How to Choose Ballroom Dance Shoes

January 20, 2016 by

How to Choose Ballroom Dance Shoes

A pair of good dance shoes will make all the difference in how you execute your dancing. There are three basic types of Ballroom dance shoes. There are Latin, Standard, and Practice Shoes. There are a lot of elements to consider when choosing the right dance shoe: comfort, support, performance, dance style, appearance and more. Read on for more information on what to needs to be reflected on when buying ballroom dance shoes.

Heel Height

The heel height for Ballroom and Latin dance shoes can range from 1.5 inches to 3 inches. New dancers should choose a heel that gives them the most comfort. Also those not used to wearing heels in general should start with a smaller heel height. There are varied heel shapes to consider as well. Flared heels give more stability. And yes, even men’s ballroom shoes have heels. A one inch shoe is designed for male ballroom heels while Cuban heels are Latin dancing are about 1.5 inches for men’s Cuban heel.

Closed Toe Versus Open Toe

In general the Latin dances such as rumba, salsa, and swing have shoes designed with an open toe. These dances require more pointing of the toes and the open toe shoe design allows dancers to articulate their feet better. Closed toe shoes are designed for the traditional classic smooth and standard dances. The grand back-stepping toe leads are better suited with a closed toe shoe to protect the toes.

how to buy ballroom dance shoesShoe Size

Ballroom shoes should fit snuggly but not so tight that circulation is affected. A snug fit will allow dancers to have more control over their shoes after they are broken in. Some advise to buy dance shoes a half size smaller than their normal shoe size depending on the shoe brand.

Shoe Sole

Suede soled shoes are the best for ballroom dancing. The suede provides a good balance of traction and slip. Sole shoes can be brushed with a wire dance shoe brush to maintain the roughness after being worn down with lots of dancing. There are also vegan options that have no leather or animal products. In general, these are most widely available online. Most have hard rubber soles, but there are some vegan ballroom shoes that have pseudo-suede soles made from a synthetic material


The price of ballroom dance shoes can range from about $80 to over $300 per pair. Investing in a good shoe can mean a longer dance life for the footwear. Sometimes great deals can be found online, but this inhibits being able to try the shoe on before purchase. Since sizing and style can vary between brands, it’s best to got to a store and try the shoe on to get the best fit before spending the money.


Heel protectors are great because they protect the floor, give dancers more traction, and protect the heel of the shoe. Heel tips on ballroom shoes can wear out quickly and can cost $5 or more to replace. Plastic heel protectors will prolong the life of ballroom shoes and prevent the nail that is attached to the shoe from being exposed. Scotch Guard is great for satin shoes to protect the fabric and keep it from getting dirty. As mentioned before, shoe brushes help danced-in shoes maintain the roughness needed for traction on the dance floor. Avoiding moisture is the best thing a dancer can do to maintain their dance shoes. Shoetrees can be used after a night of dancing to absorb moisture and keep the shape of the dance shoes. Having two pairs of shoes to rotate between can allow one pair of dance shoes to dry out completely before it’s next use. Ballroom dance shoes should only be worn indoors for their best preservation.

Article by Ziva