1. Don't wear them outside
The most important way you can care for your shoes is to brush them. Shoe brushes are sold everywhere dance shoes are sold. There are two types of brushes: hard bristled brushes, and soft bristled brushes. If the metal bristle can easily be bent with your finger, then it is soft, otherwise it is hard. With a soft bristled brush, you should brush the suede of your shoes very thoroughly after every practice session, social dance, or competition, especially if the floor is dirty. It may feel like you are damaging your shoes, but you aren't. The soles are made to be brushed. In fact, if you don't brush them, dirt will work its way into the shoe and make it wear out more quickly. The shoe will also become hard and leathery - not ideal for dancing, and prone to slipping. If you have a hard bristled brush, you should brush your soles more gently, or perhaps even sideways against the bristles. These bristles can tear through the bottom of a shoe if used too roughly. Nevertheless, it is just as important to fluff up the suede after every dance session.
3. 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. They are important for Lady's shoes, because the heel is small and plastic, and wears
through more easily than the large suede-covered wooden heel of Men's shoes. 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.