Shoe problems for anyone who relies on shoes for a particular purpose will find it annoying to get problems. Whether you are a runner, cyclist or dancer, your shoes and in fact clothes are important to enhance what you are doing and able to bring. Read this article further to find out some of the problems faced by dancers and tips for working around them or avoiding them altogether.
Top 6 categories for problems dancers have with shoes:
1. Breaking in new shoes: Especially as there is often a recommendation to start with a smaller size than you actually wear. This is due to the material expanding and as dancers we want an as near perfect fit as possible. The what degree smaller depends on the dance, the shoe and type of material its made from.
- Tip, I would suggest here with leather and suede shoes is to put them on a heater for 20 minutes before wearing them. Note that the heater shouldn’t be hot enough to damage the shoes, just warm them past body temperature so the material expands. When you place them on your foot the material is softer and if this is repeat a number of times it begins to mold the shoes to your feet, fitting them perfectly without the normal process of wearing them in.
2. Getting used to different heel heights (even for men with cuban heels). Many women aren’t used to heels and when they come to dance they find it difficult as suddenly they are asked to don heels in many dances. Dancers are rarely taught how to use their shoes in the movement. Its all very well putting good looking shoes on your feet but if you don’t include them in your technique they will trip you up.
- Tips is to wear new shoes on uneven surfaces, or ones that make your ankles work. Usually when we put on new shoes we forget that we need to accustom our bodies and in particular muscles to the changes created. Ankles are often too weak to offer stability when someone wears high heeled shoes for the first time. The thicker the heel the easier it is on your ankle, the lower the heel the easier too. The other thing is the that a dancer needs to build their technique to include shoes as a tool for the trade or hobbie. Simply sticking shoes on our feet regardless of how beautiful is a common mistake.
3. Shoes that don’t fit correctly can be a pain, quite literally. Either through rubbing, being too small or so big that you are unable to move properly in them. The style of the shoe is also important when working with feet of different proportions.
- Tip, Length, width, high arch, flat foot, shape of foot are all factors to consider when buying new dance shoes. Best thing is to ask a dance teacher or a knowledgeable shop assistant. Good ones are often trained in dance shoe fitting. After owning a few pairs of shoes you can also look back and see which shoes where the most comfortable and worked best for you in terms of shape and style.
4. Dance shoes that break are a problem.
- Tip: many can be fixed easily and its well worth training a cobbler or shoe repairer in your city to mend dance shoes. Particularly if you are a professional and wear shoes out like no tomorrow.
5. Our old dance shoes affecting our movement. This can come in the form of wear and tear that simply means you have to work harder to maintain balance and equilibrium in old shoes. The other problem that arises for newer dancers who have drastically changed the technique of how they use their feet, is that the wear of the shoe often reinforces old habits. How does this work? well if you imagine someone moved and danced with all their weight on the outside of the foot and mostly on their heels. You will find that the outside of the heel is worn down and the engineering of the shoe starts to break with wearing the shoe in a way its not built for. Yes there is shoe engineering and design that enhances certain things we want as dancers in our shoes. Ballet shoes are a great example of this.
- Tip: Even though old shoes are at their most comfortable and if worn a lot are dear friends, know when their time it up. Comfort is usually a sign that the engineering of the dance shoe is breaking down and past a certain point it doesn’t do anyone any good. Get to know a cobbler in your city who can repair some aspects of aged shoes, particularly if the shoe is good but its the heel that has worn down. This is often easy to fix, as are straps that have got loose due to expanding and worn out soles.
6. The engineering of shoes. Have the shoes been balanced correctly, basic test for this is if they can stand up by themselves without falling over. Other factors include twisted heels, the foot pattern being well proportioned, the orientation of the heel distributing weight to different parts of the foot if not aligned properly. Then you get into things like distance between the heel and the place where the ball of the foot meet the floor. Its rare to find a shoe that is perfect and rarer still to find two. So the suggestion here is to be aware of what you have, don’t buy something that is terrible quality and work with how the shoe balance affects you.If you find any other problems it would be great if you add them in a comment. I hope this list and tips help. More articles like this will be coming soon.
Other articles in the dance genre:
‘A Vision of Tango’http://www.chicloca.com/2015/12/a-vision-of-tango.html
‘Abundant obsession’, Argentine tangohttp://www.chicloca.com/2015/12/abundant-obsession-argentine-tango-dance.html
Why we love Pilates (and you should too)http://www.chicloca.com/2016/01/love-pilates-you-should-fitness.html‘Abundant Obsession’ Argentine tango dance’Abundant Obsession’ Argentine tango dance