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  • Ally Gavigan:
  • 03 May 2017

Ultra-Lite Jig Shoes

Whats the difference between the brands offering Ultra Lites?

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So,  maybe you overheard someone talking about Ultra Lite jig shoes but didn't have a clue what they were talking about or perhaps you already have a pair but want to get up to speed on alternative brand offerings before getting your next pair - well this blog post is for you!

We will look at 3 different brands version of the Ultra Lite jig shoe and compare them as well as discussing what Ultra Lite jig shoes are all about.

Ultra Lites Jig Shoes - What are they?

Ultra Lites, Ultra Lights, Ultras - different brands may spell it differently but they are all talking about the same concept - jig shoes which are made from lighter and more flexible materials than traditional jig shoes. 

This is the latest migration from the jig shoes which were made 20 years ago (ask your dance teacher about them!) which had thick leather soles and took a year to break in! 

Ultra Lites - Why do dancers like them?

The increasingly athletic and competitive world of today's' Irish dancers means that many dancers need footwear which will perform straight out of the box. They do not want to bear blisters and foot ache for a month while they break their new jig shoes in. They want to put them on and get straight back to practising at full intensity.

Manufacturers have responded to this by creating jig shoes which have lighter leather uppers and more flexible soles. Some manufacturers have introduced additional innovations such as echo chamber heels or lighter versions of their normal Championship level heels. 

While this range of jig shoes are called Ultra Lites, their lighter weight isn't the main factor in drawing experienced dancers to them.

We've already mentioned the zero breaking in time but the fact that the uppers and sole are typically made from finer leathers and materials means they become more of a second skin, which fits closers to the foot. This creates a more responsive jig shoe aiding the dancer in completing more complicated footwork and steps. For example, toe stands are possible straight away without any breaking in time. We have seen World Champions put on a new pair and compete within the hour at major championships.

Ultra Lites - The bad news

The use of finer materials in their construction inevitably reduces the life span of Ultra Lite jig shoes compared to more traditional jig shoe styles. 

The leather uppers are thinner so they stretch out more easily (Top Tip: Buy them closer fitting than normal jig shoes) and the soles offer less support. 

So dancers (and parents!) who are moving in this direction need to allocate more funds to their footwear budget. Although the Ultra Lite jig shoe would still one of the cheaper items in an experienced Irish dancers kit bag!

Ultra Lites - Suitable for everyone?

The simple answer is no. We would definitely not recommend them to new dancers with no dance experience or to Irish dancers suffering from recent or long term injuries.

New or injured dancers may not have strong enough arches to compensate for the lack of support in these jig shoe. Also, some brands have stripped out all comfort and shock absorbing features so new dancers may also find them more uncomfortable than traditional styles.

Dancers who are looking for more flexibility than the Super Flexi, would be better off purchasing an Ultra Flexi jig shoe as they offer more support than the Ultralites and will last longer.

Ultra Lites - Fitting Guidance

Remember that the leather will stretch more than tradition jig shoes so buy them close fitting, with your toe right at the top.

Ultra Lites - Differences between the brands

We asked our Review Team to take a look at the 3 most popular brands of Ultra Lite jig shoes and compare their features.


Fays Ultra Lights

The Fays Ultra Lights are the lightest Ultra Lite style, weighing in at 360g/shoe. This is thanks to the weight of their tip, which is lighter than the other brands, plus they have no comfort features to speak of. So if weight is the only reason for buying an Ultralite jig shoe and you don’t want any other features, then the Fays jig shoe are probably your best bet.


Antonio Pacelli Ultra Lites

Weighing in at 380g/shoe they are 20g/shoe heavier than the Fays Ultra Lights which is the weight of an AA battery. The Antonio Pacelli come with Liberty tips which are denser and heavier than the Fays tip, so they will last longer and produce a louder sound.

They are the cheapest of the three jig shoes we reviewed, so have fewer features than the Hullachan version, but more than the Fays Ultra Lights. Offering a full foam insole with a Poron heel pad to provide protection whilst dancing.

The leather uppers and sole are the most supple of the three, so if you want a jig shoe which feels like a second skin then these would be the pair to go for.


Hullachan Pro Ultra Lites

The heaviest of the three styles, at 390g/shoe the Hullachan Pro balances comfort features and weight. For the additional 30g, they are packed with lots of extra features, plus they come with tips equal to the Liberty tips. Some of the features are the padded heel collar and dual layer 'Clever Insole' which uses the most advanced materials to provide cushioning and shock absorbency while dancing. So if you are considering moving into this style of jig shoe and don't want to compromise on comfort or foot protection then these are the ones we would recommend for you.

So we hope this helps you decide if the Ultra Lite style of jig shoe is for you and which brand would be best for you and your individual needs as a dancer.


Hullachan Pro Ultra Lites

Antonio Pacelli Ultra Lites

Fays Ultra Lights


390g/shoe 380g/shoe 360g/shoe


Leather Uppers, leather quarter lining, suede sole Leather Uppers, leather quarter lining, suede sole Leather Uppers, man-made quarter lining, suede sole


Zero breaking in time
Balanced toe pitch
Padded ankle
Dual-layer impact insole
Padded tongue
Concorde Lite heel
Red nubuck lining

Zero breaking in time
Concorde Lite heel
Poron heel pad
Full Foam insole
Zero breaking in time

Review Rating

9/10 8/10 7/10


£128.99 £97.99


Please click on the links below for more details on each of the following products;

 Hullachan Pro Ultra Lite

Antonio Pacelli Ultra Lites

Fays Ultra Light

I hope you enjoyed our review.

The Review Team

We're very happy with our shoes and the speed at which we received both the shoes (4 pairs) and a credit note for the shoes (2 pairs) we returned - less than 24 hours from posting to you is most impressive!

Mary & Chris Carter
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