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Let’s Choose the Perfect Dance Shoes

Many people love shoes and dancing offers so many new and exciting opportunities to acquire more.

It’s partly fashion, of course, but there are some very important things to consider first when choosing dance shoes. 

A pair of quality dance shoes, which have unique and special construction and materials, will help you learn better and dance longer. 

Aside from the variety of styles, heel height, open and closed toe, comfort, superior support, and freedom of mobility are critical.

While there are many things to consider, the experts say it comes down to this: dance shoes should feel like an extension of your body and need to feel like they fit perfectly. 

The term “fits like a glove” applies here. How the shoe fits and feels varies depending on different shoe types designed for specific dances.

That said, all types of dance shoes should fit snugly to the foot. Once your foot is in the shoe, you should not be able to move it.

A shoe may seem more comfortable when you try it on if it’s a bit loose, but the foot won’t be able to properly grip when on the dance floor and could throw you off balance.

On the flip side, if the shoe is too tight, you won’t have the proper flexibility, which  could cause serious injuries.

So where do you start when it counts to choosing dance shoes?

Choose a shoe that is half a size or one size smaller than your typical shoe size. That should be close to the proper fit for a dance shoe. Keep in mind that the difference between snug and tight can be very slight. We’ll share what you need to know to ensure you understand how it “should” feel.

A snug shoe should be form fitting to the foot, with just enough room to wiggle the toes. There should be no slipping in the heel.

If it’s too tight, you’ll know. A dance shoe that is too tight will hurt immediately. Your foot will feel uncomfortable making it hard to make the slightest movements.

If your feet hurt, even when just standing in them, the shoe is too small. 

Once you understand the fit, here are some other things to consider, which play a part in your decision.

   1. Open toe vs. closed toe depends on what dance style you’ll be doing.

For beginners who are learning multiple dance styles, open toe shoes or Latin dance shoes are recommended since you can pretty much do all styles in them. 

   2. Heel Heights

For beginning dancers, choose a heel height that gives you the most comfort. Bottom line. if you are not used to wearing heels, it’s a good idea to start with a lower heel. A flared heel is a good option as it gives you more stability. For men’s dance shoes, unless you are participating in dance competitions, a ½ inch heel is usually fine for all types of ballroom dancing.

   3. What about the soles?

Suede soled shoes are recommended for your dance shoes. The suede sole will give you the right amount of slip and traction so you feel more balanced. You’ll also have more control when turning and moving around the dance floor. And suede soles won’t mar the dance floor

   4. Care

What’s the No. 1 thing that kills a dance shoe? While it could be your partner constantly stepping on your feet, it’s more likely to be moisture. Always dry out shoes after you dance and allow enough time to dry out before the next use. Also, never wear your dance shoes outdoors! Best to bring them to the studio and change there. It’s important to protect the very delicate suede leather, which can be damaged easily by harsh objects and water.

   5. Cost

Cost will vary depending on brand and quality. It is definitely worth spending a little more money on quality shoes. A good pair of dance shoes can last much longer and give you more comfort and support when learning to dance.

You are going to be wearing these shoes a lot. You need to be comfortable to spend hours in them, practicing and performing. A brand new pair of dance shoes should feel tight, but not painfully so. Over time and use, the material will stretch and loosen up.

This applies to the guys as well but their shoes can be more “practical.” Ladies’ shoes are said to carry a certain transformative element.  Dancers say that when shoes are properly fitted, they make you look and feel like a million bucks as you glide across the dance floor. 

At Arthur Murray, something special will happen when you don the perfect shoes. Feel the magic! Contact one of our nine Boston area Arthur Murray studios and let’s see what those shoes can do!

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