Dancing shoes are a dancer’s most important accessory. Sure, the outfits are essential and technique is always on the top of the pyramid, but if a dancer doesn’t have the proper shoes to dance in, that pyramid can come crashing down real quick.
That’s why, when I was looking into buying shoes for my dancer friend, I was at a loss. Knowing nothing about anything, except that she’s an exceptional dancer, I was confused. There are SO many styles, materials, designs, sole types, and other whatnots, I thought I would never be able to find my way around!
Still, this gift was super-important, so I decided to sit down and do my homework before I even dare type “shoes for dancing” into my browser. I went deep into the world of dancing shoes, reading article after article, and I finally managed to scrape enough knowledge up to make an educated decision!
Here’s what I found!
Dancing Shoes: What to Look For?
There are many retailers out there where you can find a variety of shoes for dancing for sale. If you ask me, this can be good as much as it can be bad. Variety means more choices, but it also means having to thread your way carefully and learn to differentiate between quality-made shoes and those that aren’t really up to par. To make sure I got the perfect pair, here’s what I paid attention to.
Size It Right
Okay, this was a very tricky part. How do you find the right dancing shoe size for someone else? If you’re buying for yourself you’ll have no issue with this, but I really had to jump some hoops to find the size she wears!
The size of the dancing shoe has to be perfect, and that’s a fact I saw being proven time and time again. The dancing shoes are an extension of the dancer’s leg, so if they don’t fit right, the dancer won’t feel and dance right.
A shoe that fits snug, but not tight is what you need to go for. That’s the perfect fit. Since I was buying for someone else, I just crossed my fingers and hoped for the best, but if you’re buying for yourself, you’ll know exactly what shoe to choose. If you’re buying online, there are usually comprehensive guides on how to make sure you’re getting what you need. If you’re in the store itself, you can just try the shoe on!
Depending on what type of dance shoe you’re looking for, there are variations. For example, if you’re looking for a pointe shoe, you’ll need to pay attention to the heel as much as the box. You want them to fit snugly when you’re standing up, but avoid the feeling of squished feet. Also, the heel can’t be too long or too short, again, it needs to be just right to protect and cover your foot.
There are such specificities for every kind of dance shoe, but I feel like these are pretty standard and can apply to any type. Always keep in mind that if the dancing shoes aren’t exactly the right size, they are actually an injury hazard!
Check the Sole
Moving on, I found out all about dance shoe soles! Yep, very important! As important as the shoe’s size! There are different kinds of soles and they all have a different purpose.
One rule I saw a lot was to avoid rubber soles if grip isn’t something you or your dancer needs. Rubber is non-slip by nature, so the dancer won’t be able to move as freely as they’d like.
Dance shoes come with soles such as chrome, suede leather, smooth leather, and more. The soles can also be full or split, they can feature additional materials for extra stability. Again, it all depends on the type of dance shoe you’re looking for.
As I was looking for pointe, and I know my friend can handle it, I chose a split-sole shoe made with nice leather that won’t slip. These shoes will give her foot the flexibility it needs and will also look great when she dances on stage. I also decided to go with a stretch satin material for the shoe, as it allows for free-flow movements and retracts or expands depending on the position of her feet! Not to mention, it looks so beautiful and elegant!
Design Matters Too
The last thing I needed to do was check the design. Since I was ordering online, I did this after the shoes got to my house, but if you’re buying from an actual store you can do it on the spot.
What I mean by checking the design is basically to go over the whole shoe, inside and out, and make sure everything is in order. This means checking the stitching, the fabric, the insoles and soles, any straps or wraps or laces, you get the gist.
This is important as if anything seems amiss, then the shoe probably isn’t made right and won’t do what it says it will do for long (or at all!). As we said, comfort is priority number one for good performance, so by having a shoe that’s true to its design and has been made perfectly, you maximize the comfort and the performance alike.
I closely inspected every part of the shoe, moved things around to see if anything is loose, checked the soles and their material and compared everything to what I saw online. I made sure nothing is sticking out or in and that the shoe is really in perfect condition. And, it was!
This last step is very important, so please don’t skip it! Use your eyes and fingers and check everything! You’ll be grateful you did!
To Wrap It Up
Now that you know what you need to pay special attention to when buying dancing shoes, I hope you’ll be able to find the ones that are just perfect for you!
I hope this little guide will help you out and you won’t need to go through the same ordeal as I did in order to figure out what’s best and what won’t do. These tips are great for every kind of dancing shoe, no matter if you’re looking for ballet shoes, salsa dancing shoes, or jazz dance essentials.
Remember to only buy from trusted vendors that carry items of proven quality, and you’ll be dancing freely in no time!