The kind of footwear you use greatly influences the manner in which you dance. And if you’re a beginner, your dancing shoes can determine how you feel about dancing in general and how quickly you learn the footwork involved. Naturally, buying and using the right dancing shoes is of paramount importance. Here are some tips that can help you pick the right shoes to match your requirements.
Get Shoes in the Right Size
The size of your dancing shoes has the most impact on how effortlessly you dance. Getting shoes that are too small and too tight may be uncomfortable as they can hinder your movement across the dance floor. On the other hand, opting for shoes that are loose can also negatively affect the way you dance, because loose shoes will wobble and you will be unsteady. The ideal thing is to pick a pair of shoes that are slightly tight, so you can break them in bit by bit each time you dance in them. Start with your true street size to see how the shoes fit. A brand like Burju Shoes runs true to street shoe size in length. If the shoes feel loose consider getting a half size smaller to get a tighter fit. If your true size feels too snug try getting a half size larger to get a looser fit. The difference from one size to another is only 3mm. Keep in mind that Latin Ballroom shoes (the nude satin ones) are made to fit wider and should be ordered a half to a full size down. The reason for this is because in Latin Ballroom dances the foot is pointed and dragged through each step. By ordering a shorter shoe you won’t feel the bottom of the shoe getting caught as you drag your step.
Ensure That the Shoes Fit Well
After the size, the next most important thing to consider is the fit of the shoes. If you have a pair of dancing shoes that fit you correctly, you can focus on your steps better. Typically, the best dancing shoes should fit your feet snugly like a glove. They must not be so tight that they dig into your skin and make you uncomfortable. When you dance your feet begin to swell so if they are too tight when you first start, they will feel 10 times worse after an hour or two. That being said shoes do stretch and give the more you use them. So they need to be snug enough that you feel each of your toes touching with no additional space in the shoe. If you feel pressure or like your toes are crowding each other, this is too tight. But if they are completely together with now spaces in-between or around this is ideal. This level of snugness ensures that even after you’ve danced in your shoes for a considerable period, and have worn the shoes to your individual foot shape, the shoes remain close and tight enough to stay in place. Remember that a half size up or down from your true street size can help with getting the right fit.
Decide upon the Material Used
The most common materials used to make dancing shoes are satin and leather. Vegan leathers are becoming increasingly popular. Satin shoes fit more snugly and conform better to the shape of your feet because they’re more adaptable. Shoes made from satin can also be dyed in different colors, making it easier for you to find a pair that matches your outfit. Leather shoes are more breathable and stretch with use. Any man made or vegan materials will not stretch. They do break in, which means the material will be less stiff after a few uses.
Pick the Right Kind of Heel
Latin and ballroom dance shoes generally have heels between 1.5 and 3.5 inches in height. If you are a beginner, it’s advisable to opt for shorter heels because it may take you some time to get used to dancing in high heels. However, staying between a 2.5 and 3 inch heel is recommended (as long as there are no injuries) so the balance, strength and correct posture can be mastered. Men’s dancing shoes typically are made with a 1-inch heel for ballroom dancing, and a 1.5-inch Cuban heel is ideal for Latin dancing. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you’re a beginner, it’s best to choose a pair of shoes with flared heels since they offer more stability than slim-heeled shoes.
Choose between Open and Closed Toe Models
Open toe shoes make it easier to point your feet well and execute deliberate and articulated dance steps. Closed toe dancing shoes support smoother movements and are ideal for dances that require even footwork. To explain things further, open toe shoes are ideal for dances like the salsa, the rumba, and swing dancing. Closed toe shoes are advisable for the waltz and foxtrot. If you’re a beginner or an intermediate student who is not focused on a specific style, opt for closed toe shoes, so your toes are protected if you get stepped on while learning.
Wear Shoes That Allow You to Move Well
Movement is one of the most important factors involved in dancing. Your footwear, much like your outfit, decides how well you can move and shoes play a significant role in encouraging or curtailing your range of motion. Typically, dancing shoes that have soles made from suede or suede-like materials are ideal for dancing on smooth floors made from wood or similar materials. Street soled shoes are ideal for those that mostly use the shoes for social dancing. The venues tend to be bars or nightclubs where a suede soled shoe can be ruined easily. The other advantage of street soled shoes is that they can be worn outdoor as well so you no longer have to carry your dance shoes in a separate bag and have to change in the club.
Decide between Online and In-Store Purchases
Another vital aspect to think about when you’re looking for the right pair of dancing shoes is whether to buy them online or in a store. Irrespective of what your choice in this matter may be, it’s advisable to visit a store and try on dancing shoes from various brands and in different sizes to determine which pair fits you best. Once you’ve found a pair that’s perfect, you can look for a deal or a discount online.
Take Size Conversion Charts into Account
If you’ve decided between online and in-store purchases and if you’ve chosen to buy your dancing shoes online, you need to pay attention to the sizes listed on the website you’re looking at. Most sites that belong to companies based in other countries offer conversion charts to help you identify the size that’s correct for you. So, before you place an order and pay, take a look at the size chart and ensure that you’ve picked the right size. If you’re unsure, then look into the return or exchange policies on the site to verify if you qualify for a change in size.
Keep Your Budget in Mind
If you’re a beginner, you may find it hard to judge whether the shoes you’re interested in are correctly priced or are overpriced. It helps if you know the ideal price range of good quality dancing shoes, which is typically between $150 to $200. Shoes in the lower price range can even cost as little as $80, while dancing shoes from premium brands may be pricey and cost up to $300 or more. You can always count on a website or an online marketplace to offer you a discount on some models.
When you consider the factors explained above, you’ll find that it’s easier to zero in on the right pair of dancing shoes that meet your requirements perfectly. However, the journey doesn’t end with simply finding the right dancing shoes. Maintaining your shoes properly is also a skill that’s a vital part of becoming a good dancer. Remember to dry your shoes completely before storing them in their bag and try not to use suede soled dance shoes for any purpose other than dancing. Also, consider getting two pairs of shoes, so you don’t wear out your single pair quickly then find yourself without appropriate footwear.