About Corr's Irish Shoes
Julian Wild introduced the first Corr's Irish Shoes samples in Spring 2001 to existing dancewear wholesale accounts in New England. These accounts had requested that he develop a range of handcrafted Irish shoes that would represent the next generation in safety and comfort for the Irish dancer, that would be affordable, and that would be well-received by teachers, dancers, and parents alike. At the time, Julian was in the process of introducing a range of very popular ballroom dance shoes to the U.S. market through his wholesale company, U.S. Dance Supplies (these ballroom dance shoes were being received with great enthusiasm, as they were of the highest quality soft leather and had attractive features such as soft, padded insoles and heel guard protectors). The success of Julian's wholesale company won him many loyal and appreciative customers, which was helpful when introducing his very first prototype Irish dance shoes, which he named Corr's after his mother's maiden name.
Julian had been (in his former career) a very successful professional dancer for many years and knew firsthand the rigors and physical stresses inherent in the demands of the art of dance. This practical experience was coupled with a detailed grounding in the basics of the business-end of dancewear retailing, wholesaling, manufacturing, production and marketing - not only from his own experience, but from his associations with both his father (a successful dancewear manufacturer, retailer and wholesaler) and his 'Godfather' Rodney Freed of Freed's Ballet Shoes.
After a careful study of the Irish dance shoe market, it seemed to Julian at the time that there was room for some more attention in the areas of safety and comfort, and so he set about to see exactly how far he could go in addressing those needs. He also made a detailed study of what was required by the Irish dancer from their shoes in performance, always bearing in mind the amount of work done in the shoes - the long hours spent in class, performance and rehearsal. He discovered that most Irish dancers were not dancing on sprung floors, and that many were dancing on concrete or, in some cases, even stone flooring and that he would need to address these matters as a priority.
Julian went through several sets of prototypes in both hard and soft shoes before introducing his very first samples to store owners in Spring 2001. Since then, the shoes have been well received by teachers, dance professionals, champion and amateur dancers around the country and around the world. Julian, with the help of the Irish dance community and a team of talented designers and craftsmen, has addressed the Irish dancer's needs in the following areas: comfort, quality, safety, durability, affordability ...
About Corr's Hard Shoes
- Corr's hard shoe uppers are constructed from one of the softest, most supple, yet durable leathers available.
- Corr's leather soles are made from leather that is far more supple and flexible than standard 'benz' leathers, and yet is incredibly durable. A Corr's innovation - leather soles only 2 mm in thickness, rather than 3-4 mm - makes our leather soles one of the most flexible and most easy to break-in full leather soles currently available to the Irish dancer. All Corr's hard shoes have soles that are both glued and stitched.
- In each Corr's hard shoe, in addition to a 2-3 mm leatherboard (the same material used in ballet pointe shoes) insole, you will find fully padded insocks for extra comfort and shock absorbency. Corr's insocks are constructed from a PU based foam that is carbonized to help in the prevention of athlete's foot fungi and odor. In addition, they have a sweat-absorbent lining and are made specially to fit to size. This insock helps to protect against injury, offering impact resistance in both the heel and ball of the foot areas.
- Corr's hard shoes have breathable, Cambrelle® inside linings (instead of leather or imitation leather linings, which can often lead to hot feet, perspiration, and inevitably blisters).
- A thin layer of latex foam padding is placed between the breathable Cambrelle® inner lining and the outer leather of each hard shoes upper. This provides added comfort, allows for air permeability and also helps to prevent the outer leather from stretching.
- All Corr's hard shoes have special heel guards (similar to those used in ballroom dancing shoes). These heel guards are constructed from special non-woven compressed fibers that aid in blister prevention and help to maintain the heel's shape. Without this, the leather in the heel may distort under heat and friction, leading to blisters.
- Corr's have added extra padding to the tongue of the shoe where a great deal of pressure is felt across the bridge of the foot when on pointe in hard shoes.
- Corr's introduced their adjustable strap and buckle, instead of a strap that is fixed in place, because every dancer's bridge of the foot is unique.
- Most importantly, Corr's introduced their special 'Flexi-Shank'™ and 'Super-Shank'™ in an effort to address the twin needs of arch support and flexibility of movement (a shank is a device placed into shoes as an arch support). Julian held to the belief that a dancer should be protected from arch support injuries and decided that he would never bring a hard shoe to the market that did not have sufficient arch support. The Corr's Flexi-Shank and Super-Shank give protection and support to the dancer's arch and yet, as the shanks are highly flexible, they don't impede in the performance and execution of the demands required from the dance. The Corr's Flexi-Shank and Super-Shank bend easily in response to the demands placed on them while dancing and yet provide ample support and shock absorption as they spring back to their original position after flexing.
- Corr's toe and heel tips are made from resin compounds, which are several times denser than fiberglass tips. It was discovered that the density of the substance from which the tips are made, and not its cubic volume, is what made for a much clearer, sharper and crisper sound. As our tips are so much denser, they need not be as bulky or cumbersome as some made of fiberglass. Add to this the dancer can stand securely on the balls of their feet, as in all other forms of dance. Corr's toe tips are also specially angled for safer and easier toe stands and walks.
- The shape of the Corr's hard shoe upper is taken from that of a classic men's ballroom shoe. It is a standard oxford-type shoe pattern and the higher bridge, or vamp, in the shoe lends for a greater feeling of security, particularly when the dancer is on pointe.
About Corr's Soft Shoes
- Corr's ghillies were designed all along to address the familiar stresses associated with dancing on unsprung floors. This includes particular attention focused on exactly the correct and appropriate form of padding for use in an Irish ghillie. After several trial versions, using different types of insocks, Julian happily settled on what he felt was the ideal padded insock for the Performance, Pro-Excel and Economy/Practice ghillies - one that was almost half the thickness of the original type of latex insock that he had been previously utilizing (this type being of a similar compression set /impact density to that used in the Corr's hard shoes). After several trials involving the cooperation of various Irish dancers it was determined that the insock that was both the most impact resistant and the most comfortable in performance was the present Corr's High-Density Low-Compression Set Grey Insock. Made from 2mm of condensed Neoprene rubber, it is extremely resilient and has superior shock-absorbing properties. This insock is half the thickness of its predecessor (making for more room in the shoe) and performed much better in impact resistance testing. In addition, there are extra foam latex pads fixed underneath the ball of the foot area, which is where most impact is applied. This double padding further aids the dancer when landing from jumps. The most outstanding feature of the Corr's ghillie is that the entire double padded insock takes up a surprisingly small amount of room in the shoes and yet perform their function most capably. This allows for an elegant look and line and a more traditional shape for the Corr's ghillie. The Corr's Champion split-sole ghillie's design required a different kind of specialized padding, and so two separate custom-designed Poron® pads are used to cushion both the metatarsal and heel areas - again, with double padding in the ball of the foot area.
Julian felt that all the comfort and safety features included here in the Corr's range ought to come in a dance shoe "as standard," and that people should not be expected to pay extra for features in dance shoes which ought to be there in the first place.
These various comfort and high-performance features are examples of the numerous principals that are applied to shoes across the Corr's range of products available. We are thankful for all the input from the many dancers who help in testing and trials and for all the advice and assistance we receive from the professional craftsmen and designers with whom we consult in conjunction with bringing this wonderful range of handcrafted shoes to the Irish dancer.