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How to Remedy Sticky Shoes


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Hello All,


When returning to my ballet studio this Fall I noticed that the floor was rather sticky. I'm assuming this is from sweat, etc., etc. from the Summer session. After a couple of weeks the floor got cleaned, but I'm still having a problem turning on this floor. I thought the floor was the problem originally, but after finding out that it had been cleaned, I took a closer look at my shoes (ballet flats). It seems that there is a remainder of the stickiness on the leather (i.e. a film), and I think this is what is causing the problem. Does anyone know of a way I can "de-stick" my shoes that would allow for an incremental increase in the slip factor? What I mean is, I need a method that I can use to gradually make the shoes less sticky until I find the right reduction of friction. We are dancing on a Marley floor, so I'm guessing things like water and baby powder would not be appreciated by the studio.


Any suggestions would be welcome and appreciated!



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Guest Pas de Quoi

I should think water would be totally OK. Most of the dancers at the studio where I teach and dance, do this. We have jazz and modern classes as well as ballet classes in the rooms with marley floors and the floors can be too slick one day and too sticky the next day. You can wet your shoes before class, instead of actually putting water on the floor itself. I would not suggest baby powder at all, for any reason. I think it's just too dangerous for the dancer and will not be appreciated by other dancers and teachers should they slip on the residue.


If I feel the problem is not the floor so much as a build up on my shoes, I wash my shoes in cold water on the short gentle cycle in my washing machine (yes - even leather ones) and of course allow them to air dry only. I've done this successfully for decades.

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Sandpaper or a wire brush (the kind used for charcoal grilles - but get your own and don't let the BBQ nut see it!) will restore the rough surface on the leather pads. Usually this corrects shoes that have become too slick from "floor goo" but doing it after washing gets you closer to a new shoe.

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I second olddude's suggestion...

toss them into the washing machine (cold cycle) leave to dry naturallly and then a wire brush works a treat.


ps. if you put them in on a warmer cycle they tend to shrink a bit. I was not able to find pumps in the correct size for my exam at my local ballet shop just before an exam (we have to wear either satin or canvas shoes) and didnt really have the time to drive to the next town to get some; so I bought the next size up which were a bit to big and just washed them on a 60 degree celsius wash and voila perfectly fitting shoes.

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I have the same problem and have used the method recommended by Mr. Johnson in another thread: apply dish detergent, rub it in and let it sit, then scrub to remove the residue (which will now come up quite easily), wash/rinse. Works like a charm! :lol:

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One hint: make sure you get all of the detergent out! The residue it leaves on the shoes can make them very, very slippery. My suggestion is to rinse them well and then rinse them again with more water and a bit of white vinegar.

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for a quick fix I sometimes wear the shoes on concrete with the slightly roughened surface and rub the sole of my foot along the ground a few times, which just seems to remove a bit of that 'coating' along the bottom of the shoe.

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That's what I do with my ballroom shoes if I forget my shoe brush. Scuff up the suede on a rough concrete patch.

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Are these leather or canvas?

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Thanks to all of you for your suggestions! I have washed the shoes in cold water and am waiting for them to dry. I might be able to try them out tonight.


Clara, the shoes are canvas.

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Ok!! Glad you've found a solution. :thumbsup:

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  • 7 years later...

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