Monday, 11 March 2013

Barefoot Dance Shoes Review - Bloch Soleil Foot Gloves

My new purchase from my local dancewear shop is a nice pair of gloves... for my feet!

My new Foot Gloves
In nearly all the dance styles that I do, I dance bare feet.  But unfortunately it's not always possible to go barefoot all the time.  So occasionally I will wear either soft ballet shoes for performances or a split sole jazz shoe for greater protection and support whilst practising (think cold church hall floors...).

The problem is a shoe can change my dance, as I find myself using my feet differently as I subconsciously transfer my weight onto the balls of my feet, point my feet more and play with swivels and arabesques.  But that's not always the look and style I want to go for, especially when dancing a more earthy style.

I've also been studying Hilal Dance.  This is an extremely grounded dance that is much more flat footed and earthy than other contemporary styles.  It uses a lot flowing of movement through space, including walks, turns, spins and spirals, and it's very important to have good contact to harness the energy through the floor.  However, I've found the training to be a little harsh on my feet and by the second day of an intensive workshop weekend, I've had to tape over the blisters on my feet rather than resort to shoes.

So, I've just invested in a pair of Bloch Soleil Foot Gloves.   I chose this kind of shoe because it both respects the shape of the foot and the need to go barefoot, whilst providing protection over the balls of the feet and, as a huge bonus, comes with a a nice big cushion underneath the big toe.  
Bloch Soleil Foot Gloves close up
They cost me £14.50 from a local dance supplies store.  Before I bought them, I was a little worried about fit.  My feet are very wide and find it hard to get a comfortable fit from my dance shoes, and Bloch only sell these in 5 sizes.  However, after inspecting them in store, I found that they are in fact very stretchy and the size 'L' was fine for my UK size 6 feet.  

So I wore them for the first time in class last weekend and I think they worked quite well.  They looked a little tight when I first put them on at first, but were comfortable enough once I got used to them.  They also stayed on my feet the whole time, sliding down my feet only a tad, but not enough to cause any real difficulty.  They helped to prevent the blisters I get from sticky floors and made the turns smoother and easier.  The ease of movement against the floor did change my dancing a little, however, so I had to think a lot harder about my balance and adjust my steps a little to prevent sliding.  As this natural floor contact is important, on the second day of workshops I kept my feet bare as long as possible, and only put the shoes on once we started drilling turns.
Barefoot chic by Bloch
Overall, I think the Bloch Foot Gloves worked quite well, stayed comfy, and did the job they were designed to do.  I still prefer barefoot, but accept that this is a good option that I would definitely keep in my dance bag for next time. 

Oh, and after I bought them I found out that they also come in lots of cool prints, including zebra, leopard, snakeskin, and even a version with a cute little band of henna drawn on! I might need to think up a reason for a second pair...

Fuzzy pack shot shows the choice of prints
I'd love to know if you go barefoot or wear shoes when you dance?  And if you prefer shoes, which kind do you wear?


  1. Hi All! I got a pair of the same foot gloves - they were a bit fiddly to put on, but you would get used to it. When I danced with them, they were so slippy, I thought I was going to fall, and my performance went from bad to worse! However, now that I look back, I didn't actually need them for that particular floor surface, which was very good. But if the surface is not wood, dodgy, dirty, wet, gritty etc they would be a godsend.
    That's my comment for what it's worth!

    1. Hi Annette, thanks very much for your comments it's good to get another opinion. The studio we were in had a beautiful wooden dance floor, but it was heavily varnished so felt very tacky underfoot. The shoes did really help with this, although at first I had to work on keeping my centre of balance to stop from sliding too much.

      Susanna x

  2. Hi! I dance tango argentino with these "shoes" and I love them. It feels much better than with ordinary shoes. I have so much more freedom :) People still sometimes look at my feet and ask me what I'm wearing there but I get used to that. After a year I need a pair of new ones now and am looking for the interesting prints (I had the henna ones which were quite nice).
    Enjoy your dancing!


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