So, you’ve had a few ballroom lessons and you've decided that dancing is your thing. It's time then, to buy a proper pair of dancing shoes. They really do make a difference to your comfort, how well you dance and how long you can dance for. Dance shoes are constructed differently to normal shoes and are made of specific materials such as suede and leather. If you'd like to learn how to choose the best dancing shoes for you, here's a quick guide with all the must-have information.
Fit is Everything
The right pair of dance shoes should fit snugly and should never be loose. Having said that though, ensure that they don’t put pressure on any part of your foot. When it comes to size, your dance shoes will probably be a half size smaller than your everyday shoes.
Open or Closed Toe?
The style of toe depends on the type of dancing you’re doing. If you’re doing dancing such as Salsa, Rumba or swing, you will need to point your toes and articulate your feet more than for say, waltz. Open toe shoes facilitate this. The front opening means you’ll be able to execute that fancy footwork easier.
Closed toe shoes are better for traditional, classic dances like foxtrot and waltz. If you’re a beginner still deciding which type of dance is your favorite, it’s probably better to go for closed shoes. These will protect your toes from your beginner partner’s missteps and provide you with a little more support.
Women’s Latin and ballroom dance shoe heel heights are usually between one and a half and three inches. Men’s usually are about one inch high, but for Latin dance, a higher Cuban heel of about one and a half inches is recommended. Beginners are advised to choose a heel height that they are most comfortable with. If you don’t normally wear heels, then go for a low-heeled dance shoe.
It helps to know that heels come in different shapes and thicknesses too. Flared heels are ideal for newbies because they provide greater stability. Once you move up a level in your ability, you may be ready to try out a pair with thinner heels.
Here’s one area where dance shoes are very different from everyday shoes. Suede soles are ideal for dancing as they have exactly the right balance of slip and traction. They provide excellent control when executing turns and other moves on the dance floor. Every so often you will need to brush the soles with a special wire brush to preserve the rough texture.
Online or Instore?
There’s no denying the convenience and economy of online shopping, but for something like dance shoes fit is extremely important. Your shoes need to fit like a glove so it’s best if you can try them on before buying. If you must buy online, we recommend that you go to a dance store and try on the shoes you intend to purchase, or at least something from the same brand. Sizes vary among brands, so this will give you an idea of what to order.
Caring for Your Shoes
The worst thing to avoid if you want to preserve your shoes is moisture. If you don’t have a shoe tree, stuff your shoes with paper towels after removing them to absorb dampness. Remember though; dance shoes will never last as long as regular shoes. They’re made of more delicate fabric and are subject to a lot of wear and tear on the dance floor. It’s always a good option to have more than one pair if you are dancing regularly. This gives each pair time to dry out properly. Remember never to wear your dance shoes outdoors. Instead, wear a regular pair and change into your dance shoes once you arrive at the venue.
How Much Should You Pay?
As with most things, it’s better to pay a little more for a quality pair of dance shoes than to buy cheap, inferior brands. You also need to consider the damage these cheaper shoes can do to your feet in the long term. Expect to pay anywhere between one, and three-hundred dollars for a pair of Latin and ballroom shoes, for example.
We hope the above tips have given you a good idea of what to look out for when purchasing a pair of dance shoes. And by the way, if you’re in the market for dance shoes or any other kind of dancewear why not check out our fabulous range? Remember- clothes make you look great, but shoes make you dance!