New students often ask what to wear when they come for their dance lessons. We suggest something comfortable, but no rubber soles. Rubber tends to stick to the wooden floor and make turning, and even stepping correctly, more difficult. After a few lessons, when students have decided to pursue ballroom as a hobby, we help them choose their dance shoes.
Although it is possible to dance in street shoes, once you have danced in ballroom shoes, you will never go back. The beauty of the ballroom shoe is its lightness, its flexibility and the comfort that the fine materials provide for the foot. The suede bottom of the shoe grants just enough smoothness so you can freely zoom across the floor, while also providing grip to prevent you from slipping. The sole is thin enough to feel the floor but padded enough to make hours of dancing enjoyable and pain-free. You may have heard professional dancers talking about gripping and feeling the floor. This is true. When you advance to a higher level of ballroom technique, you will understand what it means to become connected to the floor. This connection cannot be achieved without proper shoes.
Latin and rhythm shoes are very distinct from standard and smooth shoes. Most students choose to learn two styles of dance, such as rhythm and smooth, and therefore, should obtain two pairs of shoes – one pair for each style. For example, a rhythm shoe for a woman will be open-toed and have a higher heel. Men’s rhythm shoes also have a higher heel. The higher heel is designed to help the dancer keep his or her weight forward and utilize the ball of the foot, which is essential for both rhythm and latin styles. Smooth shoes, on the other hand, are close-toed and normally have a much shorter heel for both ladies and gentlemen. This allows the dancer to use more the heel of the foot and maintain the weight slightly back.
When purchasing a pair of shoes, make sure they fit snugly, take a few practices or lessons to break them in and take care of them by storing them in a bag and using them only inside on a ballroom floor. You can also extend the life of ballroom shoes by brushing the soles with a special metal brush to get the dust and dirt out of the suede. A good pair of shoes should easily last students a year, but most likely much longer.
If you are in search of ballroom shoes, stop by Starz Ballroom Twinsburg or Starz Ballroom Westlake to try on shoes and look through our extensive catalogues. We can order the perfect shoes for you!