How to deal with slick shoes

#1
Hey! Apologies if this has been posted before (I did a quick search and couldn't find quite what I was looking for) but I was wondering if anyone had any advice on what to do when your shoes become too slick. I already brush them before I dance, and that helps a bit, but by the end of any practice session or lesson, it almost feels like I'm ice skates—especially if I'm on a floor that already feels "fast"—which makes things markedly more difficult (although admittedly can make spirals a lot of fun :p).
 

RiseNFall

Well-Known Member
#2
Do you know what the treatment/finish is of the floor in question? Or, if you have been dancing on a variety of floors, your shoes may have picked up something from a previous floor.

People sometimes wet the soles of their shoes lightly, but I'm hoping somebody else will be able to give you more information as to when that would be appropriate.
 
#3
I'm mostly dancing in two places: my gym's group fitness room and the studio. And while I can tell that they're both finished differently I can't say I know exactly how. The gym floor feels more slippery than the studio, but beyond that, I can't really give any more details (though I could provide photos if that helps?).

I'll definitely try lightly wetting the soles tomorrow morning when I practice and see if that makes a difference. Thanks for the tip!
 

SwingingAlong

Well-Known Member
#4
Wax is the worst for being slippery. ... one floor I danced on, they insisted on scraping a candle with a knife and dropping the scrapings on the floor. It was treacherous, I always used my oldest pair of shoes there. One thing you could try, is take your shoes to a cobbler and get them to brush the soles up with a brass wire wheel. It gives them a new lease of life. He will also be able to tell you if the soles actually need replacing or not, as there does come a time that there is nothing left to brush!
The other thing, has your teacher talked to you about floor pressure, and how to use your feet?
 
#5
The other thing, has your teacher talked to you about floor pressure, and how to use your feet?
She has! She’s very big in building me from the ground up so we’re working on ironing out the kinks in my footwork—making sure I’m staying grounded and making me more aware of not only which foot my weight is on, but what part of the foot is bearing the brunt of me so to speak.

And I’ll definitely take the shoes to a cobbler. I’ve had this pair for a while and they weren’t particularly expensive so if I have to get them re-soled I’ll probably just buy a nicer pair (I practice and take lessons often enough that I feel like it’s worth the investment). Honestly I think the biggest problem is that I didn’t know how to maintain dance shoes when I first bought these so I never bothered to really care for them until it was too little too late.
 

RiseNFall

Well-Known Member
#7
The other thing, has your teacher talked to you about floor pressure, and how to use your feet?
The floor of the studio I dance at was finished with something--it might be wax--eons ago and the result is that we all have shoes that we only wear there. We're used to it, and the shoes we wear there are actually fine on it. However, it is treacherous for visiting dancers. When David Hamilton slipped on it while coaching, somebody turned to him and said, "Try more foot pressure, David." :rofl::rofl::rofl:
 
#8
OK. Talk to her about your shoes as well, but I understand that how you use your feet on the floor can go a long way toward controlling your movement on the various surfaces. Others will probably chip in - but it may not just be the shoes.
If I’m honest, now that you mention it, it probably isn’t just the shoes. I haven’t been with my current coach long at all, and my previous one had to follow a very strict structure through her franchise...very little of which focused on teaching me how to use my feet and control my movement well, so that’s part of the problem too I’m sure.
 

cornutt

Well-Known Member
#9
When David Hamilton slipped on it while coaching, ...
:eek:

If David Hamilton slipped on it, then it must have been like wet ice...

I prefer fast floors, so I seldom do anything with my shoe soles. On those rare occasions when I'm wearing an old pair of shoes that have lost all the suede, and I think thinks are getting out of control, I go outside and scuff them up on the concrete sidewalk.

With wax, I think it depends on what kind of wax. The first year that we went to Vol State, the night before the first day of competition, the venue decided to be "helpful" and they finished the floor with some kind of thick wax. It was like mud. Everyone was having to scrape the stuff off of their soles with credit cards.
 

ralf

Active Member
#10
Like @cornutt, I prefer fast floors, and just let my suede soles mat down until they're shiny. But All Balboa Weekend 2016 had a portable dance floor so slick that I saw three people fall, and myself slipped and nearly fell several times before I went and scuffed my shoes on the sidewalk outside to rough up the soles (for the first time in years).

I can also attest that candle wax makes floors very slippery. There was one time at a now-defunct venue where some other event prior to the dance had had candle wax drip onto the floor. We scraped off as much as we could, but the remnants left the entire floor the slickest it had ever been after being spread around by the dancers for two hours. And the floor remained noticeably slicker than usual for about two months....

Up to a certain point, one just gets used to slick floors and adapts.
 

SwingingAlong

Well-Known Member
#11
Pardon for the aside, but one studio I danced at years ago had an unsealed wooden floor. The would treat it during the summer holidays (closed for 5 weeks) with a mixture of a candle dissolved in 5 liters of kerosene. Once it was dried, if was lovely to dance on. Fast, but not too slippery.
 

snapdancer

Well-Known Member
#12
I prefer fast floors, so I seldom do anything with my shoe soles. On those rare occasions when I'm wearing an old pair of shoes that have lost all the suede, and I think thinks are getting out of control, I go outside and scuff them up on the concrete sidewalk.
I am the same on this, the soles of my dance shoes are pretty smooth. I do the sidewalk bit, but only if the floor is exceptionally fast or if it has garbage that needs to be scraped off. One place locally gets its sidewalks used the most, as they either have too much wax on it or they haven't cleaned the floor adequately after the last wedding reception.

Once I was there when the floor was slick, but it seemed to be getting less slick as the evening progressed. I asked some other people if they had the same impression, but no, it was slick for them the whole evening. I'm thinking that the slick floor drove an improvement to my posture and weight transfer during the evening.
 
#13
I thought I could segue off this topic and ask, is there something dancers put on their shoe soles for slipperiness/stickiness that makes them black? I started noticing that dancers (ladies in particular) have pitch-black soles and I'm wondering why they are so dark. My soles are by no means pristine, but they turn more of a gray color from wear. The only time they get darker is if I accidentally step in water.
 

jiwinco

Active Member
#14
I love a slick (fast floor). I have almost never "roughed" my soles. Those sticky floors hurt my knees.

I believe the black you are seeing is oil added by some latin dancers to their shoes.
 

Loki

Well-Known Member
#16
Some dance sneakers / practice shoes have black soles, but I don't think I've ever seen jet black soles on ladies' ballroom shoes. My first thought about Classy's post was maybe they're putting black shoe polish on them, but I can't imagine what that would do to the suede. Some kind of dye to make them "prettier"?
 

FancyFeet

Well-Known Member
#17
The black is usually castor oil + accumulated dirt. (And as a standard dancer... please don't use castor oil, or at least apply sparingly the night before, then blot with a paper towel, then brush. When applied right before dancing, it leaves random sticky spots behind... and when you hit one on a generally slick floor when you're going into, say, a slide, it HURTS. Like, sprained knee hurts.)

A remedy that won't make me want to murder you: brush your shoes well, then step on a damp paper towel. Repeat paper towel stepping as needed. (Bonus points if you place the towel in a container so it doesn't leave a wet spot on the floor. Then, I might actually like you.)

Even better: refine your weight transfer so you are better able to cope with slick floors, because they might happen at comp too.
 
#18
Anti Slip Powder is pretty good! You have to be sparing with it though - apply too much and you won't be able to turn! You can get it from Supadance, I imagine other suppliers will sell something similar.
 

FancyFeet

Well-Known Member
#19
Don't, please! Or at least be careful! A ballet dancer did a performance at a Christmas party at a local studio a few years ago, and used rosin without asking if it was okay.... and the studio had to refinish the floor a few weeks later to get rid of the unusable spot after several falls and an injury during a group class. Not only did someone get hurt, they had to close for a day to let the floors dry. (I acknowledge that she likely used too much, but still... not good.)

Please remember that it's not just about your shoes, but about the floor. I strongly advocate for something that leaves no residue behind, unless you are the only one that ever uses that floor.
 
#20
The black is usually castor oil + accumulated dirt. (And as a standard dancer... please don't use castor oil, or at least apply sparingly the night before, then blot with a paper towel, then brush. When applied right before dancing, it leaves random sticky spots behind... and when you hit one on a generally slick floor when you're going into, say, a slide, it HURTS. Like, sprained knee hurts.)

A remedy that won't make me want to murder you: brush your shoes well, then step on a damp paper towel. Repeat paper towel stepping as needed. (Bonus points if you place the towel in a container so it doesn't leave a wet spot on the floor. Then, I might actually like you.)

Even better: refine your weight transfer so you are better able to cope with slick floors, because they might happen at comp too.
Thank you! So the purpose is to stick the floor and not slide around so much?
 

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