Ballroom dancing isn’t folding up anytime soon. So popular is this pastime that dance studios and social halls have even expanded their venues to accommodate ballroom dancing activities for all ages. This era of influence is also seen in shows like Dancing with the Stars, reality series Dance Moms, and a dance number here and there injected into modern movies. If best top reviews were to be observed, dancing clothes and shoes are still among the most sought after gear when finding online product reviews.
Whether it be the waltz, tango, foxtrot to the Latin styles of rumba, cha-cha, samba to the rhythm moves of the swing and salsa, the feet play very prominently in ballroom dancing. It’s all but natural for dancers to take care of their feet, footwear included. If your feet hurt, it’s possible you’re not wearing the right dancing shoes.
A note for novices: regular shoes are different from dance shoes! If you want to be comfortable and avoid sprained ankles, here are suggested criteria that the right ballroom dancing shoes need to meet.
The Dancing Shoes Checklist for Men and Women
The Fit. The saying “fits like a glove” definitely applies to your dancing shoes! If your regular shoes need a little “breathing space,” you can scrap that idea when it comes to your dancing shoes. They need to be snug so that the shoes are one with the feet in every dance footwork. Make sure it is not too tight – shoes that hug the feet too much will compromise comfort, thus resulting in blisters or causing serious falls.
The Sole. The underside of your ballroom dancing shoes matter. Daily-wear shoes have soles of rubber or hard hide. However, for dancing shoes, suede is highly recommended. Dance experts and even physical therapists agree that suede bottoms provide the best options for gripping on dance floors and prevents sudden slips and slides that could be dangerous to your legs and knees.
The Material. Dancing shoes are not meant for outdoors or hard street surfaces, so they are made of soft leather with flexible soles. Even the straps in ladies’ dancing shoes are more functional than aesthetic and should be just as flexible. Many of the straps are lined with stretchable fabric underneath so that it adjusts as you move.
The Height. This pertains to the heel of the shoes, both for men and women. Shoes too low and showmanship could be affected; heels too high and you are bound to limited steps or risk injury while dancing. Having the right shoe height is important to your dancing, overall look and appearance, and safety. For men, one to two inches heel is preferred. For women, it’s a bit tricky as there are different styles to heels as well. There’s the slim heel, suitable for most ballroom dancing styles, flared heel for Latin-style dances, and the low-heeled Cuban type suitable for beginners and children. Flared heels are popular choices because it’s thick enough to provide stable support but not too chunky to throw off a dancer’s whole look. Novice dancers can work with a heel height of one inch while the more experienced dancers can twirl comfortably in heels up to three inches in height.
The Look. Overall, you want ballroom dancing shoes to work for both your feet and your appearance. As a dancer, flash and flare is part of the fashion, and you want to look your best. If dancing is a passion and hobby that you dedicate some serious time to, have at least two pairs that work with most of your ballroom dancing outfits.
The Budget. All things in the checklist considered, it will lastly boil down to cost. Ballroom dancing shoes certainly don’t come cheap – the good ones, at least. While you can always shop for lower-priced shoes, think of them also as an investment. They certainly do not have to be a top brand or very expensive, but do keep in mind that well-constructed footwear is comfortable, lasts for years, and helps prevent dancing accidents. Decide on a price ceiling and shop around from the options available. It takes a bit of searching, but if you’re patient enough, you’ll find a pair that matches your criteria and money. You can also take to the web by looking for online product reviews.
This six-point checklist is meant to be a helpful guide when you choose the right ballroom dancing shoes. More importantly, once you have the right pair, dance in them often!