Part of what makes Irish dance so special is that there are actually two types of Irish dance shoes: soft shoes and hard shoes. For a student’s very first Irish Dance classes, they should wear jazz / ballet slippers. Dancers are not permitted to be in socks or barefoot during class. Street shoes are also not permitted on our Marley floor surface. Dancers may also wear Dance Sneakers for certain classes (such as Celtic Fit) should they choose to.
New dancers should order SOFT SHOES within the first month of starting Irish Dance classes.
For beginner female students, please order “ghillies” (Irish soft shoes) at this link to our recommended shoemaker.
Here is an additional style considered most ideal for advanced level dancers, however beginners are welcome to order them as well.
For help with sizing, we recommend that you reach out to the Fays Shoes team and they may be able to assist by having you send a diagram of your foot.
For beginner male students, please order black Jazz shoes of any style (with laces). Male dancers will eventually wear male-specific soft shoes with heels at this link (teacher will advise as to when these shoes should be ordered).
Once the basics have been mastered, the instructor will advise as to when to order HARD SHOES. At District Academy we usually begin hard shoes in Advanced Beginner Level.
Here are the links to the most popular Irish dance hard shoe brands, both of which are suitable for beginner hard shoe dancers:
There is also an alternative beginner hard-shoe on the Rutherford website called “Inishfree”.
All female dancers should wear “Poodle Socks” which are a special type of sock worn with all Irish Dance shoes (and can be worn with beginners who are wearing ballet slippers). We sell poodle socks in a variety of sizes at the DIDA studio for $14 (as well as poodle socks with crystals for $22). You can purchase poodle socks and pick them up at the studio here.
We have an Academy shoe exchange at the studio where you can purchase pre-owned shoes for a discounted price. We also have a selection of new shoes available. While we can't promise we will have your size available, this is an excellent option to check out. E-mail us to learn more.