Breaking in New Ghillies
So you’ve got yourself a new pair of ghillies and now what do you do? First off, don’t just shove your foot in and hope for the best! In order to make sure that the ghillie stretches the way you want, it is important to take your time and fit it correctly onto your foot. Break in time can vary greatly depending on the thickness of the leather and how far you have sized down.
1. Loosen laces so top will open up as far as possible.
2. Slide foot in so that only the toes and ball of foot are in the ghillie. Then smooth the ghillie around the toes and ball of foot until the front of the ghillie is where you want it to be. (I choose not to wear socks while breaking in a new pair. I don’t know whether or not this really makes a difference, but I feel like they mold better to my foot this way.)
3. Slip the back over your heel and tie ghillie with a medium tension. Don’t cut off your circulation, but it still needs to be tight enough that the leather will stretch. (When trying out a new ghillie style, this step is usually most telling for me, as far as sizing is concerned. If the heel slips on too easily, I probably should have sized down.)
4. I buy my ghillies pretty tight (I wear a street shoe size 7.5 and I usually order a 3.5) so the first time I put them on, I like to sit around and watch some TV or work (I may even do this two or three times) before I try walking around in them.
5. Then, I will wear them around the house until they have stretched enough that I can hop without hurting my toes, but they are still a bit tighter than I would like for a
6. I will practice in them once in front of the mirror to make sure they look the way I want them to. If by the end of practice I can hop comfortably and they have clean lines with a smooth fit, I will throw them into my ghillie rotation.
The lifecycle of a ghillie:
- National competitions
- Highland competitions
- Performances/ Workshops
- Practice/ Classes
Going in this order helps me to extend the life of my ghillies. The downside to this cycle is that you will have to buy new ghillies more often, rather than relying on the same pair until they die. However, if you are going to spend the money to enter a competition, you should compliment all the work you’ve done in class and at home by putting your best ghillied foot forward. Why bother working on those half points if your stretched out ghillies are just going to gobble them up when it counts?! Luckily, once they get down to Step 4, a pair that has been broken in nicely can stick around for a good long while. Happy ghillie stretching!
*Feature Story by Anna Fitzgerald, Performance Coordinator/Dancer Shot of Scotch NYC