Jig shoes are a key piece of kit for every Irish dancer.
Here are some great ways to look after yours..
1. Always use a wax polish rather than a liquid polish as this stops the leather from drying out. A liquid polish can actually encourage drying and increase the chances of damaging the leather.
2. We know it can be tedious but always undo your laces before taking off your shoes so you won't be tempted to force your foot into them the next time you use them. This will deform the heel stiffener, dramatically shorten the life of your shoes and encourage blisters.
3. Do not leave your jig shoes in your dance bag after class. Take them out and let them air so any sweat or moisture can evaporate.
4. Use a shoe horn if you have difficulty putting on a shoe, as 'wiggling' your foot into a shoe will inevitably damage the shoe.
5. Always dance on appropriate surfaces, such as a sprung stage or dance hall. Dancing on surfaces such as concrete will not only damage the shoe, but also significantly increase the chance of injury.
6. Do not let other dancers wear your shoes, as everyone's feet are different.
7. Try to buy shoes which have a leather or insole as it helps the foot breathe and reduces perspiration which contains salt, which would otherwise dry out the shoe.
8. Put your name on the bottom of your shoes to reduce the chance of another dancer accidentally taking your shoes and stops them getting lost if submitted for repair.
9. Manually bending the sole back and forth is fine but do not try and break in new shoes by folding them and putting them under something heavy. Do not use soak them in water.
10. Wear new shoes around the house before wearing them to a class or feis. You should spend at least 2 hours in your new shoes to break them in.