I'm going to bring this old thread back up because I can never get enough of Gaynor Minden debates.
I have them. They refuse to die. Probably because I never wear them. I've had them as my "back up shoes" for the past, oh, 7 years (same pair) and wear them perhaps a couple of weeks every year when my regular shoes are too beaten up and I'm breaking in new ones, or have a performance and my feet don't feel too great.
I would never wear them for practice. The way the shank is constructed, as someone else has said on this thread already, either you're en pointe or you're not. There is no rolling through. Once you releve far up enough, the shoe will yank you onto its box and basically do the hardest part for you. There's pretty much *no* way a dancer can have that unsightly (but also very telling..) "half en pointe" look that they can in regular shoes, you know, when they're barely on the outmost edge of the box, which shows they don't have the strength yet to get *over* the shoe. There's no way anyone can suffer from than in Gaynors because once you revele you're on the box. That's why it made me lose a LOT of strength when I first wore them and counted on wearing them forever.
I don't have the best arches and they made my feet look great!! I figured, what could be better? But one day, I forgot my Gaynors and was forced to wear my old regular pointes (Grishko Ulanova I's) and it was then that I realized: I don't have the strength to get over these shoes anymore! They were perfectly broken in but not broke down, I hadn't taken less classes or done anything different...but a couple of months in ONLY Gaynors and I couldn't work with my Grishkos anymore. I asked my teacher who confirmed that he had believed all along that Gaynors might do this due to the way their shank works the shoe for you, and that now he was convinced. Another girl had a similar problem. After that, Gaynors were banned from the studio. I couldn't work in Grishkos anymore and moved onto Veronese hard shanks, which I still wear to this day. I love them, so I guess it's one good thing that came out of the whole ordeal.
I think Gaynors can be a great back up shoe, the way I use mine. If your shoes are broken down and you have a week before you can get a new pair, hop into the Gaynors as back ups. If you have a performance and your feet are bloodied and tired, hop into the Gaynors, because they ARE more comfortable. But pointe work is supposed to make you stronger, and I really think Gaynors do the opposite.