Understanding The Differences Between Dance Shoes & Regular Shoes

Understanding The Differences Between Dance Shoes & Regular Shoes

Understanding The Differences Between Dance Shoes & Regular Shoes

If you're obsessed with Dancing With The Stars, like many people all over the world, you might wonder how the dancers glide across the floor week after week, making their moves look effortless. One of their number-one secrets is choosing the right dance shoe. Not every pair of dance shoes is built alike. Choosing the right one for your foot is critical to keeping your feet, ankles, knees, and hips moving and grooving without pain for years to come.

Burju dance shoes are one of the best foot-friendly designers on the market. Whether you're waiting for that call from DWTS to team up with one of the pros, taking tango lessons at your local ballroom studio, or a shoe addict looking to scratch that itch, Burju has the shoes you're looking for: stylish, comfy, and supportive enough to keep your feet happy.

What Makes Dance Shoes Different?

The key differences between dance shoes and regular shoes start with the soles. Ballroom dance shoes have a thin suede sole that allows the shoes to glide across the floor with just the right amount of grip. Dance shoes are also flexible, allowing the shoe to move with the foot. A well-designed shoe can not only allow a dancer to glide, slide, and move with ease, but also highlight footwork and leg lines.

Shoes not intended for dance usually have a rubber sole to help with grip and durability—but grip is the opposite of what dancers want!

Dance shoes mostly come in European sizes, which are about 1.5 sizes smaller than American sizes. However, not all manufacturers adhere to these sizing details, so make sure to check sizing charts when you're ready to get a new pair.

Can Dance Shoes Be Worn off the Dance Floor?

Traditional dance shoes with suede bottoms should usually be kept solely for stage use.

Suede catches easily on rough surfaces, so going from the sidewalk straight to the dance floor isn't the best idea. Keeping the suede bottoms smooth is important when stepping onto the dance floor; it's that smoothness that gives dancers their on-stage grace.

If you're open to alternatives, though, you have options: more and more designers lately are looking to dance shoes for inspiration. With the biggest complaint women have about high heels being a lack of comfort, shoemakers have begun taking dance shoe designs and adapting them for everyday heels and pumps you can wear to the office or on a night on the town.

The reason is simple—dance shoes are made specifically to be comfortable and functional. If you want a dance shoe that you can wear daily, Burju shoes are a better option. Burju design each pair of shoes with a variety of settings in mind. They make some of the most comfortable dance shoes, making them an ideal choice for hobbyists and professionals alike, but Burju also offers a great selection of fashion shoes that can be worn every day.

The Latin Dance/Standard Dance Shoe for Women

This is the standard style of shoe for women in ballroom dance. This style is sometimes referred to as "modern" or "court" shoes and is worn to practice and perform salsas, waltzes, foxtrots, the cha-cha, swing dancing, tango, or just about any other style of ballroom dance.

Style and Fit

Women's Latin-style dance shoes come in open- and closed-toed versions. Either variation is acceptable based on your preference, but sometimes closed-toe shoes are recommended for beginners, as they make it easier to avoid being stepped on or rubbing against your partner's shoes. The heel height is between 1 and 3 inches, with the standard height being 2.5 inches.

A slim heel makes the moves easier; however, a flared heel is preferred for Latin-style dances because it provides more stability.

Look for a shoe that hugs your foot but isn't too tight. Shoes that are too tight can cause blisters, and shoes that are too loose can cause you to trip. Some companies stick more with one style, but Burju offers a variety of dance shoes that are customised to fit your foot, whether your it's narrow, wide, or a size not regularly carried in shoe stores.

Most women choose pumps that are open along the side of the feet and a closed toe box, secured to the foot with an ankle strap, though strappy sandals are also a common purchase. With more shoe designers using dance shoe designs to maximise comfort, pumps are becoming hybrid footwear. Either way you cut it, Burju's variety of designs is nearly endless; what sets them apart isn't just the style selection, but not only are they the style you want, but the comfort level is unmatched.

The Latin Dance/Standard Dance Shoe for Men

Men generally only wear Latin shoes for competition, rather than rehearsals or lessons. For day-to-day practice, men usually wear standard Oxford-style lace-up shoes with a heel height comparable to the average men's dress shoe.

Style and Fit

Men's Latin style shoes come with a Cuban heel, which is shorter than standard heels, 1.5 inches compared to the typical 2.5. All-black Latin shoes are the go-to choice for most men, but they also come in all white, brown, two-toned, and more. This kind of shoe is most often made out of leather, nubuck or patent leather.

Much like the fit for women's Latin style shoes, the shoe shouldn't be too tight or too loose; they should fit comfortably to avoid slipping or blistering.

Vegan Dance Shoes

Worry not, vegan friends! Most dance shoes are made out of some type of leather or suede; however, Burju has plenty of vegan options, so you don't have to forgo your beliefs on the dance floor. Vegan options sometimes have rubber soles, but there's also a pseudo-suede available made from synthetic materials. Many of the same styles of pumps, sandals, boots, and practice shoes that are typically leather are also available in these animal-friendly materials.

Caring For Your Dance Shoes

Ballroom dance shoes need to be polished regularly to keep them in good condition. Suede shoes lose their nap—the fine fibres that give it its distinctive texture—after a couple of months, especially if they're worn regularly off the dance floor. A steel-bristled brush can revive your shoes and help put the nap back in the suede.

It's a good idea to Scotchgard your shoes before you wear them. Not only will that help protect them from moisture; they are also much easier to clean if they're treated before they're worn. You might also want to consider applying a silicone-based oil regularly to help prevent cracking.

Most designers, like Burju, provide a cloth bag for your shoes—use it! If you know you won't be wearing your dance shoes for extended periods, use the dust bags or the box the shoes came in to keep them clean and safe.


Dance shoe designers are taking comfort and style into account more than they ever have before. No online retailer has more variety, options, customisation, or modern style than Burju. Check out Burju before you hit the dance floor or strut into that next office meeting!

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