Ballroom Dance > Cleaning suede bottoms

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by KevinL, Apr 9, 2004.

  1. KevinL

    KevinL New Member

    I got new dance shoes a couple of weeks ago, and I'm doing a much better job keeping them clean than my previous pair. Of course they were about two years old and the bottoms are basically slick with wax and I had given up cleaning them.

    It amazes me (a little) how dirty some of the floors where I teach are! The new shoes pick up so much dirt and wax! I'm looking forward to a time when I can be in charge of my own floor and not have to share with non-dancers.

    Anyway, I seem to recall someone giving me advice once about always brushing your shoes in the same direction, but it's been too long, and I can't remember the details. Any advice for cleaning the suade bottoms of dance shoes?

    On a related note, the suade on the heel is already starting to come off. Do you have any advice for good shoe glue, or should I just complain to the company and return them?

  2. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    Re: Cleaning suade bottoms

    First, I've tried brushing in one direction, then another, then diagonally, then sandpaper, then sprays . . . and the only thing I've found is that everyone has an opinion about which way to bring the nap of the suede back up.

    Honestly, I think it's a psychological thing. If you just brushed in one direction, and you did a great routine (or dance), you'd probably always brush that way.

    Bottomline? Just brush to keep the nap up . . . this effectively lengthens the life of the suede.

    Second . . . get your old pair of shoes re-sueded . . . it's always nice to have a second pair available in your car, or just for a change to give your feet a break.

    Third, I always carry a "glue-stick" in my shoe bag, right along with a brush to nap up the suede. I count count how many times I've pulled off the heel suede. A quick swipe of the heel with the glue stick, place the suede back on, go dance.

    Hope this helps???

  3. Genesius Redux

    Genesius Redux New Member

    I just scrub away until I get em rough. If you can't make the nap come up you can always have them resoled. A lot of the time my old dance shoes feel like my comfortable old sweater. I've had teachers who have wanted to hide them on me to force me to buy new ones! :lol:
  4. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    And get the super hard bristle shoe brush. They work better and last much longer. I'm pretty sure showtime has that version now. It has a square head, and can be bought with a velcro cover or with a slip-on carrying case.

    The older, less effective brush had a long rectangular head. The bristles on that one got bent and worn out really quickly, comparatively speaking.
  5. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    I use a file brush.
  6. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

  7. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    What's a file brush?
  8. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    We dancers call it a wire shoe brush. Now I don't remember whether "file brush" is what it is called at the hardware store. Talk about failing minds. :oops: Anyway, it has a wooden handle, like a brush and has steel bristles. It is found in many local hardware stores...I think they call it a file or something like that.

    I actually saw this recommendation on some website, but neglected to note it down so I cannot point anyone to it. :cry:
  9. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Sounds familiar. My Dad used to have a brush in his tool box. Hmm. I wonder how that compares to the "dance shoe brushes" you buy at a dance shoe store?
  10. Sarah

    Sarah New Member

    Occasionally called a file card.

  11. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Thanks Sarah. Again you've come to my rescue you dashing knightress in shining armour! :wink: That's the term all the hardware stores use -- file card , file card, file card, file card, file card, file card....I think I got it now!! :D
  12. chachagirlie

    chachagirlie New Member

    Glad to hear I'm not the only one using hardware store finds. :D

    At home I use a bar-be-que grill brush to clean my shoes. It works great at quickly removing stubborn wax and dirt. Then, I can fine tune the suede with my two shoe brushes. One is the large wire type and the other the fine scrubbing type.
  13. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    And don't forget the sand paper for those brand-new leather (not suede) soled dance shoes. :wink: Pretty inexpensive at the hardware store. :D
  14. ShyDancer

    ShyDancer New Member

    I know you are not supposed to wet your suede soles... but when I find that scubbing them with a shoe brush still leaves a lot of wax on them I use some carpet cleaner on them...the spray on variety with orange oil in it.
    Here is aus the brand I use is Orange Force.
    It works VERY well, brings the suede back to life, all soft almost like new.
    Just make sure you dont over wet them and leave them to dry completely before wearing them again.
    And dont do it too often..I do mine once every 2 months or so, and I havent had a problem.
  15. Sakura

    Sakura New Member

    Heh! Right now, I'm very happy that I've just found this page! Here's why:

    I'll be getting my very first pair of (the actual style I need) practice shoes (from Showtime...). They're made out of black leather, but seeing this topic made me go: *stop!* Eek! I don't think I'm gonna know how to keep these shoes up!! =o_O=... Needless to say, it made me think. So, here are my questions, I hope you all will bear with me, n00b that I am... :wink:

    1. What exactly will I need to keep these shoes in good condition (I've seen the brushes, the sandpaper for the leather shoes, etc... A general preference for a specific kind of brush will really help!)
    2. What's a good quality place that I can get these shoe brushes from? (sandpaper comes from the hardware store, I realize)
    3. If these brushes have steel brustles, and sandpaper is being used as well, how does it not tear the shoes up?? :? This is what's really confusing me.
    4. How often should the shoes be brushed? After every time they're danced in, once a month, etc...?

    *sighs* That's all I can think of for now, and thanks for your guys' help! I reaaaaally appreciate it!

    Sakura Kitty :kitty:
  16. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Good questions, SK.

    Sandpaper should not be used on suede soled shoes. Use hard bristled shoe brushes, not sand paper. ( I prefer the shoebrushes stocked by Showtime, but there's a folding shoe brush out there that's also good.)

    The shoe brushes can be bought from dance shoe stores, including showtime, or (I'm guessing) hardware stores, or mail order from a lot of other companies.

    Brush the bottoms of your shoes either after each use, or whenever you see the soles starting to get shiny in spots. I brush mine before every use. It'sn easier to remember that way. :wink:
  17. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Heay SK (and other interested parties), here's a link to the post in Ads about the folding shoe brush.
  18. Sakura

    Sakura New Member

    :) Thanks P. and SD! I'll get right on checking out that link after this.

    But as to my other question, how do steel-bristled brushes (Bleagh! Tongue twister! :shock: ) not tear up something as soft as leather? Obviously, we're not trying to brush *through* the shoes, but, is the brushing technique just something light, as I've seen it posted, "in one direction?" I hate to reiterate, but after sacrificing one of my two lessons for three months, I'd *really* rather not ruin my new shoes once I get them. :roll: :wink:

    Thanks for all of your help again!

    Sakura Kitty :kitty:
  19. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Suede is actually very tough material SK . . . so brushing the sueded shoe bottoms does little damage to them while picking up the knap and removing wax build-up.
  20. Sakura

    Sakura New Member

    *deep sigh of relief* Good... 8) I just really don't want to ruin these shoes as soon as I get them! I'd go crazy if I had to go another 3-4 months without one of my two dance lessons! :evil:

    See you later!

    Sakura Kitty :kitty:

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