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Beginners: picking the perfect pair of dance shoes

Posted on December 12 2016

When you're just starting out, the world of dance shoes can be quite overwhelming. What makes a good pair? What exactly will you need at your level, and what kind of heel should the shoe have when there's so many options?!

We're here to help you get over that overwhelm and pick the perfect pair of dance shoes for your level!

First off, if you're truly just starting out on the dance floor, you can possibly get away with a pair of non-dance shoes. A common mistake, made my newbies is wearing shoes with a rubber sole. While it may seem like a good idea, when you're ballroom dancing, you need to be able to glide across the floor and rubber soles are designed to stop you from doing exactly that. Find a pair of shoes with a leather sole. 

If you don't have any leather soled shoes, then it will be worth it to invest in a pair of dance shoes. Shoes that have been made specifically for dance have a leather or suede sole that allows the dancer to grip the floor, but easily slide across it. 

You'll also notice that these suede soled shoes are quite thin. This is so the dancer can truly feel the floor below them - it's this connection that helps dancers move so gracefully. 

Second, the heel. When you're first starting out, make sure you don't get a very high heel. Dance shoes are designed with dance in mind - therefore, the heel placement is slightly different than regular street shoes. This can throw off your balance slightly if you're not used to it. If you're unable to easily walk in a pair of dance shoes - dancing in them will be even more difficult. 

We recommend starting with a heel height of 1 - 1.5 inches. This will allow you to get a bit of height, while also staying close to the ground to get the feel of your shoes and the movements you'll be learning. You can gradually increase the height as you advance through your lessons. 

Third, the fit. Make sure your shoes are a snug fit. If your shoes are too big, causing your foot to move around - then it will be much easier for you to trip and injury yourself. You should be able to wiggle your toes, while not being able to slide your foot around in the shoes. Snug, but comfortable is what you're looking for here. 

The shoes a dancer selects is one of the most important decisions they make since in dance, your shoes are an extension of your legs and feet - a dancer's most important tools. Your first pair of dance shoes is an exciting investment. Make sure you're looking for a high quality pair of shoes that will help you advance your dancing. They should be comfortable and flexible to allow you to wear them for long periods of time without any pain.

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