Science Behind Dance Shoes
every dancer should know...
you thought you knew all about dance shoes? Well, there's a lot
more to dance shoe construction than you might think. So we asked our
expert, Grant Austin, of "Dance Connection Dance Shoes" to give us the
complete scoop about brands, styles, fit, injury protection, and cost.
In addition, he'll talk about the new specialized shoes that he has
designed with extra padding and special toe formation to provide better
comfort and protection against injuries.
What brands of dance shoes do you carry?
Over the past 20 years we have carried Supadance, International and a
host of other brands. We introduced our Ultimate dance shoes 8 years ago
and Comfort dance shoes 5 years ago.
What is so special about the Comfort Dance Shoes?
The Comfort Dance shoes are all made with extra padding. This brand
includes a full line of ladies coaching shoes and sandals in various
heel heights to appeal to dancers from every genre. The men’s styles
include low and Cuban heel options in Balmoral and Blutcher styles. We
have recently introduced our Hybrid dance sneaker that looks like a
casual shoe or sneaker, but has unbelievable padding and a flexible
leather dance outsole. Finally we have developed a split-sole dance
sneaker with a chromed leather outsole which will be available soon.
What is so special about the Ultimate Dance Shoes?
The Ultimate Dance shoes
have always been made with extra padding and top quality materials but
we recently developed a new lasting system for this brand to include the
men’s shoes and the women’s practice shoes in both a 1’ and 1-½’ heel.
The “last” is the mold
that the shoes are made around and is the key to fit. We created a
“depth last” which allows us to add 4 mm more padding to the insole of
the shoes without affecting the look or fit. In addition we also made it
a combination lasting system, where we kept the heel cup normal but
added width and height to the forefoot to make sure that there is no
pressure across the toe joints and toes.
What foot problems would the new Ultimate Dance Shoes address?
What most dancers don’t
realize is that dancing is a sport where the foot is put into a very
dynamic state. The constant impact causes trauma. On a scale from 1 to
10, dancing ranks probably a 9, with a 10 being all-out running.
Most dance shoes are made with very little padding if any, and
unfortunately as we get older, we begin to loose the fat pad in the heel
and the ball of the foot. The extra padding in the depth dance shoe will
soften the impact to the heel and ball of the foot area to help with
various foot maladies such as metatarsalgia, bone spurs and arthritis.
In addition, the extra space in the forefoot will accommodate bunions,
tailors bunions, hammer toes, mallet toes, neuromas, and also the socks
with the extra padding in the ball of the foot.
What is so special about the Comfort Dance Socks?
Most people overlook the
importance of a good sock. The sock is the gasket between your foot and
the shoe, and is your first layer of protection. Unlike a 100% cotton
sock, which holds the moisture in, these socks are made of a special
poly-blend that wicks the moisture away from the foot and out through
the shoe. It is manufactured for Comfort Dance by Thorlo’s, which is the
leading sock maker in the US. These socks take care of the moisture
control, bacteria control, and have a special weave which eliminates the
sheer. Sheer is the combination of both friction and pressure that
causes calluses and blisters. The sock has extra padding in the ball of
the foot, where everyone needs, but especially dancers. And finally
there is also padding in heel cup for extra protection.
Besides manufacturing dance shoes, you are also a Certified Pedorthist,
what is that exactly?
As a C-Ped I am licensed to manufacture custom foot ware and custom
orthotics for patients with a doctor’s prescription. Our lab, Custom
Orthotics Inc., specializes in manufacturing a European-engineered
custom orthotic that is the very best available anywhere.
Why is your orthotic the so good?
Our platinum series custom
orthotic is engineered to address various bio-mechanical foot disorders
to include plantar faciitis, neuromas, bunions, hammer toes, arthritis,
bursitis, metatarsalgia, and calluses. It transfers weight off the balls
of the feet, and moves it to the arches where it belongs naturally -
like when you walk on the beach barefooted, and your arches fill up with
earth and sand. That’s the way a human beings foot is made to function
From the time we are born
we are put in flat shoes and walk on hard concrete all day, and the foot
takes a beating. Our Platinum Series orthotic is custom fit to all 5
arches and fits in all of your shoes, even ladies high heels. It
supports the lateral side of the foot (outside) by cradling the 5th
metatarsil bone and cuboid, and supports the medial side of the foot,
which most people refer to as the main arch. But, it also is custom fit
to 3 transversal arches to include the posterior and anterior metatarsil
arches. By hand making this orthotic to fit just behind each metatarsil
head (balls of the feet) we can tuck the ball of the feet under and
bring the fat pad back in place over the balls of the feet where it
belongs. By supporting all 5 arches we can improve your posture by
balancing the mid foot and aligning your gait for relief in the ankles,
knees and lower back.
Most custom orthotics on
the market are stiff and bulky but ours are made with a surgical nylon
blend that is strong but flexible, so it works naturally with the
muscles and tendons of the foot and, in most cases, can actually improve
the arches. Because of the durability of nylon, we can make the heel cup
paper thin so it doesn’t affect the fit of the shoe or lift your heel
out of the shoe like most other custom orthotics. We also have covers in
black and flesh so that they can also be worn in sandals and look very
natural. Our hand-made Platinum series custom orthotics have a 15 year
guarantee for fit and wear, and over 8000 dancers are now wearing them.
You always refer to a systems approach to foot care, what is that?
The systems approach
includes the combination of all the things we have talked about. A
moisture wicking padded sock for better protection. A well padded dance
shoe or boot that reduces the impact to the heel and ball of the foot,
but also has more space in the forefoot to accommodate the big toe joint
and toes. And, finally, our platinum series custom orthotics, which
transfer the weight off the balls of the feet and spread it evenly
across the entire foot bed, and puts the feet and body back in balance.
The combination of all three products offers the dancers the best
opportunity to dance for hours without pain. Even dancers that are not
experiencing pain get the orthotics, padded footware and socks to help
avoid injury and because they believe in preventive maintenance.
How much does all that cost?
Our web special for the
orthotics is $279, but 80% of that is usually covered by most health
insurance with a doctor’s referral. The Ultimate Dance shoes range from
$119 to $139 for women’s styles and $129 to $149 for men’s styles. The
Comfort Dance Shoes are the most affordable with the dance sneakers,
hybrid sneakers, men’s styles and all women’s styles available for $99
per pair. To order, visit the links below.
Dance Connection Dance Shoes