General Dance Discussion > Good shoes for dance AND walking around

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by EdwinNJ, Apr 26, 2012.

  1. EdwinNJ

    EdwinNJ Member

    So still a beginner dancer, but a lot of dance studios have rules against using rubber-sole shoes on their dance floors, to avoid scuffing. Unfortunately, the vast majority of shoes are made with rubber soles, and the only other popular option is leather, or polyeurethane (or so the guy at Nordstrom's told me).

    I have these old leather sole shoes I've been using, and they're nice and slippery for spins, but they're too slippery, it can be hard for me to accelerate this way and that as I do my steps.
    Now I know there are suede-sole dancing shoes, but you need to carry these to the dancing area, you can't wear them around town. And I've read about more elaborate stuff like shoes that have a grippy area only on the ball of the foot for Latin dances or something like that.

    I don't want to have to bring shoes with me and change them when I go to clubs. I want something that I can walk around in downtown.

    This is for ballroom dancing and later some hip-hop probably (modern pop music, I figure I can't just stick with ballroom , gonna have to throw in some hip-hop moves as well).
    and I guess, not too much grip, not too much slip, and no scuffing

    oh and they have to look nice, no sneaker look. I wear either dark slacks and a white or color collared shirt, or jeans and a more casual tucked in collared shirt, you know the formal-yet-casual look, or casual-but-nice look, I dunno what you'd call it.

    I was told argentine tango shoes might fit the bill.

    Oh and, another thought occurs, Maybe it would be good to get the suede-sole dancing shoes too, just for dancing, in the sense that, maybe if I learn in those shoes and it makes it easier to get good, then its worth it, I get good faster and later can dance in the other shoes.
  2. Wolfgang

    Wolfgang Member

    Get used to it, and slideability becomes your friend.
    Don't know if you have Country bars in your area, but I've had good experiences with nicely worn-in cowboy boots from the thrift shop. Leather soles + heels.
    All-leather dress shoes that look good AND are comfortable are hard to find, may have to go online.
    Another source may be old-fashioned mom & pop type shoe repair/ shoe maker stores if you can find any.
    For Hip-Hop without sneakers, try something like Bed Stu or Buckle type things.
  3. EdwinNJ

    EdwinNJ Member

    hip-hop without sneakers will be fine, since my nice shoes already have rubber soles. I just want ballroom-danceable versions of those that are also durable enough for lots of outside walking.

    leather soled dress shoes hard to find? I didn't find them hard to find, just went to the mall (Freehold Raceway). Didn't buy anything yet, still using my old, overly ornate pair of leather-soled ferragamos
  4. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    Google "character shoes".
  5. asdepique

    asdepique Member

    I'm dancing for more than 15 years and I never bought dancing shoes. I always use Florsheim dress loafer with leather sole. I just saw on the Florsheim web site a loafer named DANCER. I'll probably try them next time.
  6. mjnemeth

    mjnemeth Member

    Yes I mostly use my Florsheim laced shoes and found out I can use my Allen edmonds loafers.
    Problem with loafers is they can come off. My other loafers including Florsheim do come off in the back much to easy.

    Wolfgang, great Idea; real boots! Had a pair for year! I would not use them for ballroom but
    for swing, salsa and AT yes.
  7. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Pointy toes (western, ya see, so they go easy in the sitrrups) and apilado AT didn't work out for me!
  8. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    i have found the same, but allen edmonds are not cheap.
  9. mjnemeth

    mjnemeth Member

    True! Point is make sure the loafers you get aren't ones that will easily slip off.
    Those Florsheim dancer shoes say they're for dancing.
  10. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    i'm partial to bowling shoes that look a lot like sneakers. they're especially useful for live bands that play outdoors during the summer.
  11. EdwinNJ

    EdwinNJ Member

    I was looking at some shoes at the mall, hard to find ones with genuine leather soles, but the ones that did also had rubber heels. Is this better? It does kind of make sense, usually if you have to change direction you're likely to be using your heel. Anybody know about this?

    Still on leather sole shoes.
    for getting more grip and less slip, there's the comb thing. You scratch the leather with it, and it makes it more surface area from the scratches, and just scratchy in general. At my dance studio she has it, but I'm not crazy about essentially slightly ruining the shoe.

    Another thing that works is just water. Weird, but something with leather, it makes it more sticky on the wood floor. Not like a puddle, but moisten the shoe sole, it works.

    One thing I thought of, let me get your opinions, rosin? You know, like violinists use. rub it on the soles of the shoes. Of course the downside is you'd then have to carry around a brick of rosin, and after dancing for a while it will probably rub off anyway, and when it does rub off, it'll rub off onto the dance floor, may be annoying to clean up and may piss off the studio owners (and I wouldn't want to mess with a dance teachers' place anyway).

    anyway, one problem I have with the leather soled shoes is they're all too ornate or feminine looking. Half of them have the frilly stuff at the front of the shoe, on the top of your foot right before the toes, and when they don't they're still too slender, and still there's a sort of a design almost even when there isn't the frilly stuff.
    And I don't wnat ones with laces, I want shoes i can slip on and off

    Ideally what I'd like is leather-soled versions of shoes I already have. My formal wear is jeans (of course I bought the slender expensive designer kind for looks, my work jeans are from Wal-Mart) with a collaraed shirt tucked in, often with some sort of plaid or plaid-ish design. You know, the slightly cowboy-ish, formal-but-casual look. You know, I may have actually copied this look from a guy I saw at a swing dance social. Anyway, either that, or typical dark dress pants and white or colored collared shirt. With the jeans, I've got brown shoes, with the dark pants, I've got black shoes, the kinds with metal "buckles" for looks. Neither shoes are pointy toed, and both are a bit wide, and they cover the whole foot, this is the look I like.

    Anybody know where I can get something like this with leather soles? Or that looks good with my geddups? Obvs with the jeans and collared shirt, cowboy boots could work, and that whole geddup could be good with salsa or swing.
  12. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Don't use oil or rosin or (going the other way) baby powder. It makes a gigantic mess and can get you kicked out of some places. (I've seen baby powder used ONCE, at a comp, because the floor was so sticky we were risking snapping ankles, but that was a place without a real dance floor.) Even water's iffy though it's less of a problem (unless you use enough someoen else gets their shoes wet.) Shoe brushes are really only meant for suede soles and you'll get various opinions on them-I have barely ever used mine on my Smooth shoes until I ran into one floor so slick I thought I was going to wind up on my rear end. And they are good with suede if it gets wet and you're sticking. (I will generally prefer sliding more as I tore my knee up when my foot stuck on a turn once.)

    What you could do is glue/tack moleskin or suede over the rubber heels on a pair of leather-soled shoes. That way it'll slide on the dance floor (you don't want it to stick, ever) but you can remove it to wear on the street and replace it easily if it wears off.
  13. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I had a pair of really gorgeous leather soled tango shoes once that were SOOOO slippery when new. I used a very fine grained sand paper to lightly score the surface before I wore them out dancing the first time. That did less damage to the shoe than a walk on the sidewalk, but boy did it help with that first use slippag.
  14. Wolfgang

    Wolfgang Member

    Not sure how handy you are, but something I've had good success with for extending the life of a pair of really good skateboard shoes is cutting a piece of fairly thick (cowhide) leather to size and gluing it to the (disappearing) sole with one of those heavy-duty multi-surface glues.
    You could basically turn any shoe you like into a smoothly leather-soled dancing machine that way, and for only a few dollars.
  15. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    Make sure you use a good shoe glue like Barge Cement though. I've had poor results with Gorilla Glue, etc.
  16. mjnemeth

    mjnemeth Member

    If you find shoes you like, you could always get rubber heals replace by a cobbler.
  17. DerekWeb

    DerekWeb Well-Known Member

    If you do not want to buy dance shoes with suede soles, at least use leather soles. Rubber soles will hold the floor and possibly twist your knee.

    Leather soled shoes are traditional style and they cost more to make than the modern rubber sole. You can find them in florshiem, bostonian, or go to a dsw to get them for a lower price.
  18. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    I have leather soled shoes that I wear when I'm feeling lazy, and don't want to change shoes, or if I'm going to a salsa club. The main problem is that real dance shoes have a lot of flexibility that regular shoes don't, so my feet will get sore a lot quicker in my street shoes than in proper dancing shoes. That is even the case for a pair of "indoor/outdoor" dance shoes I got from one of the big ballroom shoe manufacturers, which had a surfaced leather sole (now just leather).

    I regularly glue new suede soles on my old dance shoes. I wouldn't have thought of gluing leather to street shoes, but that does make a lot of sense to me.
  19. EdwinNJ

    EdwinNJ Member

    Really? Could a cobbler do that? Like actually do that well? I'm skeptical. That's the thing about modern shoes with rubber soles, it's essentially a one-use thing. My understanding is that the rubber sole is glued on, and that would mean it can't really be replaced.


    And anybody know what to do about the ankle thing? A lot of leather sole shoes seem to be made by cole hamm or something like that is the company name, and they don't have the little dips in the shape of the leather in the back of the shoe, so the sides just grind against your ankle balls. Will that go away as the shoe gets worn in? Maybe I could try applying neatsfoot oil, letting it soak in a bit, and then repeatedly smush the leather in that spot to get it soft? Or will I just have to wear duct tape on the sides of my feet?
    Speaking of which, might as well throw in this little piece of advice in here. Whenever something like that happens, some sho gives me blisters or cuts, obviously you want to wear a band-aid on the wound with some vaseline/neosporin. My problem has always been that comes off as soon as I put on a sock. I've found duct tape will stay on forever, even after a shower. Just put it on over the band-aid. Make sure it's the duct tape with the mesh in it. I would imagine this could also be good protection against such wounds in the first place, by putting it on the problem area, so the shoe won't grind the skin directly.
  20. mjnemeth

    mjnemeth Member

    Ive certainly had heals replaced; I think they just pry/cut the worn heal off.
    My wife a bit shoe crazy and will buy expense shoes for her and me s.; certain don't want throw those away if heal is just worn.
    Mole skin is good for protected promblem areas; stick on the foot, peal off. Wife uses it a lot.

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