When purchasing Irish dance shoes it is really important to get a perfect fit. If the shoes are too small or too big they can result in painful blisters. Just like the ghilies, hard shoes will stretch two full shoe sizes if the dancer wears them regularly. And of course, you can always sell your used hard shoes once your child outgrows them.
Hard Shoe Sizes
The Rutherford family is the world leader in Irish dance shoes. Their innovations to our shoes have singlehandedly made drastic changes in the sport and they come from a long line of dancers. Trust their advice on sizing- they are the experts!
If the shoes are too big, they will rub on your heels and resulting in terrible blisters. Not fun. We want them to love dancing and their new shoes!! I always use the visual reference of Drizella cramming her large feet into Cinderella's glass slipper as what putting on hard shoes feels like. Very tight! (I attached a meme I made for you to get a little laugh at)
I know parents want to get their children shoes that will last. And they will, the Rutherford hard shoes will last through several children! (I wear mine every single day and have had the same pair for 5 years!) The materials they use are a very high quality and the leather will stretch almost two full shoe sizes! Im sure their hard shoes will be the most expensive pair of shoes in your child's closet, but they do keep their value. You are welcome to sell your used shoes at the studio once your child outgrows them.
Purchasing Hard Shoes
We are extremely fortunate to have the world leader in crafting Irish dance shoes living in our community. The Rutherford family is among the best Irish dancers, musicians, and shoe makers in the world!
Tips on Breaking in New Hard Shoes
- They must be super tight when you buy the shoes. You can stretch the leather in the tight spots, but you can not shrink the shoes! Loose shoes cause rubbing, which cause blisters.
- Tie the laces and buckle as tight as possible.
- Wear them! The heat from your foot will relax the leather and they will stretch. Before you know it they will form to your foot and fit perfectly! Even if you are just sitting watching TV or reading a book, the more you put the hard shoes on your feet the better.
- Dance in them! The sweat of your foot will stretch them even more!
- You can make a home-made leather stretching spray from 2 parts water to 1 part rubbing alcohol. Put it in a spray bottle and apply to the area that needs stretching.
- Blisterbooties are a lifesaver! Pick up a pair from the Rutherfords and put them on before your socks. The spandex should fit tightly and work to prevent blisters on the heel. (I recommend the tan ones, the red dye can stain your white socks)
- Wear tight fitting poodle socks with your hard shoes every time. If the tops of your toes are blistering, look for seamless socks.
- If your blister breaks, apply NewSkin to the area, bandage, and keep dancing! :)