your toes, cushoning the "hot spots" so it isn't too much different from tape. The tips of your toes are still open so you can feel the floor. What's great with them is she could wear them under her tights so they are descrete when changing from soft shoes to pointe. She could wear them for the whole class without anyone knowing any different.

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