Bleyer is a German company that makes dance shoes. The pictured shoes were designed for swing dancing. They are often, but not always, made partially of leather (the pictured shoes have partial leather, partial synthetic uppers). One of their more peculiar features is that Bleyer sells the insoles to its shoes separately. The shoes are not inexpensive, depending on the exchange rate, and neither are the insoles. While the shoes are, in this writer’s opinion, of quality material and workmanship – aside from the leather uppers, which I strongly prefer in my dance shoes, they tend to be light weight and reasonably well cushioned – selling shoes without insoles is a ridiculous practice. Here are the insoles Bleyer shoes arrive without:
These insoles are available for £13.99. They provide little support for those with pronation or high arches, and are, peculiarly, padded heavily at the heel and minimally under the ball of the foot. They are, however, better than no insoles at all. Or you could just walk down to the drug store and buy some $5 Spencos. Buyer’s choice.
Once upon a time, Bleyers were the preferred shoes of the swing dance community in the United States. They have long since fallen out of favor, having been replaced by Aris Allen shoes. This is a shame, as, in this writer’s opinion, Bleyers, though not perfect, are a higher quality shoe. While Aris Allen shoes are attractive and regionally in vogue (a not inconsequential consideration in the cliquish and insular universe of swing venues) they are rarely, if ever, made of leather and provide little to no arch support, less even than the minimally supportive Bleyer insoles. The suede soles of my most recent pair of Aris Allens detached from the shoe within a month. While this is fixable with some shoe goo, in my opinion it speaks to the workmanship of the shoe. I regularly have other kinds of shoes sueded by the cobbler. These soles last for years.
The shoes from both companies are sadly better suited to the wide footed. This writer has high insteps and narrow heels. Neither shoe company has made a standard shoe, like those pictured here, that satisfactorily stays put for me.
Bleyer shoes are no longer readily available in the United States, and must be ordered from over seas.