Caring for dance shoes is important for the dancer – they are the tools of his or her trade.
Whether talking of ballet shoes, jazz shoes, dance sneakers, show shoes, ballroom shoes – they don’t come cheap (even if we have good bargains instore! ) and they deserve to be treated well.
Ballet shoes and pointe shoes, being the lightest in colour, are probably the most delicate. These should not be worn outside – unless that is part of the performance.
To clean ballet shoes, simply wipe down with a moist cloth with some gentle soap if you like but then wipe down again with a rinsed cloth. While regularly using leather ballet shoes, I would also sometimes use expired moisturiser on the leather, to keep it soft and supple.
Never use a damp – or worse, wet – cloth on pointe shoes, whether canvas or satin. These are made of layers of cardboard and resin, and baked. Definitely, they should not be cleaned with a wet cloth: you cannot really clean these shoes at all.
Canvas ballet and jazz shoes cannot be cleaned with a wet cloth, either. Black canvas ballet or jazz shoes can be sprayed with some suede spray. This gives them back their vivid black colour. They will need to be left to dry thoroughly so that the dye does not leak onto socks or tights. There still is a danger that sweaty feet will cause the spray colour to leak – you’re warned!
Leather jazz shoes and sneakers can be wiped down in the same way as leather ballet shoes. Again, one may use black leather shoe polish. Care should be used: the colour may leak if the feet are sweaty or in humid temperatures. Do this carefully as when being used, the sweaty feet can cause colour leak. Suede sneakers can be sprayed with neutral suede spray – your safest option.
Ballroom shoes can be cleaned very much like normal shoes. Water is still not really an option. However, it might be safe to clean the soles with a slightly damp cloth, especially if the shoes have rubber soles.
I used to wear my dance sneakers to hang out. I figured that the rubber soles made it ok to do so. However, the truth is that the rubber on dance shoes isn’t really made for street / outdoor wear. The rubber will wear away pretty fast. Try to avoid doing that.
In short – dance shoes are the tools of the art – or of the trade. They should be properly cared for and used only as appropriate . This means, on the proper dance flooring and during class.
Keep an eye on our pages for more care tips!