Dress codes decoded - Dancing Shoes

Great ballroom dance shoes should be chic, but also comfortable, flexible, and supportive.

Great ballroom dance shoes should be chic, but also comfortable, flexible, and supportive.

In this casual dress world we live in, ballroom dance is one of the few places that still observes the protocol of proper dress. There are so many factors to consider when decoding dress codes, but for now, let's start at the bottom--with your shoes.

It is not necessary to buy new shoes for your first class, but if you plan to become serious about your dancing, you need the right shoes. You need shoes that are stylish, fit correctly and make you feel like your feet have wings. Anything less and you are cheating your feet. Your shoes should be comfortable, supportive, protect your feet, improve your performance, and look great.

Why do you need special shoes for ballroom dancing? One important difference between ballroom dance shoes and regular shoes is the soles. Ballroom shoes are highly flexible, and have a thin sole, preferably made of leather or suede, so that your shoes glide on the floor, but with just the right amount of traction. Rubber soles can make it difficult to move and plastic can be too slippery. The shoes must be flexible, so that you can execute those amazingly intricate and perfect dance moves without injuring yourself.

Good arch support is essential for ballroom dance shoes. Withoutit, the pressure on your arches when you are dancing can damage your feet, ankles, knees and even hips. As a general rule, the higher the heels, the more arch support you willneed. A typical heel height is from 0.5 inches for men and 2 inches for women. A height of 2.5 inches works well for female beginners. As your skill and strength improve, you can increase the height, but most women dancers don't go above a 3 inch heel. Again, asyou increase the heel height, be sure to obtain the best possible arch support.

There are many types of dance shoes available. Two commonly used types are Latin shoes and standard shoes. For women, Latin shoes are usually open-toed sandals with an average heel height of 2.5 inches. Men's Latin shoes have a 1.5 inch heel, called a Cuban heel. For women, standard shoes are closed-toed pumps. Black, oxford-style lace-up shoes, with a heel similar to regular dress shoes, are standard for men. You might also wish to consider practice shoes. These might be a more comfortable shoe, but one with a sole suitable for the dance floor.

Once you have invested in a pair of ballroom dance shoes, resist the temptation to wear them outside, which will ruin the suede bottom, and brush the soles of your shoes often with a shoe brush.

The right shoes can make all the difference. Your professional dance instructor can guide you on the best type of shoe for your needs. Come on, put on your dancing shoes and contact us at the Quick Quick Slow Ballroom Dance Studio.