We all know that more and more ballet companies are incorporating a common type of footwear that is used frequently in the contemporary dance world: socks!
This simple footwear allows dancers a way to slide, articulate, and ground their feet better than ballet slippers or pointe shoes can. But not just any old pair of socks will do the trick.
There are several common problems sock-wearing newbies might run into:
- socks that are too slippery
- socks that don’t slide
- socks that twist on your feet (or even fall off!) while dancing
To give a dancer the confidence that a slide across stage won’t stutter and get stuck or won’t be too slippery and cause a fall, perfect socks must be selected and worn in rehearsals ahead of time.
I asked several professional dancers in ballet companies what the ideal sock is to them, and the answers were pretty common amongst them.
1.) Don’t wash your socks.
It sounds gross, but all of the dancers I interviewed said the same thing: clean socks may be ideal for everyday life, but not for dancing!
Some said that their favorite time to wear a pair of socks is after three days to up to three months of washing and wearing them. (Yes, I said MONTHS- this was specifically for Apolla Shocks. Learn more about these customized dance socks below.)
The build up your socks get after wearing them for several days not only provides the best amount of friction for sliding and moving, but it also allows you to rehearse in the socks you want to perform in and get used to them, just like you would with any other dance footwear.
2.) When you do wash them…
Don’t dry them! Some dancers believe that drying your socks will make them too slippery and cause uncontrollable sliding and slipping.
3.) Texture is everything.
Generally, the dancers I spoke to preferred socks with a high cotton content or socks specifically made for dance, like the Apolla Shocks: socks designed as footwear for dancers and athletes.
These special socks with a compression component are about $30 a pair and allow you to customize the amount of traction, color, and size of your socks.