Friday, March 23, 2012

Shoes

A very common question of new and old dancers is "What kind of shoes should I wear to dance in?"

While there is no right answer to this question, there are some guidelines that might help you out in your decision.The main consideration is how well do your shoes slide, and how well do they stay on your feet. Flip flops for example, may have smooth bottoms, but they are not very likely to stay put while swinging out (Also not so good if someone *gasp* steps on your tootsies!). Sneakers on the other hand may stay on your feet really well, but your feet will stick to the ground (Your knees are not big fans of yours when your body twists and your feet don't follow).

www.dancestore.com
The best dance shoes are a good balance of fit, comfort and slidey-ness. Here's where the rules stop. Some dancers love to dance in leather soled dance shoes. You can get these at stores that specialize in dance shoes, or online. A great place to find shoes for swing dancing online is http://www.dancestore.com/ They specialize in shoes and clothing made just for us swing dancers. While there is nothing better than struttin' your stuff in a pair of vintage inspired heels made to keep you on the dance floor until the wee hours of the morning, sometimes our wallets are a little thin for "real" dance shoes.

City Sneaks
A great alternative are any regular shoes with a smooth bottom. I LOVE payless' knockoff keds. They are very comfy, go with anything, and work really well for dancing. I wear them around outside, on concrete, etc, until the bottoms are worn down and smooth, clean them off, and they are ready for the dance floor. Just remember any bits on your shoes that are made to improve your traction, will do just that -and traction is not really what we are going for here!

 If you are looking for even more control, consider augmenting the bottom of your shoes to improve their dancability. For the quick fix, cut a piece of moleskin to fit the sole of your shoe and slap it on. I tried this for a Halloween costume to make a pair of boots into dance shoes, and it worked really well. It lasted for longer than I thought it would too! When you want your regular shoes back, peal off the moleskin, and remove the sticky lingering glue with some goo-gone.You can also go the more professional route of suedeing the bottom of your shoes. I've never done this myself, but it is doable. If you are not a DIY'er you can also take your chosen shoes to a shoe repair shop to have the bottoms sueded. A great benefit of sueded leather is that you can control your slidey-ness. As you wear your shoes they will get slipperyer and slidey-er. Just take a wire brush to the bottom of the shoe and you can rough them back up to your preferred level of zippyness.

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