I’ve missed you…

•August 11, 2015 • 1 Comment

Oh dear, it’s been a very long time since my last post.  The sad fact is, I moved to a city which didn’t have a great deal of salsa going on, and so all my poor pretty shoes languished in my closet for eight long months… no more!  After another (much bigger) move, I am back on the scene, and so of course, it doesn’t take long to get itchy feet for some new purchases!  I did manage to acquire a couple of pairs of shoes since we last spoke – I know, pics or it didn’t happen, right?

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Top: Soribel from Volver (of course), with leather sole

Bottom: Supadance 1062 (why can’t they give them cute names?!)

Now you know I can’t get enough of Volver, so of course I love the Soribel shoes.  They look amazing on, and are just as comfortable as all the other Volver styles.  Love the detail under the heel.

The Supadance pair are a different story.  I got them off Ebay, and chanced it because they were a half size over my usual.  They are definitely too big, and there are few options to adjust them.  I’ve only worn them twice, and I feel very unsteady – lots of straps but little support.  I felt cockled on the top of a 3″ latin heel.  I’m interested to hear from others who have this shoe – if you managed to get the right size, how do they feel?  Requires further testing, I think.

Ok ok, now you.  I’m sure you managed to buy plenty of shoes without me.  Share your photos and links!  We need an update, and we need your reviews.  What’s hot at the moment?  Balanceo have been getting a lot of traffic on Facebook…Time to show off your purchases and make us all jealous.

As for me, I’ve got a bottle of wine and a credit card, so I’m sure you’ll be hearing from me again soon.

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Move on up

•July 7, 2014 • Leave a Comment

This month I have mostly been enjoying the sun, and reviewing some new products from Move Dancewear, a site which many of you are no doubt familiar with.  Move have been busy creating their own range of dance clothing, from tutus to tights, and kindly sent me some samples, so I can tell you all about them!

First up for review: Super Shimmer dance tights.   All ladies know the perils of finding durable tights for dancing.  These tights are extremely supportive and have a fantastic shine.   They resisted ladders on the social dance floor like nothing else!  They don’t move about as you dance as a normal pair of tights might.  The ‘suntan’ colour is rather dark, and would be great for performing, but I’d probably choose a lighter shade for the social dancefloor.

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Next up, the Ola dance skirt – a flirty little latin number for all occasions.  This skirt is very flattering.  Ruches around the sides and stomach have a streamlining effect.  It is a good length, in that it looks short and flashy, but the layers mean that it doesn’t fly up when you turn.  Just in case though, it has a pair of very comfortable black hotpants built in, so you feel very safe!  The skirt looks rather heavy, but is designed so that when you’re wearing it, the extra ruffles flow effortlessly.  There is no uncomfortable ‘slap’ of extra material after fast turns.  I danced in it comfortably for several hours.

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Even better, this skirt is now on sale!  And no, that’s not me modelling!

So thank you, Move Dancewear, for giving me the opportunity to road test some of your merchandise!  You may also like to check out their brilliant stock of dance shoes, including a sale on Bloch, Rummos, and International.

Hell for Leather

•April 12, 2014 • 4 Comments

So as of this week, my world now turns around Volver.  In my previous post, I showed you a little cheat to get the Marianne shoe with a bit of money knocked off, but you should really check out the whole website.  I’m now lusting after these babies, the Daniela, which are also available from Dancesport UK.

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But first, to a review of the Marianne shoe, pictured below.  It’s a while since I’ve made a foray into tango shoes for salsa purposes, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I’d also been a bit slack on my usual meticulous  research, and didn’t realise until I’d paid for them that they had leather soles.  Oops.

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My dance teacher is always saying that it’s useful to have a pair of leather soles on the go for trickier floors like bars and clubs.  My main concern was that I’d bought these shoes for ‘best’ – like the Daniela above, they have a soft suede outer which is unlikely to withstand grime and beer puddles.  But I might be skating like Bambi on ice on a decent ballroom floor!  I was half considering sending them back, but when they arrived and I tried them on, OH MY GOODNESS.  They are the comfiest shoes in the WORLD.

Long story short (ish), I have worn these shoes for about 15 hours this week.  I wore them on an average bar dancefloor, and in a pretty immaculate ballroom.  I wore them to teach.  I wore them round the house.  I’m pretty sure I would have worn them to bed if I was only a *mite* crazier.  The slip factor is minimal, once they have been scuffed up a little.  And even better, unlike suede soles, you don’t have to spend all that time breaking them in – I literally put them on and forgot about them.  The suede outer seems to be holding up well, no scuffs or smudges at yet.  I suppose if I was really sensible I could treat them with something.  You may also be able to tell from the picture at the top that they have a ton of padding, not just at the ball of the foot but also along the sole, to an extent I haven’t seen before in dance shoes.  These shoes are just the BEST – I’m actually thinking of buying some to wear instead of street shoes, for weddings and the like.  There was only one downside: no shoe bag.  But luckily, I have a lovely Mambo Delight one which will do the trick!

 

So the resounding conclusion here is, yes!  Yes to leather soles.  Yes to Volver.  And yes to happy feet this summer.  And just for my lovely follower Leslita, here’s a closed-toe option to die for (also available at Dancesport UK).

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Update on Volver purchasing: the leather soles are great – Volver don’t offer a suede option. I now have the Marianne in 70mm and 90mm, and the Soribel in 70mm (oops, hehe). I would say that the 90mm are not for the faint of heart, or the weak of calves! They are pretty high, and make me feel like a baby gazelle (which is sometimes a good thing?!).  It’s also worth noting that if you order suede uppers and they are slightly tight when they arrive, don’t worry too much – the suede does give a little over time.

Hot picks for springtime shoes

•April 8, 2014 • 1 Comment

So it’s been a while! But inevitably, springtime means the coming of Mambo City, which means panic-buying shoes! So if you’re looking for a pre-congress purchase, I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve…

1) Supadance Crystal Range sale.  It makes the Holy Grail of Supadance shoes (below) only £80!

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2)  ZEM Dancesport UK.  I’ve always loved their website, as it has a huge clearance section and a very good range, including some of my favourites like Rummos.  It’s quite difficult to navigate, though.  But I’ve discovered a cheeky trick: some of their sale merchandise is also advertised on Ebay, with the ‘Buy It Now’ or ‘Best Offer’ functions.  This means you can make an offer and knock a few more pennies off the sale price!   I just received these Volver Marianne shoes for the bargain price of £43 +p&p.  Review to follow, naturally!

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3) Ebay treats!   Pick of the day are these no-brand shoes at a paltry £13, available in several sizes and also in a pewter colour from the same seller.

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Anybody have any reviews or sales to flag up?  Let me know! x

More dance shoe D.I.Y: resoling

•August 26, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Recently, my cobbler did something a bit silly.  I rang him up and the conversation went something like this:

Me: How much does it cost to resole a pair of dance shoes?

Cobbler: £12.

Me: Ok, how about if I bring ten pairs?

Cobbler: £120.

My cobbler does not know how to strike a bargain.  So I took one pair of shoes (I was desperate), and when I went to collect them, he did something even sillier.  Apparently he really didn’t want to resole dance shoes, so he fobbed me off with my £12 resoled shoes and the name of his supplier.

Suede soles from the supplier cost £3!  I got mine (men’s soles which I cut down) in black and grey from T. R. Lawman, the cobbler supplier, 01933 355807.

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So this is my first attempt to resole my own dance shoes, and a guide for you!  First attempt features a beloved tiger print pair of International shoes, which by the looks have them have walked in water/beer a little too much!

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I won’t bore you with the Blue Peter breakdown of how to glue the soles on, it’s as simple as it sounds.  Sure, they don’t match the originals, but they often don’t if I take them to the cobblers, either.  They do seem a little thicker than usual, but actually that’s just extra padding!  Tried and tested on the dancefloor, and they seem to be ok.   Even if I have to resole these twice as often, I’m still saving money!

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When I was looking for some resoling advice, I stumbled across this website: http://www.gottadance.org/TipsAdviceLib.shtml

While the site doesn’t seem to be in use any more, the “Tips and Advice” section is brimful of tried and tested dancers solutions, such as how to adapt your shoes for different types of dancefloor (suggests slipping pop socks over shoes to speed up a bad floor), and on general shoe maintenance.  Hurray!

And just to finish us off, here’s some pictures of the pros at Supadance at work making beautiful shoes: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.382607981804529.86050.319495534782441&type=3

Keen on Anna Kern

•April 30, 2013 • Leave a Comment

So this weekend has been one of the biggest in the salsa calendar: the Mambo City five star congress.  And, short of pulling my hamstring a few days before, I was pretty darn prepared.  My room-mate Mambo Delight and I were all set for salsa heaven, which got me thinking about congress essentials.  So here are a few things we could not have done without (take note, congress-goers):

RUM:  a lot of rum.  With coke, which helps you to not fall asleep.  Science fact.

Music: particularly Richie Ray to perk us up!

Foot rubs: particularly Turkish bath melts and Oomilegs shower gel, both made especially for dancers by Oakwood Aromatics.

Pretty dresses:  ‘Nuff said.

Jingas: do it.  Just do it.

Pretty shoes: and herein lies the real purpose of this post.

 

The Anna Kerns.  Oh my goodness, the Anna Kerns.

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And here they are, in all their boxfresh glory.  Let me tell you a bit about these shoes.  I was thinking of buying Burjus, but since they don’t always have all styles and sizes in stock, plus postage time from the States, they are no good for an impulse purchase if you have an event coming up.  Hopefully their UK website will put paid to these problems soon!   Plus, while I absolutely love all the new Burju styles, they are quite heavily coloured and patterned, so work well if you wear a lot of plain or block coloured clothes, which I definitely don’t.

I have been longing for some boot-style shoes, in the style of Natural Spin, and these Anna Kern shoes really fit the bill.  Snazzy, but they go with plenty of stuff.  I think the heel is 2.75″, and is patent leather, as is the zip-up heel.  For those who aren’t in the know, it seems to me that Anna Kern is the edgier, younger, slightly more tango/salsa-focussed offshoot of classic and well-respected brand Werner Kern.  I ordered these shoes from www.strictly4dancers.com, who delivered in less than 10 days, and seem to carry a very good range including Nueva Epoca, Rummos and Portdance.

Through and through, these shoes are a luxury experience.  From the printed Anna Kern tissue paper to the high quality bag, everything about them screams “expensive”.  But the fact is that these bad boys came in at £70 including postage, which is pretty much average in the dance shoe market these days, and bloody good value for a really unusual, quality pair.  The inners are soft leather, not synthetic, and the suede soles are about a mile thick.  You can actually see the suede poking out from underneath on the photo above!  In terms of material quality and finish, these are a cut above any shoe I have ever bought.  EVER.  That’s a lot of shoes, man.

In action!

In action!

At first I was concerned that the shoes were a little big, even considering the fact that the website suggested ordering half a size smaller than usual street shoe size.  In fact, if I was buying again, I would probably go a full size lower.  But I just couldn’t let them go, so on the Friday night, I strolled onto the floor and just set off.  No breaking in, no talc, and none needed.  I hardly knew I had them on.  Sure, this is partly due to a nice, clean, high-quality congress floor, but I just couldn’t believe the fit and performance of these shoes from the word go.  I wore them two nights out of three and they were just amazing.  I will definitely invest in another pair, perhaps these:

annakern3Slobber.  So yes, buy Anna Kern, and be happy.  More from Mambo City in my next post!

 

Another Burju Sale!

•April 23, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Burju shoes are on sale!  Some pairs reduced to $70-$80.  Get in there!

 
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