For those of you who don't know; toe pads are worn inside pointe shoes to reduce pressure on the toes and relieve pain. There are lots of different types of toe pads. Toe pads are shaped like little cups that encircle your toes and sometimes the metatarsals. They are made from soft materials. It is very common to get toe pads made from gel or silicone as these substances are very malleable and shock absorbent. Sometimes dancers use bubble wrap, wool or other soft materials instead of toe pads.
What types of toe pads are there?
At So Danca Store we stock a variety of different types of toe pads. We like to stock a selection because we know that every dancer has different preferences. What works for one pair of feet, isn't necessarily right for the next pair that comes along, and we get this! We have collaborated with Tech Dance, an Italian company that specialises in dance accessories, to bring you the top quality toe pads on the market.
Foam Toe Pads
Lots of dancers will recognise foam toe pads as the first toe pads they ever had. Foam toe pads are cheap, making them a good idea for beginners who may not continue with pointe work and will only be wearing their pointe shoes for short times. They are made of foam which can be quite bulky. They will flatten over time and once they get flat, they also get thin. Foam toe pads take up space but if you're too tightly crammed into the toe box of a pointe shoe a foam toe pad can potentially prevent you from fully articulating your toes.
- Great value
- Wear out quickly
- Can be bulky
Gel Toe Pads
Gel toe pads are the next step up from foam. Made from, you guessed it: gel. They are bouncy and jelly-ey in texture. They are extremely shock-absorbent and reduce friction inside your shoes. This reduces both blistering and bruising. We stock several styles of gel toe pads from tech Dance. The Prestige model has a super-thick (6mm) toe tip and the wings are 9cm long. The thicker toe tip fills up any dead space in your shoe. This extra length in the winds gives you metatarsal protection and is great for anyone treating a bunion. The Elegant and Premium styles are also really popular. With an almost identical design, the Elegant and Premium have slightly lower wings and slimmer toe-tips.
Tech Dance's gel pads are available in a range of fun colours and smells! They are easy to wash (hand wash in soapy water) and are antibacterial. One size fits all, but these pads can easily be trimmed for a perfect fit.
- Great value
- Easy to clean
- Durable and long-lasting
- When worn barefoot can trap sweat and create a damp toe space
- Can take up space in the toe box.
Covered Gel Toe Pads
A covered gel toe pad is probably the most durable and highly considered toe pad on the market right now. This type of toe pad consists of a thin layer of gel encased in fabric covering. The cover makes this toe pad very durable. Capezio's covered gel toe pad, the Ouch Pouch is so famous that the name Ouch Pouch has become synonymous with the product itself!
So if you're looking for a dupe of those fantastic but super expensive gel-lined toe pads, Tech Dance makes a discounted version of the famous ‘Ouch Pouch’. Fully gel lined and covered in stretch fabric for a perfect fit. These pads are available in nude and coral.
- Easy to clean
- Most durable
- Great shape to fit toes
- Do not fit very wide metatarsals
What types of toe pads are best?
So now you know about all the different types of toe pads. But which to choose? How are you to know what one is best for you? Ask the following questions to decide.
How often do you dance on pointe?
a. Once a week for less than 15 minutes. You should try foam. You won't do doing heavy-duty work yet so these should be fine for now.
b. Up to an hour a week. You might get away with foam if you take care of your feet and have no foot conditions. As you become more serious about pointe work, some type of gel will be best for you.
c. More than an hour a week. You 100% need a gel toe pad. Try the Premium and the Expedia.
Have you got bunions?
You need to incorporate some extra protection. Try the Premium or the Giselle. You also need to wear a spacer in pointe shoes.
Have you got one foot longer than the other?
Maybe try a mixture of the Prestige and the Premium. The Prestige has a longer toe tip meaning you can use this to fill extra space in the looser shoe.
Do you find it hard to roll through?
Try an Expedia, Giselle or Elegant. These are the slimmest pads. An overly bulky pad could be preventing complete articulation.
Remember to remove your toe pads from your pointe shoes between wears! Leaving them inside the shoe allows the damp from your feet to remain inside the pointe shoe and weaken the shoe from the inside. It's like a tiny Trojan horse, secretly breaking your shoes while you're not looking!
Toe pads are not only for ballerinas; Irish dancers might want to get their hands on a pair and try them in their hard shoes!