“You have so many pairs of dance shoes!”
I hear the above exclamation often but in reality, while I do own lots of dance shoes, I make them count and I make them stand out and be noticed.
I have not counted lately, I have thrown away a few pairs which were so well-worn even replacing the suede bottoms wasn’t going to cover up the threatening hole or the weakened heel. Nobody wants a weakened heel, especially not me. While it might bring about a ripple of laughter if I tripped and fell off the stage while demoing, or fell flat on my derriere on the dance floor, I don’t relish the possibility of an injury, thank you very much.
Specialist shoes for dancing can be expensive but I prefer quantity and most often it doesn’t result in lack of quality. Yes, there are local shops which offer standard, less than glitzy in my eyes, dance shoes but they can cost upwards of eighty pounds a pair. If I spent that on every new pair I would need to apply for a new credit card!
I choose to by cheaper dance shoes online, always ensuring there is an easy-to-follow process for returning should they not fit. Some of my purchases require a patient wait for a delivery from China but there are equally reasonable shops online which ship from the UK.
My first port of call is always Amazon. My favourite shoes at the moment are a bright yellow pair which are sparkly with diamante studs and an important glove-like fit. They are flexible and snug but look amazing. While I am not a fan of yellow, it has never suited my pasty complexion or blonde hair shoes sit, obviously, far enough away for that not to matter. Those yellow shoes have an elasticated side band, snugly fitting side panels and, importantly, they zip up at the back unlike so many other dance shoes which have the alleged quick-fastening slide buckles.
I have three pairs of black shoes, a pair each of silver, white, blue, pink, red and two pairs of multi-coloured shoes. I save the black for my more difficult to match outfits but I do try to coordinate. They are, after all, a part of the overall look.
It is always useful to have at least one neutral-coloured pair on hand and I also have a couple of lower heeled pairs of which I keep one in the bottom of my dance bag for those nights when aching feet take over, although my preference is to dance in at least a small heel, so my shoes usually have at least a 2.5 inch heel.
All of the above is down to personal preference and I realise some dancers have to buy wider fitting shoes and are reluctant to buy online. Some are simply reluctant to buy online anyway and I completely understand that. Everybody has a choice.
The other shoe subject is, of course, the flamboyant dance shoes worn by my husband and dance partner. He loves to be the centre of attention (he really does!) on the dance floor, it’s no secret, and he adores colourful shiny shoes which often outshine my own.
Again, we source many of his via Amazon, although some of his are simply stunning shoes which he has purchased suede bottoms for. He is the shoe bottom suede-sticker in our house. I simply have no patience for such tasks but he does a good job. We buy the suede bottoms (around a fiver per pair) and a pair of reasonably priced everyday shoes are instantly transformed.
Unless the weather is dry, its best not to chance wearing suede bottomed shoes outside, especially if you are heading for a dance night. You might as well have not bothered, as your feet will stick to the dance floor, increasing the possibility of injury due to impaired movement.
Beginners, take heart, you do not have to buy dance shoes when you first start lessons, but please be warned that trainers tend to have too much of a grip on the floor to allow you spin and move freely. If trainers are your thing, there are specially designed ‘dance sneakers’ with suede bottoms which are both comfortable and stylish. Flip flops are not advisable, but as long as you wear comfortable shoes, your dancing will be more enjoyable.
Dance shoes can be sourced online from Amazon and eBay or specialist dance wear websites. It might take an order or two to gauge the best size, heel height or style for you but it is worth the effort to find an online source which you can return to again and again (and again, if you are anything like me!) If you are lucky, you might find friends who will allow you to try on their dance shoes for size. You have all the time in the world because, once you start dancing, it is likely you will be dancing for years to come.
When you start to go to some of the bigger freestyles, you will be pleased to find they often have dance shoe companies who bring along their wares for you to try and, indeed, buy.
Please message me in the comments section if you have any questions and all that remains for me to do is to wish you ‘happy dancing, on comfortable feet’.