What’s the Best Type of Shoes for Ballroom Dancing?

Close view of a couple's shoes as they stand on a dance floor.

Footwear is the most important component of your ballroom dancing gear. It improves posture, provides traction, and smooths out your movements.

Even the best dancers will struggle to achieve grace with rubber soles and six-inch heels, but your shoes play an even more important role: They take care of your feet and help prevent injuries.

Ballroom dancing is a demanding art form, and it will damage your body if you wear the wrong shoes. There’s a reason ballroom dancing footwear bears no resemblance to any other shoe: Dancers need highly specialized shoe specifications that provide grip, comfort, and freedom of movement. 

The Best Soles for Ballroom Dancing

Specialized ballroom dancing soles are made of suede, not rubber. This gives you the adhesion to achieve precise movements without encouraging sudden stops.

Suede slides over the dance floor at just the right speed without making you slip. Leather is flexible, so your feet will have the freedom of movement required to achieve perfect form. If you need a little more grip, a layer of talcum powder will help you to adapt to any dance floor.

The Ideal Heels for Dancing

The height of your heels will place your weight on the correct part of your foot, so it’s best to start wearing the proper shoes right from the beginning before you learn bad habits.

Ballroom dancing requires a respectable heel. A half-inch stiletto is typical for most forms of dance, but Latin and Rhythm heels kick it up a notch at 1.5 inches. 

Every ballroom dance has its own perfect heel height. Spanish heels are two inches high with a sturdier shape. Latin heels are thin and unforgiving, so they take a little more time to get used to.

Stability is, of course, imperative, so most ballroom dancing heels have a goblet shape. Flare heels are an excellent choice for beginners who have yet to develop their stability. You can adapt to a sharper heel once you feel confident in your movement. 

The Best Latin Shoes for Men

Standard men’s ballroom shoes look like dress shoes but have a more flexible suede sole. Like women’s ballroom shoes, their heel shifts weight onto the ball of the foot, encouraging proper form. There are three broad styles of men’s ballroom shoes.

Standard ballroom shoes are 0.5 inches and are ideal for the waltz and foxtrot. Practice shoes have a canvas sole. Latin or Cuban heels are 1.5 inches high with a suede sole. It’s not unusual for men to wear a heel of up to five centimeters, often with an exaggerated instep. 

The Best Practice Shoes

You needn’t wear out your expensive suede soles in dance class. Practice shoes are designed to give you a comfortable fit that’s soft and flexible enough to encourage smooth turns.

They’re budget-friendly, so you can wear out as many pairs as you like without breaking your budget. They’ll also give you much-needed freedom of movement, allowing you to form good habits as you learn. 

Start Dancing Today

You can’t sustain your dance practice with unhealthy, painful feet. Your shoes are perhaps the most essential tools of your ballroom practice, so they’re worth investing in.

Fred Astaire Dance Studios will help you choose the correct equipment for your new hobby. Our unique, friendly, nonjudgmental classes will ensure a fun experience, whether you prefer group classes or private lessons. Track your progress as you exercise and meet new friends.

Dance up a storm with Fred Astaire Dance Studios. Call 317-846-3237 to sign up for dance classes in Carmel, IN.