Who would like to save up to $200 every 6 months? Because if you dance frequently, that’s about as long as it takes for you to wear out a brand new pair of dance shoes. Most of us accept this expense as just another part of being a dancer. On the other hand, a little up-keeping could double the lifespan of your footwear.
Your new shoes may feel soft and give you great control now, but what about a few weeks later, when that soft sole has been replaced by a hard shell that slips on all but the roughest floors? If you want to maintain that suede leather, you need a shoe brush. Wire brushes can be purchased at most shoe stores, but be gentle, or you’ll tear your shoe sole to tatters. Consider nylon brushes as a more gentle alternative. Also, dirty floors will clog up the leather, so be sure to brush more frequently if your soles start looking like the inside of a vacuum. Use a damp cloth to wipe off dust before brushing.
One of my pet peeves is watching the white on my wingtips gradually fade. You can slow the wear and tear by washing your shoes with a cloth, a drop of gentle liquid shampoo or detergent, and the minimal amount of water needed to create a good lather. Wipe the soap away immediately afterwards with a dry towel.
First and foremost, NEVER wear suede leather outside! The soft leather is in no condition to withstand the rigours of dirt, rough ground like pavement, and damp. Some social dancers can get away with wearing patented leather shoes outside – just be aware that the harder leather makes for very slippery dancing on properly maintained hardwood. Ladies, seriously consider grabbing heel protectors for your smooth/standard shoes – without them, the heel will gradually wear down to the nail that holds it in place.
If your feet are starting to poke through the soles of your shoes, consider buying a pair of stick-on suede leather soles from your local dance store. Or, if you really want to save a few bucks, go to a fabric store and purchase the suede elbow pads they use on blazers. Then, just cut them to size, and attach them with shoe glue. Just make sure the glue works with leather, otherwise it will be embarrassing to leave your soles behind on the floor 🙂