Why no shank in competition Evenin Stars??

#1
Here are some questions for those of you that compete in country western events and have purchased the shankless, weltless, toe box-less competition Evenin Stars...

(1) What is the welt anyway? I have no idea what part of the boot that is!
(2) Why no shank???? I bought a pair about a year ago, but I haven't been competing, so I never wore them. When they arrived, I tested them for fit, and they fit fine, but I didn't dance around in them at all. I just did a few days ago, and boy, was I in for a surprise! They felt horrible!!! I could feel where the heel attached to the boot. It was kind of painful to the front part of my heel. I can understand why they leave out the toe box and I loved that effect - it makes it easier to point, etc. But without the shank, the boot is too floppy and painful! Here is a related thread that was in the ballroom portion of the forum. Of course this relates to Latin dance shoes rather than dance boots, but there it is:
http://www.dance-forums.com/showthread.php?t=15875&highlight=breaking+shoes

The consensus of the people posting in this thread is that all Latin shoes pretty much come with a shank, and that you NEED the shank for support, etc.... So where did the idea come from to leave the shank out of the competition Evenin Stars? Does it really improve your dancing? How???

I hope to hear from lots of you on this! Don't disappoint me! :)

Thanks!
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#2
And you would think that "dance sneakers" would be a good thing to wear when you dance. I ended up with tendonitis. The podiatrist I saw said that dancing in those things is worse than dancing barefoot.
I had a pair of boots custom made for my cw dancing. They have a standard footbed (read no arch support). So after wearing them a few times I put in a pair of Superfeet footbeds. The podiatrist had recommended them, and I have found them to be very useful.
I danced in a pair of Justin Wellington boots for a number of years, and had no problems.
Since I don't compete, and have never even tried on Evening Star boots, I can't speak to that. In social dancing I'm not very concerned with pointing and such.
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
#3
Simple answer-- reason no shank ?-- cheaper construction . And yes, all the high quality ballroom and latin shoes ( nearly all made in europe ) have shanks, and the price reflects that !!
 
#4
Going to disagree with the idea of ballroom shoes necessarily having much of a shank... ever see the split sole shoes? That's because even with next to nothing in terms of a shank, the geometric stiffness of the suede sole piece vs the upper itself is still too much.

If you put a heel of more than an inch on the shoes, then they will need something of a shank to keep the heel from folding into the arch - and that presumably matches the complaint about the CW boots. But with out that, they don't. Or if you never plan to use your heels, they don't - best guess is these boots are made for dancers who don't carry their weight through the heel when moving backwards, but instead step off the ball of the foot.

Your foot itself should not be depending on the shoe for support in dancing. In walking down the street, yes, but not in dancing - dancing depends on the strength of your foot, not the shoe - in effect you are barefoot, only with a more durable surface and a sqaured-off heel bone. If you offload part of the job to the shoe, you loose the precise control available when your foot does all the work. The only role for stiffness in a dance shoe is the minimum required to keep it in place on your foot, or in social shoes intended for an application where comfort is rated far above precision.
 
#5
Hmmm, good points made here. My boots have never bothered me. They are Evenin Star's, shankless and weltless and toe box-less... perhaps I should pay more attention? I'll be watching this thread with interest...
 
#6
I like having a shankless boot because I feel the floor a lot better. When dancing on a boot with a shank, all I can feel is the bottom of my boot. And it just feels a lot lighter. Also, a CW boot heel isn't high, so I don't think you really need a shank, just like a jazz boot with a slight heel, imo.
 

Vince A

Active Member
#7
I like having a shankless boot because I feel the floor a lot better. When dancing on a boot with a shank, all I can feel is the bottom of my boot. And it just feels a lot lighter. Also, a CW boot heel isn't high, so I don't think you really need a shank, just like a jazz boot with a slight heel, imo.
Ditto!!!!!!!!!!!!

Many, many competitors, intermediate and above, prefer the shankless ES boot . . . for that very reason!!!

PS. These are custom made boots by Evening Star . . . and they ARE NOT cheaper . . . my wife says that they feel like a dance "slippers." Oh, and one more thing, the pull-up (on) loops are on the inside and do not stick up above the boot - you just don't see them, as you do on off-the-rack ES boots.

Lastly . . . I don't think that they make custom orders w/o the shank/toe boxes anymore. My wife tried at the Texas comp, again in Vegas, and at World's . . . she was told by the same salesperson each time . . . that he just cannot get them like that. If anyone is . . . please let me know???
 
#8
but what is the welt????

Hey, great answers, everyone! Thanks for your input!

But getting back to my original, multi-part question, does anyone know what the welt is? When they wrote up the order for my boots, they wrote "no shank, no welt, no toe box." I'm curious to know what the welt is!

Ditto!!!!!!!!!!!!

Many, many competitors, intermediate and above, prefer the shankless ES boot . . . for that very reason!!!

PS. These are custom made boots by Evening Star . . . and they ARE NOT cheaper . . . my wife says that they feel like a dance "slippers." Oh, and one more thing, the pull-up (on) loops are on the inside and do not stick up above the boot - you just don't see them, as you do on off-the-rack ES boots.

Lastly . . . I don't think that they make custom orders w/o the shank/toe boxes anymore. My wife tried at the Texas comp, again in Vegas, and at World's . . . she was told by the same salesperson each time . . . that he just cannot get them like that. If anyone is . . . please let me know???
I just re-quoted Vince A's post in its entirety, because there are several responses I wanted to make...

First of all, I think Vince may have hit the nail on the head when he said, "many competitors - intermediate and above..." You see, I am not intermediate level yet. And I suspect that Chris Stratton may be right - perhaps they are uncomfortable to me because I put too much weight on my heels. I know it would look silly, but I think it would be more comfortable if I just got the heels taken off! Then it would truly be, as Vince A's wife, says, like a dance slipper. Right now it feels like a dance slipper with a big clonky heel on it.

Also, Vince is right that they are not leaving the shank out because they are cheap - the boots normally come with a shank, and you have to specifically ask them to leave the shank out. Or if you tell them you want the competition style boots, they will write up the order that way - no welt, no shank, no toe box.

To address Vince's final point, wow, I didn't realize that they don't take custom orders anymore. I got my pair just before they closed the factory in Texas. I knew that they were moving the factory to Mexico and that to save money, they were thinking of cutting back on custom orders, especially at first, but I didn't realize that they were going to totally discontinue them! What a bummer! :-(
 
#10
And I suspect that Chris Stratton may be right - perhaps they are uncomfortable to me because I put too much weight on my heels.
Just to be clear, I didn't mean to suggest that you were putting too much weight on your heels. Fully efficient and supported movement requires that at some point when moving backwards without foot rise, all of your weight will be taken on the rear edge of the heel of one foot. But from your description of how the heel folds in, I suspect these boots were made for the numerous dancers who are not in the habit of seeking the benefit of such footwork.

To address Vince's final point, wow, I didn't realize that they don't take custom orders anymore. I got my pair just before they closed the factory in Texas. I knew that they were moving the factory to Mexico and that to save money, they were thinking of cutting back on custom orders, especially at first, but I didn't realize that they were going to totally discontinue them! What a bummer! :-(
If you don't like how the boots feel, and if they are a popular but discontinued model, perhaps you could sell them and buy the stock version with shank, so that the heel does not fold into your arch? Though you might decide those are too stiff... and I personally have a hard time imagining really dancing in anything with welts - though I have hard time imagining in dancing in "boots" too.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#11
"I have hard time imagining in dancing in "boots" too."
Maybe this is just one of reasons country western dancers don't look like ballroom dancers or latin dancers. (Except for competition dancers, I guess)

He's gone country. Look at them boots.
He's gone country. A new kind of walk.
He's gone country. Here he comes.
 

Vince A

Active Member
#13
One last point . . .

The custom are not "clunky," nor do they fit you with a sloppy feel. In fact it's quite the opposite . . . they are tight, but they do give . . . and they kinda feel like dacing in "jazz" shoes . . .

If I would have kept competing in C&W, and not just in swing, I would have had a pair of the custom made boots. As it is, I have several pair of off-the-shelf ES boots . . . and haven't worn them in three years. I have one pair that are like brand new . . . and they were $160 . . .
 
#14
Vince is right, as usual!!!

OK, I know we have both country dancers and non-country dancers responding to this thread, as well as people who dance in boots, and people who don't dance in boots and can't even imagine it.

So I just want to clarify...

I have a pair of Evenin Star non-competition dance boots, and a pair of Evenin Star competition dance boots. I am sorry if I gave the wrong impression that they are sloppy and/or clunky. They are actually amazing. They are extremely comfortable. As you would expect, the non-competition ones are a bit rigid, due to the welts, toe box and shank.

The competition ones are great, except that I'm having a problem getting used to the feel of the heel... But there are probably things I can do to fix that. I did use the words "sloppy" and "clonky", because that is how the heel portion feels. The rest of the boot is fine. I was trying to figure out why I am having this problem with the heel... I thought maybe if there was a shank in the boot, I wouldn't be able to feel the heel in such a pronounced manner. But now that I think about it more, and read all your responses (thanks, everyone!), I am thinking that maybe it's not the shank after all. Maybe if I put an insole in, that would help...

And Chris Stratton once again had another excellent point - if I find that I really can't live with these boots, it should be very easy to resell them... as a matter of fact, that is what one of Grant Austin's employees suggested to me. (Grant is a big distributor of Evenin Stars.)
 
#15
If you got an insole that had some carboard or something in it, that might help stiffen the arch a bit, but I don't think simple padding would do it. Many of the low to moderate heel dance shoes that do have shanks don't have ****l ones - instead, it's just stiffer construction in that part of the shoe.
 

Vince A

Active Member
#16
As you would expect, the non-competition ones are a bit rigid, due to the welts, toe box and shank.
Whole-heartedly agree!

The competition ones are great, except that I'm having a problem getting used to the feel of the heel... But there are probably things I can do to fix that. I did use the words "sloppy" and "clonky", because that is how the heel portion feels. The rest of the boot is fine. I was trying to figure out why I am having this problem with the heel... I thought maybe if there was a shank in the boot, I wouldn't be able to feel the heel in such a pronounced manner. But now that I think about it more, and read all your responses (thanks, everyone!), I am thinking that maybe it's not the shank after all. Maybe if I put an insole in, that would help...
Carolyn, my wife, also had one of those custom-made arch supports in hers ES boots . . . but only added that this year.

Does your pair of ES boots have suede on the heel? It should have them.

I know that you know how to dance, but I have to ask . . . is your weight over the balls of your feet? I remember hearing my heels clunk at one time, then I added Waltz, which helped to change the way I was dancing . . . never heard my heels again!

And Chris Stratton once again had another excellent point - if I find that I really can't live with these boots, it should be very easy to resell them... as a matter of fact, that is what one of Grant Austin's employees suggested to me. (Grant is a big distributor of Evenin Stars.)
Good suggestion, or try one of those custom-made for your feet arch supports . . . however, those things cost more than the boots! I don't use them in boots, but do use them in Latin Tango shoes for Swing.
 
#17
I must admit to being hopelessly confused. I've been into country western dancing for about nine years and I competed in ACDA and UCWDC circuits for several years. I've purchased many pairs of Evenin' Stars over the years and never realized that they made "competition" and "noncompetition" boots. I didn't even know they took custom orders. Am I correct that you would have to order custom boots to get "shankless" ones? Hmmm...

On another note, where are the ladies getting those taupey-nude colored boots? Back in the day when I was competing, everyone wore black or even white (I know, that seems like centuries ago)...I went to the Evenin' Star website a couple of months ago and they don't even list nude/tan/taupe as one of the colors for their boots...
 
#18
Shankless is a 10 dollar option. You do have to order them, however many of the vendors (Grant for example) usually has them with all options on hand. You can custom order ES boot with any material you would like as well as all of the options like toe shape, heel hight, shank, no-shank, welt, no-welt etc.
I've had with the shank and without the shank (they used to call them XP without the shank). The difference, it makes it more like dancing in a ballroom practice shoe than a boot. If you feel where the heal joins then yes, there is too much weight being put on the heal or center of the foot. Generally, you should only have the heal touching when stopping or doing a rock step. Of course that isn't including waltz, as for a heal lead you'll feel the joint in the boot for sure. You get a good bit of extra flex from the shankless version as well since it can literally bend either way and not be limited by the shank.
Once you get your weight over the correct part of your foot and get comfortable, you'll love the ones without the shank, and then wonder why anyone wouldn't pay the extra $10 for that option.
As for the welt, I have NO idea, lol.
 
#19
Thanks, wcsjon. I'm planning to go to the HoeDown in Ft. Worth in a couple of weeks and maybe there will be a vendor with shankless Evenin' Stars and I can try them on.

I just found an Evenin' Star vendor online that lists "skintone" as a custom option for ladies boots...yay!
 
#20
Generally, you should only have the heal touching when stopping or doing a rock step. Of course that isn't including waltz, as for a heal lead you'll feel the joint in the boot for sure.
Ah, that explains everything.

Y'all are still trying to dance your "latin" and your "standard" in the same footwear...

"we" gave up on that idea decades ago. ;-)
 

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