When you plan to twirl, step, and whirl the night away on the dance floor with the perfect partner, make sure you have ballroom dancing shoes that will allow you to show off your talents. That means you want the appropriate soles, in a size that fits just right, with a heel that doesn't make you stumble when you perform complicated dance moves.
Shopping for Ballroom Dancing Shoes
While it's always better to try footwear on before buying, especially ones that are going to be getting a hard workout like ballroom dancing, many of the best shoes, as well as the best bargains, can only be found through online shops. Unless you live in a city with shops that specifically cater to dancers, you will probably have little choice but to buy online. Online stores that specialize in dancewear understand that it's hard to get exactly what you want on the first try; they will typically work closely with you to get the shoe that you need.
Ready to get started shopping? Specialty stores to help you on your quest include:
- StepOneDanceShoes.com - With a well-reviewed customer service team, Step One Dance Shoes specializes in providing customized services for ballroom dance shoes without breaking the bank. You can order many shoe styles with flexible rubber soles to give you an edge to your dancing. For just a few dollars more, you can even get added glitter and a sparkly buckle for your ballroom dance shoes.
- Dance4Less.com - This online retailer has a fair variety of dance shoes that are affordable for most budgets. This store has ballroom dance shoes for Latin, Swing, and Salsa dancing. They also have other accessories for dancers, which will allow you to make it a one-stop online shop for dancing necessities.
- DiscountDance.com - As the shop's name suggests, the prices here are very reasonable, but what may surprise you is the high quality of their selection. They have a variety of both practice and performance ballroom dancing shoes for men and women. They have in-demand narrow and low heel shoes as well as character shoes for special performances.
- EthicalWares.com - What makes this retailer so special is the fact that they offer ballroom dance shoes that are as high in quality as the bigger name brands, yet they are made under ethical conditions for workers by a company commitment to fair trade. That means that every stylish step that you take in these shoes can be guilt-free. From the low heel ballroom dance shoes for women to the men's shoes for Latin dancing, their selection is varied, too.
Narrowing Your Search by Special Interest
Narrow Ballroom Dance Shoes
Some dancers need narrow ballroom dance shoes for just the right fit and look. Not only can narrow shoes add an extra layer of elegance, for some dancers they are necessary for proper support.
- Start your online search for your perfect shoe at Best Ballroom Shoes, which has a shopping section just for narrow shoes. They carry over 20 styles of low heel ballroom dancing shoes, including synthetic black nubuk and satin styles in heel heights ranging from 2 inches to 2 3/4 inches. Styles include sandals, open-toe and t-strap options.
- An even wider selection of narrow ballroom dance shoes can be found at Carmen's Dance Shoes. They have a section called Strictly For Narrows; it features loads of attractive narrow shoes for both men and women, because of course men can have narrow feet, too, and need to be well-fitted for dancing the night away.
- Ballroom Gifts offers a lot of personal assistance and shoes they describe as "true narrows," which is great for anyone who's bought a narrow shoe and discovered it still doesn't really fit. These shoes are being made on a machine specifically designed to cut narrow soles, with lasts based from narrow molds, as opposed to regular molds that have been trimmed.
Latin Ballroom Dance Shoes
Latin, rhythm, and salsa dance shoes are a specialty in and of themselves. These beautiful, romantic, and majestic dances require shoes that complement the high drama of the dances themselves. Latin dance shoes typically have an open toe, and they feature high heels between 2.5 inches and 4 inches.
- A wide variety of beautiful Latin ballroom dance shoes are available from Dance Shoes Store. They have shoes with thin straps and bold colors like red and purple. You can also find beautiful shoes with ankle straps and quick release buckles. Rest assured that Latin dance shoes can pack in plenty of va-va-voom, and the closed-toe shoe by Supadance has top-quality synthetic suede that provides great flexibility for Latin dances.
- Whether you want to do the cha-cha-cha, the mambo, the paso doble, or the rumba, you will probably be able to find the right Latin ballroom dance shoes at Dance Shopper. From rhinestone-covered straps on open-toed shoes with very high heels to others who have pizazz in mores subtle ways like the solid-colored shoes with peek-a-boo toes that have just a bit of sparkle, a wide variety is the norm here.
Practice Ballroom Dance Shoes
Every dancer needs practice ballroom dance shoes to avoid wearing down their oftentimes more costly (and sometimes less comfortable) performance shoes. It's easy for dancers to go through practice shoes at a rapid pace with everyday use, no matter how well they are built.
- Practice ballroom dance shoes are plentiful in dance shops, and you can even find many choices at mainstream retailers like Amazon and Capezio. Here's a shopping trick: Dancers often try out practice shoes until they find the perfect pair that feels right and offers support for how frequently they practice. Once you have found a pair of practice shoes that looks and feels great to you, you may want to stock up on them.
- You can also find options at Dance Shopper. If you want a more demure look, there are solid-colored options with very short heels, and you can find durable practice shoes with high heels, too. It's a good idea to check with your ballroom dancing coach before buying practice shoes because, while there is flexibility when it comes to practice shoes, it's best to get advice that's catered to your unique needs as a dancer.
Ballroom dancing shoes need to have durable but flexible soles to allow you to do everything you need to on the ballroom dance floors, without the risk of falling down. Ballroom shoes tend to look a lot like regular everyday shoes to an untrained eye. However, the amount of traction that ordinary shoes provide will not allow for all the dance moves to be demonstrated properly. This is why, if you're looking into ballroom dancing, you should definitely get the correct equipment--special shoes.
The primary thing that makes ballroom dancing shoes' soles different from commonplace shoes is the amount of flexibility in the sole. You can bend and point your foot much more easily in a pair that is designed with dancing in mind. Walking shoes have a stiffer sole.
One thing that you'll want to think about when choosing your ballroom dancing shoes is the toe box. You'll want to protect your feet while dancing, especially when starting out (your partner may be clumsy!). That means you'll want to opt for a closed toe as opposed to a sandal. Make sure the shoes aren't too pointed so you can experience maximum comfort while dancing. You're supposed to have fun, and who can do that while their feet are in agony?
Other considerations are like normal shoes--make sure there isn't too much room in the back that will cause them to slip. Consider going to an actual shoe store to be fitted instead of depending solely on yourself (or shopping online).
The heel's height and width is completely up to you and what you feel comfortable in. If you're just starting out in ballroom dancing shoes, you'll probably want to go with a wider, shorter heel. Gradually, you can move up to a thinner, taller heel. You want to focus on your dance technique at first--not your balance! Besides, you're trying to show off your skill, not make a fashion statement. Choose sexy heels, but don't pay more attention to looks than function.
The heels of ballroom dancing shoes are usually very well made, so you're less likely to need repairs from a snapped heel. That's not to say that it will never happen; it just isn't as likely as in a regular fashion shoe designed to wear during everyday activities.
Heels on ballroom dancing shoes are also positioned differently on the sole than those of everyday shoes to promote better balance and a more natural posture.
Finding Additional Resources
If you need more tips on buying your ideal shoe, whether in a shop or online, go straight to the source with Gotta Dance, a site dedicated to all things ballroom and swing. The more serious a dancer you become, the more information you need. It's also good to communicate with other dance aficionados, especially about important topics like shoes and hard-to-fit feet. For example, someone may have information on where to find a good selection of narrow low heel ballroom dance shoes. Go to Ballroom Dancers, where you'll find an active message board and no end of great links for more shoe shops and everything else you want and need.