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Proper Care of Dance Shoes Ensures Long Life for Your Investment

A quick tour of shoe vendors at a square dance convention or a visit to a dance shop reminds dancers that leather dance shoes are expensive. You want them to last, especially if they are comfortable. And you want them to look good when you’re square dancing.

Maintain that shine!

Should your leather shoes become soiled (we hope you don’t have to wear them outdoors!), clean them with saddle soap, which is uniquely created for use on leather.

When the shoes are dry, apply polish. You should polish your shoes every couple of weeks or so. I generally polish my shoes after each use–the toes are often scuffed. Polishing is vital to maintaining the shoe’s appearance and longevity.

A paste is the longest-lasting polish and comes in many colors. (Be sure the color matches your shoes–otherwise, use a natural cream.) To polish the shoes, either get instructions from someone who has been in the military–he or she will be an expert–or follow the steps below.

1. Apply the polish with a sponge applicator. Coat the leather well. Let the polish dry for about three minutes.

2. Brush the polish into the leather with a small horse-hair shoe brush. (Use separate brushes for light and dark colors. I use a brush for black only, for example. Mixing colors on a brush can ruin the color of your shoe.)

3. Buff the shoes to a shine with a soft cloth. Snap it back and forth across the shoe. Buy a separate cloth for each color of shoe polish. A flannel-like cloth works well.

Note: Some people like to rub a little olive oil or walnut oil into their shoes to help preserve the leather.

Protect those soles!

The split leather soles are one of the features that make dance shoes special. The split leather allows the shoes to glide across the floor and thus lessen strain on your joints. I notice most dancers bringing their dance shoes in a bag and putting them on once safely inside the hall. That is ideal. If you must wear the shoes outdoors, you can rejuvenate the split leather by brushing it with a steel brush. Brush in a circular motion, or brush with the nap.

Dry those shoes!

Dryness will help preserve your shoes. Sweat contains salt. Sweat soaking into your shoe will break down the material the shoe is made from, according to Dance Spirit magazine in its 2007 May/June issue. To keep your dance shoes dry, wear sweat-absorbing socks or tights. The magazine recommends air drying your shoes immediately after you use them.


3 Responses

  1. WOW!!! you make taking care of your shoes a full time job with a Masters Degree. Very interesting and informational. Guess I’d better get the shoe polish Kit out and get to work…Oh yea, I forgot. I have tennis shoes (smile)

  2. That’s why my dance shoes are never in good condition. I never take care of it.

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