There are several brands of hard shoes available these days in which you can purchase. Back in the ‘Old Days’, there weren’t many companies from which to choose. Please do note that all Irish dance shoes are hand-made and may vary slightly in sizes. We highly recommend the two companies listed below, however those aren’t the only options, so if you’d like to hear more about other companies, just ask your instructor. After many years of experience, the instructors at the Culkin School have learned that both Fays and Rutherford shoes seem to be of the best quality and practice the best customer service.
Sean has always worn Fays Shoes. There are many different width and size choices. If you decide to go with Fays, we’d suggest buying the the ULTRA Flexi with ‘Hi Tech” heel and tips for $145. You are welcome to buy any of the other type of hard shoes for $170. The difference in the pairs that are more expensive is a softer leather and more width sizes and are more geared to a championship dancer. Most of the $170 pairs are “special order” and may take longer to receive.
*PLEASE DO NOT buy the “Fays Original Flexi” shoes that have tan leather soles for $145 and/or $125 because they will be more difficult to break-in and blisters could be the result of this harder soled shoe.*
Nicki Bayhurst really likes Rutherford hardshoes. When she got back into Irish dancing as a teacher, she tried many new brands and happily came back to Rutherford. There are many sizes and widths available. We suggest buying the “Light Sole Flexi” shoe for $150. These shoes have a good balance of flexibility and support. If your dancer is starting “toe walks” the “Super Flexi Black Suede Sole” for $160 would be suitable. The more expensive shoes listed are geared to the championship dancer.
*PLEASE DO NOT buy the Innishfree Jig shoe—the soles are thick leather and they are just too hard to break in*.
Please note that there are other Irish dance shoe companies out there and if for some reason you are dissatisfied with the fit or quality of the shoes from the companies listed, please take time to talk to your instructor as they are happy to give you more information on where to order shoes and can point you in the right direction of a few other companies out there.
Sizing can be a bit difficult. You want your hardshoes to “just fit”. They shouldn’t cut off your circulation nor should they be too big. The leather will stretch, so a “perfect” fit is what you should try for even if your dancer is growing. A shoe that is too big is just too hard to control when first learning how to dance. PLEASE make sure not to order shoes a size larger because your dancer is growing, you will be asked to send them back for a more fitted pair.
Irish dance shoes are sized in UK measurements, so be sure to convert US sizes to UK sizes. How do you do this? UK sizes are approximately 2.5 sizes smaller than US shoe sizes. Click here to access the Shoe Size Converter Chart.