Thursday, 5 April 2012

Ballroom and Latin Dance Shoes

One of the first real investments once you’ve started dancing is to buy your first pair of dance shoes.  The range of brands and styles can be quite daunting – you only have to do a search for ballroom shoes on ebay to see a selection of what’s available!

Style 6000
Gents social shoe
There are two main reasons why you'd need a pair of dance shoes.  The first is the construction of the soles.  They’re much thinner than outdoor shoes and allow the wearer to rise up onto the balls of the feet easier.
Secondly, the sole of a dance shoe has a layer of suede that is in contact with the floor which provides slight grip when on a wooden floor.

Style 8000
Gents Latin shoe
So, let’s take a look at Gents or Boys shoes first.  For most male social dancers, one pair of shoes would suffice.  I would recommend a leather (rather than a patent) shoe with a standard (one inch) heel.  For the more dedicated social dancer or medallist competitor and beyond, a pair of ballroom shoes – patent with a standard heel and a pair of Latin shoes – leather with a Cuban heel.

Style 1531 Wide
Social Shoe
Style 1003
Ballroom Court Shoe
Style 7844
Latin Sandal
For the ladies, you have a much wider range of styles with almost endless permutation but for social dancers, you’d only need one pair of shoes.  Let’s look at the main styles.  There is a court shoe for ballroom, a Latin sandal or a hybrid social shoe. There is a fourth style known as a training shoe which has a similar style to a gent’s shoe with a Cuban heel offering a larger surface area.  Another thing to consider is the heel height and style.  Most shoe designs come with a variety of heights, 2, 2 ½ and 3 inch heels with either a slim or flared heel.

Style 1666
Juvenile Shoe
For under 11 year girls, there is a specially designed Juvenile shoe with a low block heel.  Under no circumstances should under 11s wear a high heel.  Once a girl reaches eleven, a higher heel can be introduced.

Always try the shoes on before buying them and remember, they do tend to stretch a little over time. 

Finally, shoe maintenance.  Get yourself a good shoe brush to remove the dirt that collects on the suede sole.  For patent shoes, you can buy a creme that can be applied to stop the shoes sticking together when you close your feet.  A good alternative is a silicon aerosol which you can get from a car maintenance store. Whether using a creme or spray, just make sure you don't get it on the soles!

Dance shoes manufacturers that I’d recommend:  Supadance, International, Freed, Dancesport International, Roche Valley, Ray Rose and Werner Kern.

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