Dancing Shoes – Essential Equipment
Dancing shoes are essential equipment for anyone who takes ballroom dancing even semi-seriously.
A good pair of dancing shoes enhances your look on the dance floor, imparts the essential elegance that is so much a part of formal dancing or dance lessons, protects your feet and, most importantly, helps make dancing fun! Most frequently asked question is what makes dance shoes different from street shoes and how does it feel during dance lessons.
- All dance shoes, both ladies and men’s have non-slip suede soles, a metal shank in the arch for support and they are very light-weight and flexible.
- Men’s dance shoes are typically black lace-up Oxfords with a flat heel for standard dances and a 1 to 2 inch heel for Latin dances.
- For women, form is almost as important as function, and shoe styles are as varied as dance categories — including Latin-American, Standard and Practice.
- Basic designs include open or closed toe pumps and sandals. Heels in women’s shoes are slim or flared and generally range in height from 1 to 3 inches. Slim heels make turns and other moves easier. Flared heels are preferred for the Latin dances because they provide more stability during practice or dance lessons.
- Women new to the world of ballroom dance may consider purchasing one pair of shoes that will work for a number dances — typically a closed-toe pump with a 2 to 2.5 inch flared heel and an ankle strap. These are referred to as standard, court or modern dance shoes.
- Latin dancers typically wear open-toed shoes or strappy sandals with a 3 inch flared heel. As you become more proficient, you can add more styles to your wardrobe to feel more comfortable on the dance lessons.
- Ballroom dance shoes come in a variety of colors. Black is the most popular. Many women choose flesh-colored shoes, which help extend the leg line, for competitions.
Women’s Latin Dance Shoes: Style and Fit
- For Latin ballroom dancing, women wear either pumps or sandals with a 2- or 3-inch heel. You may want to choose a lower height if you are not used to dancing in heels.
- Pumps are open along the sides of the feet, have a closed toe box and are secured with an ankle strap. Sandals are strappy and open-toed.
- Most often made of leather, women’s Latin dance shoes are lightweight, flexible and have suede soles, which provide the right blend of grip and slide while moving across the floor on the dance lessons, dance competitions or practicing.
- It’s best to purchase your first pair of Latin dance shoes in person, not online or from a catalog. When you shop, try several styles and brands. Look for a fit that is snug and hugs your foot, but is not too tight. Shoes that are too tight can cause blisters; those that are too loose can make you trip.
- For Latin sandals, the woman’s toe should be as close as possible to the front of the shoe. Some women prefer to have their toes extend or hang over the edge of the shoe so that they can point their toes more easily and feel the floor.
Men’s Latin Dance Shoes: Style and Fit
- Men’s Latin dance shoes are typically lightweight, flexible oxfords with a 1.5 inch “Cuban” heel and suede soles. Styles include white, black, two-tone spectator shoes and other color combinations.
- The shoes can be made of leather, nubuck or patent leather.
- The fit should be snug, but not too tight.
- Most men only purchase Latin shoes for competition purposes; dance lessons or any occasions in life, and you’ll seldom see men wearing Cuban heels when out for social dancing.