When it comes to dancing, looking after the shoes you wear is so important – not only for the shoes themselves but for your benefit too. But how do you best care for your ballet shoes? We put together our top tips…
For the times you’re not wearing your dance shoes, make sure that you take them out of the plastic bag or sports bag that you bring them to and from classes in. They need time to breathe, especially after you wear them. Dancing causes sweat, which is nothing to be embarrassed about but that needs to be dealt with if you want to look after your shoes in the best way possible.
To prevent shoes smelling and giving them space to air out properly, you should keep them in a cool and dry place. This will do wonders for their longevity too as they are far more likely to deteriorate in damp conditions.
Speaking of smelly shoes, you do need to wash them on a regular basis, even if you are leaving them to air out after classes. Not only can dance shoes get sweaty and smelly, but they can get dirty too, despite even the best efforts to keep them looking brand new. Check out the best way to clean your ballet shoes…
Canvas: You can use a washing machine to clean your canvas ballet shoes, just make sure that you put it on a delicate cycle and avoid fabric softener. Try putting them in a lingerie bag for extra protection. Then, when the wash is done, take them out of the bag and lie them flat on a towel in a warm room in your house.
Leather: For leather ballet shoes, simply fill a bowl with warm water and dish soap and use a sponge to wash the surface. Rinse off any soapy residue with a sponge using clean water, then dry with a soft towel.
Satin: Fill your bath or a wash basin with cold water, adding the desired amount of washing soap before submerging your satin ballet shoes in it – don’t twist or wring them though as this could damage them. Rinse them by refilling your bath with clean, cold water then gently squeezing them before laying them on a towel to dry naturally.
Whatever you do when you’re cleaning your ballet shoes, DO NOT use a tumble drying! Whilst it may be the quickest way to get your shoes dry and wearable again, drying your shoes is actually the quickest way to ruin them.
With the risk of shrinking your shoes and wearing out their material, it’s best for them to stay well away from the tumble dryer. Instead, dry them naturally. As informed above, the best way to dry them is to lay them out on a towel in a warm room, out of direct sunlight.
If your dance shoes are in need of repairs of any sort, it’s really important that you use the right materials if you’re looking to fix them yourself. Whilst it might be the quick and easy option, the superglue in your cupboard might not be the best solution for your shoes or your purse in the long run.
Sometimes, it really is better to go to a professional. As shoe experts, they will be able to make sure that your ballet pumps are spick and span for your dance classes and performances, and don’t run the risk of any other problems that your ‘trusty’ superglue might cause.
Caring for your dance shoes shouldn’t stop just because you’re wearing them. They should be looked after from the moment you slip your toes in, until the moment you take them off – you have got to be as gentle with them as possible.
The same goes for when you’re carrying them to and from classes. They shouldn’t be haphazardly chucked into your sports bag before and after your dance class, and they certainly shouldn’t be worn outside. Not only will wearing your shoes outside lead them to be dirty and potentially ruined, it will also result in a very grumpy dance teacher when you’re found trailing mud into the studio.
Your carelessness could just cause them to get needlessly dirty and damaged, so do yourself a favour and save your shoes and your money!
There’s no point in keeping your dance shoes spotless if you’re putting grubby toes and feet in them, so make sure you keep your feet clean! It will save you time and effort when the thorough shoe clean comes around.
With dancing, it really is imperative that you look after your feet in general. Not only should you wash and dry them before and after putting on your ballet shoes, but you should also keep on top of toenails and blisters too.
Ensure your toenails are always suitably trimmed and that your shoes properly fit to spare yourself for very sore feet! If you’d like a few more tips on working out the perfect fit, head to our post on how to choose the right ballet shoes for you.