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HOW TO: Footwear Tips

Working In Your New Footwear from Postmark Ukraine

Your handmade footwear, whether it be shoes or boots, is going to be different from that which you buy in the store – each part is put together piece by piece, truly presenting you with a piece of Ukraine. In addition, your dance footwear is not going to fit you like a pair of shoes you might buy from a shoe store, or even from a dance store. They are going to be snug, they are going to take work, but what you will end up with is a pair of shoes or boots that fits your foot and no one else’s.

If you are ordering as a group, you may find that your new pair of shoes or boots fits you differently than your dancemate – this is completely normal. Each person’s foot shape and size is unique, and while we work very hard using the measurements you give us, the way a style of shoe or boot fits you may well fit you differently than someone else. Please don’t worry!

However, neither should you take your boots to the studio and try dancing in them straight away!

Upon receipt of your new footwear, regardless if you are happy with the fit or you find you have trouble getting your shoes or boots on, please try these tips first:

• Make sure you are trying your new footwear on in the first part of the day. Feet that have been walked on, danced on, and generally moved on all day are going to be tired and swollen. Give your feet a break and try on your new footwear in the am.

• If in the morning you still find you have trouble with your new footwear, locate a plastic bag – any bag you might get from the supermarket will do. In bare feet, put the bag on as you would a sock and pull on your shoe or boot.

• If you can get your footwear on with the bag, you are going to take this opportunity to stand and walk around for a few minutes. Just in this small amount of time, you'll notice that the leather will indeed stretch. Keep the shoe or boot on with the bag only as long as it feels snug. Remove as soon as they start to feel painful.

• Proceed in this way for as many times as possible until you feel like you can put the shoe or boot on without the bag but with a nylon. Continue this process with the nylon as often as possible – the moisture from your foot will interact with your footwear and will allow the leather to stretch further. The more you do this, the faster you will find the shoe or boot stretches to a point that fits your foot well.

• Ideally, while we recommend bare feet for girls, you would wear nothing thicker than nylon in the boot when you dance. If you must wear a sock, please choose a sock that is quite thin because you are going to continue to stretch the leather, and you will not be able to go back to a thinner sock once you start wearing something that is quite thick.

This is a process that will take as little as a couple of weeks if you put in the work, and while such a process may go against what you are used to with handmade footwear, it is one that has been tried and tested over decades and with thousands of dancers. It will work, you just need to put a little extra effort in.

Good luck!

The Postmark Ukraine Team

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