Join the Revolution and Dance!

Guide To Buying Dance Shoes

Do I Need Dance Shoes?

In a word – yes. Although beginners can get by for their first few classes wearing leather-soled shoes, dance shoes are essential to dance smoothly, comfortably, and correctly. Ballroom dance shoes have a suede sole that makes it easy to move, turn, and to feel the floor. You are also less likely to injure your partner when wearing proper dance shoes.

Ballroom dance shoes are an investment for sure, but they can last 5 to even 10 years, and they are they only equipment needed to enjoy this fun hobby. While golfers need pricy clubs, golf carts, and club memberships dancers need just shoes and a dance floor.

What Do Dance Shoes Cost?

You can expect to pay around $90 for a good-quality beginner dance shoe. For those wanting to spend less on their first pair of dance shoes, you can find many styles online for around $30.  Prices are higher for professional quality, embellished designs, and high fashion pairs. Remember you only need 1 pair and they will last for many years. You can even get them resoled if you desire.

Caring For Your Dance Shoes

Wearing your dance shoes outside of the ballroom will damage the suede sole; therefore, wear your street shoes to class and bring your dance shoes to change in the studio. Most dancers use a shoe bag, these are often included with your shoes purchase.

Which Type Of Shoe Should I Buy?

Most students start with a basic, all-purpose social dance shoe. This could be a sturdy comfortable practice shoe or a strappy high-heeled latin shoe. It’s really a matter of preference.  High heels are not required and there are many options with low or flat heels. If you decided to compete you will want to have the proper shoes for each style of dance, but in the beginning, any suede soled shoe that you like will work well. Here are the basic types of shoes

Shoes For Woman

            Smooth Shoes – These shoes are used to dance Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, and Viennese Waltz. Smooth shoes are flesh-toned, closed toe shoes with a 2, 2.5, or 3 inch heel. (2.5 inch is the standard heel height).

            Latin Shoes – These shoes are used to dance Rumba, Cha Cha, East Coast Swing, Salsa, and More. Latin heels are strappy, flesh-toned, open toe shoes with a 2, 2.5, or 3 inch heel. (2.5 inch is the standard heel height).

            Practice Shoes – These are comfortable shoes used for practicing, teaching, or for those who prefer a steadier shoe. These shoes are often black, lace-up designs. Most practice shoes are flat, but you may purchase a pair with a low (2 inch) heel if you wish.

             Dance Sneaker – This is a more casual, cushioned, and supportive version of a practice shoe.  Dance sneakers are handy when you’ll be practicing for many hours and comfort is key.  Be careful when selecting a dance sneaker as they often have rubber soles which are not ideal for ballroom dancing.  Choose a dance sneaker with a suede sole.

            Argentine Tango Shoes – This is where is gets fun ladies. Tango is ALL about the heels, and the higher the better. In Tango, the standard heel height is 3 inches and up (lower heels are available as well). Argentine Tango shoes are colorful, often flashy and many woman own a variety of pairs. Tango shoes may have either suede soles or leather soles.

Shoes For Men

            Smooth Shoes – These shoes are used to dance Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, and Viennese Waltz. Men’s smooth shoes are a patent leather lace-up oxford.

            Latin Shoes – Rumba, Cha Cha, East Coast Swing, Salsa, and More. Men’s Latin shoes are a black leather lace up oxford. Men’s Latin shoes feature a low (1.5 inch heel).

            Practice Shoes – Men’s practice shoes are black, often perforated leather (for ventilation during long hours of wear).

            Dance Sneaker – This is a more casual, cushioned, and supportive version of a practice shoe.  Dance sneakers are handy when you’ll be practicing for many hours and comfort is key.  Be careful when selecting a dance sneaker as they often have rubber soles which are not ideal for ballroom dancing.  Choose a dance sneaker with a suede sole.

            Argentine Tango Shoes – Men’s Argentine Tango shoes may be suede or leather soled, and like woman’s, Men’s Tango shoes are often colorful and flashly. The classic style is black and white patent leather.

A Note On Sizing

Many dance shoes are manufactured overseas (often England and Italy). Therefore, please ensure you convert your American size if needed. In terms of fit your dance shoes should fit like a glove. Your dance shoes should not pinch or feel tight, but you don’t want extra room for the foot to move around. Your leather dance shoes will stretch and become slightly looser as you wear them.

Preferred Vendors

Showtime Dance Shoes

Showtime Dance Shoes is based in Atlanta, Georgia and is the largest distributer or dance shoes in the US. Their customer service staff is very knowledgeable and can recommend a great shoe for your needs. They have a large variety of shoes in stock and can special order various widths, colors, and sizes if not in stock. Shipping is quick; most shoes arrive to Beaufort, SC within 2 days.

Dance Shopper

Dance Shopper offers an extensive range of products for the student or professional dancer.  You’ll find the best brands at the best prices!

Preferred Local Vendors

For dancers in the lowcountry we recommend visiting Mr. Don’s Shoe Store in Charleston, South Carolina. Their friendly, knowledgeable staff can help you select the perfect shoe for you. Our students rave about their to find stylish solutions for a variety of foot issues: plantar fasciitis, bunions, and wide feet. So many of our dancers thought they could never find dance shoes that worked, and they walked away from Mr. Don’s with a pair they loved!

Mister Don’s
84 Folly Road Boulevard
Charleston, SC 29407
www.misterdon.com
843.766.5841

Argentine Tango Shoes

Lisadore

This shop offers a very large selection of Comme Il Fauts and also an Italian line called Paso de Fuego.  Their support sections has a very helpful section on converting your American shoe size to European and which models of shoes work best for foot concerns such as wide feet.

Felina Shoes

This shop is run by the wife of Jorge Torres of “Forever Tango” fame.  She offers a large selection of Comme Il Faut and NeoTango.

Maleva

One of the first distributor of Comme Il Fauts, this is a small shop which features Comme Il Fauts and a personal line of Tango shoes as well.  The Maleva brand shoes are designed to be fresh, stylish and affordable.

 

 

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