Dance to EvOLvE’s director, Brittany White, shares her tips for choosing the right dancing shoe to keep your dancer comfortable and safe in the studio.
Don’t spend a small fortune
Choosing a pair of dancing shoes really depends on the age and level of the dancer. For tiny tot dancers, there’s no need to splurge on an expensive pair. I always tell my dance parents to buy a budget pair. The steps that tiny tots will be doing in their dance classes do not require a higher quality shoe. Besides, a tiny tot dancer is going to outgrow the dance shoes before quality becomes a problem.
Choosing tap dance shoes
Most tap shoes run similar in size to street shoes. Much like street shoes, a tap shoe for a tiny tot dancer should have a pinch above the big toe for comfort. But not too much so that the shoe falls off the heel when dancing. My tip? A good trick to see if the dance shoe is too big is to have the dancer go up on the balls of their feet. If the heels pop out of the shoes, you should consider going down a size. Typically, tap shoes for tiny tots are black, shiny, and tie with a ribbon.
Tap shoes can come in every color of the rainbow but check the dress code for your dance studio. I typically recommend buying a black pair because come recital time, the dancer will already have the necessary shoe.
The best ballet shoes
Ballet class shoes for tiny tot dancers come in pink leather and tie on top of the foot. Again, I would recommend purchasing the traditional pink ballet shoe as come the recital, most dance studios will require pink ballet shoes. Ballet class shoes should have an elastic strap across the ankle, to keep the shoe from falling off the heel. They should also be snug on the foot while ensuring the toes are not pinched.
It is a good idea for older students to buy their first pair of dance shoes in a real-life dance store where they can try on various brands and styles and see what fits best. After doing this, you can always order online to save some money, but do try and support dance stores if you can!
Purchasing the first pair of pointe shoes? It’s important to go into a well-known dance store where professional and knowledgeable staff can help with the fitting. A good dance teacher will accompany their students for this fitting, in preparation for their first pointe class. Every dancer’s foot is significantly different in size, shape, and arch and therefore it is imperative to get the pointe shoe that fits the dancer’s foot.
Hip-hop dance shoes
For hip-hop dance classes, dancers simply need to wear a tennis shoe that ties so it doesn’t fall off while dancing. I’d also suggest wearing a shoe with less traction so that slides and turns are possible. This is particularly important for older dancers – it can help prevent knee injuries as they start doing more advanced moves. High-top shoes are great for added support too.