by Gail Schonhoffer
Comfort is the key. Your shoes should fit well so that you can dance for several hours without foot pain.
There are various categories of dance shoes – smooth, latin, practice. The heel height for latin and ballroom dance shoes ranges from 1.5" to 3". Classical ballroom shoes have a lower heel that allows the weight to be distributed evenly across the foot. Latin shoes have higher heels that put weight onto the toes. Practice shoes usually start with 1” heels and are easily worn for long periods of time. Ladies shoes are generally higher than men’s but even men’s shoes vary from 1” for ballroom to 1.5” - 2” for latin. Beginning dancers should choose a heel height that gives the most comfort. If you are not accustomed to wearing heels, you may want to start with shoes that have a lower heel. Also, there are different shapes of heel, such as slim and flared. A flared heel is a popular choice as it gives you more stability. As a beginner, we tend to get stepped on occasionally and closed toed shoes offer some protection. Ballroom dance shoes have a suede sole which gives the best combination of slip and traction. Because of the suede sole they require extra care and should not be worn outside.
Other shoes can be worn for dancing but you will need a smooth sole (preferably leather). Dancing in rubber soled shoes is very difficult and can lead to injury. If using regular shoes try them out at home to see if they mark up the floor. If they do please do not use them. Another option is to have dance soles glued onto a regular shoe. This can be done at a shoe repair shop for about $50.00 - $60.00.
Where to buy – ask other dancers where they got their shoes. There are few options in Regina. Online is an option but sizing can be difficult. RBDC usually has someone selling dance shoes at Dancelicious in March.