1. Seems obvious, but the first reason you would need new hard shoes is if your current hard shoes no longer fit. After a long time of not wearing your hard shoes (from Spring or Summer break, or say, a global pandemic that shuts dance studios down for months on end…), you might put your hard shoes on and think, “Yowzer! These shoes are too small!” You may be right. Your feet may have grown, or the shoe faeries may have snuck in at night and shrunk your shoes. Wait, that doesn’t really happen! More likely than a naughty shoe faerie wreaking havoc on your shoes is that your feet and tootsies go accustomed to having some wiggle room in your sneakers or flip flops and they are balking at having to be constrained in those heavy hard shoes. Another possibility is that you bought your current shoes without our expert help and you got the wrong size to begin with, and didn’t factor in the proper fit of the shoe and the fact that the leather stretches. If that is the case, your hard shoes may actually be too big.
Here is a good way to test the fit: Put your shoes on with the proper socks and be sure to lace and buckle them securely. Can you stand? Are you toes curled inside the shoe? Or stacked on top of one another? They shouldn’t be. Now rock up and down on the balls of your feet. Is the heel of the shoe sliding on your heel? Is the shoe gapping at the sides by the laces? Your heel should not be pushing out of the shoe, or forcing the shoe leather out over the heel of the shoe. You should feel a “snug hug”. If you can’t stand and walk without limping, you feel pain, or your toes are not able to rest flat in the shoe, it’s time to get a bigger pair. Don’t go too big for “growing room”! The shoes need to fit tightly enough that you can control the movement of the shoe with your foot. Your shoe and your foot should move as one. If your feet are sliding around inside your shoes, you run the risk of rolling your ankle and being injured. The more advanced the dancer, the more important properly fitting shoes become.
2. The second reason you would need new hard shoes is that you have worn your current shoes out completely. Let’s give those shoes a quick inspection: If you’re a lass (young lady or girl) and are doing toe stands, lace those shoes up and pop up on your toes. If your foot curves like a taco, STOP! That is dangerous! You need to get new shoes with better support before you seriously injure yourself. Those well-loved shoes would be great for a beginner dancer who doesn’t want to break hard shoes in and is doing less rigorous steps that don’t require much support. Sell them or give them away and let them bless a beginning dancer! If you have holes in the leather, it’s time for a new pair of hard shoes. If your shoes are just looking worn, you may be able to spruce them up with some TLC. Give them a good coat of polish, use edge dressing or a black permanent marker to darken the edges of the soles, replace the straps if they are stretched out, and replace any raggedy looking tape. If your heels and tips are worn down, but the shoes are otherwise in good condition, you can have the tips and heels replaced for much less money and a lot less work than breaking in a new pair of shoes.
3. The third reason you would need new hard shoes is if your teacher tells you to get them. He or she may have a favorite brand, or a “not in my studio” brand. You know better than I whether you can ask them to explain why they would require a certain brand or style. They may like the sound better (every brand sounds different because of the composition of the tips and heels). They may like the stage appearance better. Maybe it is as simple as “it’s the brand I wore when I competed.” Hopefully, your teacher is one of the growing number who wants you in a quality, well-fitting shoe regardless of brand. Either way, it pays to know the requirements before you buy the shoes.
4. The final (and worse!) reason to need new hard shoes is because you LOST your current pair! Or half of the pair! Put your name on the insoles of your shoes and be sure to always put your shoes back into your dance bag immediately after changing them. If you “wait until later” they may get accidentally scooped up into another dance bag and you may never see them again! I can’t count the number of dancers I have fit “in a panic” at a feis because they can only find one shoe, or they somehow have 2 left shoes, or they can’t remember where they left their shoes. Develop the habit of always putting your shoes away and zipping your bag and you will be less likely to lose a shoe.
I hope this information has been helpful to you. If you are ready to purchase hard shoes, click here. If you need help deciding which size, style, or brand is right for you, visit us at our store or at a feis (Schedule here). If you can’t come in person and need help, call 240-997-4583 or email us at email@example.com.