DANCE TIPS FOR DANCE STEPS
How to buy ballroom dance shoes.
Q. I've just started taking Ballroom Dance lessons. Can you give me some advice on buying dance shoes?
A. With the variety of styles, specializations and colors available, choosing your first pair of ballroom dance shoes can be a difficult decision. As a beginning dancer, however, there is no reason why you would need more than one pair. Unless you have specific needs you should be looking for something that is comfortable, suits a variety of styles and looks great on your foot.
Style: We recommend a peek-a-boo toe for beginning ladies because it suits both the Ballroom and Latin dances really well. A peek-a-boo shoe is much more flexible than a Ballroom pump so you will still be able to arch your foot, point your toes and 'grip' the floor. At the same time a peek-a-boo shoe offers more support than a Latin sandal, and definitely keeps your toes more protected. You may also find a T-strap is helpful as it adds a little more support and stability for your foot.
Heel: It is not a good idea to get heels that are too high, especially when you first learn to dance. Everyone wants to look good and feel great when they're dancing, and choosing a heel height that you can't handle will make you look bad and feel worse. A 2 - 2.5 inch heel is pretty standard. If you have difficulties with balance, or aren't used to wearing heels you might consider a wider heel, or even a flat shoe to start with. Remember that it is very difficult to focus on learning dance steps if you are wobbling around like a newborn giraffe.
Color: Black is a nice color for a pair of starter shoes because it looks more like a regular shoe, goes with most clothing and can easily go from "dinner" to "dancing". Another color that is very popular with dancers is nude. Nude shoes do not stand out as much, which is nice because mistakes are not as noticeable and your legs will look longer. They also go well with both summer dresses and winter clothing. You can get both leather and satin shoes in nude and if your particular style or skin color isn't available, you can usually find the style you want in white satin and dye it nude. The shopkeeper can do it for you or you can do it yourself.
Your first pair of ballroom dance shoes is a no-brainer. You want a comfortable leather ballroom shoe that fits well and has good support. If you want to stand out a little more you will probably be able to find something with some interesting styling (different weaves, cuts, textures). However, you should probably avoid patent shoes as they are most appropriate in very formal situations.
You should also steer clear of Latin shoes unless you only plan to learn Latin dances (Latin shoes have a higher 'Cuban heel' which makes taking heel leads very uncomfortable). Even if you never plan to learn to Waltz or Foxtrot we suggest that you learn you first dance steps (and many more after that) in a normal leather ballroom shoe.
You will likely only find black shoes, which will probably suit you just fine.
There are a lot of good reasons to buy ballroom dance shoes even though they can be pretty expensive (they are quite specialized and usually imported from Europe). Furthermore we feel it is worth the money to get a good quality shoe with the proper support rather than going with a cheaper pair. At the very least try on a few different pairs to get a sense for what feels good on your foot.
Dancing For Dessert offers online dance instructions for all ballroom dance styles. Learn dance steps for salsa, swing, foxtrot, waltz, tango, rumba, cha cha, and wedding dances. Our online dance lessons will have you dancing with confidence and ease.