We asked pre-professional ballet dancer Isabel to test out our All Gel Digital Caps to see if they would be a good substitute for more-common pointe toe pads to help alleviate pointe-shoe pain. Read on for her full Q&A!
What’s your name? Isabel Tenney
Where do you live?
I live in New York with my family, but I live in Atlanta year-round to train.
What type of athlete are you (recreational/pro/leisure)?
I am a pre-professional ballet dancer.
How long have you been participating in this sport?
I have been dancing for as long as I can remember, but I started pointework and training more seriously around age 10/11–that’d be about 6-7 years of training for me!
What is your training regimen?
I do about 30+ hours of ballet and contemporary a week–sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on my rehearsal schedule! To supplement my training I also do HIIT cardio, core workouts, and I go on a lot of walks.
What challenges did you face as an athlete before using our product (pain from sneakers/boots/skates/etc)?
Pointe shoes really rub up against the side of your toes, especially when you wear them for a long time. I have very bad bunions on my big toe and pinkie because of how the shoe has shaped my feet over time–it can be very painful to wear regular street shoes when my bunions are flaring up.
What is your impression of the Silipos pointe toe pads we sent you? How did it add value to you? What did you like about it? How has using this product make your life easier/better? Did it help with the pain you were experiencing?
At first, I was doubtful of how the Silipos All Gel Digital Caps would measure up to my tried-and-true toe pads, but once I used them I was immediately in love. They really allowed me more wiggle room inside my pointe shoe, and I had more dexterity in my feet because of the extra space! Not only that, but my bunion pain was nonexistent when I was using this product.
Would you recommend Silipos toe pads for pointe shoes to other athletes? Why?
I would absolutely recommend this product to my fellow dancers because I’m not unique in experiencing pointe-shoe pain! Every aspiring ballerina I know has corns, blisters, or bunions, and these gel caps are very helpful for easing that pain!
What is something that your followers do not know about you, that you find to be very important to your personal lifestyle?
I really enjoy intellectual pursuits outside of ballet that I don’t advertise to my followers. I’m the editor-in-chief of my school newspaper and participate in many leadership opportunities. I love writing essays, prose, and poetry and am pursuing some kind of storytelling career in addition to training as a professional ballerina.
What keeps you motivated when you are faced with challenges?
I always try to remember why I’ve started and that I’ve come so far with my training. Keeping that in mind, it’s much easier to progress and overcome mental blocks!
How do you structure your days?
I do something active in the morning to get my blood flowing. Most of my day is spent in rehearsal, at the studio, or practicing something ballet-related, so the rest of my time I work on homework or something school-adjacent. When I’m free I like to write, read, listen to podcasts,
and talk to my friends and family in New York.
Who are your biggest influences? Who do you admire most?
I admire all ballet dancers–I know how hard it is to get where they are! Lately, I’ve been trying to emulate Alina Somova and Olga Smirnova in my dancing–they have such an unmatched ethereal quality to their movement.
How do you care for your body and health aside from your sport?
I try to eat as well as possible, and I’ve recently made a big effort to diversify my palette and try different things. It’s healthy and it’s fun!
What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring athlete?
It may sound cliché, but I’d really advise anyone truly serious about ballet or another sport to never give up. There have been many instances where setbacks have truly forced me to question whether I’d really like to spend my life as a ballerina, and my answer is always “yes.”
Effort can take you everywhere! I’d also tell aspiring athletes to not be afraid of hard work, sacrifice, and failure. They might be painful, but they’ll help you grow!
Interested in following Isabel’s journey? Be sure to follow her on Instagram- @Isballerina !
Read more inspiring Silipos stories!