How to Choose the Right Dance Shoes: 5 Essential Tips

Choosing the right dance shoes is crucial for any dancer, regardless of their level of experience. The right shoes not only improve performance but also provide necessary support, reduce the risk of injury, and can enhance the overall dancing experience. Here are five essential tips to help you select the best dance shoes for your needs.

1. Determine the Type of Dance

The type of dance you are engaged in will greatly influence the kind of shoes you need. Different styles of dance require different types of support, flexibility, and sole design. For example, ballet requires lightweight slippers for flexibility, tap dancing needs shoes with metal taps for sound, while ballroom dancers often opt for shoes with suede soles to facilitate smooth turns and slides on the dance floor.

2. Consider the Fit

Dance shoes should fit more snugly than regular street shoes but should not cause discomfort. A proper fit will ensure that the shoe securely supports the foot and ankle, preventing slips and injuries. It’s often recommended to try dance shoes on in the afternoon or evening, as feet can swell slightly throughout the day, ensuring that the shoes fit well even during extended practice sessions.

3. Choose the Right Material

The material of your dance shoes affects both comfort and performance. Leather is a popular choice because it is durable and molds to your feet, providing excellent support and flexibility. Canvas is another option, especially for ballet slippers, as it is lighter and often more breathable but less durable than leather. For styles like salsa or ballroom, satin shoes are common for their aesthetic appeal, though they may offer less support.

4. Check the Sole

The sole of the shoe is critical for providing the right balance of grip and slip. Rubber soles can offer good grip for street and contemporary dance styles, while suede soles are ideal for ballroom dancing as they allow for smooth movements and turns on hardwood floors. It’s important to choose a sole that matches the dance floor you will be performing on to avoid slips and falls.

5. Prioritize Comfort and Support

Ultimately, your dance shoes should be comfortable and provide adequate support. Good arch support is vital, especially for dances that involve a lot of footwork and jumping. Don’t compromise on comfort, as uncomfortable shoes can lead to poor form, reduced performance, and even injuries. It may be worth investing a bit more in higher-quality shoes that you can wear comfortably for hours.


Selecting the right dance shoes is a key factor in your dance journey. It affects your ability to perform and learn effectively while protecting you from injuries. By understanding your needs based on the dance style, ensuring a proper fit, choosing the right materials and soles, and prioritizing comfort and support, you can find the perfect dance shoes that will enhance your dancing experience.