Dancing Feet | Club Dance Holidays UK > Sign in / Sign up

Dancing Feet



As dancers we all know how important comfort is when moving around the floor and whether you're a salsero or tanguero, a ballroom dancer or kizombeiro, you will need a pair of great-fitting and great-looking shoes to bring out the best in your dance.
With a proliferation of choice, finding the perfect shoes for you can be a minefield. These handy tips should help you to separate the stylish fit-like-a-gloves from the ankle-wringers and toe-pinchers:
1. Consider where and how you'll be wearing the shoes. Colour and style are obviously important but think about what kind of surface you'll be dancing on. How high do you want the heel to be? Do you need supportive leather sole or a more lightweight, flexible shoe? Leather and satin will stretch with wear and allow more flexibility but shoes made with synthetic materials may give less easily.
2. Heels. Less about how tall your partner is and more about comfort level. Higher heels will push your weight onto the front part of your foot which may influence the size you need. Heels on most dance shoes are slim or flared and generally range in height from one to three inches. Slim heels make turns and other moves easier. Flared heels are preferred for the Latin dances because they provide more stability. Latin dancers typically wear open-toed shoes or strappy sandals with a three inch flared heel.
3. Comfort. Although ankle straps are used to help the heel stay in the shoe and to some degree, prevent you from sliding down, it is important to find a shoe that supports you well. Strappy styles have less material to lend support and often have a wider toe opening. Often, strappy styles accommodate wide feet well. Peep toe styles allow the toes room to move while offering more support especially for narrower feet.
4. Be prepared when you go shopping. If you're planning on wearing tights when dancing then take the same tights to your fitting. Make sure there are inserts available in case you need them and it's even a good idea to make sure you've trimmed your toe nails!
5. Fit and sizing. Your foot should fill the shoe with little space left over at the toe and the heel. Many dancers actually prefer to have their toes just over the lip of the shoe in order to have more control of the shoe and to feel the floor. The ball of your foot should rest comfortably in the shoe so it's in complete contact with the sole. If you have a high arch, you may need inserts for added support.
When you try the shoe on, stand with equal weight on both feet. Your foot should fill the shoe without undue pinching or pain. Your toes should lie flat, even if your knees are bent with full weight through your leg and the ball of your foot should make full contact with the sole. The back of your heel should fit snugly into the back of the show. Mind the straps too! One of the biggest complaints when buying dance shoes is unsupportive straps so make sure they do their job and don't dig in.
6. Don't be shy. It's important to make sure your shoes are fit for dancing so move around in them before you buy. You should feel balanced during any transfer of weight and the heel should remain in position, with no sliding. Toes should not slide through the opening.
Once you've established function and fit, you can choose your colour and style and what a fabulous choice there is; many dancers we know could challenge Imelda Marcos in the shoe collection stakes. Happy shopping!