There's a reason this is the first thing mentioned on this page. Every dancer needs
a shoe brush - not optional. Use the spikes to rough up the suede on the bottom of your
shoes. This is important to keep them from becoming too slippery, and also to elongate
their life. It may feel like you are hurting your shoes, but they are built to be brushed,
and neglecting them can cause dirt to work its way into the material and wear it out more
You should brush your shoes after every time you dance on them. If the bristles are really stiff, brush lightly or maybe use the brush sideways. Really tough bristles can damage shoes. If the bristles are easily bent by pressing your finger into them, it is a soft brush, and you have to brush quite forcefully.Make sure you buy a shoe brush with a cover that clips over it, like the one pictured above. If you buy an uncovered one, you might easily stab your hand while reaching into your bag.
Heel Protectors (Ladies)
If you have more money than you know what to do with, don't buy heel protectors,
and donate some of it to Ballroom Guide. If you're like the rest of us, you want to make
those expensive dance shoes of yours last. Heel protectors (also called heel guards)
fit over the heel of any style of dance shoe, and take the wear and tear that would otherwise
eat away at your shoe.
Different shoes may have differently shaped heels (e.g. straight, flare, etc.), and there are differently shaped heel protectors to fit each kind, so make sure you get the right ones! Basic heel protectors are plastic, but you can buy ones with a suede bottom for a little more money.
N.B. Heel protectors are meant to stay on while dancing, so they are really tough to put on and take off, especially with a flare heel (pictured above).
Athletic tape can be bought at the local drugstore. If you notice irritation, just tape the area before you dance and there will be no skin irritation from your shoes. It is also a good idea to use tape when wearing a new pair of shoes, until they are broken in properly.
Most shoes come with a shoe bag, but if you've got different pairs of shoes you're bringing with you for lessons or dancing, you may want a bigger one. Some, like the one above, even have a little pocket in the front for you to keep a brush, car keys, and other things.
Besides representing your school, or acting as a billboard for your favorite brand, robes become important when you start wearing elaborate costumes. They serve as a protective outer layer, because the last thing you want is to accidentally have your thousand dollar costume catch on a chair and tear, especially right before you're up to compete!
Competition floors can be unpredictable, and if you get a floor that's too slippery, you might slip and fall, like this unfortunate couple. Castor oil will make your shoes stick to the floor better, but still allow you to spin and swivel easily.
If you're a man dancing with patent leather shoes, you're going to need some Vaseline. Rub some on the leather from the toe to the heel along the inside edge. This will help prevent scuff marks when you dance.