How do I choose ballroom dancing shoes?

Dance shoes are very important for every dancer. How do I choose ballroom dancing shoes? Let’s check out the guide to choose ballroom dance shoes via the article.

Choosing the right dance shoes will help you dance better and longer. To pick suitable ballroom dancing shoes, you should consider the following things. 

  • Size and fit
  • Design: Open-toe or closed-toe 
  • Heel heights and shapes
  • Sole material
  • Buying online or in-store
  • Price

Now let’s move to the detailed guide on how to choose ballroom dancing shoes.

1. Size and fit

When you choose ballroom dancing shoes, first, make sure that they fit like gloves. Remember that dance shoes are half a size smaller than your regular shoes. But pay much attention to sizes, because they can vary by different manufacturers.

Ballroom dancing shoes should be a snug fit. You may feel a bit tight when wearing them for the first time. But don’t worry because they will stretch when you wear them often.

Don’t choose the shoes that fit you immediately. Because, after a while of wearing and dancing, they will become loose. Loose dance shoes will prevent you from moving freely, and even cause injuries.

You should go and try ballroom dancing shoes in the afternoon. At that time, your feet are the biggest or the most swollen.

2. Design: Open-toe or Closed-toe?

For men’s ballroom dancing shoes, there is only the closed-toe option. But for women’s shoes, you can choose between open-toe or closed-toe designs.

You can also make your choice based on the styles of dance.

Closed-toe design is generally for Ballroom and Smooth dances like Waltz and Foxtrot.

If you like Latin ballroom dances such as Salsa, go for open-toe dance shoes.

Women’s closed-toe ballroom dancing shoes 

3. Heel heights and shapes

Heel heights

Latin ballroom dancing shoes have higher heels than shoes for Standard ballroom dancing.

For women’s Latin dance shoes, the heel height will be around 2-3.5 inches. Men’s Latin dance shoes have 1.5-2-inch heels.

The heel height of Standard ballroom dancing shoes for women ranges from 2-2.5 inches. For men’s Standard dance shoes, the heels will be 0.5-1 inch.

Heel shapes

There are 3 different heel shapes for ballroom dancing shoes. They are slim/stiletto heels, flared heels, and Cuban heels. You should consider your experience level to choose the suitable one.

Slim or stiletto heels are straight and narrow towards the base. The 3.5-inch ultra slim heel is the highest heel with a stiletto shape.

This heel shape brings a sexy and dramatic look. But it also requires you to be more skillful when moving. Therefore, this shape is mainly for experienced dancers and dance competitions.

Beginners can also wear ballroom dance shoes with slim heels, but with lower heel heights.

On the opposite, flared heels flare out and have wider bases. Dance shoes with flared heels will provide better support than slim-heel shoes. Thus, they are recommended ballroom dancing shoes for beginners.

You can use dance shoes with flared heels for both ballroom and Latin dancing. But Latin dancers prefer these shoes because Latin dancing requires more flexibility.

Cuban heels are for both men’s and women’s dance shoes. People usually use this heel type in practice dance shoes. Dance shoes with Cuban heels are suitable for dancers who need more support.


4. Sole material

The materials used for making soles of ballroom dancing shoes are leather and leather suede. Both leather and leather suede soles allow for easy and fast spins and pivoting. But dance shoes with leather suede soles are more popular.

Leather suede soles provide more grips for dancers. They help them turn easily but prevent slips. So, the beginners should use ballroom dance shoes with suede soles. They make it easier for you to feel the floor and control your movements.

Suede soles are soft and prone to get damaged so don’t wet or wear them outdoors. They will wear out fast if when you practice a lot. You should use a wire shoe brush to rough up the worn soles.

Some dancers prefer leather soles because these soles can execute lighting fast spins. But they are much more slippery than suede soles. Thus, when wearing dance shoes with leather soles, you need to be careful.

Leather soles are more durable, and you can use them for outdoor dancing. The outdoor dancing floor is rougher so you can handle leather soles more easily.

5. Buying online or in-store

For the first time you buy ballroom dancing shoes, you should go to the store. You can directly try on some shoes and feel the fit.

Shoe sizes can vary by different manufacturers. Thus, you can try some brands and styles to find the best fit.

After you know your size and style of ballroom dancing shoes, you can buy them online the next time. When buying online you will have more variety and the price are more affordable.

Here is a useful tip to help you buy good dance shoes at low prices. You should buy dance shoes when visiting Latin American countries like Argentina or Colombia. These countries have a low-cost living and a strong dance culture.

There are many dance shoe manufacturers in these countries. The manufacturing costs are also much lower. So, you will have more choices with lower prices.

6. Price

A pair of ballroom dancing shoes can cost around $80 to $300 depending on the quality and brands. On average, you can have a good pair of dance shoes for about $170.

Don’t choose shoes that are too cheap. Their poor quality can be dangerous for you when dancing.

High-quality ballroom dance shoes are more expensive, but they are worth the money. They are more durable and give you more comfort and support in dancing.


Final Thoughts

Above are what you should consider before buying ballroom dancing shoes. Good dance shoes are important for every dancer. We hope that with this guide, you can choose the right shoes and dance well.