“Those shoes look great! They’ll be perfect for my dance class!” The real question here is do you want your shoes to look good or do YOU want to look good? Footwear plays a very large role in dancing, believe it or not. There’s nothing more comfortable than a good pair of sneakers or cowboy boots, but are they putting you at the best advantage for dancing? It depends on you.

Are you having trouble turning? Do you find yourself behind the music when dancing? Do you miss your footwork because you can’t move your feet fast enough? Shoes could very well be a big part of your problem believe it or not. Many shoes are designed with rubber soles that do not slip. For most applications, this is a much smarter idea and way to walk. For dancing, too much friction can lead to a handicap on your dancing, not to mention ankle, knee and back problems. The reason is, dancing requires you to move your feet! If you have trouble moving your feet easily, your ankles, knees and back have to make up for lost time, thus causing problems.

First of all, we’ll look at why you see “dancers” out wearing those “fancy schmancy dance shoes”. Dance shoes are made up of comfortable materials from leather to breathable fabrics. The soles are generally suede, sometimes with suede heels or rubber heels for added grip. You will also find newer “sneaker” type dance shoes with rubber soles. These are quite different from regular sneakers as they have a sole that has the ability to move across a smooth surface much easier. A good comparison would be a bowling shoe.

The reason dancers wear dance shoes, is because it’s easier to dance in them! When dancing is easier, your ability to improve is exponentially better. Overall, the “dance shoe” is deemed a better option than other footwear for those two reasons alone. Now, going out and buying some cool new dance shoes may not meet all of your needs. Sometimes dancers will find other options that meet their needs, such as diabetic folks will tend to wear a diabetic shoe, with a sueded bottom. Some dancers require arch supports, some require something that has an ankle-lace for added ankle support. The most important thing is to meet your comfort needs. Buying the best looking pair of dance shoes isn’t going to solve your problem either. Try shoes on, dance in them, know your needs and find footwear that meets those needs. Keep in mind that your feet will swell when dancing, make sure you have shoes that provide extra room under pressure!

How do shoes change your dancing?
Do you ever see ladies out on the floor in flip flops or really high heels trying to dance? Have you ever seen gentleman out on the floor, kicking up their big boots or tennis shoes? You see that the “cowboy” two step has a very different feel than a ballroom style two step. Most of this is because of footwear! It’s impossible to glide down the floor with shoes that stick or come off of your feet.

A lot of ladies love to spin – dancing is generally about showing off the lady and spinning is a fantastic way to do it! If she is spinning in perfect rhythm and the right direction she will be noticed and recognized as a “good dancer”. If she’s spinning out of control and hurting people, she will also be noticed, but recognized more as a “hazard”. Wearing clogs, sandals, rubber-soled shoes tend to make the ladies overcompensate on turning and therefore put them out of control.

If you’re concerned with looking good, dancing in the wrong shoes and spinning out of control is not the way to do it. You wouldn’t think about running in high heels or wearing tennis shoes with your favorite evening gown, so why dance in the wrong shoes? Think about your footwear before you go dance! It’s important for your health, they way you dance, they way you look on the dance floor and your evening of fun!

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