Satin dance shoes are beautiful but they do tend to show dirt and water marks more than leather. Caring for your shoes properly will prolong the life of your shoes, keep them looking beautiful and make them more pleasant to wear along the way! To begin with, when your shoes are new, add caps to the heels to preserve their shape. The heel cap is usually one of the first things to wear out- usually wearing unevenly. You can get those from most shoe vendors, or your own studio may have a supply. Next be careful to only wear them inside. The soles are not  meant to walk outside as the suede bottom will pick up soil and embed in it interfering with the function it should provide to have ease of turns and just the right amount of traction. Also, note that the soil and grit you will pick up  will get tracked back on to the dance floor, possibly scratching it. Every other week or so, after your lessons or a show, brush the suede sole to keep it clean and fluffy. When the suede sole is flattened and shiny you don’t get the same affect of slide and traction.  Store them in a nice bag and if your shoes are stoned, store them inside a shoe box in between wearings to really protect them. Hint: since we all usually are barefoot in our shoes, odor control balls inside your shoe bag or shoe box will help keep your shoes smelling nicer.
I have been dancing for several years and as most of you have, I’ve gone through several pair of dance shoes. I always wear satin and have been afraid to clean spots. I did a little research to see what others did and decided to try out a few of the cleaning methods I found on the internet on an old pair of rhythm shoes with a broken strap. I actually made stains on each of the shoes with dirt and oil and let it settle in before beginning my test of cleaning methods.  My plan was to spot clean one shoe using a white rag and Dawn detergent and rubbing the shoe in the direction of the grain to avoid roughing it up. Rumor had it that spot cleaning actually left a bigger spot so I wanted to test that out. Then I planned to follow the spot cleaning by cleaning the whole shoe. My attempt to spot clean ended up getting the whole shoe wet when I rinsed the spot cleaning, so I don’t know if spot cleaning leaves a spot as I had been told to expect, however, handwashing the entire shoe turned out beautifully!

Dirt and oily spot


Spot is gone!

My sole was even dirtier than the shoe and looked pretty much hopeless.  I scrubbed it with  a tile scrub brush and Dawn detergent.  The brush was pretty rough but the sole was so bad – I needed something tough and had nothing to lose! I was truly amazed at how clean the insole came out!

Dirty Insole Before

Cleaning insole with a scrub brush.

Cleaning insole with a scrub brush.


Clean Insole After

The second shoe I planned to wash in the washing machine, on hand wash inside of a zipped pillow case. I added another oily dirty spot and put the shoe in the pillow case and washed on hand wash with Woolite. The shoe came out clean but I lost a rhinestone on the buckle and didn’t find it in the bag. The spot did come out but insole did not come clean in the washing machine.

Insole after washing machine

After my little test, I discovered my beautiful fragile dance shoes are not so fragile afterall and are even more beautiful when cared for properly. The results of the test: I  would wash a pair of shoes by hand, scrub the insole and use a shoe brush on the bottom sole without hesitation!
Happy dancing! Debi
Debi Camp

Debi Camp

Co-owner of DDC

Debi enjoys everything about the ballroom atmosphere, especially the community and friendships built on the dance floor over the last 6+ years. She is a full time nurse and IT trainer, amazing mother and grandmother. Her joy and hope are contagious.Spending time around her and reading her articles are sure to make you smile.