Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Clean your shoes!

Let's be honest, the stinkiest parts of a dancer's body are her feet. When I was growing up, we wore leather shoes with full-footed tights (pink for both, naturally). Because of the layer of nylon tights, the shoes themselves never got tremendously smelly.  We could hang them to dry after class and be assured that the next day, they would be in decent shape.

But nowadays, footless tights and canvas shoes are hugely popular in the studio. Teens and adults, amateurs and pros, go barefoot in their slippers and pointe shoes. And those shoes reek after just a few hours of wear!

The good news about canvas slippers is you can toss them in the wash.  Yes, that's right - into the machine they go with all of your other dance clothes. Here are a few tips:

1. Use warm water, not hot. You can also soak them in a sink with Woolite but they will take longer to dry.

2. Include the little mesh bag too.

3. Skip the dryer.

4a. Shape the wet shoes by pressing out any bulges under the toes and ball of the foot, as well as the heels. Use your hands to make the inside of the shoe very flat.

4b. Shape the outside of the shoe by poofing up the toes and heel as if there were an invisible foot inside it. 

5. Hang them on a hanger by the elastic straps.

6. Let dry overnight.

Notes: You may find if you wear a brand like Capezio that the thin leather layer on the inside begins to lift.  Just peel it off and throw it away. It actually doesn't do much and will only bunch up under your toes when you sweat anyway.

And if you still wear leather, you can't wash them but you can hang them to air out.  You can also use a spray anti-bacterial from a brand like Dr. Scholl's which will make them smell less rank by killing the germs inside them.  

Happy dancing~

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