Whilst an Irish Dancers shoe may not be the most glamorous part of their outfit with all the beautiful dresses and wigs etc that are now available, it could be said that the shoes are in fact the most important part. As it is the dancer’s connection to the floor and acts as the barrier for shock-absorbing the impact on the joints of the legs.
High-quality Irish dance shoes are an investment, and should be cared for like any piece of quality sporting equipment. Did you know that during a Irish dance competition, a dancers feet can produce up to half a litre of sweat into your poor shoes. Unlike ordinary shoes which may last a long time, a dancer sometimes goes to classes two to three times a week as well as dances most weekends at competitions. In short, this means that the shoes are going to get a lot of punishment.
To help you out, we’ve put together some tips to help take better care of your Irish dance shoes and pumps.
Shoe Care Equipment List
Brush – A shoe brush is a great basic tool for cleaning any shoes.
Shoe Polish/Cream – A good quality polish or cream will help to keep your leather shoes moisturized and free of cracks.
Polish Cloth – A clean, high-quality shoe polish cloth will help to keep your shoes clean and looking their best.
Water Spray Bottle – A water spray bottle is important to have on hand so that you can easily spot and clean your shoes.
Irish Hard Suede Soles
Although not a huge issue as the suede sole is only at the raised arch of the foot, and as such shouldn’t be getting too dirty. It will eventually go flat (and possibly hard) from use. A suede brush every now and then will raise the nap and remove any dirt from them.
Diamond Pattern Pumps
Your diamond pumps should be cleaned with a damp cloth and then shine them regularly with a soft cloth. Never use regular shoe polish on patent leather as this can reduce the shine.
Prep: With a soft dry cloth, brush away any dust or dirt.
Blot: Dampen a cloth with cold water and dab any marks, try to always start from the top of the shoe and work to the sole.
Deep Cleaning: If a light wipe with water isn’t removing any stubborn marks from the leather, try a very small amount of liquid hand wash onto a damp cloth. Then work into a lather and very gently dab onto the stained area then immediately wipe off with a clean damp cloth.
Dry: Use a towel or cloth to dab your shoes dry, as rubbing can leave watermarks on the leather, so try to always avoid this. The same thing can happen when air drying over a radiator or other heat source so make sure you remove as much moisture as you can with a clean towel before.
Submerging your shoes in water or putting them in the washing machine will damage the shoe and render them basically useless.
INSIDE THE SHOE
Let’s be real, feet smell. So, after wearing the same pair of shoes for a few hours of sweaty practice, the inside of those shoes is going to be stinky. So apart from always wearing socks, here are a few helpful tips to help your shoes from stinking up the hall cupboard.
Have a spare pair – If possible get a second pair of both hard Irish dance shoes and Irish dance pumps, as this will allow the other pair time to fully dry out between sessions.
Dry them out – In between uses we recommend that you air dry your shoes. Put your shoes in a warm area but not in direct heat from a fire or radiator as this will dry out the leathers and drastically reduce the life of your shoes.
Baking Soda – Sprinkle baking soda or sodium bicarbonate generously inside the shoe and let it sit overnight. Dump out the powder in the morning. But be cautious with leather shoes as repeated applications can dry out the leather. Activated Charcoal, like baking soda, can help absorb odours naturally.
Salt – If you dance without socks, there is a good chance your shoes will get damp, by sprinkling some salt into your shoes after a hard session. This will act as a deodorizer and soak up dampness. Again, use only occasionally or you will dry out the leather.
Talcum Powder – Talcum powder is more used as a preventative measure that you can take before putting your shoes and socks on to stop your feet from smelling to bad in the first place.
If you have any other tips please feel free to add below