How to Pick a Ballroom Dance Shoe

Ballroom and Latin dance shoes are form fitting and should not be worn loose. Overtime, certain types of dance shoes can stretch and relax a little with wear. When trying on a pair of shoes, look for a size that wraps around the foot like a snug glove. There should not be space between your foot and the shoe at the heel or toes, otherwise the foot will slide and wobble. The heel should fill the back of the shoe and your toes should reach the tip of the shoe, but the toes do not bend to make the foot fit. Think of your dance shoe as a second layer of skin that envelopes and protects the foot while offering support and stretch. Compared to street shoes, dance shoes are soft and will stretch, making the fit feel tighter while accommodating the shape of your foot. A poor fitting shoe will feel roomy and loose, or if they are too tight, will bite the back of the heel or wrinkle and squeeze the toes. Please see our video on preventing common foot injuries in dance (coming soon).


How soon should I buy a pair of shoes?

As soon as you know you’re going to continue dance as an ongoing pursuit. If dancing is an interest to you, purchasing a shoe will prepare you for success.


Can I wear street shoes for dance?

No, this can be dangerous to your knees. It also dirties and scratches the floor. We recommend using socks until you’ve decided to commit to dancing.


How much money should I spend?

Ideally, your number one priority is to find a quality shoe that is comfortable and fits correctly. Purchase a shoe that fits that priority but is still in your budget. Ballroom dance shoes range in quality. More advanced dancers should invest in a really well made shoe as it is the most used piece of equipment a dancer utilizes.


How many pairs of shoes do I need?

To start you only need one good pair of practice shoes, which can be used for all types of ballroom dance. Over time you can purchase more specialized shoes for your dancing needs.


Why do I need suede-bottom shoes?

Suede is the standard material for the bottom of the shoes in ballroom dancing. It offers the best traction and slide for your shoe. It allows for safe, lateral turning actions and the ability to feel the floor while dancing.


Should I order online or in person?

Going to a dance store in person allows you to inspect different shoes and helps you find a pair that is comfortable and fits correctly. It is HIGHLY encouraged that your first pair be fit by a professional. We recommend the Ballroom Connection in Sunnyvale, CA.



What about the width of my shoe?

Ballroom and Latin dance shoes are able to be customized to a dancer's needs. Please let your local store know if you need a wide size.

What heel height should I pick?

Beginners should pick on a shorter heel. A dancer will grow into a taller heel as they improve.


How do I care for my 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, which are often included with your shoe purchase. We highly recommend buying a shoe brush as well and brushing after use to keep the nape fresh and prevent wear, thus extending the life of the shoe.


What are practice shoes?

Practice shoes are practical and comfortable. They are the ideal choice for beginning dancers. They are versatile, good for practicing both Ballroom and Latin.


What's the difference between Latin and Ballroom shoes?

Latin shoes have a taller heel to dance on the ball of the foot and can be open toed, so generally they are worn with shorter skirts/dresses. Ballroom shoes have a shorter heel and closed toe, better for swinging the foot.


Latin shoe example:


Ballroom shoe example:


Join our mailing list

© 2020 by Areté Dance Center. Proudly created by Sophie Design Studio.

Contact Information:

979 Fremont Avenue

Los Altos, CA 94024

(408) 824-0074
info@aretedancecenter.com

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Yelp