When selecting a ballroom dancing shoe, there are many considerations that come into play. For some, particularly those new to ballroom dancing, price may be a determining factor. Other criteria include comfort, protection, support and appearance.
Shoe sizing for ballroom dance shoes is different from that of ordinary shoes. The shoes are intended to fit more closely to the foot. There should not be any additional room in the toe of the shoe. Also, ballroom dance shoes are almost always listed in British sizes. Because of these factors, it is very important to try the shoes on, and spend a while walking around in them to ensure they fit properly. If you have ordered the shoes online, walk around on a carpeted surface to check the fit. Once they have been worn on a hard surface, you will not be able to return them.
When deciding on a ballroom dance shoe, it is important to examine the construction of the shoe. Examining the stitching of the leather will tell you something about the quality of the shoe. Small even stitches indicate a quality shoe, while large, uneven stitches suggest that the shoe will not last long. Additional hints of quality can be found by looking for other flaws, like sloppy gluing. Poor construction may not only lead to a short life for the shoe, it can damage a dancer’s foot. Be particularly watchful for sharp edges around the ankle or poorly constructed seams on the interior of the shoe that can cause chafing.
For women, a standard rule is not to buy black dance shoes if you are planning to compete. Women rarely wear black shoes in competition, it is better to wear flesh-colored, gold or bronze because these colors blend into the foot and make the leg appear longer.
The Internet offers a broad range of ballroom dance shoes. Although it’s not always easy to select a shoe from a photo, the savings and convenience are well worth it (unless you happen to live near a well stocked ballroom dancing shoe store, which is pretty unusual). Bear in mind that most of the online shoe sources are very understanding about returns as long as the shoe has not been worn on a hard surface. If it’s not clear from reading the FAQ on the site, just ask them.