In many cases, slippery shoes are something that people don’t want. Whether you’re wearing your shoes for a run, to work, or out to the store, good grip is a feature that most shoe-wearers need.
However, if you’re a dancer, you know that your dancing shoes need to be a little slippery in order for you to move around the floor gracefully and uninhibited. With this in mind, we’ve found 7 ways to make shoes slippery for dancing.
If you’re wearing shoes that aren’t specifically made for dancing and you need to increase the slide, try some of these methods before investing in proper dance shoes.
Why Do You Want Slippery Shoes When Dancing?
Dance shoes are an investment. They’re one of the more expensive types of shoes as they are created specifically for the type of movements dancers do.
However, if you’re new to dancing or you already have an appropriate pair of shoes that’s not dance-specific footwear, you want to avoid buying another pair of shoes.
Shoes with rubber outsoles may be excellent for running and walking (and may also squeak), but dancing shoes need to be able to slide for dance moves.
Take note that it does depend on what kind of dancing you do. If you’re doing ballroom dancing, you may need more slippery shoes to slide across the floor gracefully.
But if you’re doing a more sporty form of dancing—Zumba or Jazzercise—wearing very smooth shoes may increase your risk for injury.
For many dancers, buying proper dance shoes is not a viable option. The good news is that it’s not necessary. If you have a pair of comfortable shoes that you already like to dance in but they’re a bit too sticky, you can simply make your shoes more slippery for dancing.
Ways to Make Your Shoes Slippery
Here are some methods to make your shoes slippery.
One key thing to note is that some of these procedures are irreversible. You may never be able to get your shoes back to how they were before.
You may not be able to use the shoes for other activities except for dancing once they’re very slippery, as your safety may be compromised.
For this reason, it’s best to try it on an old pair of shoes or a pair you no longer wear or need.
1. Sandpaper and Oil
If you’ve ever sanded a piece of wood, you understand how this will make the soles of your shoes smooth. The goal of this method is to wear down the tread on the shoe, which is what’s responsible for the shoe’s grip.
Find a new piece of sandpaper that has a medium to fine grain. You’ll start on either the top or the bottom of the shoe. Rub the sandpaper slowly in small, tight circles over the sole.
Take your time and make sure that you sand every section of the shoe equally. Make sure that you aren’t sanding deeper on one section than on another. You should sand in layers—start with a light layer and then go back to the starting point and do another layer over it.
Once you have sanded both shoes equally, you can finish the sole by applying a layer of oil. Olive oil or sunflower oil work well.
Be careful not to saturate the sole too much. A light layer should make the shoe slippery enough for dancing. You can apply another layer of oil later if you feel that it’s not slippery enough.
2. Suede Sole Kits
Many dance shoes come with suede soles because they’re slippery enough to allow the dancer to move freely.
You can buy suede sole kits for shoes that don’t already have suede soles. It includes a sheet of suede material that has an adhesive backing.
All you need to do is cut a piece of suede to match the sole of your shoe and stick it onto your shoe. Be careful, because it can be hard to get off again if you stick it on incorrectly at first.
This is one of the easiest ways to make shoes slippery for dancing.
3. The Moleskin Method
If you don’t like suede, you can find moleskin at most pharmacies. It has the same effect as suede when placed underneath your shoes.
Many athletes use moleskin to reduce friction inside their shoes and reduce hot spots. Dancers will find that it also reduces friction between their shoes and the floor, allowing them to slide more easily across the dancefloor.
Moleskin strips like the Dr. Scholl’s Moleskin Padding would work well. You can cut the strips to fit the shape of your shoe, and stick them to the sole of your shoe to create a more slippery experience.
4. Nail File
If you don’t have sandpaper, you can wear down the tread on your shoes using a nail file. It may take a longer time than sandpaper, but if you have the time it could be an effective way of making your shoes more slippery.
You should start on one end of the shoe and work in small circles. Keep in mind that it will take longer than sandpaper because of the shape of the nail file.
A nail file is also a good choice if you want to target a specific area on the sole of your shoe. Dancers may find that there’s one specific spot on their shoe that they land on or twist on often.
If you only want to smooth down one particular part of your shoe, a nail file could be a good choice for more precise smoothing.
5. Sandy Surface
If you don’t have sandpaper, a nail file, or anything else to file the tread of your shoes down with, you can spend time walking or running on a rough surface. This will help to wear down the tread on the shoes in a natural way so they become smoother underneath.
If you’re only planning on using these shoes for dancing and not wearing outdoors or doing other activities, this may not be the best choice for you. Running or walking on rough surfaces can also lead to wear and tear on the shoes, or them becoming dirty.
6. Gaffer Tape
If you don’t like the idea of doing something permanent to your shoes, like intentionally wearing away the material on the sole, you can use gaffer tape on the bottom of your shoes.
It’s easy to apply to the sole of your shoes, and you can just cut a few pieces and place them on the exact area that you need to be more smooth and slippery.
It’s also easy to remove the tap again if you want to use your shoes for something other than dancing. This is a great solution for people who want to use one pair of shoes for multiple activities.
7. Give It to a Cobbler
If you’re worried about making any kind of alterations to your shoes or damaging them, you can take them to a professional cobbler and ask their advice.
Cobblers have a better understanding of the materials used in shoes, and they will know how to make your shoes slippery for dancing in the most effective and least damaging way possible.
The quality of your shoes won’t be diminished as much as it could be if you make these kinds of alterations yourself.
However, there will be a higher fee involved with this method than any of the others, as you’re getting a professional to do the job for you.