FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Questions answered by our founder Rob Corbett:
WHAT'S IT FEEL LIKE?
Sneakers that slide like dress shoes.
Go try on some $600 luxury dress shoes with Italian leather soles that slide, then imagine if they were as comfortable as sneakers. "Feels like a Nike that glides like a Gucci." "Feels like Adidas that slide like Pradas."
Have you ever worn bedroom slippers on hardwood floor? It’s like that, but with way more cushioning. Have you ever slid in your socks on hardwood floor? It’s like that, but with way more cushioning. Have you ever worn bowling shoes? It's like that, but with way more cushioning.
It is NOT like walking on ice, which is NOT fun. Humans have worn natural leather soles for thousands of years because leather is the best natural material on Earth for shoe soles--- and now we're combining this awesome ancient NATURAL material with the 21st century comfort of sneakers. Please read OUR STORY to fully understand.
WHAT ARE GROOVE SOLES MADE OUT OF?
We use the very best leather in the world from Tuscany Italy, the same ultra-premium source as Gucci, Prada, and Louboutin. Why? Because nothing else works as well. We've tried countless alternatives. Nothing else is even close.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
While Gucci / Prada / Louboutin shoes with Italian leather soles cost between $600 to $3000, we will fully install the best Italian leather soles on Earth to your sneakers + tax + shipping for $200 total.
I wish there were a cheap easy way to make your sneakers slide smoothly for years like they will with our ultra-premium Italian leather soles, but there isn't. I've tried everything over the past 10 years since we made the first pair, and nothing else ever works right. If you want to groove, you gotta pay your dues, but it's worth it. I've had more fun the past 10 years in these shoes than in the previous 20 years before that. It's such a positive life-changer.
Furthermore, our hand-crafted process requires masterful craftsman skills that take many years to hone, and also requires over ten thousand dollars in obscure shoe-making equipment, so this is not something you can do in your garage. Unfortunately I had to double our prices this year when the costs of leather & labor doubled on us
HOW LONG DO GROOVE SOLES LAST?
It's like a skateboard deck: it depends how hard YOU grind them down.
A) They can last for YEARS if you only ever wear them for concerts, nightclubs, dance-fitness classes, or just groovin' at home. For example, the Groove Soles on these Nike low-tops in our intro video are 5 years old but they still work amazingly well. I wore them heavily in 2010-2011, including a 10-hour groovathon on the asphalt streets of the Long Beach Funk Fest 2011 (photo below). Then I retired them for fresh kicks, except for occassional use. The wear you see on the heel and medial forefoot hasn't affected their groove yet, though. If I had to enter a "longest slide contest" I would use these; they slide so well after all these years.
B) If you ONLY ever wear them indoors they could last forever. I made these Converse in 2011 and have NEVER worn them outdoors. I only use them for indoor Groove Workouts on hardwood floors, and they are still amazing after 4 years. This is how Groove Soles look when they're fully broken-in and at their best:
B) However, if you do a lot of big slides on rough surfaces like streets (which you should NOT do), the soles will obviously wear down much faster. So don’t do that. We filmed shot this street-slide video during our R&D process, but it was NOT fun at all. Landing a rail-slide with your feet dead-stopping on pavement sucks compared to landing a railslide on a skateboard that keeps rolling. Same with wall-slides, etc.
D) If you only ever use them indoors on CARPET, they will probably last indefinitely because carpet won't grind them down like other surfaces can. But in general, the short answer to how long Groove Soles will last if you rock them hard every weekend like I do at concerts & clubs is: “about a year.”
WHAT SURFACES ARE BAD FOR GROOVE SOLES?
Walking on rough cement sidewalks wears down the heel-strike area like a stroke of sandpaper with each step you take. So try to avoid walking on rough surfaces when you can. A friend of mine who doesn’t dance loves walking in Groove Soles because he has damaged knees from a skiing accident many years ago, and walking in Groove Soles is good for your knees; his soles wear down WAY faster than mine, and he doesn't even dance!
I’ve put these old-school Nike BRS high-tops through heavy abuse since putting Groove Soles on them in 2011. As you can see, the leather on the heel is gone but this is from walking (on the way to nightclubs, concerts, etc). You might look at these and think the soles are shot, but they actually still work great. In fact here’s video of a big slide I did in December 2014 at an airport. (I wouldn't have brought them on that trip if they still didn't work great!)
So if your Groove Soles' heels wear down because you do too much walking on rough sidewalks & streets, don’t think “Oh no, these are done, I can't use them anymore.” They will still work. They’re usable until the front area wears down to the rubber, because then it will affect your grooves.
WHAT SURFACES ARE BEST FOR GROOVE SOLES?
I’ve learned that not only is every floor slightly different from every other floor, but sometimes even the same floor can perform differently than it did at other times, depending on various factors (e.g., if it’s clean or dirty, if it’s been smoothed down by tons of people walking on it, etc).
In general, the best surfaces are:
- Smooth natural hardwood floors
- Smooth synthetic hardwood floors
- Thin carpets
- Very smooth cement floors
- Smooth floors made with tiles or marble or whatever
- Matted down grass at music festivals
Thin carpets can be AMAZING, but carpets can also be tricky. Here’s 4 examples:
1) In 2014 at the Orpheum Theatre in LA, I had fun doing huge slides on the carpet in the lobby. So when I went back to the Orpheum in 2015 I was excited to do it again, but when I first walked in, those same carpets didn’t slide at all! I didn’t understand. But then about an hour later during the band’s set break, the same carpets slid really well again. I think the difference was in the beginning the carpets were probably super clean & bristly, but then after thousands of people walked on them, the carpets slid well again because all that human weight had smoothed them down.
2) The Wiltern Theatre in LA has these amazing carpeted ramps that I love. The big slide in this video below was from July 2011 (in the black-n-white Nike low-tops shown above). I probably did 50-75 big slides that night on carpeted ramps because it was so much fun, and I got the idea that someday it would be amazing to have a place built for doing that— kind of like an indoor skatepark but with carpeted ramps for our shoes. It feels like surfing / snowboarding / skimboarding and feels great for your legs, abs, and core strength. Honestly, if there were a place with carpeted ramps where I could do this every day, I would!
3) In May 2011 we went to the sports science lab at USC’s Clinical Exercise Research Center to determine how many calories you can burn by grooving in Groove . (720 to 900 calories per hour, depending how hard you groove; those numbers are comparable to spin class or jogging 6 miles per hour… but grooving’ is a lot more fun!). We did it in the weight room, which had very thin gray carpets like you see in many offices. Those thin gray “industrial” carpets usually slide really well, and this one at USC’s weight room was amazing.
4) In 2012, I got a room at the Groove Lab re-carpeted because the old one didn’t slide. So I got the thinnest gray “industrial” carpet that the carpet store had… but it didn’t slide!! Ugh. Sucks. I was so disappointed. Maybe the key ingredient with thin carpets that slide well is that they’ve been worn down for years by the weight of people walking on them. I’m not 100% sure, but the point is, EVERY carpet performs differently based on its composition and any materials or residues that may or may not be on them.
CAN I RE-SOLE THE SAME SNEAKERS AGAIN IF THE SOLES WEAR OUT?
WILL I FALL ON MY ASS?
Before I answer this question, check out these photos of people in the 1930s-1960s rocking shoes with FULL leather soles like ours. No rubber on the heels at all. Just pure natural leather soles because that's how EVERYONE rolled before rubber soles:
See? Everyone used to dance in full leather soles like ours before the world got "stuck in rubber" over the past 40 years.
Groove Soles have the same NATURAL traction levels as NATURAL leather soles that humans wore for thousands of years. We did not invent some crazy slippery new material; we're just bringing back a NATURAL material that people wore for thousands of years, all the way through the 1960s-1970s before artificial rubber soles took over culture. Furthermore, the soles on the womens' high heeled shoes by Nine West that we scientifically tested with physics engineer / traction expert John Tyson PE were TWICE as slippery as Groove Soles.
If your grandparents and their grandparents could handle leather soles, so can you! The Nicholas Brothers (the tuxedo'd legends in the photos above) even used to do backflips in leather soles. So let's chill out about how "dangerous" leather soles are: it's what humans wore for over 5000 years until just recently.
And now to finally answer the question directly: YES, you will probably fall at least once, especially if you make the mistake of getting too drunk, and double-especially if you're too drunk on a soaking wet floor.
It's like skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing, or learning to ride a bicycle for the first time: you might fall until you get the hang of it, but then it's easy. I never fell once the first year I did it. It's not hard.
To be honest, the only complaint I ever get from people is that they wish the shoes were MORE slippery. Maybe the fact that we use intense sliding moves in our videos to grab people's attention gives a false impression that the soles are crazy slippery, but they're really not as slippery as some people expect. There's a reason why millions of shoe-makers used natural leather soles on shoes for thousands of years before rubber soles took over culture during recent years: it's because leather is the best natural material on Earth for shoe soles! If leather was crazy slippery like ice, millions of shoe-makers all around the world wouldn't have used it for the past 5000 years. And honestly, when soles are too slippery it is NOT fun or enjoyable, which is exactly why we DO NOT paint our soles any more, which brings me this:
The soles we painted may look cool but they SUCK to use in real life. Way too slippery. Not fun at all. Feeling like you're on ice is NOT enjoyable. It blows. You need enough traction to control what you're doing, so raw natural leather works best. We NEVER paint soles anymore because it makes too slick and they can mark your floors up with paint. As for this pair of Nike Conventions x Groove Soles, I went outside and shredded the paint off by grinding them on rough cement. After the paint wore down to the raw natural leather, they worked right, and became one of my favorite shoes ever because of their comfort & fit.
WHAT IF GROOVE SOLES GET WET?
1. Avoid wet surfaces as much as possible. Water can damage leather. Again, just wear Groove Soles to concerts, clubs, dance-fitness classes, and / or just grooving for fun at home.
2. If you find yourself on a slightly wet floor, natural leather soles can actually absorb that slight moisture and actually get LESS slippery.
3. If you find yourself on a very wet floor, it will probably be very slippery in Groove Soles, which isn’t fun. Your body’s natural stabilization skills will instinctively adapt to this slippery situation, but move to a drier area to avoid slipping and / or damaging your soles with water. [Note: to be completely honest, though, I personally take wet floors as a challenge to improve my coordination and step up my game. Your body's natural stabilization skills instinctively kick in on slippery surfaces, but your mind needs to sharply focus too, which is why drunks are a way more likely to fall on wet floors in Groove Soles than non-drunks. On the other hand, sometimes when a dance floor is wet, I'll either go grab a stack of napkins from the bar to clean it up, or ask one of the club's employees to please have someone mop up the wet floor.]
4. If your soles got soaking wet, then take your shoes off as soon as you get home and let them dry upside-down with the soles facing upward. You can also dry them off a bit with paper towels, etc.
WHAT IF I STEP IN GUM?
It sucks, just like it does in rubber soles. It really pisses me off that some people spit out their gum on the floors of music venues. WTF? Anyway, you can scrape gum off with a plastic knife, or, if you can't find anything else, with your fingers (then go wash your hands, of course).
WILL MY MUSCLES BE SORE AFTER MY FIRST SESSIONS?
YES. It's similar to how your muscles get sore after your first day snowboarding
In Groove Soles, you will be invigorating deep muscles in your body that have been neglected your whole life by wearing rubber soles all the time.
Your calfs, quads, and hamstrings will probably be sore after the first few sessions until your muscles get used to these fun natural motions.
I remember my calfs used to get sore during my first year in Groove Soles (they also get a lot more toned, which is a plus), but after that I can’t remember them getting sore much.
My right hamstring can get sore after huge sessions because I am right-footed, so my weight is usually planted on my right leg which is doing most of the work while my left floats around doing moves. But hey, as with any sport or exercise, getting sore muscles is just part of becoming stronger / better / etc.
Huge long slides will make you sore too. One day I was in Home Depot getting supplies for the Groove Lab, and their floors are sooooo smooooooooooth that I wound doing about 30 huge long slides down empty aisles. (See video below). It was so much fun, but my thighs were sore the next day, even though my body is very used to groovin’ in Groove Soles after 5 years of it. But a day of sore thighs was a small price to pay for all those fun slides!
I think I had more fun that day in Home Depot than any human being has ever had in a Home Depot:
DO YOU EVER PUT A LITTLE RUBBER TRACTION ON THE HEEL?
We tried this a few times during R&D but it absolutely SUCKS. Ruins the whole experience. You can’t slide, can’t groove naturally, etc. It feels like when your shopping cart at the supermarket has a wheel that doesn’t turn. Lame. Annoying. Unnatural.
Human beings NEVER wore rubber soles for 99.9% of human history, so please stop thinking that some rubber is absolutely required because that is complete nonsense.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE SHOES YOU'VE HAD?
I loved these shoes listed below because they were very comfortable and fit my feet well. I prefer high-tops for grooving because when you spin / slide / groove it feels better to have that material around your ankles spinning around with you.
(Keep in mind my feet are U.S. size 15, so there’s not a lot of shoes for me to choose from. I’d love to try to the new adidas Boost ADV because Boost cushioning is amazing but they don’t make ADV's in my size! Come on, adidas!)
- SUPRA Skytop (best comfort ever)
- Adidas AdiRise
- Nike Convention (the red Nike high-tops in the photo earlier on this page, and in the Home Depot slide video)
- Converse EVO (the photo earlier on this page where I said this how Groove Soles look at their best)
- Vans Chukka low-tops
WHAT HAPPENED TO GRV's ORIGINAL SHOES?
To mass-produce a wide selection of excellent sneakers that are as high quality as the very best shoes by adidas, Converse John Varvatos, Nike, SUPRA, et al, requires millions of dollars in capital and full-time staffs of relentless Quality Control agents living in Asia to oversee the factories' every move. So it makes more sense for us to add our revolutionary Groove Soles to your favorite shoes that you already know perfectly fit your feet & your style. Someday in the future we will do our own line of Original Groove shoes again, but first we just want to get you all groovin' in your favorite shoes by those awesome brands whose quality we trust & styles we love.
IS THERE A VEGAN ALTERNATIVE TO LEATHER SOLES?
As far as we know, there is currently no other material that works as well for sliding / grooving as the best natural leather soles do. We've tried many alternatives over the years, but nothing else even comes close to working right.
Our utility patent for sliding soles for athletic shoes covers an unlimited range of materials that we can potentially use for our sliding soles. Leather is very expensive, so we would embrace a more efficient alternative made with natural materials that enable fun natural motions.
If you can find a better material or want to help us develop a NATURAL material that will perform on dance floors exactly like the best Tuscan Italian leather soles in the world do, please let us know.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SNEAKERS TO ADD GROOVE SOLES TO?
Click the image below to go to our ORDER page where you can see over 200 sneakers that are good for Groove Soles.
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