I wanted to announce my change of opinion on Gaynor Mindens. My Grishkos have served me well the last 5 months. They do incredibly pinch my pinky toes sometimes until it’s black and blue. My pinky toes are now heavily armored with calluses from relentless friction causing blisters. I have no issues with this as being able to dance in a supportive pointe shoe is essential, especially during Nutcracker season. They were FAR better than my Bloch Axis.
I recently came to the revelation that my 5 classes a week and nutcracker work have really strengthened my feet. Grishkos most definitely helped too. Being a Russian shoe, they’re very solid, strong, and it’s a work out just to break in the shoe. However, I was able to kill a pair in a month of dancing, and I’m not a professional who may have killed them in a couple hours. Yet the short amount of time the shoes were viable to me was a testament to my foot strength.
I decided to try my Gaynors again. They sat there sadly neglected. So much so a large spider and made a hidey hole of one of my shoes. Yuck. They were swiftly evicted. I hadn’t touched my GMs since summer. I didn’t even wear them at the intensive, they rubbed a ruptured blister worse. I had issues previously wearing my GMs, getting over the box, sinking after my feet warmed up, lack of foot strength in pointing. I think even with the flexible shank the shoe was too strong for me at that time.
I didn’t want to waste the hefty $80+ I dropped into these shoes so I wanted to give them another try.
Last week after resewing them I tested them out. I forgot how “soft” in comparison to traditional shoes these are. So quiet, no clunking about. Demi was not a fight with the shoe.
What surprised me most was how easy my ability to get over the box. It was like wearing my Bloch axis again. I get over the box so easily I wobble off pointe if I’m not careful. I don’t ever remember this being the case when I first go the shoes.
When pointing my foot in dégagé or develope it was a beautiful arched pointe. It did not look like the pre-arched shoe by itself. It actually looked like I was pushing the shank and creating my own pointe.
After the first night though I hated the shoes from discomfort. My feet were sinking by the end of barre. I had to remove my shoes after a few center exercises.
Second night wearing them I stuffed some extra box liners I had. World of difference. A little too tight in certain places but even my Teacher recognized a difference in my dancing with them. I recognized a difference. It was very easy and I had great capability with the shoes. I could actually use them to their potential than be dragged down by discomfort.
I think now, when I buy a new pair maybe sometime before June, I’ll order a size smaller in the box. It may look unattractive by rippling but after the shoes stretch out a little I think the fit will be just right. I still want to buy the additional padding for “thin” feet like mine to see how much a difference that will be.
I still have two pairs of grishkos to get through before I try new shoes again.
Overall, I think Gaynor Mindens are good shoes if fit correctly, and it can still be a struggle to get there. I do feel though that you need to have proper foot strength first before buying a pair. If your feet aren’t strong I feel they may make your feet weaker and they should stop being prescribed to dancers who’s feet are less than perfect for pointe. That’s my two cents.