One of the most important things to consider when buying shoes, is having the right footwear for the right activity. In this case, if you are going to try ballroom dancing, it definitely matters to have the right kind of shoe, whether male or female. The everyday street shoes we buy and wear are very different from ballroom shoes since this type of dance requires different movements that can be taxing on the body.
When looking at the aesthetics of ballroom shoes, it may at first look the same as your daily casual footwear that are worn in the office. For example, to the untrained eye, they may appear the same as a set of formal high heels. But in reality, there’s a huge difference; these have been made with better precision and research, i.e more effort goes into the heel to support the weight of the dancer. This makes it easier to maneuver in ballroom dancing shoes than your typical fashion heels.
Given the importance of having the right footwear whilst performing, one may wonder what are the things that need to be considered before buying? Below we take a look at some of these considerations and advise on how to choose the perfect pair.
7 Tips For Buying Good Ballroom Shoes
#1 The Dance Style
If you are about to purchase some ballroom shoes, it’s a good idea to choose berforehand the type of ballroom dance that you’re planning to sign up for. For example, are you going to perform cha cha? Or perhaps you are going to tango? Regular ballroom dances include quickstep, foxtrot, and waltz. On the other hand, you have the Latin dances that include pas odoble, and rumba. Different footwear are constructed differently for various types of dances. To make sure you obtain the most of your purchase, try to consider which classes you plan to take and ensure the footwear is usable for the type of step.
#2 Correct Sizing
It’s imperative that shoe fit and sizing be perfect for dancing. In a nutshell this means there should not be too much space inside your shoe which allows excess movement. It should also not constrict movement (contrary to construction boots) by being too painful due to tight fit. Ultimately this means the wearer must move around freely and comfortably on the dancefloor whilst using the footwear. Typically, the universal shoe sizes are measured and available in the same manner as regular street footwear, so nothing different or extra to note here. However, if you have narrow or wide feet, or perhaps require some specially tailored shoes with wide toe box, be sure to take these requirements into consideration in order to cater for the foot condition.
#3 Choosing The Right Soles
When searching for the perfect ballroom shoes, it is important to take into consideration the type of sole in use. Soles are responsible for allowing dancers to execute turns and other moves without injury on their knees and ankles. It must provide just enough traction for safety without compromising the slick movement that has to be executed during the dance routine.
Popular options include suede and leather soles. There are also some designs today that make use of hard plastic or polyurethane with additional grooves to promote grip on the dance floor. As rule of thumb, it is important to avoid ballroom shoes that make use of soft rubber. If you can press your thumb down as an indentation on the sole, this isn’t a great choice. This type of design may be too intense and constrict fast spins and other movements. On the other hand, the same goes for hard rubber. This kind of material used on soles may not provide enough traction, thus leading to slips and trips.
Ballroom dancing shoes, especially for men, are known for being a bit stiff, which is a good thing. However, it is important that it can still bend somewhat, allowing the feet to move. One of the most effective ways to determine if the shoe is too stiff or flexible is to check the base, i.e the sole. If this part of the shoe is relatively stiff, it doesn’t matter if the upper is made of soft materials. If it is too soft or flexes too much, steer clear and keep searching.
#5 Open Types For Women
One of the most popular designs today for women’s ballroom dance shoes is a more open type design. It’s understandable that it does look good, not to mention it offers better ventilation for healthy feet. However, keep in mind that it should have good straps to ensure they stay attached to your feet during the dance routine. Also, be sure that they have the right fit since ill-fitted open shoes can lead to blisters.
No matter how durable your shoe is, it is imperative to look at the maintenance requirements for increased longevity. When it comes to ballroom dancing shoes, it is required to clean the soles regularly in order to allow for swift movement without friction caused by dirt and debris. How easy or how hard is it to clean the soles? Does it need special cleaning liquids? These are questions that need answering before checkout.
Though it isn’t the only thing to consider, this should always be something worth looking into when buying anything. For many beginners and aspiring dancers, they probably can’t afford to buy the most expensive pair on the market as of yet. However, it is important that the shoe is going to provide the best value for money. Often the most expensive are better quality and tend to last longer, but finding a good balance is down to the wearer (or the buyer).
Buying a pair of ballroom dance shoes shouldn’t be a complicated affair. Although there are a huge abundance of products in today’s market online and in stores across the globe, it’s easy enough to pick the right pair once you conduct the right amount of research by following the tips that we’ve mentioned in this article. Simply remember the seven points above and you’ll soon be dancing away whilst looking great at the same time.