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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Tips & Tricks for
Belly Dancing Footwear



Table of Contents



Belly Dancing Barefoot

By Shira

  • At the time you book a gig, ask questions to ensure that bare feet won't be a problem. Some clients may think a barefoot dancer is low class, while others may think the look is perfect.
  • Make sure your feet are perfectly groomed. If you will be wearing beads and sequins, consider nail polish to sustain the glamor effect all the way down to the tips of your toes.
  • Nail polish, if you wear it, should either be clear or coordinate with the costume. It should not be chipped or peeling, nor should it look mismatched to your costume.
  • Take along a pair of shoes to each gig just in case you discover upon arrival that the surface you'll be dancing on is unsafe or too disgusting for bare feet.
  • Avoid removing the calluses that build on the sole of the foot - they are necessary to protect the foot from hazards such as stray glass beads. (But it's still advisable to remove calluses caused by ill-fitting shoes on the edges of the foot. If you have a bunion, you'll want to remove the callus that forms at the joint where the second toe meets the metatarsil bone.)
  • For extra glamor, consider embedding tiny rhinestones in your nail polish.
  • For an earthy aesthetic (such as folkloric or tribal style), consider using henna to decorate your feet.
Bare Feet
  • After performing barefoot, wash your feet and coat them with tea tree oil. The tea tree oil will help your feet resist fungus and bacteria. (An appealing brand name is Uncle Bill's Foot Balm.)

By Christine Krebs-Bonder

  • Condition of Feet. When performing for anyone — even family or friends — in close spaces, take the time beforehand to give yourself a pedicure. When dancing close to your audience, the condition of your feet and toenails is noticeable. It isn't necessary to have colored polish on the nails, but they should be kept neat, trimmed and of course as clean as possible.
  • Pedicure. If you can afford it, periodically get a professional pedicure. Many places include wonderful foot and leg massages along with them. Once your nails and cuticles are initially cleaned up it's easy to maintain the pedicure at home.

By Helen M

Helen M is based in Cleveland, Ohio.

  • If dancing on wood or tile floors, avoid knee torque by placing some Lemon Pledge on the sole of the foot to make it pivot more freely. If dancing on grass or glazed tile, put some water on the sole of the foot to make it pivot more freely.




By Shira

  • Practice in the Footwear. Whatever you intend to wear on your feet in your performance, practice with it enough to feel comfortable and confident. It's difficult to deliver your best performance if you are distracted by unfamiliar posture or sensations on your feet.
  • Decorating Shoes. Decorate your plain ballet slippers or other dance shoes with glitter, beads, or sequins.
  • Shoe Color. Use a product called shoe paint to transform your tan shoes into any color that will coordinate with your costume.
  • Special-Ordering Footwear. If you special-order dance footwear, ask the salesperson whether they can send in a tracing of your foot to get the right size. Dance shoes sometimes are sized in ways that differ from typical shoe sizing.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Pixie Vision Productions, Glendale, California.

  • Replace Laces with Elastic. Replace the laces in your Hermes sandals, Scottish/Irish ghillies, or other lace-up shoes with either flat braid elastic or cord elastic as shown in the photo to the right. Flat braid elastic typically comes in white, beige or black, and sometimes lingerie elastic can be found in other colors. Cord elastic often comes in gold and silver, and may be sold in shops that sell supplies for gift-wrapping. After threading the elastic through the eyelets, sew the ends together - no more laces coming undone while dancing!
  • Replace Laces with Ribbon. Replace the laces in Hermes sandals, Scottish/Irish ghillies, or other lace-up shoes with either rattail cord or grosgrain ribbon in a color that coordinates with your costume. Your laces will be less likely to come undone while dancing, and the shoes will look more attractive.

By Lara

Lara is based in Fairbanks, Alaska.

  • Color of Shoe Laces. If you run white elastic through your Hermes sandals or other lace-up dance shoes to make them easier to put on and take off, tea staining the elastic brings it closer to an appropriate color to go with the leather rather than remaining glaring white. Although tan elastic exists, it is hard to find

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by William M. Smith, Iowa City, Iowa.




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Other articles on this web site related to footwear include:




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