Shoes and foot care

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by pygmalion, Sep 21, 2003.

  1. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    In another thread, we started talking about dance shoes -- specifically practice shoes and taking good care of one's feet for dancing purposes.

    Since most of us probably have shoes experiences to share, I thought it would be nice to start a thread and talk about just that.

    Here's my experience with practice shoes.

    When I first started dancing, I (naively) bought a pair of low-heeled character shoes for practice. That didn't work because character shoes are not dance shoes. Even though they're comfortable, they are balanced differently from dance shoes. So your weight ends up over your heels, rather than poised forward. I ended up fighting my shoes.

    Then I bought some smashing-looking high heeled dance shoes. At the time, I had a bunch of dance stuff going on and between lessons, classes and dance rehearsals, was dancing about four or five hours a day. I ended up with aching calves and ankles and a bruised toenail that hurt SO bad and just wouldn't quit. :cry: :x

    So I bought practice shoes. Two inch heel. I won't mention the company, but the shoe style is called Roma. Excellent support of the foot, and you can feel the whole floor as well as what part of the foot you're using. Really good control. And this style is definitely much better looking than others I've seen.

    I've been "living" in Roma's ever since -- obviously I change shoes from time to time, to give my feet a break, but I love my practice shoes.
    (I'm amending this to say that I "live" in my Roma's inside the dance studio. Never, ever do I wear them outside, because of the suede soles.)

    Anybody else have shoes recommendations or foot care tips you want to share?
  2. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Black Sheep had some shoe/foot care recommendations in a different thread.

    Although he intended these comments primarily for dance teachers, I think they're interesting observations for anyone who spends a lot of time dancing.
  3. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    I dance and compete mostly Swing, Hustle, NC2S, and soon, the Latin dances. I also do a lot of C&W dance, and some Ballroom.

    For Swing, Hustle, NC2S, and the Latin dances, I wear men's tango shoes. I have recently purchased a pair of Dance Naturals tango shoes, and they are still breaking in. They are great shoes for those styles of dance.

    For C&W dance, I swear by Evening Star boots - glove soft leather uppers, with a very flexible, suede-soled, bottom.These are extremely comfortabe to wear, but just look terrible with most clothes, other than tight Wrangler jeans!

    For practice, I had been wearing men's perforated tango shoes, but now, I only use dance sneakers. I also use them for 90% of my social dancing as they are the perfect all around shoe! Plus, you can wear them out in the rain, step on dry, sticky, bar-spilled drinks, etc., and go right out and dance in them. I highly recommend you get a pair.

    I change into what I will be wearing at about two-weeks out before the competition to get the feet used to the change of shoes. I'd wear the dance sneakers in comp, but they do not look good with dress competition clothes.

    Change shoes often. Keep shoe stretchers in them. Polish them . . . especially the back of the shoes.
  4. dancergal

    dancergal New Member

    I have 3 pair of practice dance shoes in varying heel heights (mostly low heel) and a pair of Evening Star dance boots. I can't wear high heels and I don't wear dresses so I don't need fancy shoes. I try to change my shoes at least once during a dance to give my feet a break. I can't do much West Coast in my dance boots. They seem too clunky and I can't move as easily, but are great for country two-step. When I'm out in a regular nightclub, I wear my regular cowboy boots. For some reason they are the most comfortable for country dancing and they're really cute too. :lol: (I also rub my feet with lotion when I get home from a long night of dancing. They feel so much better when I remember to do that.)
  5. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hey dancergal!

    Do you think the differing heel heights helps keep you from getting stiff or sore muscles?
  6. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Another thing I forgot to mention is that, during the bruised toenail time period, I put no-slip insoles inside all of my shoes.


    And, by the way, the problems I had were even with properly fitted shoes -- very close to the toes, without touching. Much more snug than street shoes. But, because I have fallen arches, my feet slide forward no matter how snug the shoe. Ouch! :evil:

    A lot of women use no-slip insoles for (open-toed) Latin shoes to keep their toes from sliding out, but I find the no-slip insoles especially helpful inside closed-toe shoes like court shoes or practice shoes. They keep my toes from getting too close to the inside edge of the front of my shoe, and prevent impact and potential bruising.
  7. dancergal

    dancergal New Member

    I think you're right Pygmalion. Another dancer told me that she changes her shoes during a long night of dancing and I tried it. Works wonders. When my feet get sore, I try a different pair of shoes. My low heel dance shoes fit really nice but are a tiny bit tight, my other pair of shoes have a bigger heels, but more toe room. So if I switch between the two it gives my feet a change. My 3rd pair are flats and I don't wear them much unless we are going to a lot of dance classes at a convention and we do a lot of standing around. Flats work out great for that. I can't seem to dance very well in them when doing social dancing. I think I need a little heel. I also put insoles into my shoes. I bought a real nice pair at a sports shop and it gives me the cushion I need for a lot of dancing. I switch them out for each of my shoes. A must for me. Most dance shoes don't have a lot of cushion.
  8. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Thanks, dancergal. Now I'm motivated to actually WEAR some of my many pairs of dance shoes. They're all in different heel shapes and heights. Maybe that will take the load off my feet a little.

    I also saw some (fairly hideous-looking :lol: ) ballroom sneakers with suede soles. Does anybody (not just dancergal) have experience with them?

    Also, does anyone do any sort of soaking and/or foot massage at the end of a long dance day?
  9. dancersdreamland

    dancersdreamland New Member

    Every once in a while I get the urge for a good foot soak, and this one seems to work pretty good for aching feet...plus it smells good.

    Fill a soaking bowl (or container your foot will fit in) with very warm (not hold scalding) water. Add a cup of milk (does not need to be warm). Add scented bath salts (any scent is good...not sure what scents are meant for different relaxations, but something to look into). You can add those fun little foot massagers at the bottom of the bowl...you know those little plastic things you run your feet over and the grooves kindof tickle the bottom of your foot...it relaxes the muscles and just plain feels good.

    After you've soaked your feet for a good 10 or 15 minutes, then massage them with foot lotion from Bath & Body Words...excellent for moisturizer. B&BW also has some really nice refresher sprays that work nice just after a dance class.
  10. dancergal

    dancergal New Member

    A nice footsoak sounds wonderful! I'm going to try that. Plus I'm running out of foot lotion. I never thought of Bath & Body Works. I'll check them out.
  11. SwinginBoo

    SwinginBoo New Member

    I'm a true Die-hard Lindy Hopper. I began dancing in vintage-type shoes. They looked great, but did a number on my feet. I can definitely appreciate how beautiful and poised a follower looks in heels, however, I have given up the asthetics for practicality.

    I wear sneakers - yes folks even then I'm in a dress, skirt, or black pants. I don't always like the look, but the comfort makes it worth it. I'm hoping it will lengthen the time that I will be able to dance throughout my life.

    So if you are going to be out lindy hopping the nights away, I recommend something you like, but that is also comfortable. :wink:
  12. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    My swing shoes are flat. I mean flat. Less than half an inch heel. And there are lots of flat swing shoes and sneaks out there for women. Personally, I think that flats add to the vintage look (if that's what you're after :D :wink: ) and let you stay comfortable at the same time.
  13. Lynn P

    Lynn P New Member

    I know this is an old thread, but I too love my Romas. I have 5 other pairs of Freed shoes as I have narrow feet and their shoes seem to fit well.

    I often dance intensively over a weekend, at times doing workshops and social dancing during the day, then social dancing for up to 8 hours at night (well, overnight really). I usually wear 2 pairs of shoes during the night and often end up in my comfy Romas for the last few hours.

    One thing that I have found really helpful if dancing in heels with bare feet is to use an anti blister stick (I use Compeed) on areas where the shoes might rub - this makes a big difference. I also use a nice footspray in between shoe changes and sometimes ibuprofen gel on the balls of my feet if they are starting to hurt.

    I love dance shoes and have a wide range of styles - problem is sometimes deciding which pairs to take.
  14. dancedevine

    dancedevine New Member

    I have a pair of dance sneakers (not sure uf these fit into the 'ballroom sneaker' realm) with a split toe by bloch. I'm still getting used to them. They are really clunky...difficult to point...but a lot nicer to the feet. They seem to absorb more shock from impact. I was using the standard jazz shoe, ballet slipper, modern dance shoe ect... and my feet were always hurting! The worst most painful was a standard character shoe by capezio...ouch! The agony of d'feet!
    Whatever sneaker you buy for dance...i suggest making sure there is a spin spot at the ball of the foot...otherwise turns and pivots could be hazzardous to your knees and ankles.
    Hope this brief unedited reply helps you in your info search:)
  15. Standarddancer

    Standarddancer Well-Known Member

    I like my supa dance black low heel practice shoes (about 1.5 inch heel) to give my feet a break, much more comfy than regular competition court shoes
  16. QPO

    QPO New Member

    Does this make it hard to move between heel heights. I dance with a 2 inch heel and don’t want to go lower just in case I cant move back up again. Balance is always an Issue. I have a pair of 3 inch heels and I find them difficult to dance in, centre of balance becomes dysfunctional
    :rolleyes:

  17. dancerman

    dancerman Active Member

    From what I've seen many women, including lots of female instructors, wear practice shoes. Some even wear dance sneakers, although not as many. Practice shoes give your feet more stability, they are not as restrictive (because they don't have all these straps strangling your feet). They let your feet breathe, and provide even support around the whole foot.
    There are some practice shoes, such as the Freed Roma and the Supadance 1025 that have a 2" narrower heel, but are still practice shoes. That way your are not dropping as far down in heel height, if that is your concern.
    Maybe some instructors will view this post and offer their feedback. They would know better than I. Protect your feet more than anything. Sore feet or injured feet, will kill your dancing quickly.
    Hope this helps.
  18. Standarddancer

    Standarddancer Well-Known Member

    not at all...I wear 2" for comp and I dont' feel a difficult transition between my black supa teaching/practice shoe to the 2" court shoes. Supa practice shoes have airholes to make it breathable for my feet, and I don't have to be on my heel all the time, a very big relief for my feet, you will know the difference if you practice for hours. I agree with you, 3" is difficult.
  19. Standarddancer

    Standarddancer Well-Known Member

    well said, can't agree anymore;)!!!
  20. laucy.my

    laucy.my Active Member

    I was thinking of getting a pair for men's latin shoes as my practise shoes, because the ones they have here don't have split soles. I have a pair of practise boots though which is about 1 1/2 inches. I find it difficult to switch to that pair when dancing, it's almost like without the heel I suddenly don't know how to dance! For the past year I have just been wearing my 3-inch heels to dance so I guess that's what caused the difficulty in transition.

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