Taking Care of Black and Whites

It is fairly easy to keep your Black and Whites clean and well-polished. It just takes a little patience. The following applies only to shoes in which both the white and black parts are regular leather.

1.Wash the shoes with saddle soap and very little water.

2.Get an old toothbrush and CAREFULLY apply black polish (preferably Kiwi) to the black parts. Moisten the shoe polish in the can with a few drops of lighter fluid. (use gin if you want to be like the cats in 1930s Harlem) Brush the black polish on and be VERY careful not to get it on the white.

3.Wrap a lint-free cloth around your finger and carefully buff the black part. Keep adjusting the rag to keep relatively clean spot on the shoe. Start by slowly working the polish into the leather and then buff it into a shine.

4.Get a bottle of "Nu-White", a preparation sold for nurses' and doctors' white shoes. The bottle has a handy applicator. Carefully put the white polish on the white leather. Let it dry and buff off with a clean rag wrapped around your finger.

Alternatively, take them to a shoe store and pay about $10 to have this done. The same goes for shoeshine stands at hotels or in stores like Nordstroms.

Don't wear your dance shoes on the street, because (1) they will get rough on the bottom and won't help you dance; (2) they will wear out sooner and (3) the little bits of grit that get in the soles will ruin the dance floor. This is why you see the dancers carrying those bags full of stuff. You don't have to use a regular bag -- get an old suit case --- better yet a violin case -- at a thrift store. Given the athletic nature of Lindy Hop, it doesn't hurt to carry along a towel, water bottle and a few spare shirts...

It will help your feet to wear two pairs of socks (Lindy is rough on the feet), so think about this when you buy shoes. Most of the dancers put Spenco arches in their shoes. You can get these at athletic stores like the Foot Locker.

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