White soft shoes have been around for a while, and you could always dye them to what color you wanted. However, this year, colored soft shoes came on the main Irish Dance market.
It started with black patent leather soft shoes at the NANs last year. Rutherford was the first to introduce the black patent version. Fays soon followed with a patent version of their Celtic Choice soft shoe. (The only shoe that has ever fit me!) The colored versions made their first main appearance in the Parade of Champions at the Mid-Atlantic Oireachtas in 2010. The dancer that wore them, however, only wore them for the Parade of Champions, not the actual competition.
Fays Shoes sells the colored versions and they come in a wide variety of colors from bright pink to royal blue. They’re also patent leather.
So far, the word has been that these cannot be used in competition and are only for shows or practice. While part of me would love to see them in competition, I do like the elegrance and simplicity of the traditional black ghillie. It goes with everything and keeps a bit of a standard in an Irish Dance fashion world that is anything but.
There have been concerns about the wearability of the patent leather and if you could actually wear them for a long time. However, there is the option to dye the white ghillies that Antonio Pacelli sells. That way you get the wearability of the normal leather and you have a much wider array of colors! I’m not sure how the dye would hold up over a long period of time, but it could be redyed. There’s also dye that you can use on black shoes, so any old pair would work!
What do you think about colored soft shoes? Would you wear them in competition if they were allowed? Should they be allowed in competition?