North Texas Irish Festival

Joins us at the Emerald Stage at NTIF! Performances on Fri. at 7:15, Sat. at 11:45 and Sun. at 1:30 & 4:30.  Also stop by our booth in the cultural area and say hello!



An Irish dancer’s shoes are his or her most important piece of equipment. While a certain pair of shoes will not make the student a better dancer without practice, the wrong shoes, whether too tight, too loose, or just plain uncomfortable, can make a dancer miserable!


There are two types of shoes used in Irish dance. The first type is the soft (or light) “reel” shoe. For girls, these shoes are often called ghillies. They are black leather ballet-type slippers that are laced up the front and tied around the ankle and foot.


For boys, the soft shoes are similar are similar to traditional leather jazz shoes. However, the shoes have a hard heel added to them so that the boys can create sound with the shoes in the course of their dancing.


The second type of shoe is the hard (or heavy) “jig” shoe. Both boys and girls wear the same style of hard shoe. These shoes are leather oxford style shoes that create a distinctive sound with thick tips and heels. The tips and heels of today’s hard shoes are typically made of fiberglass or other types of composite materials that create a loud sound.


Shoes are a major investment for all dancers. A pair of new soft shoes will typically run from $40 to $90, depending on brand and style. Hard shoes are even more expensive, and will generally cost over $100 for beginner style hard shoes to $140 to $200 for championship level shoes, again depending on brand. Before you panic over the cost, however, be aware that there are other options for the budget conscious parent or student. You will often find parents and students who are selling used pairs of shoes (especially ones that have been grown out of) at a reduced price. Also, the school has a small stock of shoes to loan to dancers who need them. These shoes are usually in the smaller sizes, and may be “well loved”, having gone through several dancers before being placed in the box. Also, you can often find used shoes on the internet, through Ebay or dedicated dance resale sites such as Dance Again.

Copyright © 2013 Shandon-O'Regan Irish Dance Academy.

All rights reserved.

Shandon-O'Regan Irish Dance Academy

Kay LaGreca, TCRG & Maura Anderson, TCRG

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