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Dance Shoe FAQ

“Why do I need suede-sole dance shoes?”

Having the right pair of dance shoes makes dancing more comfortable and more enjoyable. The proper pair of shoes will help with your balance, help with your turning, and will significantly reduce your fear of slipping and falling.

If you are dancing fairly often, you should treat yourself to some good dance shoes. Proper Swing, Latin and Ballroom dance shoes are lightweight, fit closely to your foot, and have a suede sole. Suede is the perfect material for dancing on hardwood floors as it neither slides too much, nor sticks too much — it grips the floor perfectly.

Good dance shoes have suede soles specifically to give you just the right amount of slip-and-grip. They are as light as a feather, have built-in extra cushioning, and have a steel shank that runs from the center into the heel for fantastic support.

You want shoes that will let you safely pivot or spin halfway around on one foot. Your shoes should let you pivot freely (to avoid knee damage), but not let you slip and fall.  Rubber-soled sneakers, hiking boots, etc., stick and don’t allow you to pivot freely. Leather soled shoes are too slippery and don’t allow you to grip the floor. Also avoid flip flops, clogs, shoes that don’t strap you in securing your ankles and heels.

“What height heel do I need?”

For both women’s and men’s dance shoes, you have a selection of heel heights, however the obvious advice is to get whatever you find comfortable!

Men’s shoes come in a 1″ Standard Heel, and a 1.5″ Latin Heel.

Women’s shoes range from 1″ all the way up to a 3″ High Heel.

“Should I get a pointy heel or chunky heel?”

Most women’s ballroom dance shoe styles come with heels that narrow to a stiletto-like point, but we have many styles with heels that are more similar to what you’ll find on regular women’s “street shoes”.

Many women find the full-sized heel to be more stable and therefore more comfortable for classes.

“Should I get closed-toe or open-toe?”

Ladies, let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment:

While learning to dance for the first time, we want a closed-toe dance shoes with a built-in early-warning system!

However, for those of us who have been known to sacrifice comfort for fashion when buying our street shoes, we can be reassured by the fact that men’s dance shoes are just as soft and lightweight as all those great-looking women’s dance shoes you see here.

So maybe we don’t need that early-warning system after all….

“Should I get insoles, or wear thick socks?”

Ideally your dance shoes will be so comfortable and form-fitting that they will fit like a second skin. You want your dance shoes to become an extension of yourself — a part of your body. Ideally, you won’t even be aware that you are wearing shoes!

Now, if you are prone to cold feet then by all means pull on the winter woolies! However most people fit their shoes for wear with nylons or dress socks.

If your shoes have room in them, you’ll definitely want to wear inserts if needed. You can probably double the number of hours you can dance in comfort with the proper pair of insoles. The difference is amazing.

Some women’s sandal-like dance shoes might appear as though they cannot accommodate an insole. However most do. Be sure to bring your insoles with you when trying on a new pair of dance shoes.

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