About Aris Allen Dance Shoe Soles

Still dancing in sports sneakers with rubber soles?
Fact: Sports sneakers with rubber-bottom soles are made for gripping the floor. If you wear them to dance you are not only straining your knees, but you do not have to “find your center” and your dancing suffers. Ask any dance instructor about the importance of this.

The Aris Allen Philosophy is simple:
Your dancing will look more authentic if you wear the same shoes that the dance was invented in! Designed by Swing Dancers for Swing Dancers to be as close as possible to Jazz-Era footwear.


    • Made from flexible hard leather.
    • Raw, unfinished surface allows you to spin and slide, but still control the floor.
    • Please only wear them indoors as the leather on the bottom is harder than suede - but still softer than the soles on most dress shoes.


    • Made from unfinished suede.
    • Able to obtain a mirror-like finish which allows you to spin and slide but still control the floor (see below).
    • Please note: suede soles may require occasional upkeep if they become un-stuck on the edge. Many dancers simply use Crazy Glue Gel or shoe repair glue like Shoe Goo.


    • Most dance shoe soles are made from Chrome Leather. Unlike ballroom dancers who brush their soles to keep them clean and like-new, swing dancers prefer a mirror finish on theirs. To facilitate this Aris Allen uses vegetable-tanned suede.
    • To obtain a mirror-like finish, you will want to wear your shoes outside for a bit so they pick up a little dust and dirt. Dancing on slightly dirty suede creates the perfect surface for the action you need on the dance floor.
    • Another phenomenon that allows them to get a nice Lindy-friendly finish is what we call "the rain forest effect". You've noticed that respiration from the crowd at a dance makes the windows fog up. The floor is also fogging up - and the dancers are drying it off with their soles which means they are repeatedly being dampened and dried. So while you're working on your technique; your shoes are working on theirs by becoming more and more mirror-like. You can hasten this by wetting and drying your suede soles at home. Do not wear them until they dry: wet suede on a flat surface can be very slippery.
    • If the bottom gets a little too mirror-like for you then simply spin or shuffle on a sidewalk to rough them up.