After many years dancing in tango shoes in classes and milongas, I have become used to caring for the health (and beauty) of my feet. Recently, a young tanguera who had just bought our shoes and was training intensively asked me how to look after her feet. Sharing a few tips that had become part of my daily routine, I realised that a lot of other dancers might be looking for them too. I would like to share with you a few of my favourite tips to keep your feet neat, fit and pain-free so you can dance at your best.
Soft and smooth feet
I have carried a little pink PediEgg with me for more years than I’d like to admit. By complete chance, I discovered the PediEgg one day at Boots (a big beauty chain in the UK), and it quickly replaced my pumice stone. Use little but often. Crucial to take off rough edges that develop on your feet as they adapt to longer hours of dancing. It is easy to clean, small enough to take travelling, and fits comfortably in the palm of your hand. Even better, all of the waste goes into a small compartment that can later be emptied. Neat, compact, convenient.
A bit of extra padding can help
If your feet are a bit sensitive or you are planning to dance longer than usual (like festivals and marathons), consider adding extra padding to the insides of your shoes. For example, FootPetals are one of the best insoles out in the market (in my opinion). They are made out of Poron which is a technologically advanced material that provides good cushioning, great recovery and breathability. Poron disperses shock over a wider area and doesn’t collapse as the air bubbles in foam wear out with use. If your feet are feeling a bit delicate, or if your shoes have gone a bit too loose at the front and want to extend their life, this is for you.
Did you just purchase a new pair of shoes? Worried about potential blisters? It is likely that you’ll experience a tiny bit of rubbing in some area of the shoe until it moulds to your feet. We’ve all been there. I have found the Compeed stick quite effective though there are many other brands to choose from. Apply the stick on the skin of your foot to create a layer of protection to avoid rubbing. Moisturising your feet more often also helps as your skin will be more souple and it will be less likely to tear.
Love your cuticles
I’m not really into perfect mani/pedis every week (I wish) but cuticle moisturisers such as Burt’s Bees works so well softening the skin around your nails. It is almost like walking into a salon and having a professional pedicure without too much effort or the price tag. Again, the general rule is that overly dry skin is less able to take friction and compression.
Embrace the Base and Top Coat
This is basic information for the mani-pedi expert but if you are a do-it-yourself kind of girl, using a base and a top coat is a game-changer. The base coat prevents the nails from getting discoloured from strong nail polish. The top coat, particularly if you buy a good brand, is harder than a nail polish so it makes your nail polish last and protects your nails. Time starved and you can’t be bothered to paint trillions of coats on your toes? One base, one colour and one top… and you are “milonga ready”. Just remember to give them enough time to dry and seal!
These habits have become second nature to me. What do you do to keep your feet healthy? Share your tips with us too!