and finishes that aid the breathing of shoe uppers include:
suedes, nu-bucks [a very fine suede], leathers
* with a minimum of finish
on the surface.
* Special 'polymeric' synthetic lining materials
meshes found on joggers
* Open weave type uppers
* Punched holes in
* Even stitching holes in moccasin type uppers
and lining materials and different styles that reduce the breathing of shoes include:
* Leathers finished with lacquers, waxes, oils and plastic
*Non-woven synthetic and plastic linings and uppers
and plastic linings
*Having no ventilation holes in the uppers
cut lace or zipper boots.
leather uppers have an advantage over
any synthetic uppers in that they have the ability to stretch and mold to the
shape of the foot without splitting, cracking, going hard or the surface peeling
Cheap leathers can vary from being too hard and thick, to being
thin, soft and very stretchy - none of these features are desired in dance shoes.
best upper leathers for dance shoes that money can buy, anywhere in the world,
are made here from
Australian Kangaroo Leather.
This leather, now available
in Australian made PRODANCE footwear [black only],
has uppers that are ultra
thin, ultra soft and ultra strong.
Kangaroo leather is so good, that it is
used by World Cup Soccer players for their shoes.
FOOTWEAR SOLE MATERIALS
materials used in dance footwear construction usually need to be thin, flexible
and have a reasonable amount of slip. They include smooth leather, suede leather,
thin resin, thermoplastic rubber, micro-cellular rubber and polyurethane.
should be aware that the degree a particular dance shoe may slip or stick to a
wooden dance floor, will vary hugely from floor to floor.
In practice this
may have more to do with the individual floor surface than the sole on the dance
leather soles are very thin, light and flexible. They are used for
Classical Ballet shoes, Latin shoes and traditional Ballroom shoes, and may only
be used inside on a wooden dance floor. Suede soles usually pick up a layer of
wax form the older wooden floors, which may make the shoes less slippery. This
can be brushed off with a special wire brush; but each time you do this it takes
some of the surface suede as well, reducing the life of the shoes each time this
is done. Most newer dance floors have an epoxy or polyurethane coating on the
surface, which reduces any build-up from these floors.
leather soles may be slippery to dance in and ruin easily when worn
outside or if they get wet.
Used for Latin, Ceroc and Rock 'n' Roll by experienced
dancers with good control on the dance floor, who like
to do a lot of fast
Also commonly used in Character shoes and some Classical Ballet
Not suitable for dancing on tiles or concrete.
resin soles are extremely hard wearing, can be worn inside and outside
on all dance surfaces and are suitable for Latin dancing. They have a less slippery,
softer feel when worn in, closer to suede than to smooth leather. Ideal for those
who do not wish to carry around two pairs of shoes when going dancing.
Rubber and E.V.A. soles are made from either natural or synthetic rubber
that has been
expanded with differing amounts of air, to different thicknesses
and densities. The more it is 'blown' with air, the lighter it gets in weight,
the softer it becomes and the worse it wears. Very thin types of this material
are used for Jazz shoe soles, while a thicker version is used as a light-weight
wedge sole for Rock 'n' Roll / Swing shoes. Variations of this material are also
used as midsoles in the better joggers, giving this style of footwear a lot of
its lightness and bounce.
is formed from chemicals reacting under pressure inside a mold. Must be made to
very exacting standards, otherwise becomes unstable, cracks and goes to powder
with age. When made properly is expensive, but very light weight and hardwearing.
Suitable for outdoor use. Jazz sneakers use this as a sole material.
SOLE and HEEL REPAIRS
This advice applies to the Prodance shoes displayed in our catalogue. It may apply
to similar styles in other brands as well.
Most shoe repairs do not stock
the correct resin and suede sole materials we use for our Prodance Dance Shoes.
Should you require your shoes to be resoled, you should ask for the following
- and accept no substitutes, as you probably will not be happy with the result.
Always obtain a quote first and do dot bother with a re-sole unless the shoes
are in very good condition.
RESIN SOLE - Ask
for 2.5mm Black or Beige Resin. Do
NOT go thicker as the sole will be too heavy and rigid.
Do NOT get TOPY NON-SLIP
or similar materials for obvious reasons.
- Ask for 1.2mm Chrome Split Suede in pale grey or black.
LEATHER SOLE - make sure thec leather is no thicker than your worn sole.
LADIES HEEL TOP PIECES - Ask for Vulco Smooth
top pieces for repairing the heel tips. This is a special hard type of rubber
used for this purpose. Never ever buy plastic top pieces.
If you are
in Sydney you can try:
Brice's Shoe Repairs - Shop 41, Imperial Arcade,
Sydney. Phone 02 9233 2836
CHOOSING LADIES SOCIAL DANCE SHOES -- ALWAYS A DIFFICULT TASK!
should not be so high as to create aches or pains when worn dancing, or to aggravate
existing foot, leg or back ailments. Remember the smaller the foot size for any
given heel height, the steeper the angle the foot will be to the dance floor.
Dancers with high arches should also wear lower height heels.
In my experience
the most acceptable heel height range for most dancers, creating the optimum compromise
between look and comfort, is usually between 51 mm and 63 mm (2 to 2 ˝ inches).
Some dancers are happy with 75mm (3 inch) heels, but few dancers can tolerate
heel heights of 89mm (3 ˝ inches) or higher without a platform under the forefoot
to reduce the ‘effective’ heel height.
higher heels than normal, may be advantageous to dance styles such as Tango, where
the dancer tends to be on her toes a lot more - but beware, the comfort and pain
factors still apply!
bulky or chunky style heels generally are not suitable for dancing.
Front Straps. Very
thin straps are less supportive than wider ones and are more likely to stretch
too much, making them loose. Alternately thin non-stretch synthetic straps may
dig into the skin causing them to become tight and uncomfortable. 8mm or wider leather straps with a non-stretch backing,
designed in a way so as to give good foot support, are a better choice. Some dancers
are prone to getting puffy feet (from
fluid build-up) after dancing,
so always take this into account when choosing a new footwear style.
Open toe verses closed styles.
Open toe styles can vary from a very small opening, where the toes may be
barely visible, to a very large opening with all the toes showing. This latter
situation quite often results in the foot moving forward in the shoe causing the
toes to overlap the front of the shoe - 'hanging five' as it were. So smaller
open toes are safer than the larger ones - particularly for the more narrow feet.
of the traditional Tango, Rock 'n' Roll, Character and old style Ballroom 'court'
shoes all have closed in toes. Be careful here with the more pointy toed styles,
as they can make the shoes too long and unwieldy for dancing, and may also squash
the little toe and put extra side pressure on the big toe.
dancers feel that having a completely closed toe will protect their feet from
their dancing partners stomping on them. This may be true, but I feel a small
peep-toe is a better option, both from a fitting perspective and also by providing
a shoe that is better ventilated.
This opening in the front of a non-strappy,
semi-closed style of shoe, allows more air to flow around the foot, keeping the
foot cooler and reducing perspiration.
Back Straps and Enclosed Heels.
Sandal style dance shoes with closed-in backs are generally more secure for
dancing than open-back styles, with just an ankle strap or the mini semi-enclosed
backs found on many imported dance shoes.
Width Fittings and Half Sizes.
Having a choice between
multiple width fittings, proper half sizes and a variety of heel heights, and
being able to cater for ‘odd feet’ can be extremely important to many dancers.
Prodance footwear, is one
of a very small number of footwear suppliers left in the world, whose footwear
has all these characteristics.
majority of dancers who need one or more of these features, will find choosing
from ‘off the rack shoes’ inadequate for obtaining a proper fit. One foot may
be wider or narrower or longer or shorter. Most ‘off the rack’ brands of footwear
have only one width fitting, and may or may not even have proper half sizes in
In my personal experience a minimum of one in every four dancers
[25%] usually needs a non standard fitting or a lower heel.
SOCKS and PANTYHOSE
that non-porous fibres of 100% synthetic socks or pantyhose do not absorb perspiration
and may also encourage friction against the inside of shoes, particularly enclosed
styles. This friction heats up the foot, increasing the amount of perspiration,
which in turn leads to a 'hot-house' effect inside the shoe - making the inside
hot and slippery. This then becomes an ideal environment for unwanted bacteria
The shoe then starts to smell, and so do the feet. Once infected,
it is virtually impossible to
get rid of this bacteria and fungus from the
shoes, and obviously feet are then prone to infections.
quality socks are usually a mixture of Cotton/Nylon/Elastane - and should be listed
in that order,
to show that they are predominantly cotton. Elastane is for
stretch. Price may not be an accurate guide to quality.
should be noted that some individuals have feet that perspire excessively and
can end up with feet and footwear that smell a lot more than normal.
these people footwear and hosiery choices are extremely important in order to
maintain good foot health.
designed and constructed proper running shoes or joggers should be made to reduce
undue strain on the feet, legs, knees and back while running on hard surfaces.
Some of the main features to look for in joggers include:
Light weight construction, breathable mesh front
The sole of the jogger should have a thick, soft, light-weight midsole to reduce
jarring, and a thin, hardwearing outsole for durability.
The back two thirds of the sole unit should be completely rigid, and only bend
under the ball of the foot and toe area. Beware of joggers where the midsole narrows
at the side in the middle of the shoe, in an hour-glass type shape, as it weakens
the strength of the midsection.
The back portion of the sole should be wedge shaped, viewed from the side. The
outer side of the mid-sole, underneath the heel needs to be softer than the inner
side to reduce pronation. Recent studies by sports medicine experts have shown
that visible plastic bubbles of air under the full heel, at the sides in the mid-sole
area of some joggers, may have a destabilizing effect while running, so are not
Overall foot and leg stability while running, is more important than softness
underneath the foot.
The innersole directly under the heel, inside the shoe, should be made of impact
absorbing foam and be of reasonable thickness to be effective in reducing the
jarring on heel strike.
The surface of the innersole inside the shoe should not feel slippery when walking
or running, as this increases friction and heat and reduces stability inside the
The back part of the upper to be high behind the heel, and have a strong heel
counter and a padded,
securely fitted top-line to ensure heel stability.
The front part of the shoe must not be too tapered at the sides so as to pressure
the little toe, nor too wide
or too deep so as to create movement and friction
inside the shoe while running.
Tennis and squash shoes and many cross trainers are unsuitable for running.
Absorbent cotton mixture socks should be worn when running at all times. If
perspiration is excessive, change them as often as necessary. Wearing any sport
shoe without socks is not recommended, as the perspiration generated stays in
the shoe, encouraging the growth of unwanted bacteria and fungus.
Softer running surfaces such as grass or sand should be used where possible
to reduce jarring, rather than using roads or footpaths.
HYGIENE AND SOME COMMON FOOT AILMENTS
The obvious - wash feet daily, preferably in the evening, drying carefully between
Cut toe-nails straight across or very gently curved, level with the tips of the
toes, to avoid ingrown toe-nails.
Avoid the use of foot-powders, if possible.
Wear absorbent socks or pantyhose at all times with enclosed footwear; the main
exception here is if you go sailing on a boat.
If your feet get too hot, or perspire excessively, especially when dancing for
long periods, it may be advantageous to punch 2 or 3 ventilation holes on
the inner side of each enclosed shoe, with an eyelet punch. Do this with care,
as this action works better on some upper materials than on others,
void the manufacturer's warranty on the shoes.
is caused by a build up of anaerobic bacteria and fungus growing happily in socks,
shoe linings and
upper materials. There are 250,000 sweat glands in each
foot, so reduce contributing factors as much as possible .
Shoes should be
aired each evening [without socks stuffed in them], preferably near an open window.
Remember once a shoe is infected, it will invariably stay that way. If
all fails, then medical or podiatric advice should be taken.
is a fungal condition of the skin, often occurring between the toes, under the
ball of the foot, and even on toe-nails.
This fungus likes warm, dark and
moist conditions that may arise from wearing synthetic hosiery or non-breathing
and is very contagious. Feet with soggy broken skin between the
toes are easily infected, particularly by contact with
wet floors found in
communal showers and swimming pools. Wearing synthetic beach style thongs or sandals
in these areas, will help prevent infection. Seek medical advice.
may be the result of a fungal infection. Use Daktarin tincture on the nails or
seek medical advice.
CRACKED or DRY HEELS.
Use special Dry Skin creams or Heel Balms containing 10% + urea.
onto skin or heels, twice daily.
Any abrasive action on hard skin, should
be done extremely carefully, small amounts each day.
Fungal infections may
be a contributing factor here also.
If this is the case, then use a small
amount of "Tea tree Antiseptic Cream" or "Bio-Juven SBS1 Skin Balm before
you use the heel balm with 10% urea, or seek medical advice.
CORNS AND CALLUSES.
Are usually the result of constant rubbing and pressure by the shoe on the skin
of the foot. Very common on toes, especially the little one. Continuous irritation,
such as ill-fitting or overly rigid shoes, causes a build up of hard skin. Better
fitting footwear and careful abrasive action usually fixes this problem.
are a virus infection of the skin, which is possibly why the body's immune system
has trouble getting rid of them. They tend to attack the skin more often when
the skin is moist, or when the surface has been irritated or broken. PLANTAR
WARTS are found on the soles, or under the heels of the feet. Advice from
a podiatrist or other medical practitioner is recommended if they are a problem.
BUNIONS [ Hallux Valgus ]
most often arise from a type of joint misalignment. This condition, thought to
be largely hereditary, is easily aggravated by tight socks or pantyhose, high
heeled shoes, pointed toe shoes, or shoes that are too small or tight at the toe.
In this condition, the large toe starts to angulate toward the second toe. The
joint before the big toe becomes more prominent, enlarged and inflamed - leading
to foot deformity, pain and loss of foot function later in adult life.
help, even at age 4 to 5 years, is recommended. Controlling the rate of progression
of this problem is not straight forward or guaranteed, so that continuing advice
from a family doctor, podiatrist and chiropractor would be important to compare
Chiropractic mobilisation of the joint area, together with prescribed
orthotics may assist in some cases.
work in Classical and Jazz Ballet will aggravate this problem. Women Latin and
Ballroom dancers suffering from this condition should consider wearing shoes with
heels as low as possible.
is a chronic disorder which, among other things, can cause a loss of sensation
to the feet, impair blood circulation, reduce resistance to infection, and slow
down the healing process. Accurately fitted shoes are necessary to protect the
feet. Shoes and clothing must not impose excessive pressure or rub skin anywhere.
Shoes should be worn everywhere for protection, to avoid the possibility of cuts
and abrasions, which could cause infection. It could be a problem for energetic
dancers. Medical supervision is essential at all times.
is a health professional who deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment
of medical conditions of the feet and lower legs.
In many situations a good chiropractor or osteopath,
expert in foot mobilisation will complement the advice given by a podiatrist.
For some specific problems an orthopaedic doctor
may need to be consulted.
Unfortunately the solution[s], if any, to many biomechanical foot problems are
not black and white.
This particular medical area can be a minefield of complexity,with
no one type of medical practitioner able to give you all the correct answers,
all the time.
best advice, regardless of who you see, is to be very proactive in your approach.
Write things down, never be afraid to ask questions, be open minded
and informed about dealing with the above medical conditions, follow the advice
given, and if in doubt get a second opinion.
If surgery is recommended
always get an opinion from at least two surgeons and one chiropractor.
CORRECTIVE ORTHOTIC DEVICES [arch supports]
orthotic devices are specially prescribed footwear inserts, individually made
to be worn in shoes, to reduce symptoms arising from foot and leg problems. They
are designed according to very precise measurements, which determine the exact
relationship between the bones, muscles and ligaments of each foot in stance and
gait. Depending on circumstances and preferences, these orthotics may be made
from rigid plastic or from softer materials. They may cover the length of the
foot, or just the back part.
If rigid orthotics are used for sporting
activities, advice should be taken as to their suitability for those sports, particularly
if jarring is involved. If problems or discomfort occurs in connection with the
wearing of orthotics, always go back to the prescribing podiatrist immediately
need to be reviewed every 12 months or so, depending on the amount of foot growth
[for younger people], the physical condition of the orthotics themselves and of
course whether it is felt they are effectively doing the job for which they were
buy any form of pre-made arch supports before obtaining professional advice from
a podiatrist: the most well meaning intentions may have unpredictable results,
causing even more problems to the feet, legs, knees, pelvis or back.
there are so few nerves in the bones, pain associated from disfunctional joints
comes from the soft tissues in the joints and muscles. For many people with foot,
leg, knee and back pain, prescribed orthotics can be a gift from heaven, whereby
alleviating some of their aches and pains, allowing them to live a more normal
supplements such as Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM are now often prescribed
by many Health Professionals to alleviate pain and to assist in the regeneration
of damaged joints.
FOOT MEASURING DEVICES and SIZING SYSTEMS
you go into a shoe store they may or may not have some sort of foot measuring
device to find out your foot size. You should be aware that these devices should
be used as a guide only for foot size. They are used mainly for measuring foot
length and for checking variations between the left and right foot.
to a lack of accuracy and conformity of shoe sizes, foot or shoe width or girth
measurements usually have little meaning.
is one thing that all these different foot measuring devices have in common: each
one will agree to disagree on what your size actually is. Despite claims to the
contrary, they are all calibrated to slightly different standards, so that each
device will give a slightly different reading for any given foot length.
to World War II the US sizing system was much less variable than it is now. Since
the USA began to import huge amounts of sports footwear from S.E. Asia in the
1960's and 1970's, there seems to be a lot less control over sizing standards.
It is now very common for both UK and US sizes to vary in length not only among
manufacturers, but even among various footwear styles made in a single factory.
of these labelling discrepancies on UK / US / EUR size equivalents, can be found
on the labels inside nearly all brands of imported footwear, particularly sports
MAIN SOURCES OF INFORMATION
Technical College ||
School of Footwear||School
Australian Podiatry Association [NSW]
British Shoe and Allied Trades Research
"Buying Power" by Helen Wellings [Publisher 'Arnold']
Footwear Training Manual
"Foot and Ankle Pain" by Rene Cailliet, M.D. [2nd
South African Bureau of Standards 
Dancing Shoes Australia
information files Edited by
podiatrists and chiropractors.
Copyright Garry Abeshouse 1983, 1987, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005
Terms and Conditions of Use'