Quality dance shoes are lightweight, comfortable, flexible, made of real suede and/or leather, and have built-in extra cushioning in the sole. They give your foot more freedom of movement than regular shoes while keeping the heel “locked” in place. They have leather/suede soles to give you just the right amount of slip-and-grip on the dance floor while allowing your foot to pivot freely (to avoid knee damage). In general, any leather-soled or suede-soled shoes are “good” and rubber-soled sneakers, hiking boot, etc. are “not good”.
Your dance shoes should feel like a glove to your foot. You do NOT want any wiggle room as they will stretch a bit once you begin using them. This snug fit allows your foot to connect better with the floor, giving you more control of your movement, balance, spins and will significantly reduce your fear of slipping and falling. You will wonder why you didn’t make the investment sooner once you experience the difference.
The type of dance shoe you buy largely depends on the style of dancing you do. Gentlemen typically wear suede or leather shoes with a low heel for Ballroom, Swing or Salsa dancing. For Latin Ballroom the heel tends to be slightly higher measuring up to 1.5 inches.
For ladies, an open toe heel or strappy sandal is best for the Latin and Salsa dancing. This allows greater movement of the toes, which many dancers feel help with balance and creating a clean leg line. For Swing and Ballroom, a closed-toed dance shoe with a slightly lower heel is common. The vast array of styles can make choosing your first pair of dance shoes overwhelming. Here are some things to consider:
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