Which Shoes for Which Floors?

Sole Suggestions and Shoe Remedies Based on Dance Surface

Often you’ll find yourself dancing on a non-ideal dance floor. Maybe it’s a regular dance floor that has become “sticky” (or very slippery) because of humidity or improper care. Maybe it’s a warehouse space that has temporarily become a dance floor. Here are some suggestions sent in by readers or picked up on the net. We invite you to send in any good suggestions that we have not yet mentioned!

Generally speaking, there are 3 approaches:

  • Sole Selection
  • Temporary Fix
  • Adjust Dance Technique

The best cure is to wear the right pair of shoes — different sole materials give amazingly different amounts of slip versus grip. Advantages to this approach: effective. Disadvantages: requires planning ahead, which means already having experience with the dance floor in question. And it requires owning multiple pairs of shoes, each with different soles, which requires extra spending.

Fast (Slick/Slippery) Floors

  • Sole Selection: Suede, Flat Rubber (ie. Keds or Vans), or Worn-Down Sneakers
    Suede soles can be added to dance shoes, regular shoes, or even sneakers at a good shoe repair store for about $40, or you can do it yourself.  
    DIY Suede Soles offers detailed advice on how to do-it-yourself or find a good shoe repair shop.
    – Buying Dance Shoes offers detailed advice on buying suede-soled dance shoes.
    – Suede Soles Maintenance offers advice on taking care of suede-soled shoes.
  • Temporary Fix:
    – Wipe plastic or smooth leather soles with wet toilet paper and wipe again with dry toilet paper.
    – Slide and twist your soles on concrete or asphalt to scuff them up.
    – Use suede slip-on half soles and keep them in your shoe bag.
  • Adjust Dance Technique:
    – Dance smaller. The slipperier the floor, the smaller the steps.
    – Bend your knees more than usual for better balance (like martial arts folks).
    – Don’t push off as strongly on traveling steps.

Slow (Sticky/Rough/Carpeted) Floors
Note: Avoid sprinkling powder on the floor or your soles as this could create dangerously slippery spots on the floor.

  • Sole Selection: Hard Leather (new is slipperier)
    Soles2Dance.com offers semi-permanent stick-on disks made of slippery plastic to attach to your shoes.
  • Temporary Fix:
    – Apply cloth Gaffer/Gaff Tape (2″ white ShurTape/Permacell P-665) to the soles of your shoes and trim excess.
    – Wear the largest Peds (small nylon or cotton socks) you can find OVER your shoes. This works on marley.
    – Apply masking tape to the soles of your shoes and trim excess.
    – For Concrete, worn-down rubber soles and good-quality insoles are suggested.
  • Adjust Dance Technique:
    – Pick your feet up more than usual.
    – Eliminate most of your twist-dependent moves for the evening.
    – Raise your center of gravity when pivoting or twisting.
    – Use more Triple Steps to ‘skitter’ your feet into position instead of twisting or sliding.
    – Sit out more dances than usual to give your knees a rest.
    – If your knees hurt the next day, do even less twisting the next time you’re on a rough/sticky floor.

Original Article located at http://www.gottadance.org/bad_floor_dancing.shtml

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