Irish Dance Shoes - Soft Shoes
For a selection of pictures showing the different types of dance shoes go to our desktop site. Soft shoes are worn by female Irish solo step dancers. The shoes are know by a variety of different names including ghillies, light shoes and pumps. They are very similar in design to ballet shoes but tie with laces instead of elastic.
Many young dancers use ballet shoes when they first start solo Irish dancing lessons, this allows the parents to see if their child is keen to continue with lessons as ballet shoes are much cheaper than soft shoes. It is generally a good idea to check with your child's dance teacher to see if they keep a stock of second hand ghillies. Children's feet grow so quickly, it can be very expensive to buy new dance shoes every few months.
Ghillies are also worn by women in Scottish Highland dance and men in Scottish Country dancing! Soft shoes are made in leather with long laces that criss-cross across the front of the shoe, often wrapped around the sole of the foot before being tied like a sneaker or trainer in a bow. Unlike other lace up shoes the laces are fed through slots in the leather and not eyelets.