If you ask any dancer what is the most important part of their body, most of them would say- feet. Dancers care for their feet just like any musician cares for his/her instrument. So, whether you are a professional dancer or just a beginner, wearing the proper shoes at dance classes is extremely important. You cannot just wear your regular footwear because it may lead to injuries, strain your feet and make it difficult for you to move freely.
Anyway, since there are many different dance styles nowadays, choosing the proper shoes might be a little bit tricky. That is why you need to consider some things before buying dancing shoes that can help you with your purchase.
Determine the Dance Style
One of the first steps when choosing dancing shoes is to consider the dance style you are going to use them for. Whether you like Latin, jazz, hip hop, tap dance, ballet, or you just want to try them all, you cannot use only one pair of dance shoes. Different dance forms require different shoes. For example – Latin dance requires shoes with open toes and higher heels because the height of the heel places the weight forward onto the ball of the foot, so the sole of the shoe can be flexible enough to point the foot while making turns and sharp movements.
Ballet shoes, on the other hand, are designed to protect your toes and they are different from shoes for salsa dancing or hip hop dancing (which is obvious). Anyway, if you are beginner, it is best to consult with your dancing instructor who can advise you to check out some stores or an online shop that offers a wide range of dance shoes in order to find the perfect ones for your dancing class.
Find the Right Fit
Finding properly fitting shoes for dancing is crucial, and that is why paying attention to sizing is essential. If they are too big, your footwork might suffer, but if they are too small they may pinch and blister hence making your dance lesson a painful experience. That is why your shoes should fit as snug as a bug in a rug while doing your favourite dance.
Choose Between Open and Closed Shoes
Open-toe shoes are better for Latin dances because they make it easier for dancers to point their feet and articulate dance steps. On the other hand, closed-toe shoes support movements that flow and are more appropriate for dances that require a lot of footwork like hip hop, waltz or foxtrot. They also offer more protection from hurting your feet or stubbing your toes.
Pick a Suitable Type of Heel
The type of heel depends on the type of dance. Salsa shoes for women, for example, have a heel for better balance to create a clean line. So, if you want to buy salsa shoes you should know that the most common sizes go between 5 and 7.6cm. However, if your like higher or lower shoes than the standard ones, you can go for shoes that are as low as 1.2cm or as highs as 10cm. The higher the heel, the more weight will be pushed forward to the ball of your foot that makes turning easier. However, if you are beginner, it is advisable to stick to the lower sizes until you can solidify your balance.
There are also different shapes of heels. Dancing shoes for women with flared heels provide more stability, while for men, a 1.2cm heel may work well for ballroom dance styles. As for Latin dance styles, a 3.8cm Cuban heel would be perfect.
Anyway, if you don’t have any issues with your feet and feel confident, instead of attending classes with practice shoes, don’t think a lot and take the real deal.
Consider the Looks
Your shoes for dancing should match your outfit, or they can be neutral so you can match them with multiple outfits. Because shoes are the most important thing that you wear while dancing, don’t compromise on the quality because of the appearance. Your dancing shoes should feel comfortable whether they catch the eye or not.
However, today there are many different dance shoes online that it is impossible not to find shoes that are comfortable and stylish at the same time. So, just like you can wear ballet flats in stylish ways, you can also come across actual ballerina shoes that look amazing and modern while keeping your feet comfy and protected.
Furthermore, different colours and materials may help you to express your personal style. Usually, when people choose their first shoes for dancing, they pick tan, bronze or flesh coloured leather shoes. On the other hand, female dancers who attend competitions, usually choose patent leather shoes due to their sharp look, while male competitors go for combinations of leather and suede.
Decide Upon the Material
The most common dancing shoes offered on the market are leather or suede/satin shoes. Quality leather dancing shoes are always the preferred option because they are breathable and can stretch and mould to the shape of the foot over time, which can provide you with more comfort than synthetic materials. There are also brands that have begun to produce vegan leather shoes as well, but they don’t stretch like authentic leather.
Suede shoes are very comfortable as well and they can conform well to the shape of the dancer’s feet. You can also dye suede shoes in different colours which can allow you to pair them with different dance outfits without breaking the bank.
Check the Soles
Soles are as important as the shoes. There are chrome, suede leather and smooth leather soles. Chrome soles can be used for any kind of surface, while suede leather works better with wooden flooring where can provide the right amount of grip and slide while moving on the dance floor.
However, it is advisable to not go for smooth leather soles if you are not a professional dancer because they are too slippery. Rubber soles may cause too much friction hence you may not be able to move freely. So, if you are a beginner it is advisable to avoid them.