How I Turn Ordinary Street Shoes Into Burlesque Dance Shoes

When I first got started in burlesque, I needed to find a sturdy pair of performance shoes. I’d been taking classes in a pair of Capezio ballroom shoes with suede soles, but they were looking a bit worn. Plus, I wanted something with a higher heel for performances. Jo Weldon suggested Polly shoes in class, but they were a bit out of my price range (about $200). I’d read online that Pleaser shoes were also a great brand and were the preferred brand of strippers due to their comfort and sexy styles so I decided to go with them.

Like I usually do, I searched Amazon for Pleasers in my size, which is 10 in that brand if you’d like to treat me. I wanted to buy something that looked very “showgirl” and would match lots of costumes so I focused on nude satin styles. I was so happy to find the perfect shoe in Pleaser’s streetwear line called Fabulicious and it was on sale! The only problem was they were streetwear shoes so they had slippery plastic soles and I needed something that I could dance in. After some research, I was able to make a few modifications to convert them into dance shoes. I’ll teach you how to do this too and tell you which products I used.

These are the actual shoes I purchased:

The first thing I did was add suede soles to my shoes. Stick on suede soles come in black, tan or brown and can be added to any hard soled shoe. I used the Soles2Dance brand, pre-cut in a high heel shoe shape. To use it, I trimmed it a little to better match my actual shoe’s sole shape, peeled off the backing, and then stuck it on the shoe. I first applied my stick on soles in June of 2017 and have used them in about 40 shows so far. As long as you don’t use them outside or on sticky bar floors, they should last a while. When they start to look a little matted, you can use a suede wire brush on them to freshen them up. When they finally wear out, you can easily replace with a new set. Mine came in a pack of 3, so I won’t need to buy any more when it’s time to replace them.

The other thing I did was add rubber caps to the heels. Rubber caps can help prevent you from slipping on wooden stages. Plus, they help protect the plastic heel cap from getting scraped up or worn down. I have purchased several of these sets in the past. They come in black, brown or clear. I used clear caps for my performance heels. You just push them on and if they are the right size, they will stay on from friction alone. The first time I bought heel caps, I purchased the variety pack (link below) because I wasn’t sure what size I needed and this let me try on different sizes until I found the right one. Then, when I knew what size I needed, I bought a pack of just that size. I first applied my rubber caps in June 2017 too, but they have fallen off multiple times in my 40 shows since. For that reason, I think you should expect to need to replace them regularly or maybe try gluing them onto the shoe, something I have not tried. Since a pair of heel caps costs about a dollar, it’s not a huge expense for me to replace them as needed.

If this information was helpful to you, please consider purchasing the products that I recommended by clicking the links in the post. I only link to quality products that I have used myself and which I personally recommend. I may receive a small commission if you do so through Amazon’s partner program which helps support my art at no additional cost to you.

Tallulah Talons

The 6'1 giantess of burlesque. Based in New York

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