What kind of toe pads should be used with pointe shoes?
Dancers vary greatly in how much padding they prefer in the toe box. Some use as little as possible, so as to feel the floor and articulate the foot without interference. Others prefer substantial padding, to minimize blisters, pressure on the toes and other discomfort. Generally, it is advisable to choose the lightest pad that provides the desired level of comfort.
Many different types of toe pads are available, as well as lamb’s wool, which some dancers prefer because it can be molded into the exact shape and thickness they desire. Beginners should only use pads made especially for pointe shoes, not experiment with other materials.
Some dancers benefit from spacers, which fit between the toes. They should be used only when needed; when they are not needed, they add unnecessary bulk inside the shoe.
Many dancers tape their toes in addition to, or instead of, using toe pads. Taping can help dancers avoid blisters and other abrasions.
Even very light padding can change the fit of a pointe shoe’s box and width, so it is essential to wear the same pads for fitting as will be worn for dancing.