Top Tips: Caring for Ballroom Shoes

In Dance World, we know a lot about shoes and people often ask us for guidance and tips for keeping dance shoes in good condition.

Ballroom shoes can be an investment, and whether you dance professionally or socially, we can help your shoes last longer. Here are our 5 golden nuggets of advice on how to keep your ballroom shoes in tip-top shape!

Top tips for keeping dance shoes in good condition:

1. Do not wear ballroom shoes outside

This should go without saying but dance shoes are indoor shoes. A suede sole will pick up dirt and moisture very quickly from any surface it comes in contact with. If you wear your ballroom shoes outside, even only a short distance across the car park to your car, you will pick up far more moisture and grime than you’ll find indoors. Suede soles will become waterlogged, peel off and need to be replaced far sooner if they are treated as outdoor shoes. If your suede soles do become damaged they can be easily replaced by a cobbler. Replacement suede can be purchased here.

2. Air dry ballroom shoes after wear

When you dance you sweat, this includes your feet! Make sure that you properly air out your dance shoes when you take them off. It’s easy to forget and throw them into your bag with the rest of your gear but air-drying your ballroom shoes will make them last so much longer. Sweat is wet and moisture will cause your shoes to degrade, can discolour satin and leather, and unsurprisingly can make for a pretty smelly shoe. Excess moisture can also cause soles to peel prematurely. We recommend ensuring you have a mesh shoe bag with you to carry your shoes home in and then allow them to dry in a well-ventilated space out of direct heat and sunlight, i.e. not on a radiator. Make sure you store the shoes in a clean dry spot between wears.

3. To maintain the grip use suede soles

If you flip your ballroom shoes over you’ll probably notice that the sole does not look quite the same as your normal trainers or boots. Most ballroom and Latin dance shoes have suede soles. A suede sole allows the shoe to glide along the floor without sticking or sliding. Suede soles wear quite rapidly, however, and become shiny and smooth. Once this happens the shoe has no grip and will no longer glide but slip. To maintain the grip of your suede soles you can brush the soles with a wire brush. Once the wire has brushed a texture back into the suede you should have sufficient grip to dance on. Suede soles should be brushed after every second use on an indoor surface.

4. Wear heel covers to prolong the life of your ballroom shoe

Heel covers are an easy-peasy way to prolong the life of your ballroom shoe. Heels experience a lot of wear and tear and simply by covering them with a plastic heel cover you can drastically limit the damage. Not only will this limit the stress on your shoe, but the covers can also give you extra grip on the dancefloor.

5. Look after your feet

You only get one set of feet in this world so look after them! Make sure to have your dance shoes correctly fitted, wearing shoes either too small or too large causes stress on your body and can result in all sorts of issues like tendonitis, bunions, and shin splints. This is not something you need to deal with so make sure you don’t have to! Most dance stores offer appointments for specialised shoes and the staff in niche retailers generally know their stuff and will ensure you find the best shoe for you. 

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