How to choose the correct dance shoes

If the Shoes Fit!

Dance shoes are VERY different from normal shoes. There have been many times I have seen women wearing regular heels to a ballroom dance class. This makes sense if you are trying the class and seeing if you want to do it, but be forewarned, your feet are going to hurt pretty badly!

Dance shoes are made specifically for dancing. The shanks are more flexible, and there is more support and cushion with the shoes themselves so your feet are taken care of as you dance. Your feet are tools for the art, and it is very important to take care of them. So how do you know what dance shoes to get? Well, have we got the blog post for you!

Men’s Shoes

Yes, men, you do have specific shoes you need to wear! The style of shoe you need to purchase will depend on which style you are wanting to dance. Luckily there are only two main styles for you! There is a shoe for Smooth Ballroom/International Ballroom (Waltz, Foxtrot, Quick Step, etc.) and a shoe for Latin (Rhumba, Tango, Salsa, etc.). Then the only other decision you will need to make is whether you want patent leather or not! Patent leather is leather that has been polished and is very shiny. You will see these especially at high levels of ballroom and for white-tie and black-tie events.

Men’s Latin shoes have a bit of a heel; Anywhere from a 1.5-inch to a 2-inch heel. They have a very flexible sole because they are built for those forward and backward movements on the ball of your foot, as well as the pointing of your foot.

Smooth Ballroom/International Ballroom:
These have a much more rigid soles than the Latin shoes since you will be walking on your heel. The heel is about an inch high and you will find these in either patent leather or matte. These shoes are suggested for beginners because you can wear them to competitions whether or not you are doing Latin until you reach a Bronze Level.

Women’s Shoes

Women, you have THREE types of shoes instead of just two. You have a shoe for International Ballroom, Smooth Ballroom, and Latin. I will break down why each of these shoes are different and the strength of the shoes below.

International Ballroom:
These shoes are satin and have a closed toe with a very sturdy heel. These were made for the dances where you walk on your heels instead of your toes; because of this it is nearly impossible to dance Latin. The shoes are usually a flesh colored satin, but some competitors will have them dyed to match their dresses. The heel is about 2 to 2.5-inches tall, and you can either get them with or without a strap.

These shoes are worn for Latin and American Rhythm. They are open toed and often strappy looking and made of satin. You will usually see them either flesh colored or bronze. The heel is 2.5 to 3-inches tall. Latin shoes have a much less sturdy heel, and they are made to dance more on the ball of your foot as well as pointing your foot. It is suggested that beginners start with this shoe because you can dance Latin/Rhythm and Standard/Smooth styles with these shoes, whereas the International Ballroom shoes are much too rigid to dance any Latin. These are acceptable to wear to competitions for all styles up until Bronze Level.

Smooth Ballroom:
These have the sturdy heel of the International Ballroom shoe and the flexibility in the soles like the Latin shoes. These are usually about 2 to 2.5-inches tall and have a closed toe. For competitions you can wear them as either flesh colored or dyed to match your dress. These work great for social dancing, and can be found in many, many colors!

I hope this helps you find a shoe that works for your dance needs as well as answer any questions you may have had about styles! Happy dancing!