Basic Tips When Selecting Ballroom Dance Shoes

Must-haves for everyone


  • Shoes need to have a thin suede sole in order to grip the stage or practice floor without hindering the user’s ability to glide. If a shoe has too thick of a sole turns and brushing will become particularly difficult because it will catch or stutter across the floor. Footwork will become extremely difficult and might even result in small injuries like a strained muscle or twisted ankle. Meanwhile have too thin of a sole and the user will get an ice-skating effect. This means they’ll lose much-needed control and could risk getting similar injuries to the previous options or accidentally falling.


  • Make sure your shoes fit like a glove. Most shoes run in European sizes, which are typically 1.5 the size smaller than American. Heading to a local dance shop/studio is always recommended. (Especially if you have narrow feet or are thinking of buying some online.) However, at the very least scrutinize the sizing charts available for the shoe you’re interested in.


  • All ballroom dance shoes need to be flexible. This is so the user can demonstrate their footwork without jamming their feet or simply being unable to because their shoe doesn’t bend.


  • An average price for good shoes runs from $80 to $300+. Around $150 and up should guarantee a decent pair while going lower runs risks of maybe having some shoddy stitching or quick exhaust time. (How long a pair lasts is up to how well you maintain them, as well as how frequently you use them and on what type of floor.)


  • Many people choose closed-toed shoes for their first pair of ballroom shoes because not only does it jive more with the overall attire of ballroom dance (typically), but also guards more should there be an accidental toe crush. (They won’t completely protect your toes, but some things better than nothing.)  Woman’s shoes should be closed-toed pumps with the heel size not being too extreme and centered more under the foot. (Going over three inches is pushing it.) The placement of the heel is to help the fluidity of backward movement and control. Meanwhile, men should purchase an oxford style (or something similar) lace-up. Usually in black or darker natural colors. The shoe should have a classic heel to it found in most styles of dress shoes and this type of shoe is universal across the board for men. (There are three basic types of ballroom dance shoes. The variation tends to come on the fallows part.)


  • People who are practicing take note. Having a pair of professional ballroom shoes is rarely needed for class. (A nice perk if you got ‘em though). A pair of flats, heels (so long as you can move in them and not hurt yourself, or sneakers are fine. The key is making sure your shoes have suede bottoms. That’s what’s going to make mastering a move or dance much easier for you. Suede allows natural gliding movement while also locking in a level of grip that won’t have you slipping or skidding to a stop midway through a dance move.