September 23, 2016

You know, I guess I had taken for granted the ease of dancing in Dance Shoes, until a couple of years ago when we were asked to teach a group class in Market Square, an outside shopping and dining district in downtown Pittsburgh. Because the event was outside, we were discouraged from wearing our suede-soled dance shoes, and because it was late autumn I decided to wear ankle boots (they were super-cute Jessica Simpson leather boots, but I digress).

After a few short minutes of dancing, my ankles started screaming at me. The boots, although adorable, were heavy. And they did not allow me to rotate on my foot, which is a main part of what we do when we dance. Ever since then, I have tried to encourage every dancer, new or experienced, to invest in a pair (or two) of dance shoes.

With so many options out there, what do you need to look for in your first pair of dance shoes? I will do my best to steer you in the right direction.

Finding Your First Pair of Dance Shoes

Written by: Kristen Perpich

elegant sketched woman's shoe. salsa dance shoes.



Ladies, the first decision to be made is whether to go with a closed-toe shoe or an open-toe shoe. They each have their place, but more on that in a future blog. In your first pair of dance shoes you are looking for a style that will allow you to perform all kinds of dances- smooth, rhythm, country, and more! I recommend an open toe shoe in the beginning, because you will be able to dance all of these styles. If you can find a peep-toe style, all the better.

different heels shoes woman dancing

Heel Height

Next, we talk about the height of the heel. I find it easier to dance in heels than in flats, but that doesn’t mean you have to jump in and get the 4″ stilettos. Dance shoes come in a variety of heel heights from a little over one inch up to three inches or more. I suggest starting with a lower heel, especially if you are not accustomed to wearing heels on a daily basis. One and a half to two inches is a great starting point.


Your third decision is color. Dance shoes are available in tan, black, white, red, leopard print, and almost any other color you can imagine. For your first pair of shoes, you’ll want to go with something neutral: tan or black is best. Tan shoes are great because you can wear them with any outfit. The shoes will blend in with your legs, and the dance floor.

elegant sketched man's shoe. argentine tango dance shoes.


Heel Height

Gentlemen, lucky for you (or maybe not), you do not have nearly the amount of variety when it comes to your shoes as the ladies do. The first of two decisions to be made concerns heel height. There are two options for heel height: 1″ standard, or 2″ Cuban heel. For your first pair of dance shoes, I recommend the 1″ standard heel because you can most easily dance all styles versus a Cuban heel, which is specifically designed for latin and rhythm dancing.


Your second decision is color. By far, the most popular color for a man’s dance shoe is black. Don’t get me wrong, there are other colors out there: brown, white, black & white, etc. Basic black is your best bet, it goes with almost anything.

Where to purchase?

You can often purchase shoes through your dance studio, and your instructors may be able to guide you in your decision. Otherwise, there are tons of online sites that sell dance shoes. Depending on where you live, you might locate a brick and mortar store that keeps dance shoes in stock that you can try on.

Any way that you find them, dance shoes are a worthwhile investment in your dancing. After all, they are the only thing between you and the dance floor!

More News