Street shoes for contra dance
September 22, 2015 3:25 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to a contra dance this weekend. The hall has wooden floors. I'd prefer to not buy specialized shoes until I decide if I like it. What is a passable kind of women's street shoe that will work well for this?
posted by 1066 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Most contra dances I've been to are okay with people dancing in their socks (which I always do), or even bare feet. Socks are nice because they make spins easier. Have a good time!
posted by lharmon at 3:47 PM on September 22, 2015

Best answer: The few times I went to a contra dance, they were absolutely not particular about footwear. I think I wore high tops, there were people in running shoes all the way up to high heels. If I was you I wouldn't go in bare feet for fear of either slipping or getting stepped on - ouch! Just wear something you feel comfortable dancing in and don't worry - the contra dancers I know are a very welcoming crowd!
posted by andreapandrea at 4:32 PM on September 22, 2015

Best answer: Yeah, any kind of shoe that you'd feel comfortable doing a long walk in is fine -- not stilettos, not hiking boots, but any kind of sneakers, flats, or even a low chunky heel will be fine. You'll be more comfortable with something that you won't be worried about falling off, so a mary jane or lace-up is better than a ballet flat. To prevent grinding dirt into the floor, brush off the soles before you go in (some places will provide mats or wire brushes for this purpose).
posted by nonane at 5:49 PM on September 22, 2015

Best answer: During college, all of the contra dances were particular about footwear because old wooden floors are easily damaged and expensive to repair. I would wear sneakers or mary-janes if you absolutely must wear shoes--socks or barefoot being preferable--but make sure you clean the soles VERY well. Ideally they would be street shoes that have never seen the outdoors, but y'know, then they wouldn't be street shoes.

I bought a pair of ballet slippers from a dance store for about $30 and it was well worth it to not worry about these things. Payless might have ballet slippers for even cheaper. (Note slipper, not flat. These are dance shoes.)
posted by serelliya at 5:50 PM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Contra dancers get really particular about their shoes, but for your first time, any flat shoes with smooth soles. Flat because it's essentially a four-hour walk, smooth-soled because street dirt will form a grinding compound and wear down the floor. The organizers will probably ask you to brush your shoes off before they let street shoes into the hall.

I see a lot of women in ballet flats (the street shoes, not actual ballet slippers), Mary Janes, character shoes, canvas flats (like Tom's), and flat walking boots like packer boots.

Also, if you have a pair of low-cut socks that you don't mind ruining, bring them along. If the floor turns out to be sticky, you can put the socks on over your shoes to reduce the friction. Your knees will thank you.
posted by d. z. wang at 6:43 PM on September 22, 2015

Best answer: Others have covered it already, but the main things to keep in mind that you want are: comfortable, won't fall off, and a little slick-soled so that turning is easier. So for instance don't wear athletic basketball-type sneakers that grip the floor.

I'd recommend Keds or other lightweight flat walking-type shoes. They're fairly comfy, won't fall off, are cute enough, and the soles aren't too grippy. If you want to make them more slick, a good temporary trick is to put a bunch of masking tape on the soles, especially around the ball of the foot. Bring the tape with you; you might have to re-do it midway through the night.
posted by aka burlap at 8:20 PM on September 22, 2015

Best answer: I dance in Tevas, Keens or Tom's knockoffs. Be sure to really brush your shoes off on a floor mat so as not to damage a nice wood floor.
posted by theora55 at 9:54 AM on September 23, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks all!
posted by 1066 at 1:37 PM on September 23, 2015

How was it?
posted by nonane at 12:46 PM on October 1, 2015

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