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Which Are The Best Pointe Shoe Toe Pads?

Updated on September 26, 2014

Ouch. My Pointe Shoes Hurt!

Are you a pointe student searching for the best type of padding for your particular shoe and foot type? One of the downsides to becoming a ballet dancer and wearing those pretty pink satin pointe shoes is pain. The inside of the pointe shoe can be very rough on the skin of the toes, Dancers also need to cushion their toes from the impact of their body weight on such tiny bones.

With all the choices of padding out there, it can be hard to decide which type is best for you. You can probably find your ideal padding by choosing one from the Best Selling Pointe Shoe Toe Pads online that have worked for many dancers.

If you are a young pointe student you may be confused about choosing the perfect padding. Well-meaning friends and other dancers in your class each have their own advice and personal favorites. Don't worry. Ballet dancers learn to live with constant experimentation; sometimes day by day.

Ouch Pouch
Ouch Pouch | Source

Pointe Shoe Padding Comes In Many Forms

Each Dancer Pads Her Toes According To Her Needs

When it comes to the ways that dancers protect their toes and pad their shoes, the varieties are as endless as the individual needs of the dancer. Some beginners find pointe work so uncomfortable, they need the thickest padding possible. You can find many beginners wearing pointe shoes that have been professionally fitted to include space for a thick toe pad.

As a student grows out of that "tender-footed" stage, she can advance to a thinner padding type. Many professional ballet dancers have such tough feet that they only apply tape to individual toes for protection. Some, of course, choose to dance on pointe with absolutely no padding whatsoever.

Most dancers need a little something to cushion pressure points inside the toe box of their shoes. For some, combining individual toe caps with taping works best. Others prefer traditional lambs wool. Some dancers wrap each toe in lambs wool, then wrap tape around them.

Lambs wool is affordable, formed pads cost a little more, but they are more convenient to put on and take off.

Foam Rubber With Gel Core Toe Pads

Can Be Trimmed To Fit

One of the most popular types of toe padding for full protection is the classic Ouch Pouch. This product is a foam covered gel pad that is versatile enough for many dance students. It can be trimmed to fit perfectly inside of shoes with different vamp lengths. The basic skin-colored ouch pouch shown here is one of the best-selling products for new pointe students, but they come in other great colors too.

These products are made for maximum protection and are thicker than gel pads. Choose this style if you are a beginner with tender feet until your skin and toes become tougher, as they will.

Thicker Protection For Tender Toes - Best For Beginners

Original Ouch Pouches&reg,BH005,multi-colored,One-Size
Original Ouch Pouches&reg,BH005,multi-colored,One-Size

As you can see by the image here, these pads are constructed to cover a wider area of the toe and are cut straight across for bunion relief, tender ball-of-foot pain and have thicker cushioning for the metatarsals.


Choose A Shape According To Your Pointe Shoe Throat

Dance wear manufacturers create padding that can be cut to fit or that has a v-cut so the pads are hidden under the natural lines of your shoe vamp.

Capezio Womans Bunheads Dance Accessories OUCH POUCH, Cushiony Fabric Covered Gel Toes Pads, NUD, L
Capezio Womans Bunheads Dance Accessories OUCH POUCH, Cushiony Fabric Covered Gel Toes Pads, NUD, L

This Ouch Pouch in size large is made for shoe sizes 7 through 10. These products have less padding under the metatarsal area for reduced bulk.


A Little Color On The Toes Makes Padding Fun

Colorful padding is a personal choice. You may prefer traditional pink or neutral beige in keeping with tradition. However, since nobody is going to see your toes, wearing toe pads in hot shades are just plain fun.

Capezio Women's Ouch Pouch Large Toe Pads,Purple,L - Regular
Capezio Women's Ouch Pouch Large Toe Pads,Purple,L - Regular

This pad fits shoe sizes 7 through 10. Like the version above, the padding in the metatarsal area is thinner.


Thin Gel Padding

For Dancers Who Want To Feel The Floor

There are many reasons why some dancers choose the thinnest padding that they can tolerate. Pointe work is an intricate combination of grace, strength and athleticism. The ballet dancer has to make contact with the floor and she has to feel where she is. The less a dancer needs to pad her shoes, the more secure she will feel while dancing.

Thin padding made of gel materials forms a good contour inside the shoe as the body heat warms the gel. This type of padding is also less bulky and more comfortable for demi-pointe work. Gel-based padding is popular because it cushions and protects without a lot of bulk. One of the most important aspects of dancing on pointe is being able to feel the floor. Gel-based padding contours inside the toe box with body heat creating a comfortable barrier without removing sensation.

Lightweight Gel Pointe Shoe Padding - Use A Thin Gel Pad For Less Bulk Inside Your Shoe

Eurotard Feather Lites Gel Toe Pads - 990fl
Eurotard Feather Lites Gel Toe Pads - 990fl

Eurotard Feather Lites are one of the most popular gel pad products sold on They work well for dancers who need to feel the floor and dislike the bulky feeling of foam rubber.

The thin, flexible materials are better suited for those who have already toughened up their feet with pointe training and are able to lift up and out of their shoes.


Skinny Dips Toe Pads Are Another Great Option

With all the different padding types out there, we can be thankful for those companies that allow product feedback, like If you see a lot of positive reviews from dancers it's a good sign that a gel pad is worth trying.

SkinnyDips Toe Pads,TSSDML,multi-colored,ML
SkinnyDips Toe Pads,TSSDML,multi-colored,ML

Available through one of the most reputable suppliers of ballet products for dancers; Discount Dance Supply, these pads are a great option for making your pointe work more comfortable.

Check out the reviews and see what other dancers have to say about the Skinny Dip brand.


Taping Problem Areas Can Prevent Friction

Do your pointe shoes rub you the wrong way? Getting bunions, corns and calluses can cause a lot of discomfort during pointe work. If you wear traditional paste shoes, the rubbing and friction can cause feet to bleed during class. Learning to use protective taping methods on your toes can go a long way when it comes to caring for your feet. Some dancers choose cushioned tape that is made by medical companies and others prefer brands that are made by dance supply manufacturers.

Toe Tape Or Wrap Foam - A Must-Have Item To Carry In Your Ballet Bag

Capezio Women's Capezio Toe Tape White One Size US
Capezio Women's Capezio Toe Tape White One Size US

Specifically made for dancers. Professional pointe work and taping high-friction areas of skin to cushion and guard against irritation is the norm for versatile foot care in the dance world.


Traditional Lambs Wool

Soft And Cozy Protection From Pointe Shoe Pain

Did you ever wonder what the ballerinas of yesteryear used to pad their shoes before foam rubber was ever invented? Anna Pavlova did not use Ouch Pouches or Gellows, Ballerinas have been protecting their feet with good old-fashioned lambs wool for hundreds of years. If you are a die-hard ballet traditionalist, you can't go wrong with soft, cozy lambswool. You can make it as thick or as thin as you like. This fluffy material even comes in different colors. Padding your pointe shoes in lambswool can be fun when it comes in more colors than white.

The Ballerina's Choice For Hundreds Of Years - Lambswool Is Extremely Versatile-Use A Little Or Use A Lot

Freed Bulk Lambs Wool
Freed Bulk Lambs Wool

Bulk lambs wool is not only handy to have in your dance bag or academy locker, it comes in handy for non-dancers as well. Because of the soft, cushy texture, lambs wool can be placed in high-heel shoes, stiff boots, or any shoes that rub your feet the wrong way.


Pointe Work And Toe Protection Is An Art Form

Just like dancing a role on stage celebrates unique artistic expression, so does the way each dancer cares for her shoes and feet throughout her career. If you have ever read real-dancer interviews in ballet magazines, each one has her own style when it comes to padding, taping, wooling or gelling.

Some use toe caps and a little wool. Some use half a gel pad with tape on the big toe. Some use foam rubber lined with wool. Some professionals use just bandaids and a prayer. Some dancers actually use numbing products like Ambusol to make them forget about the pain while they dance.

Premier Lambs Wool 3/8 oz
Premier Lambs Wool 3/8 oz

Premier lambs wool is beautifully affordable, so if your toes are killing you and you are on a budget, this bag won't break the bank.


Is Choosing The Right Toe Pad Hard?

Don't be afraid to experiment-try a little bit of everything

All dancers that go on pointe eventually learn what works to keep them as pain free as possible. Protecting the toes from pressure and friction while dancing is a lifelong commitment. Be prepared to purchase many different types of padding, tapes, ointments, spacers and other comfort products throughout your ballet career.

Just as a dancer changes worn out pointe shoes, each new shoe or new performance will call for a unique toe-protection tweaking. Consider that one of the realities of pointe work.

Discount Dance Supply is a reputable company for more choices in Pointe Shoe Pads and they carry the newest line of pointe accessories available to dancers.

So, Which Pointe Shoe Toe Pads Are The Best ?

Is there such a thing as a best pointe shoe toe pad? Yes and no. Yes if you find what works exactly for you. No if you try to protect your toes with a product meant for some other dancer. Just like it takes many years for a dancer to find pointe shoes that fit her like a glove, it can take a lot of experimenting to find the right products for padding.

Ballet is a performing art where the dance student always strives to move to the next level. Pointe shoe padding needs will change constantly. Most professional dancers vary the types of toe protection methods they use depending on the health and strength of their feet at that particular time in their career. There is no BEST toe pad. There is only the best type of padding for you.

© 2012 LPerry60

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    • profile image

      Precious Patsy 3 years ago

      Very good information for a first timer...

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      Thanks for the info and this is a great lens :)

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 5 years ago from Redcar

      A fascinating lense - thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Interesting facts!

    • DeborahDian profile image

      Deborah Carr 5 years ago from Orange County, California

      You did an excellent job of presenting this information about pointe shoe toe pads. It will help many ballerinas make the right decision for themselves.

    • Ballet Tutus profile image

      Ballet Tutus 5 years ago

      Amazing what is available now compared to my day of animal wool if you were lucky otherwise toilet tissue !!!!

    • profile image

      scss 5 years ago

      Oh my goodness gracious me... I can't think how many decades it's been since I thought about my old ballet slippers... thanks for the memories!

    • NibsyNell profile image

      NibsyNell 5 years ago

      Loads of great info here! I personally like grey inserts as they just sit on top of your toes which means you can feel the floor better. :)

    • rawwwwwws lm profile image

      rawwwwwws lm 5 years ago

      Great lens, tanks for sharing one the best pointe shoe pads!

    • profile image

      Li-Li-ThePinkBookworm 5 years ago

      I have a friend who is in pointe, and I am sure she would agree that toe pads are a must. Great lens!

      Li Li

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      Excellent Pointe Shoe Toe Pad lens LPerry60 with some useful pointers for dancers to protect their toes and a nice selection of pads to solve varied padding problems.

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      This has been so useful. My daughter dances, so we both appreciate your sound advice and suggestions.

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 5 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi you have a great list of pad to choose from.

    • Melissa Miotke profile image

      Melissa Miotke 5 years ago from Arizona

      Great pad choices

    • queenofduvetcover profile image

      queenofduvetcover 5 years ago

      These are some great tips for anyone who is thinking of doing ballet. Well done!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      As someone who used to dance on point, finding the right pad is very important.