irish dance soft shoes

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Irish Dance Soft Shoes: The Ultimate Guide

Irish dance is a beautiful and expressive art form that requires specific shoes to showcase the intricate footwork. Soft shoes, also known as ghillies or pumps, are an essential part of the Irish dance costume and are used for various soft shoe dances. In this comprehensive guide, we explore everything you need to know about Irish dance soft shoes.

What are Irish Dance Soft Shoes?

Irish dance soft shoes are a type of footwear specifically designed for soft shoe dancing. They are typically made from soft leather and are lightweight, flexible, and have a hard-wearing sole for maximum durability. The shoes are designed to provide ultimate comfort and flexibility, enabling the dancer to perform intricate footwork and delicate steps with ease.

What is the Difference Between Ghillies and Pumps?

Ghillies and pumps are two common types of Irish dance soft shoes. Ghillies are lace-up shoes that are traditionally worn by female Irish dancers. They come in various styles, including split sole, curved heel, and loop lace design. Pumps, on the other hand, are a slip-on shoe with a low heel, typically worn by male Irish dancers. They have a smooth sole and are made from soft leather with a reinforced toe for extra protection.

How to Choose the Right Pair of Irish Dance Soft Shoes?

Choosing the right pair of Irish dance soft shoes is essential to ensure you are comfortable and confident while performing. Here are a few factors to consider when choosing the perfect pair:

  • Fit: The shoes should fit comfortably, with no slipping or sliding. They should be snug around the heel and have enough room for your toes to move.
  • Material: The shoes should be made from high-quality, soft leather, which is both durable and flexible.
  • Sole: The sole should provide a good grip and allow for easy movement and flexibility.
  • Style: Choose a style that complements your dance costume and personal preference.

How to Care for Your Irish Dance Soft Shoes?

Proper care and maintenance can significantly extend the lifespan of your Irish dance soft shoes. Here are a few tips to keep them in good condition:

  • Store them properly: Store the shoes in a dry, cool place, away from direct sunlight and moisture.
  • Clean them regularly: Wipe down the shoes with a damp cloth after each use to remove any sweat or dirt. Allow them to air dry completely before storing.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals: Do not use any harsh chemicals or solvents to clean the shoes, as they can damage the leather or alter the color.
  • Get them resoled when needed: If the soles start to wear out, get them resoled by a professional shoe repair service.

Where to Buy Irish Dance Soft Shoes?

There are various online and offline retailers that sell Irish dance soft shoes, ranging from beginner to professional levels. It's crucial to choose a reputable seller that offers high-quality products and excellent customer service. Some popular brands to consider include Capezio, Antonio Pacelli, and Rutherford.


Irish dance soft shoes are an essential part of the Irish dance costume that enables the dancer to perform intricate footwork and delicate steps with ease. Choosing the right pair and taking proper care of them can significantly enhance your dance performance and extend the lifespan of the shoes. We hope this guide has provided you with valuable insights and information about Irish dance soft shoes.

Thank you for reading!

Keywords: Irish dance soft shoes, ghilles, pumps, soft leather, footwork, lightweight, flexible, dance costume, fit, grip, maintenance, retailers, Capezio, Antonio Pacelli, Rutherford.
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