Manufacturers must submit actual consumer model shoes to us for review. Not prototypes.
Once a shoe has been received it is assigned a tester. Testers are chosen based on the target market for the particular model. For example, inexpensive beginner shoes go to beginners. High-tech models go to advanced dancers.
Tests are conducted blind. Meaning the tester is given only the information that accompanies the consumer shoe. We do not provide them with additional “Inside” information. We then let the dancer do what he/she does best. Beat shoes.
Testers are monitored constantly throughout the testing process. Note worthy developments are recorded by the hour in which they occur. Much of testing is video taped. (however not as a rule and not necessarily)
Reviews consider several key factors in our testing sessions.
Aesthetic. How the shoe looks out of the box and on the foot?
Functionality. Does it do what it should according to its target market?
Durability. Does the shoe last long enough to justify its cost? During initial testing we expose the shoes to regular wear and abuse over the course of 100 hours. This test time may include teaching, in-class learning, competing and performing. At this point an initial review is posted on our site and we confer with the makers about our findings.
However, the shoe has only undergone half of its trial. The Durability test consists of another 100 hours of use. We apply any necessary repairs needed within reason and only if necessary. Given the shoe is holding up enough to warrant such a repair. This we do in anticipation that a consumer may do the same to a limited degree.
In the mean time we poll dancers around the world for their opinions of the shoe. Consumer input represents approximately 50% of our overall final review opinion.
Once the second hundred hours of testing are complete the shoe receives our final review. By this time some revisions in the shoe design have occurred and we reflect that in our review.
Manufacturers may submit newer models as changes in design occur but each generation of the product must receive the full battery of tests before we review the changes.
In our review we will make note of any positive or negative concern only when it is inconsistent with the average of other brands. For example, if a part fails relatively quickly when compared to the average of similar products, that is worthy of note. However, if a part fails consistently with the average of failure for that part then it is not worthy of note.
Conversely, if a product displays a feature of positive note above the average of other brands it is also worthy of note.