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The Shoes
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How to tie Irish dancing soft shoes

Tying soft shoes can be tricky, particularly if you have the type of foot that shoes just don’t want to stay on! As technology advances and the soft shoe manufacturers keep pushing boundaries, the way we tie laces has changed. Many shoes now have two or three eyelets along the side, allowing dancers to tie shoes in a way that is both secure and comfortable. If you’re new to shoes with eyelets, we’re going to walk you through the most effective tying method, courtesy of Ryan and O’Donnell.

If you’re someone who has issues with your heel slipping off, the most important step is the final step – passing your lace around the lace at the back eyelet. This gives you a really secure tie on the foot. Remember, you don’t want to tie the lace around your foot as this can restrict the tendons in the foot and cause cramps. Pamela McDowell, Managing Director for Ryan & O’Donnell, points out, “If you really do prefer tying the lace round your arch we recommend you only do this for competing, and whilst practicing avoid this lacing technique.” If you usually tie your laces around your foot, give this method a try and see if it makes a difference.

Is this how you tie your laces? Do you have a different method that works for you? Share in the comments below, or join the conversation on our Facebook page

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  • Katie

    Hi. Interesting video…I’ve always tied my girls’ ghillies a few times around the bottom of the foot before I knot them. It has been my understanding to tie them as neatly as possible so that you don’t see a lot of the laces, but maybe that’s not true? I also tape around the bows w/ electrical tape so they don’t flop around. Is that not necessary either? I am also wondering if the current way I tie them might be leading my one dancer to have sore achilles tendons lately. What are your thoughts? Thanks!

    • readytofeis

      Many of the shoemakers we have spoken to about this advise not tying the shoelaces around the arch of the foot because it can damage the tendons in the foot, and actually restrict movement. It’s fine for a short while, like on competition day, but not a good idea for the many hours of dance class. As for taping the laces down, that’s a personal preference. Many champ dancers do it so shoes look neat on stage, and that tape is so soft and flexible that it won’t have any impact on the feet like tight laces around the arch would.

  • Hope

    What brand of shoe is in this video?

    • readytofeis

      The shoes in this video are Ryan & O’Donnnell