Swing Discussion Boards > Swing Dance Clothes

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by Vince A, Sep 2, 2003.

  1. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Jazz sneakers are pretty good, but again without leather soles they limit the types of stuff you can do on a typical dance floor.

    There is a reason for this, most professional stage floors are terrible, I know tons of broadway dancers who "coke" floors before the show goes on... "Coking" is pouring Coca-Cola on the floor so it becomes sticky so you don't slip or slide.

    In swing, particularly lindy hop, we do the exact opposite. We use talcom powder, corn meal, or some other fine powder to make the floors more slippery.

    I'm not a fan of suede/chromed leather soles, mostly because the sole is so thin. A dress leather sole only used on non-abrasive surfaces will generally outlast the upper be it leather, canvas, or other. Chromed leather will last with care a couple of years depending on the dance frequency and style. Weekly use of Bleyers will generally make the shoe fall apart anywhere from three months to about 18 months... estimated.
  2. will35

    will35 New Member

  3. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Figured as much...

    Personally I live in my jazz sneakers -- but then again I don't really do swing...
  4. SwinginBoo

    SwinginBoo New Member

    My Bleyers are only for occasions when I'm dressed in vintage get-up and I need a shoe to match the period. Because you're right, they are not the best shoe to dance in, especially for spins and turns. But mostly I dance in my sneakers with the chrome leather attached to the bottom.
  5. jon

    jon Member

    That's a property of the dance shoe design, not the chromed leather itself. Heck, Brunswick bowling shoes (useful for crappy unsprung wood or hard concrete/linoleum floors in particular, although the soles are really too thick and inflexible) have chrome leather pads, but are otherwise just athletic shoes!

    My ballroom shoes typically last 3-4 years of 2-3x/weekly swing and ballroom dancing on decent floors, FWIW.
  6. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Note to self: Request even more dance shoes for Christmas gifts. :lol: :lol:

    Yup, swinginboo. The Bleyer shoes do have that neat retro look. I got mine for a WWII swing dance performance at the local history museum. Spectator. Cool. 8) :D
  7. will35

    will35 New Member

    Did nobody look at my link? When I hear swing dancers and Tango dancers talk about shoes, I hear some of the same complaints. I know Tango dancers who glue hard leather to the soles of sneakers. Ballroom shoes, they say are too sticky with the suede soles, and not enough support. I don't know, because I wear mostly street shoes with leather soles. But I am always looking for something more comfortable. On the other hand, if they look silly, I feel silly. I can't dance that way if my partner is too busy laughing at my footwear.
  8. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yes, will, I saw your link. I think I posted it a while ago, in tango's thread about where you practice. I didn't comment because I only know one person with non-jazz sneakers, and they have suede soles. *shrug* So I don't know enough to comment. I was planning to add a pair of those tango miami shoes to my xmas list,as well. They're reasonably priced, and you can order whatever sole you want. I'll check back in after I get my sneaks. :D
  9. jon

    jon Member

    My complaint about standard ballroom shoes (Diamant, Supadance, etc.) is that the tongues always creep to the outside of my feet after a few minutes, no matter how tight the laces are. Otherwise they work fine for pretty much all kinds of dancing on sprung floors, and basic black goes with everything 8)

    It seems bizarre for someone to say ballroom shoes are too sticky. What kind of floors are they dancing on?
  10. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    Like SD . . . I live in my dance sneakers!!!
  11. will35

    will35 New Member

    The sticky complaint I don't quite understand, because I have never used suede soles. The Tango girls say the hard leather on the Tango soles is faster, and better for spinning. It probably lasts a lot longer, but I don't know. If you could imagine a very worn pair of suede soles that have never been brushed, that would be like hard leather soles, I guess.
    On second thought, I think the complaint against ballroom shoes is that they are thin and floppy. That makes the foot use just a little bit of its area to do a spin. The leather sole is harder, so the weight is spread out over the whole bottom. I think the similarities in Swing dancers' needs and those of Tango dancers is that the dances were developed around the same time, with the dancers just wearing dress street shoes to do the original dance. That is why I just wear street shoes. I have some Tango shoes, but they are really just old looking street shoes. For women, the Tango shoes are really just old looking street shoes, too, but now it is incredibly hard to find shoes for normal street wear with a full leather sole and straps to hold the shoe on. When the dance was invented, that is what everybody wore on and off the dance floor. Now, they call them Tango shoes.
  12. jon

    jon Member

    Maybe, but I've gotta say that in my observation, contemporary Lindy dancers are more likely to be wearing some sort of dance-adapted sneakers than anything else. The Bleyers two-tone look went out of style some years back, and street dress shoes just don't go with ratty T-shirts and baseball caps :)
  13. will35

    will35 New Member

    I know what you mean, Jon. That is why I am always on the lookout for something more comfortable. I wear leather soled street shoes now everywhere I go, even to work in the garden. We never know when we might have a second or tow to Tango, and we need to have the right shoes. Dance sneakers would look more like normal people, and they might be more comfortable. But I can't dance in those rubber soles. And I am not crazy about modifcations.
  14. HepcatBob

    HepcatBob New Member

    I've got the Charleston model with the smooth white sole and they spin quite well. I do know you mean, though. The black rubber soled Bleyers don't spin that well.
  15. suek

    suek New Member

    after years and years and hundreds of dollars spent on dance shoes and dance sneakers my feet are finally happy in a $5 pair of drugstore sneakers with $25 worth of professionally applied suede on the bottom. no inserts, nothing. i dance longer and with less pain than ever before.

    live and learn.
  16. Dancegal

    Dancegal Member

    After a year and a half of swing dancing with hard leather soled shoes, I tried all-black Bleyers with the "Special Sole". I was disappointed - could not nearly spin as well in spite of the "spin spot" - unfortunately I had to dance in them for a while to figure it out. On a positive note, they are good (and safe!) for very slippery dance floors - and I do encounter those at a club I regularly visit.

    I'm getting ready to find shoes to wear for a swing-dancing New Year's Eve party (wearing black knee-length dress) - the Swivel shoe and the Jitterbug shoe both have the same "Special" synthetic sole as the basic black so it seems I'd run into the same "sole" dilemma. Any recommendations?
  17. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    That's my dilemna. I definitely want to learn lindy, but hey, I'm much more of a black cocktail dress kind of gal. To me ratty T-shirts are for cleaning the garage. No offense intended, lindy hoppers. But what's a more formal kind of person to wear? To fit in, but not TOO much? :lol: Anybody have recommendations?
  18. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    So the consensus on the Bleyers is :

    Pros: Good on slippery floors, insoles a big plus, nice if you want retro styling

    Cons: Not so good for spinning, tend to wear out quickly

    Any shoe manufacturers out there listening? :lol: We could definitely be the perfect focus group for dance shoe makers/marketers. :lol:

    dancegal, are you looking for a dressy shoe? If so, you might try tango shoes. Showtime has a gorgeous line of Argentine tango shoes for women -- leather soles, high quality leather upper, a variety of heel heights, good support of the foot. On the down side, not much padding (thin insole), and quite pricey. $150 - $180. I love my red leather ones, though. Coast and Celebrity also offer their entire line of dance shoes with street soles by special order -- that takes a while, though. I think one of their distributors is toe2toe.com
  19. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Note that this only applies to the local dancing scene as I've not been out-of the area dancing, as such:

    Speaking of Lindy attire....

    The most common shoes that I've seen are just normal shoes, with scotch or some other tape put on the bottom so that one can spin/swivel with them. The shoes range the gamut from bowling shoes...to casual dress shoes, and similarly the clothing matches the shoes. So I have seen guys in slacks, nice shirt, and nice shoes...also gals the same way...
  20. Dancegal

    Dancegal Member

    Thanks Pygmaliion & Sagitta! When it comes to dressy shoes - I prefer shoes I don't have to carry around before the party! I am unable to wear high heels - my toes cannot stand the pressure - at best no more than 1 1/2-2" height. I checked out Showtime shoes & toe2toe websites - thanks. There's a dealer near me I may be able to try some shoes on. I went to a swing Christmas party last year and wore 2" heeled leather soles - the floor was quite slick - one reason why Bleyers might not be so bad. Not sure yet what I'll do....

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