How to pick the perfect pair of ballroom dance shoes?
Posted on March 30 2016
Selecting a ballroom dance shoe is one of the most important decisions a dancer can make. While you may not spend the majority of your time in a performance shoe, your presentation during performance and competition is critical. In order to keep your feet safe as you move freely around the dance floor, a perfect fit is imperative. In this article, we'll cover the most important things to consider when choosing the perfect dance shoe.
Maya Kolesnikova, Ballroom Dance Instructor
is modeling in iLoveDanceShoesFirst of all, it is important to note that it is not a good idea to dance in your street shoes or regular high heeled shoes. Dance shoes are engineered to provide support where dancers need it most. They also often have suede soles that help you move freely across the dance floor while still providing traction when necessary. If you're going to invest in ballroom dancing lessons or you're interested in competing, the first thing you need to do is invest in a proper pair of dance shoes. You can read more about why you shouldn't dance in street shoes here.
The fit is the first most important thing to consider. An improperly fitted shoe can easily lead to injury. If your shoe is too small, you can quickly experience blistering and bleeding. If your shoe is too large, you could twist your ankle, fall, or experience blistering. Your foot should fit snugly in the shoe and shouldn't be able to move around at all while not being so tight that they are painful.
Be aware of the material the shoe is made out of. Some materials can more easily cause blistering and cuts. For example, satin shoes are quite soft and supple, while non-leather shoes with synthetic uppers may not allow your foot to breathe, causing chafing and blistering. Additionally, leather shoes will stretch over time, so make sure that you leave room for that to happen.
Click here to read more about sizing and how to fit your dance shoes.
The second thing to consider is the style. Ballroom dancers primarily wear closed toe shoes with medium to moderately high heels. This provides a more classic look for dances like that Foxtrot or the Walz. Most ballroom dance shoes are neutral colours like black, gold, and skin toned so that the shoe appears as an extension of the dancer's leg.
In terms of closures, traditional dance shoes typically have strap closures, for example, the T-strap. This gives the dancer a significant amount of support while still looking very elegant.
For stabilization, the heel should be central, which provides the support necessary for smooth, backwards moves. The traditional heel height is 3", but in general, you should never wear heels that are uncomfortable or difficult for you to move in.
Click here to learn more about how to pick the right heel height for your shoes.
Dance shoes are not always the most comfortable to wear for long periods of time. When you put them on, they shouldn't be painful and should be easy for you to move in. However, for practicing, it's usually best to get a pair of dance shoes designed for practice. This will ensure you don't get injured and you can dance for long periods of time.