Tag Archives: dance shoes

Black Tara Tango Heels on eBay

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Those of you in the market for some Balboa shoes and with a size 9 foot might be interested in this pair of unworn Tara Tango shoes on eBay – bidding is at $20 and ends today! These shoes retail for $185, definitely the steal of the week.

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Fab Gabs Shoe Influx

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Etsy vintage seller Fab Gabs recently posted a number of amazing vintage shoes in a range of sizes. Check out her Etsy page for the full story, but here are my faves:

The only time I've ever wished for a larger foot - woven 50's heels, size 8/8.5

The only time I’ve ever wished for a larger foot – woven 50′s heels, size 8/8.5

Stars!  1940's slingbacks, 7.5N

Stars! 1940′s slingbacks, 7.5N

1930's burgundy heels, size 8AA

1930′s burgundy heels, size 8AA

1930's t-straps, size 4.5 - I know you tiny feet girls are out there and you want something more than a Mary Jane!  There's another pair of satin wedding shoes in this size from the 30's...

1930′s t-straps, size 4.5 – I know you tiny feet girls are out there and you want something more than a Mary Jane! There’s another pair of satin wedding shoes in this size from the 30′s…

Re-Mix Deco Heels on eBay

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

A deal! Not a super steal, but if Re-Mix’s Deco heel has been on your wishlist and you wear a size 9, you are in luck – there’s a pair in black/brown combo, new in box, on eBay for $100 starting bid. These shoes retail for $194, so this is a great price, almost 50% off! Happy bidding…

$T2eC16h,!ykE9s7tyfS2BRMYTGv(t!~~60_57

Pedag Heel Grips

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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A few months ago, I started looking for a solution to the blisters I get from shoes when I dance – not every shoe, but some of my faves that I didn’t want to get rid of because I would start the night just fine, then end the night with blisters without even realizing it until I took my shoes off. I have a bit of a narrow heel, so it tends to slide out of shoes. I’ve also been buying more European shoes lately, and the are not always offered in half sizes (37.5 here), so I end up with a slightly larger shoe to make sure it fits (38). However I looked at it – slightly larger shoes, stretched over the course of a dance, or rubbing blisters for whatever reason – I had a problem.

After some digging online, I came across the Pedag heel grips on Amazon.com – stick-on suede leather heel grips with a padded ridge to grip your heel. The number of reviews numbered over 200 and were overwhelmingly positive and detailed. I would recommend reading the reviews to see if your particular foot and/or shoe might benefit – I have Haglund’s deformity and the more I read, the more I realized that this was the product that would keep those shoes from rubbing once and for all.

And, thankfully, I was right – it doesn’t work for every problem shoe, but it has worked for all the dance shoes I have tried and a few pairs of non-dancing pumps. It provided just the right amount of space-filler to prevent the friction and I can control the placement to avoid or assist my Haglund’s bump. The suede works well as a gripping material and I have not had trouble with the adhesive not sticking to the shoes. No more blisters, yay!

Slide & Swing

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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This tip came to me via a Twitter conversation with @RebeccaBrightly and @jonandcris about dance shoes, where @jonandcris noted that he “spent all last weekend at Paris Swing Workshop wearing @slideandswing & feet/legs/knees not sore at all.” A few clicks later and I was exploring Slide & Swing, a Barcelona-based shoe-maker/retail shop/online store, selling vintage-inspired shoes with a modern twist for dancers and muggles alike.

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The shoes are available in men’s and women’s sizes, focusing on three classic styles – an oxford, a saddle shoe, and a wingtip. What makes these shoes a modern update are the clean lines and the available colors and color combinations. The clean lines are essentially created by the absence of broguing and the smooth, clean look of the leather. The colors update the look even further, with gray as their baseline (in lieu of black) and vivid, distinct colors/combinations like a royal blue and white saddle shoe for women and an oxford in canary yellow for men.

I’d also like to note that these are great flats options for women (which always seem to be in short supply), with construction that will keep these on your feet and some nice color options that are different from our usual standbys. With all leather construction and their fresh take on the classics, Slide and Swing dance shoes look like a viable option for dancers seeking shoe options that are created with dancers in mind.

Aris Allen Cap Toes – $3.99 on eBay

$_58

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

The deals on gently used dance shoes just keep rolling in – this time, a pair of black Aris Allen cap to oxfords, size 10, for $3.99. Courtesy of a swing dance dropout:

“I purchased these shoes to wear at the “big dance” we attended after taking dance lessons. They were never worn for practice and when I wore them at the dance I wore street shoes until inside. They are in perfect condition. I got a new girl friend and so I don’t have to dance any more!! Shoe trees shown in the picture are not included.”

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure? ;) Bless his heart…

Re-Mix Vintage Shoes Sale

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

On the heels of the Dancestore.com sale comes a Re-Mix Sale! Some particularly danceable models are reduced drastically – I’ll let the graphic below explain more. :)

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Dancestore.com Summer Sale

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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I don’t see anything on Facebook, but I got an email notification from Dancestore.com that they are having a pretty sweet sale on Aris Allens. For example:

Velvet Oxford – $10 off

White wingtip oxford – $20 off

Loafers – $10 off

Mary Jane wingtip – $15 off

You get the idea – and there are more! So many of their shoes are $10-$20 off, seems like a good time to stock up on some staples.

All Balboa Weekend 2013 Report

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

If you are a good girl and save your pennies, the Cleveland fairy will bring you vintage on All Balboa Eve.

If you are a good girl and save your pennies, the Cleveland fairy will bring you vintage and repro on All Balboa Eve.

Still basking in the afterglow of All Balboa Weekend, the Balboa Mecca that occurs every year in Cleveland, Ohio. It is a hub for so many things I love – good dancing, good music, good vintage shopping, good company, and good cupcakes. I left with a full heart and a shopping bag full of goodies – it was like Christmas!

My first stop in Cleveland, per usual, was Sweet Lorain, the vintage department store where I seem to have the most luck finding things in my size. I was greeted at the door by the owner, Redwin Lewis, who remembered me from years past (and possibly phone orders – yes, you can call them back if you decide later that you really want/need something you saw, even 6 months later the item may still be there!) and we chatted about high school reunions and all the films (THE film being Captain America) shopping at his store. I was on a mission for a full slip with some sweet details and Sweet Lorain did not disappoint, with two full racks to choose from.

Dad's pitcher - my favorite find in Cleveland

Dad’s pitcher – my favorite find in Cleveland

On a personal note, I was ecstatic to find a red plastic beverage pitcher at Sweet Lorain, perhaps circa 40′s/50′s, that I have been seeking for the past decade or so – when I was in undergrad I picked up a plastic yellow pitcher from Target that looked vintage, with some sweet Deco detail on it. I probably paid less than $10 for it. My dad saw it in my apartment and was immediately drawn to it, asking where I got it, and how much it cost. I told him that I had purchased it at Target several months ago and that it was out of stock. He was crestfallen – my grandmother had owned one during his childhood and he had always thought it was a great design, with a lid that opens when you tilt it and closes when it’s upright. Flash forward to ABW 2013, I was chatting with Redwin in the housewares section and my eye caught a flash of red in that distinct shape. It was the pitcher! I text messaged my dad a photo of it and he confirmed that he wanted it. Done! I look forward to “reuniting” my dad with his childhood pitcher this coming weekend. :)

Thus Spake Zarathustra

Thus Spake Zarathustra…at Chelsea Costumes

My next stop was Chelsea Costumes, which I had somehow managed to miss on all prior visits to Cleveland. The sheer volume of square footage packed literally floor to ceiling was overwhelming in a way that only a disorganized Goodwill warehouse of great magnitude could rival. The racks were three tiers high, with the top two racks reachable by rolling staircases located on each aisle. Adding to the library feel of the place, the ends of the racks were labeled by decade range. I searched in vain for the early vintage clothing and had to ask where it was located – at the end of one of the 1950′s racks was a single rack with 1940′s clothing. I found a couple of items I liked, but they had fatal flaws (fading, shredding, etc.). I’d say it’s definitely worth a look, especially if you are into later decades, and it’s an absolute must if you are looking for menswear – I saw just about every size, shape, color, item, and a range of seasonal weights, with a massive selection. You do have to be a digger to make this worthwhile, but the prices are good and worth the dig.

Back at the hotel, ABW had an array of vendors, some new, some old, that filled up the hallway in front of the ballroom. The first vendor was The Cleveland Shop, with an array of clothing and accessories for men and women. Favorites included some divine shoes, a burgundy silk 1930′s gown, and every dress that went on the mannequin and immediately sold.

Next up was the ABW merchandise, which featured some cool shirts with stripes, a henley, and a girly slouchy tee with cool sleeve detail. This year also saw the return of the ABW shoe bag – I do love a shoe bag!

New style!!!

New style!!!

Moving down the hallway, the next vendor was the ever-popular Re-mix Vintage Shoes, with owner Philip Heath on hand to help all the men and women eager to try on their shoes. This year, they took advance requests from people for specific shoes and sizes, so if you wanted a guaranteed shot at trying on a certain pair in your size, you got that chance. I took advantage of this for my husband, who is sort of between sizes and needed another pair of oxfords. It also resulted in Re-mix bringing a number of pairs of wedges, which have never made it out to ABW, since we mostly dance “the Balboa” in heels. ;)

Romper, umbrella, and THE belts at Bettie Page Clothing

Romper, umbrella, and THE belts at Bettie Page Clothing

Bettie Page Clothing made its debut as a vendor this year, spearheaded by the lovely Shannon Butler, who is now the manager of the Bettie Page store at the Mall of America in Minnepolis, MN. Shannon brought another innovative way to make sure everyone got to try on the clothing and get the sizes they need – she kept a stock of the dresses, shirts, and skirts she brought as try-ons and once you decided what you wanted, she called the Mall of America store, placed your order, and it was shipped to you (sometimes that day!) free of charge. In addition to all the adorable clothing, she brought these great adjustable belts that are the perfect dress belt, for when that vintage dress comes without a belt or maybe you lost the belt or want to add a belt…regardless, good, skinny dress belts are hard to come by and these babies are only $10 and come in several handy colors.

Flower Child took up about half the hallway, with a wonderful display that moved from housewares and accessories, to jewelry, to several large racks of clothing at the end of the hall. Because Flower Child is made up of several vendors, there were a range of prices in the shop, and they definitely had the larges selection. Favorites included a 1940′s gold bathing suit, rayon Asian print pajamas, and an adorable dress with strawberry ribbon trim that came home with me.

Still obsessing over Dancestore.com's mesh and leather wingtip

Still obsessing over Dancestore.com’s mesh and leather wingtip

Finally, Dancestore.com made an appearance with most of their line of shoes. I liked that they had a set of “try-on” pairs that you could put on and take for a spin during one dance. It helps you decide, cuts down on wear and tear of new pairs, and also gives you an idea of how they will feel once they are broken in. Great idea!

This year was probably the best year for vendors yet – many of the vendors are veterans at this point, they know their audience, and they only bring the best stuff as it pertains to swing dancers. I am elated that they continue to come out, year after year.

Here are my photos from the weekend – enjoy!

Collar detail *swoon*

Collar detail at Sweet Lorain *swoon*

Velvet collar detail at Sweet Lorain

Velvet collar detail at Sweet Lorain

Love this Jack and the Beanstalk novelty print - at Sweet Lorain

Love this Jack and the Beanstalk novelty print – at Sweet Lorain

Menswear knits in shades of brown, at Sweet Lorain

Menswear knits in shades of brown, at Sweet Lorain

This photo does not do justice to the awesomeness of these sheer cutouts - at Sweet Lorain

This photo does not do justice to the awesomeness of these sheer cutouts – at Sweet Lorain

Oxfords at Sweet Lorain

Oxfords at Sweet Lorain

The entrance to Chelsea Costumes

The entrance to Chelsea Costumes

Brain...shuts...down...

Brain…shuts…down…

Navigation system at Chelsea Costumes

Navigation system at Chelsea Costumes

Lovely dress at Chelsea Costumes

Lovely dress at Chelsea Costumes

Collar detail at Chelsea Costumes

Collar detail at Chelsea Costumes

The view from the top of one of the rolling staircases at Chelsea Costumes

The view from the top of one of the rolling staircases at Chelsea Costumes

Select menswear items from The Cleveland Shop

Select menswear items from The Cleveland Shop

Cool cotton print dress from The Cleveland Shop

Cool cotton print dress from The Cleveland Shop

Tri-strap! From Re-mix Vintage Shoes

Tri-strap! From Re-mix Vintage Shoes

Did you know these come in GREEN?

Did you know these came in GREEN?

A lovely display from Flower Child

A lovely display from Flower Child

Gold bathing suit FTW - courtesy of Flower Child

Gold bathing suit FTW – courtesy of Flower Child

Love all of this - at Flower Child

Love all of this – at Flower Child

Suit jacket peplum made of petals! At Flower Child

Suit jacket peplum made of petals! At Flower Child

Pajamas! At Flower Child

Pajamas! At Flower Child

Lots of good knits this year - this from Flower Child

Lots of good knits this year – this from Flower Child

This Bettie Page blouse went home with many a gal

This Bettie Page blouse went home with many a gal

Lovely dresses from Bettie Page Clothing

Lovely dresses from Bettie Page Clothing

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

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. :)

DIY Wingtip Keds

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

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One of the first things on my Facebook feed this morning was a photo of a pair of red and a pair of green wingtip Keds, made by St. Louis dancers Beccy Aldrich and Kayce Maureen. I love a DIY project and the shoes were so adorable I couldn’t resist posting them here.

They got the idea from Pinterest, which linked to this site in a language unknown to me. However, the photographs take you step by step through the process so you can make a pair of your own! Beccy adds that they used fabric pens to create all the patterns on the shoe, and supplemented with white fabric paint to highlight the dots in the brogueing. We’re not sure what the turquoise pen is in the photo.

If you’re going to Lindy Focus, you’ll get to see the green pair and red pair in person – nice job, ladies!

Men’s Wingtip Tennis Shoes at Aldo

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

On those rare occasions that I set foot in our local mall, I sometimes see things that catch my eye, like these wingtip and tweed tennis shoes in the Aldo window display. For those who may be hesitant to give up their sueded sneaks for a pair of hard soled shoes, perhaps these could be a dressier alternative? $70.00, available in black and brown.

Johnson Shoes

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

"A Brogue" oxford in brown and snake

I’ll keep the shoe theme going for another post…I stumbled upon Johnson Shoes in one of those lists of vintage clothing and shoe resources where most of the links are no longer working. Fortunately, the Johnson Shoes link still worked and I discovered a wonderful resource for 1930′s through 1950′s shoes for men and women. Based in the UK, Johnson Shoes has been selling hand crafted shoes since 1983.

From the website: “We always carry black, brown and white dance shoes, but all our ranges come in all colours. Different soles are available according to your needs. Whilst some styles and colours are in stock due to the fact we offer high quality handmade footwear so it can take a number of weeks to produce your shoes. We offer quality not speed.

Whether you want to dance all night or be comfortable all day we make quality footwear that caters for your needs. Whether you choose from one of the many designs you see on our site or design what you want it’s all in with the price.

Johnson shoes are dance orientated. We have jazz, rock and roll, swing, balboa and lindy-hop shoes, ballroom, and latin shoes, 40s jive, ceroc, leroc, salsa and jive shoes.

You can choose from a wide range of materials including, leather, suede, nubuck, patent, pony, non-leather and a choice of soles, leather, eva, suede , crepe and non-leather. We do all the above footwear from size 3 including half sizes to a ladies size 9 in selected styles and up to mens size 13″

You had me at Balboa…

In addition to custom footwear, Johnson Shoes carries some styles in stock, which are sold through the Rock and Roll Products website. The styles available in stock are also the styles you can customize.

Here’s what I’m loving from the site (there are no individual links, for some reason – sorry!):

Penny Loafer in black and white (I remember someone bemoaning Aris Allen discontinuing their white loafers...)

"Telephone" heels in gold and silver - I can't even begin to tell you how much I am in love with this pair of shoes

White bucks to go with your seersucker suit

"Spanish" shoe in purple with teardrop cutouts

Saddle shoe in brown and beige

"Clio" heels in brown croc

Tic-Tac-Toes Dance Shoes

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Shag Shoe - my bronze pair on the far right, pictured with their other metallics, black, and dark red

I came across Tic-Tac-Toes dance shoes in the early 2000′s when I decided that I wanted a pair of bronze Mary Janes to dance in. Finding cute dance flats was already a giant chore, but somewhere in my internet searches I stumbled on the Tic-Tac-Toes website. I ended up with a pair of their “Shag” shoes (presumably Carolina Shag) in bronze and was a very happy camper – the shoes are lightweight, with leather soles, and come in 38 colors. That’s right – THIRTY-EIGHT COLORS.

Thus, if you are looking for a very specific color of dance shoe, Tic-Tac-Toes may be the very place to look. They have a number of styles they have designated for Lindy Hop, such as saddle shoes, two-tone t-strap wingtips, and t-strap heels, but really any of their dance shoes could work. If you are worried about heels, all of the Tic-Tac-Toes shoes have a wide heel and there’s nothing on this website over 2 inches.

The shoes are made in Gloversville, New York for men and women, and come in narrow, regular, and wide widths. The soles and upper parts of the shoes are leather. According to the Tic-Tac-Toes website, “We proudly use only domestic finished leather in our dance shoes. Because we do not use backers between our leather upper and our soft foam and tricot linings, our leather will stretch and mold to the shape of your foot thereby adding to the comfort of the shoe. In addition, our leather has a durable top coating of urethane which allows for easy cleaning and less scuffing.”

Here are my picks from the Tic-Tac-Toes website:

Lana T-strap

Benny Saddle Shoe

Bridget T-Strap

Goldie T-strap (I do love a good t-strap)

Kailey Mary Jane Heel - these remind me of the Mary Jane Dancestore wedges, but with heels, of course

Stormy Shoe