The Do’s and Don’ts of Dance Shoe Care

As a dancer, you know it’s essential to care for your feet – but what about your dance shoes?

As one of dancers’ main essentials, dance shoes require proper care to provide maximum support, protection and performance. Just as every dancer is unique, however, dance shoes and their needs are equally unique from the average street shoe.

Learn how to store, repair, wear and clean your dance shoes the right – and wrong – way.


The legs of a child in tutu and tap shoes

“On her toes – and ours!” by Maria Brea is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

  • Do store dance shoes in a cool and dry location. Fibers in damp shoes often deteriorate more quickly.
  • Don’t keep dance shoes in a plastic bag, such as the one they might come in when purchased. Shoes that are unable to breathe = shoes that sweat and ultimately decay and smell.


  • Do search out the correct materials if you’re planning on fixing them yourself. While the precaution may not necessarily be convenient, it does pay off in the long run. For instance, use wood glue when repairing stripped tap shoe screws. Superglue and other adhesives, while possibly already available in your supplies closet, will eventually crack.


  • Do be gentle when putting your footwear on and taking it off. The life span of toe paws, for example, is considerably affected by how carefully you put them on and remove them.
  • Do wear the proper clothing with your shoes. Pointe shoes, for example, should be worn with tights and the type of toe pads, if any, that your teacher instructs you to wear (there should not be room in your shoe to wear other kinds of foot coverage, like toe paws or socks). Socks worn with tap shoes can help prevent the growth of bacteria.
  • Don’t ever dance in broken shoes, as it can cause serious consequences. Dancing in broken pointe shoes, for instance, can lead to hairline fractures in the foot.
worn pointe shoes

“At Rest” by tibbygirl is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.


  • Do wash canvas shoes, like ballet shoes, in the washer if they need to be cleaned.
  • Do use a shoe brush on suede-bottom shoes – it will keep them clean and help them maintain their texture.
  • Do use polish or silicon oil on patent shoes, such as ballroom shoes, to prevent cracking and sticking.
  • Do clean dirt off leather shoes, like jazz or tap shoes, using melamine foam.
  • Don’t put canvas shoes in the dryer after washing, as this could cause them to shrink.
  • Don’t ever wear your dance shoes outside the studio. Not only will they get dirty, but it can damage the soles. Most dance shoes don’t provide proper support for wearing as a street shoe, either. Plus, your teacher surely doesn’t want dirt from outside tracked into the studio.

What tips and tricks do you have for keeping your dance shoes in tip-top shape? Share them in the comments below!


More Information on Dance Shoe Care: 

When To Buy New Tap Shoes

IMAGE Three pairs of custom designed K360′s created by Matt at IMAGEIt is no secret that tap dancers grow very fond of their tap shoes. With the high level of aesthetic customization that exists today, it is easy to attribute fond memories with a particular pair of tap shoes.

I loved my blue Capezio K360s. I kept them around for over two years. When the lateral side, or outer edge, of my feet started to ache, I figured I must have landed wrong during a difficult step. When they got really sore, I thought that I must have been doing something chronically wrong. When sharp, electric jolts of pain kept me from dancing, I realized I had been doing something wrong. I needed new shoes.

Three days after receiving my new pair of shoes, my pains from the previous six months had disappeared. If I were to put on my old blue shoes, the pain would come back. I had learned my lesson the hard way.

A new pair of tap shoes are not only important for correcting current problems, but are necessary in preventing a smorgasbord of potentially painful ailments.

Signs of tap shoe deterioration include: [Read more…]