More Aris Allens on eBay

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

It’s been a while since I scoped out eBay for Aris Allens, there are a few good deals on the auction block this week:

Camel velvet oxfords, size 9.5, bidding at $26.95

Camel velvet oxfords, size 9.5, bidding at $26.95

Black t-strap heels, size 8, bidding starts at $14.99

Black t-strap heels, size 8, bidding starts at $14.99

Brown and white wingtips, size 10.5, buy it now $50.00

Brown and white wingtips, size 10.5, buy it now $50.00

Lindy Shopper Turns 3

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

3rd+bday

WordPress is telling me that today is my 3 year anniversary of registering and, with Lindy Shopper being my first WordPress.com blog, this means 3 years of blogging about swing dance clothing, shoes, and other things swing dancers may find useful. When I started this blog, it was at the whim/request of some local dancers here in Durham, NC, who encouraged me to share my knowledge of where to find these things and I’m certainly happy I listened to them!

Thank you to all of my readers and friends, who continue to encourage me, share their ideas and sources, and inspire me to write about what you were wearing and where you got it.

The Year of the Oxford at Urban Outfitters

If you’re a dandy, lady dandy, or you just want a pair of really stylish shoes, it looks like this is the year of the oxford (featuring the wingtip) at Urban Outfitters. They are offering an array of styles, price points, and an unparallelled offering of color. Here are my faves (and I’m only scratching the surface here):

Men's J Shoes Foxton Oxford - love the navy canvas and brown leather combo

Men’s J Shoes Foxton Oxford – love the navy canvas and brown leather combo

Women's Sam Edelman Jerome Oxford - these are just screaming at me...available in two other colors, available in peach-coral-silver-ivory combo and...

Women’s Sam Edelman Jerome Oxford – these are just screaming at me…available in two other colors, available in peach-coral-silver-ivory combo and…

...gold, bitches!

…gold, bitches!

Men's Feathers Canvas Stentorian Oxford - this shoe skirts that line between dress shoe and canvas sneaker.  I love the canvas (won't show dirt too terribly) and that the sole is resin - the reviews say that this shoe doesn't have much grip, which means it should be great for dancing. :)

Men’s Feathers Canvas Stentorian Oxford – this shoe skirts that line between dress shoe and canvas sneaker. I love the canvas (won’t show dirt too terribly) and that the sole is resin – the reviews say that this shoe doesn’t have much grip, which means it should be great for dancing. :)

Women's F-Troupe Butterfly Oxford - just...adorable.  I am sad the sole is rubber, but sueding is always an option, no?

Women’s F-Troupe Butterfly Oxford – just…adorable. I am sad the sole is rubber, but sueding is always an option, no?

Men's Florsheim wingtip oxford in this juicy color combo of cream and black.  This shoe is also available in 5 solid colors: gray, maroon, black, berry, and brown.

Men’s Florsheim wingtip oxford in this juicy color combo of cream and black. This shoe is also available in 5 solid colors: gray, maroon, black, berry, and brown.

Women's Dolce Vita Orina Cutout Leather Oxford  - the cutouts are so dreamy and I love the low heel!

Women’s Dolce Vita Orina Cutout Leather Oxford – the cutouts are so dreamy and I love the low heel!

Men's Ben Sherman tweed and leather cap toe of awesomeness

Men’s Ben Sherman tweed and leather cap toe of awesomeness

Thinx: Smart Underwear

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I often write about undergarment options for coverage when we wear skirts, but what about what we wear under our bloomers or our pants? What about the material? What about all that gross sweating we do? Where dudes bring multiple shirts to a dance weekend, I bring multiple pairs of underwear because there’s nothing worse that sitting around or dancing in a puddle of your own sweat (along those lines, there’s nothing better than putting on a fresh pair of underwear after you’ve danced, especially between a main dance and late night – file that under my body odor commentary).

Cotton breathes, but it also soaks everything up. Synthetics can be icky in terms of odor and I usually don’t like they way the feel against my skin. Can we get some technology in here to engineer us some undies?

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Montreal dancer Alisha Ruiss sent me a link to this great Indiegogo campaign for Thinx: Change Your Underwear, “where technology and fashion intersect to solve a global problem.” How is this underwear smart? You can check out the diagram to the right, and then listen when I tell you that it

1) Is leak/stain-resistant, anti-microbial, moisture-wicking and lasts for several years

2) Acts as back-up to traditional methods of leakage prevention during your period (but will not replace these during heavier days – they are working on creating this style next!)

3) Completely replaces liners on light days

Thank you for the different coverage options!

Thank you for the different coverage options!

Whaaaaaa?! So this is obviously super practical in real life, and in your dance life having that bit of extra protection there for potential leakage (because we move around a lot, just like athletes, and we sometimes lose track of time…) or just sweat absorption could make the world of difference in your comfort at a dance, on any day of the year.

They had a previously successful Kickstarter campaign, but due to the nature of Kickstarter they were not able to raise money for a cause, which is the intersection of this project.

From the Indiegogo page:

For more information on AFRIpads, visit afripads.com

For more information on AFRIpads, visit afripads.com

“Beyond our own desire for the smartest underwear for our drawer, we found out that there was an even bigger problem for girls and women in the developing world.

Girls in the developing world are missing up to a week of school per month and using unimaginable things to manage their monthly cycle like twigs, leaves, newspaper, plastic bags or dirty rags. In Africa alone, 67 million girls have dropped out entirely which overwhelmingly leads to early marriage, pregnancy and a greater difficulty in raising themselves out of poverty.

THINX is part of the solution. For every pair of THINX you buy, you help fund the production of a 7-pad washable kit for a woman or girl in the developing world via our partnership with AFRIpads. This kit helps create local jobs and empower the economy while also helping keep girls in school during that time of the month.”

Can you imagine what these girls have to give up? I know I can’t – and I’ll remember this every time I take my ability to leave the house during my period for granted.

I am excited that smarter solutions are being developed, with women all over the world in mind. Looking forward to seeing more from this company.

Ostrich Pillow

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

No nap pod?  No problem!

No nap pod? No problem!

When you find yourself starting to travel for dance events, you also find yourself in some interesting sleeping situations – it’s important to be rested, so you pretty much take sleep whenever and wherever you can get it: on an airplane, in a terminal, on someone’s couch, in a recliner, on a bench outside the studio at late night, in someone’s car, etc. There are those neck pillow things, but what if you need to face plant on your tray table? Or something else for that matter?

I ran across the Ostrich Pillow today and had a good laugh, and then thought about how practical it just might be, even though you’d look like a pillow alien wearing it. Once you’ve reached your threshold of sleep deprivation toward the end of a dance weekend, I doubt you’d care (or that anyone else would care, for that matter). There’s a hole for your mouth and nose and there are little pockets for your hands. Can you imagine how warm you’d be in this? Toasty.

Face plant naps were never so comfortable...

Face plant naps were never so comfortable…

Our Dancing Daughters

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Lana - two tone shirtdress 40's awesomeness

Lana – two tone shirtdress 40’s awesomeness

I am probably way late to the game on this one (given that the copyright on the website is 1999), but somehow my internet searching has finally lead me to Our Dancing Daughters, a lovely little website selling custom reproduction clothing for women from the swing era. The information about Kayre Morrison, the proprietor, was pretty sparse on the website, but a quick Facebook search revealed that we have 71 mutual friends, so this is definitely a dancer making dance-friendly reproductions. I love her drawings of the designs and I also love that in the fabric selection she includes a description of how the fabric will feel and move, making that decision a bit less daunting.

Here’s what I’m loving from Our Dancing Daughters:

Gloria - I love a keyhole and a peplum!

Gloria – I love a keyhole and a peplum!

Hello, Louise...

Hello, Louise…

This one pretty much screams my name.

This one pretty much screams my name.

The Lena dress has some saucy ruching.

The Lena dress has some saucy ruching.

The Slipperie

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

1930's teddy = full slip with built-in bloomers

1930’s teddy = full slip with built-in bloomers

One of my complaints, and one that I hear come up over and over, is that there are no really good slips being made, at least not ones that compare to vintage slips in terms of materials, function, and beauty. I always keep my eyes open at vintage stores for good slips – full, half, camisole, tap pants, whatever, just because the quality of these items is just far superior to anything I’ve purchased that was produced in my lifetime. But what if you didn’t have time to go to all the vintage stores?

If you need a gorgeous slip RIGHT NOW, The Slipperie on Etsy could be the answer. While the undergarments of yesteryear tend to be fairly plentiful, finding them all in one place can be difficult, and finding truly special ones (as with anything vintage) is even harder. I love that these beautiful undergarments are really meant to be worn, not just saved for special occasions. Add them to your dance wardrobe for a pop of color or lace with your twirl or swish (or other functions discussed in a prior post)…here’s what I love from the shop:

1960's hot pink slip - 60's slips are hella durable and generally have a good shape, details, and lace.  I may or may not have confiscated a 60's slip from my mother's chest of drawers and never gave it back...

1960’s hot pink slip – 60’s slips are hella durable and generally have a good shape, details, and lace. I may or may not have confiscated a 60’s slip from my mother’s chest of drawers and never given it back…

Powder blue 1950's pleated tap pants

Powder blue 1950’s pleated tap pants

If only more things were cut on the bias - so flattering and comfy, as this 30's/40's rayon slip probably is...

If only more things were cut on the bias – so flattering and comfy, as this 30’s/40’s rayon slip probably is…

Tap pants with little bows - OMG

Tap pants with little bows – OMG

Another great 1960's slip

Another great 1960’s slip

Aris Allen White Wingtips on eBay, Size 10, $19.99

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

All you need to know is in the title – looking for an inexpensive pair of dance shoes? This is it! Grab these white Aris Allen wingtips, worn once, at this great price!

$T2eC16R,!zcE9s4g3IvWBRPge4nNN!~~60_57

Johnston & Murphey Holbrook Linen Cap Toe

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

BEHOLD! I give you this glorious new shoe from Johnston & Murphey – the Holbrook Linen Cap Toe! I can’t think of many other shoes more worthy of a linen or seersucker suit. Gents, this is one snappy shoe.

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The Original Inspiration and the Reproduction

The reproduction

The reproduction

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I often wonder what inspired certain reproduction dresses – shapes and motifs are obvious, but what about the specifics? I love finding those rare inspiration pieces and found what I believe to be Trashy Diva’s inspiration for their fall collection Lilian Dress (which I immediately began panting over upon seeing it) – this wonderful 1940’s dress on eBay. The embroidery is spot on. While the dress has undergone some Trashy Diva modifications, I think they made some great choices like moving the embroidery closer to the shoulder, changing the embroidery colors to more peacock blues and greens, losing the hip seaming/detail, and giving it an overall sleeker, more Asian-inspired silhouette. The charm is not lost, though, as the embroidery in the original is just as magnificent as the repro, and that little row of buttons is divine on both.

The original inspiration?  What say you, Trashy Diva?

The original inspiration? What say you, Trashy Diva?

Taking Care of Your Dance Shoes

cobbler

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Our dance hobby is relatively light on equipment – all you really need is a good pair of dance shoes. Once you find that pair (or 20) you want to be able to wear them for as long as possible, get the most mileage out of them, but you also want them to look nice for as long as possible. Here are some tips on keeping your shoes in shape:

Air Out

We get sweaty when we dance and gravity tends to pull things downward, including your sweat. There have been those nights after a dance where my socks are a puddle. Rather than stuffing your shoes away or leaving them in a bag, when you get home from the dance take them out and just let them sit overnight. A good airing out will do wonders for longevity and odor prevention.

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For more advanced airing out, you can purchase unvarnished shoe trees to draw the moisture out of your leather shoes, so long as you get the trees into the shoes within an hour or two of removing your shoes. If your shoes are really wet, stuffing them with newspaper will help draw out the moisture. Be sure not to put them on a heater or heat dry them, as this can damage the leather and/or the bonding material.

Wash Your Feet and Your Socks

While I rarely wear out dance shoes, I have had to throw away a pair of shoes for the smell (leather wedges, how I love to wear thee without socks!). To help prevent smelly shoes, in general, it’s a good idea to make sure your feet are clean and that your socks are cleaner – just say no to wearing that same pair of socks all day and night and late night at an event. Bring a change of socks and, if you happen to have smelly-prone feet or a predilection for walking around barefoot between dances, take a moment to wash your feet before inserting them back into your dance shoes.

This must be the coolest kid in her ballet class.

This must be the coolest kid in the ballet class.

Bag Them

It’s a good idea to put your dance shoes in a small shoe bag or another type of small bag before slinging them into another bag, your car, your suitcase, or whatever vessel gets you and them to the dance. It protects their exterior from scuffing up against other things (ballpoint pens, food, sharp objects, etc.) that may be lurking in your bag that could damage the exterior of your shoes. Bagging your shoes also conveniently serves the purpose of protecting your other things from the shoes, which may be dusty from the dance floor. I like to put mine either sole to sole or top to top and then wrap the rest of the loose bag around them like a burrito to make sure they are secure, then put them in my bag for the night.

Repair

I firmly believe everyone should have a cobbler. I don’t know how I would live without mine – I’ve had heels pop off, soles come loose, and giant patches of color scraped from the toe of a shoe by a wayward leader’s giant foot. A visit to the cobbler means that these things can be repaired by replacement, re-gluing/nailing, and I actually had to have a pair of shoes entirely re-colored because there was no polish of that color – but I did it and it meant spending $20 to have them fixed rather than $160 for a new pair. If your shoes are smelly, have your cobbler replace the insole to see if that helps with the odor. I have rarely encountered a shoe problem that could not be addressed, or at least improved, by a cobbler in some fashion.

Resole

Soles getting thin? Cracked? Coming apart? Or maybe you just want a different sole – talk to your cobbler about your options.

My dad has had one of these mega shoe shine kits with the swanky wooden box for as long as I can remember.  When you have to special order extra narrow shoes, replacing them can get expensive.  I used to consider it a privilege to sit down with my dad and help him polish his shoes (is that weird?) and I always loved the results - shiny!

My dad has had one of these mega shoe shine kits with the swanky wooden box for as long as I can remember. When you have to special order extra narrow shoes, replacing them can get expensive. I used to consider it a privilege to sit down with my dad and polish his shoes (is that weird?) and I always loved the results – shiny!

Polish, Shine, Brush, and/or Dye

How to spruce up your shoes is going to depend on the type of material.

If you have leather shoes, polishing them is good not only for keeping them shiny and new looking, but also for preserving the leather and keeping it supple – the salt in your sweat can dry out the leather over time. Cobblers, grocery stores, and other retailers have shoe polish kits that you can buy to help you with the materials and instructions you may need. If you can’t find the right color polish locally, you may have to hit the internet (so many colors!) or get creative to cover those scuffs – I discovered that Gold Sharpies are almost the exact same gold as the Re-Mix Balboas in gold, I just color over the scuff and rub the color in with my finger.

For suede shoes, there are specific materials – you can get a suede eraser to touch up scuffs and a suede brush will restore the nap of the leather.

If you love white Keds, you know that by sueding them you can’t just throw them in the wash when they get dirty. You can use a tablespoon of baking soda and just a bit of water to make a paste and rub it onto the more noticeable spots, then wipe clean.

Then there’s that whole bit about cleaning the white mesh Aris Allen oxfords with Windex…

Finally, some shoes are made of dyeable materials, so if they are just beyond hope you could always make them a different color. Beth Grover at V is for Vintage has a great tutorial on how to dye your Aris Allen oxfords.

Buy More Than One Pair

I know I’m going to get resistance from some people on this one, but you should own more than one pair of dance shoes, especially if you are Lindy Hopping multiple nights a week. You want your shoes to last longer and to give them time to breathe between wearings, which is why it’s not a good idea to wear the same pair of shoes every day. You also want your feet to stay limber and not put repeated pressure on the same areas of the foot with a certain pair of shoes, which is another good reason to rotate dance shoes. Different shoes use different muscles and we want to keep our muscles in good condition so we can dance for as long as possible. :)

Swell Farewell Vintage

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I am happy to announce that Lindy Shopper has a new supporter in the form of Etsy store Swell Farewell Vintage – owner Kate Blank has put together a lovely little shop with items from all of our jazz age and swing era decades, and beyond. Kate’s love of all things vintage began early in her childhood and she even ran her vintage clothing business out of her dorm room in college! You can see her experience in her collection, which includes quintessential items from each decade represented. I also love that she has clothing items listed by waist size, which is so helpful in initially narrowing down what will fit from the shop.

Right now the shop features mostly women’s clothing, but Kate has plans to add more men’s ties, as well as more inventory overall. Not everything is listed, so if you are looking for something specific, Kate encourages you to message her with your sought-after items to see if she has anything in her inventory that would fit the bill.

At the moment, Swell Farewell Vintage is running a 15% off coupon – enter the code 15OFF at checkout – it applies to all items!

Here’s what I love from the store:

1950's plaid peep toe heels

1950’s plaid peep toe heels

1940's dress with peplum and sequin applique

1940’s dress with peplum and sequin applique

So this is adorable...

So this is adorable…

This beyond sweet 1920's dress...

This beyond sweet 1920’s dress…

Black 1940's shoes

Black 1940’s shoes

The use of the fabric print on this 1950's dress is pretty fascinating - excellent neckline, as well

The use of the fabric print on this 1950’s dress is pretty fascinating – excellent neckline, as well

Soles2dance

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

lofri-pro_on_shoe_suede_legend_home_page

We can thank Australian DJ Sam Carroll (aka Dogpossum) for sharing the link to Soles2dance.com, a website selling stick on soles for dance shoes (or to convert street shoes into dance shoes). Choose from classic suede or their special “low friction” soles, crafted to be used “sticky, high-friction floors or for concrete and asphalt.”

You read that right – now all those exchanges with outdoor venues, street festivals, or impromptu Lindy bombs could be a little less cumbersome with the right soles. I know I fret about what to dance in for concrete situations, so I usually just avoid them. I am very intrigued…

From the website:

“Our hybrid low-friction soles allow dancers to modify their dance shoes so that they provide just the right amount of friction on a wide variety of floors. This is different from conventional dance shoes that work well only on well-maintained, clean wood floors. However, many social dances often take place on less-than-ideal floors that frustrate dancers because of their high-friction surfaces. Dancers at such events often complain about pain in their knees, caused by the high torque needed to overcome the floors’ high friction. Dancers also feel that they can’t dance at their best because pivots and turns are limited by high friction. Similarly, party goers at nightclubs and other dance entertainment venues typically encounter dance floors that are designed more for resilience to street shoes and spilled drinks than to promote optimal pivoting, turning, and sliding. For all of these types of floors, our LOFRI-04 product is ideal.

sulofri-pro on shoes legend for home page

Lastly, there are outdoor dances on concrete or asphalt where dancing in suede-soled shoes is entirely out of the question because the suede gets shredded within minutes. On such abrasive surfaces, rubber and most other conventional shoe soles produce so much resistance to pivoting and turning that dancers either have to avoid such moves altogether, or risk knee or hip injuries while trying to force them. Our SULOFRI product overcomes this excessive friction on concrete and asphalt. Indeed, dancing on these surfaces with SULOFRI feels almost like dancing with suede-soled shoes on a well-groomed studio floor.”

I think this is the real clincher here. Sure, we can all go out and buy suede and DIY a pair of dance shoes for indoors (Soles2dance also sells the raw materials), but we haven’t really had any viable options (that I know of) for outdoors until this (duct tape doesn’t count). Has anyone else tried these stick on outdoor soles? I’d love to hear a review of this product.

Review: New Aris Allen Shoes for Women (and Notes on New Shoes for Men)

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Saddle shoes, circa 1938.

Saddle shoes, circa 1938.

If you haven’t been to Dancestore.com in a while, you should spend a few minutes checking out their new selection of shoes. I knew Dancestore was working on a pair of mesh and leather Aris Allens, but I did not know they had other men’s styles and new women’s shoes up their sleeve, as well. They were kind enough to invite me to test out a few pairs and I’m happy to share my report with you about the women’s shoes (and direct your attention to some of the men’s shoes I think are worthy of a look-see).

The first pair I decided to try was their new saddle shoe. I personally think saddle shoes are adorable and if you showed up to a dance in a 40’s skirt, blouse, sweater vest, and saddle shoes, I’d think you were completely awesome. And adorable. Very collegiate, no? I think most people associate saddle shoes with the 1950’s and poufy skirts, but they date back to 1906 when Spalding introduced them for tennis and squash players and reached their height as a trend that spanned 20 or so years, from the 1930’s through the 1950’s.

Saddle Shoe - available in brown tweed, black tweed, and classic black and white

Saddle Shoe – available in brown tweed, black tweed, and classic black and white

I have been looking for a pair of saddle shoes for myself for some time, but have failed to find any with leather soles (like the pair from my childhood), only that spongy “crepe” sole which I find not as well-suited for dancing. Dancestore has introduced a great compromise – a saddle shoe with a hard rubber sole that has been sueded. I opted to try the brown tweed version of their saddle shoe, which has a soft tweedy fabric covering most of the shoe with brown faux leather covering the “saddle” part of the shoe. They came with two pairs of laces, a thicker set and a thin set. When I first tried on the shoe it felt a bit stiff, but after only a couple of dances, the stiffness wore off at the points where I needed movement. The shoe itself was very comfortable, the rubber sole flexible, and I didn’t worry about the shoes as I danced in them. I wore them with socks, which was a nice change for me, and they looked great with the collegiate outfit I described above. :) The only criticism I have, which is more of a personal preference item, was that the footbed was not super cushioned – this is not something that bothers me, but some people prefer a cushioned footbed. Given the shape of the shoe, it would be easy to add an insole or inserts for an easy fix. I normally wear a 7 in Aris Allens and needed a half size larger because I wanted to wear socks with them.

Athletic Mary Jane - available in black, white, black & white, and black & leopard print,

Athletic Mary Jane – available in black, white, black & white, and black & leopard print,

The second pair I tried is actually a style that has been out for a while, but since I don’t normally wear flats for dancing, I hadn’t had much incentive to try out the Aris Allen Athletic Mary Janes. I know there is a population of dancers out there who don’t wear heels who are looking for a Keds alternative, so I thought I’d try them out. The biggest pros for me with this shoe were the wide sole and the cushy insole. The shoes themselves felt of regular width, but the width of the sole seemed wider than the sueded Keds I owned, which in turn made my ankles less prone to roll and just gave me more overall security in feeling “grounded.” The insole on these shoes is cushy in all kinds of good ways – giving without being squishy; soft, yet resilient in its mesh design; arch support with good placement of said support. The strap was ample, so they remained on my feet, and the wingtip styling is adorable. I also had to go a half size up with this shoe for it to fit comfortably. I am hopeful that, like the white mesh oxfords, I’ll be able to shine these up with Windex when they get dirty.

D'Orsay Sandal - available in black satin, tan satin, and silver sparkle

D’Orsay Sandal – available in black satin, tan satin, and silver sparkle

The final pair I tried is definitely a new style for Aris Allen and was the one I was most excited about – the d’Orsay sandal. I have admired the Aris Allen d’Orsay satin t-strap since they launched a few years ago, but never bought a pair because the 3 inch heels were just too high for me for dancing. I hoped that they would create a similar pair with a lower heel and was elated to see the d’Orsay sandal with a 1 5/8 inch heel.

I selected a black satin pair to try out. Initially I got a size 7, but couldn’t fit my foot in the shoe, so I exchanged them for a 7.5. I got the 7.5 on my foot, but because I have a weird foot* the part of the shoe around where your foot enters the shoe near the ball of the foot was too tight. I enlisted the help of my friend Tiffany Linquist, another size 7 lady, to test the shoes for me, as her foot fit into them without the same problem. Another dancer, Heidi Reule, also tried out the fit of the shoe and did not have the same problem.

After about 5 dances, Tiffany came back over to me – the short end of the strap had broken on the d’Orsay sandal. We were pretty mortified, because we both have Aris Allen shoes that we love and know that they can make quality products. We brainstormed about the shoe and here’s what we came up with:

– The quality of the shoe appeared to be good – the materials used appeared to be quality, the overall aesthetic of the shoe was very good, the cutouts added to the comfort at the ball of the foot, and the insole was soft and comfortable.
– The heel height and width were ideal for Charleston, Balboa, and Lindy Hop.
– While the ball of the foot was very flexible, the arch was not – it was stiff and the shoe itself was very narrow at the arch. Tiffany’s feedback was that the shoe was very comfortable while she was dancing on her toes, but not while she was standing still. The arch, overall, felt and looked very narrow and, when she was wearing the shoes, she said it felt like her arches were dancing off a cliff (i.e. not secure).
– The arch support in the shoe felt like it was too far forward in the shoe.
– We were surprised that the strap broke (the small part with the buckle, not the long part with the holes for the buckle) until we noticed that there was no elastic on the strap. The absence of elastic, combined with the stiff arch appeared to put unnecessary strain on the strap, which likely caused the break. There is only so much thread can hold without some give to that tension.

That said, I hope that Dancestore does not give up on this style – I would still love to own a pair of shoes in this style and heel height – I hope that they take this feedback and make some improvements to this lovely shoe – a little elastic and some love in the arch would help what is, otherwise, a good shoe.

Styles I did not try, but that are also new include a cap toe sneaker – if you’ve been dancing in your Chucks and finding them lacking, maybe an investment in the Aris Allen Cap Toe as a viable alternative. Available in black, brown plaid, and black/white/blue plaid. They have also added a number of colors to their heeled oxford selection, including black/black & white houndstooth, black/blue brocade, black/red brocade, and fuschia velvet.

Lurve these

Lurve these

MEN! If you are still reading, you are dedicated – there are good things for you, including a much anticipated mesh wingtip in brown tones, a sweet white wingtip that looks like it may give Re-Mix’s version a run for its money (at half the price), and dance loafers in black, white, and a “Michael Jackson” edition in black with a special rubber insert in the heel that was specific to a pair of shoes worn by the King of Pop. I notice in the descriptions for the white wingtips and the loafers that they have taken feedback from dancers to heart and made these pairs with a thicker sole than the regular Aris Allen dance shoes – the result is something more like a quality pair of dress shoes and requires a bit of a break-in period. Not a bad thing if you are looking for a more quality pair of shoes. Men, I would take the time to read the descriptions of these shoes, as they have taken the time to describe their qualities in a fairly in-depth way to help you make a decision about what shoe would be right for you.

I’d be interested in hearing how the new Aris Allen shoes fare as compared to the shoes from December’s men’s footwear discussion

I love where Dancestore is going with their men’s shoe line – I think the aesthetic is spot on and the focus on quality materials and listening to user feedback is a step in a great direction. I think there are some improvements that could be made with the women’s shoes – aside from the aforementioned satin sandal, I would also like to see more leather shoes in the women’s shoe line and would like to continue to be able to buy leather wedges, which are a staple of my dance shoe wardrobe. I see that my staple wedges are being phased out, which is a shame because there are no viable alternatives, in my experience, that have the same wonderful, flexible sole as my Aris Allens. I am on my second pair of tan Rugcutters (since purchasing my first pair circa 2003/4?), and would still be on my first pair if they hadn’t smelled so terrible after 5 or 6 years that I had to throw them out. I wore them to death, almost every night, until I could afford to expand my shoe wardrobe and buy more wedges. I love them, please don’t get rid of them! *grovels and clings to your leg*

I would like to thank Dancestore for involving me in a review of their products. I am a staunch supporter of their shoes because I believe that they are a great entry point for dancers to buy dance shoes at more affordable prices and are one of the few places offering viable social dance shoes in flats. I hope they continue to make shoes that I love and experiment with new styles and adjustments to make the shoes that they have even better for dancing.

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*I have weird feet, so not every shoe works. I am the genetic product of a father with narrow feet and mother with tiny feet, a high arch, and Haglund’s deformity – the result (in me) is a narrow heel, a disproportionately wide ball of the foot, and the Haglund’s knob on the back of my heels. I also have a Tailor’s bunion and have had two surgeries to repair a toe I mutilated in my youth by falling down the stairs, breaking my toe, and then stuffing the broken toe into toe shoes before it healed. Needless to say, I must have very comfortable footwear and my health insurance has labeled me as having a pre-existing condition.

Shabby Apple Ferris Wheel Collection

Green gingham!  Eeeeeee!

Green gingham! Eeeeeee!

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Like a breath of fresh spring air, the Shabby Apple Ferris Wheel Collection arrived in my inbox yesterday – the collection features some great 1950’s-inspired silhouettes in cotton candy colors, perfect for those looking for an early spring. I am particularly pleased that Shabby Apple selected some really great prints for this collection, as they tend to lean more toward solids. I also love that their full skirt comes in so many colors and prints. As always, Shabby Apple’s dresses are great for dance or work, so we can get maximum mileage with our purchase. Here are my favorites from the collection:

Lovely shaped dress in blue with a floral print

Lovely shaped dress in blue with a floral print

Fruity print!

Fruity print!

A sassy look with a Peter Pan collar

A sassy look with a Peter Pan collar

I am usually not a fan of ruffles on the bottom, but the placement of this ruffle has the potential to create a really flattering silhouette

Dots! I am usually not a fan of ruffles on the bottom, but the placement of this ruffle has the potential to create a really flattering silhouette