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Why You Should Always Buy The Right Size Ghillies for Irish Dance

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Something I’ve learned the hard way during my many years of Irish dancing is the importance of buying the right size ghillies for my feet. It may not sound so important when you first hear this advice but I am definitely guilty of buying ghillies a size or even half size too big. I didn’t think the bit of space in the toes was a big deal, but I soon found out it was costing me in competition.

A lot of beginners don’t realize it, but when you point your toe in a shoe that is slightly too big, the arch of the ghillie will not bend with your foot. Your foot slides into a perfect arch without the shoe and no one is able to see your point.

Having ghillies that were too big resulted in a lot of comments from Feis judges saying things like point your toes or more arch. I didn’t understand these comments because I always worked hard to point my toes while dancing. I just assumed I wasn’t dancing as well as I could be.

It wasn’t until we had a workshop in class talking about the importance of having ghillies that fit tight on your feet that I understood there was nothing wrong with the way I was pointing my feet. All I needed were smaller ghillies!

So I bought a new pair, this time the right size! Since then, I always make sure the ghillies I buy fit snug on my feet and I now no longer receive any comments about pointing my toes.

Do your ghillies fit your feet just right? Click here to find out if your ghillies are the right size!


Photo credit: Shelly Allen – For more from Shelly, check out her Irish dance blog & art on


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  1. I have a problem with choosing a right size, because a have a toe much longer then other fingert on my feet. When i buy the shoes that big enoght for my toe and it doesn't hurt, then they in general are too big for me when i'm pointing a feet and they are too wide and looks like i'm not pointing enough. But when i buy a half size smaller, then my toe really hurts and curl inside and nail become white without blood cyrcling. I can't do anything with this for a 4 years. Any advices? i've tried lots of soft shoes of different vendors, it's always the same situation – 6 – too big, 5,5 – too small

  2. That's a tough one. I do know that soft shoes can be sold in both wide and narrow sizes. I would say avoid wide ghillies, but it's possible u already do…

  3. I have a problem choosing the right size as well I am a size 4 so I bought a 41/2 for more room but my soft shoe collapsed, so would anybody be able to tell me what size I should recommend getting ?:)

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