Best Jazz Shoes: Your must read guide before you buy!

Jazz shoes are one of the most common types of dance shoes.  However, with so many options to pick from, the choice can be overwhelming. In this guide, dance expert Susan Swanson points out the top four characteristics to look for in a Jazz shoe.  Whether you do jazz and hip-hop or rock’n’roll and dance aerobics, after reading this article you should be confident that your jazz shoes are assisting you to be the best dancer you can be.

best jazz shoes
The Block Super Jazz shoe are one of the most popular on the market and at only $40, one of the most affordable too! Click on the image to learn more.

Without further ado, here are the four characteristics to consider when buying a pair of jazz shoes

1. Jazz shoes should made from breathable materials

Let’s face it, when you’re dancing you get hot. So, choosing a shoe made from a breathable material is a must.  The top option is a durable leather. It’s breathable, long lasting and gives that “glove” fit after broken in becoming soft and form fitting.  There are many  Jazz shoes available in leather, including the dance boots and some slip on dance shoes.

For those looking for something  inexpensive, canvas Jazz shoes are another great option. Canvas is a breathable fabric, so it will keep you cool.  Also look for shoes with breathable mesh panels, which are a common feature in Jazz shoes and serve to ventilate the foot during an intense dance session.

These Capezio’s are easy to find on sites such as Amazon and are extremely affordable. Notice the elastic/lycra mesh side panels that give these shoes a added breathable feature.

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2.  Choose a sole that meets our specific needs and experience level

The sole of most Jazz shoes are made from rubber.  Rubber soles are sturdy, durable and comfortable during the spins, piroettes & jumps that are part of many jazz routines.

Beginners should generally stick with a flat or small heel rubber sole. In these shoes, the traction is evenly distributed throughout the sole.   More advanced dancers may consider a split-sole version that offers more flexibilty for the dancers foot.   Split sole shoes have  front and rear panels, but no sole in the middle of the foot. The two panels often are rough bottomed to give that needed grip to stay steady on the dance floor. Split soles are advantageous for the spins and high kicks of the more common dance steps such as when doing your battements as having that grip bottom helps steady your steps as you execute the steps and steadies your step as you prepare and execute your high steps.   These Bloch Split Sole trainers below have split soles. Notice that the front and bottom parts of the shoe touch the ground, but the middle does not.

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Dancing takes a toll on your feet. It’s therefore essential that your Jazz shoes have an optimal fit in order to maximize your comfort.  One important aspect to consider is whether the shoe material will stretch.  For example, canvas generally does not stretch.  Therefore any fit you feel at the time of purchase will stay there throughout the life of the shoe.  On the other hand, be mindful that leather does stretch.  This means you may want to pick a leather shoe that is on the snug side, as after some use it will stretch and become looser. Another option is to choose a shoe with elastic gore.  Elastic gore refers to stretch panels inserted into the sides of the shoe that allows it to stretch according to your foot.  This slip-on Sansha found at Amazon.com,  shown below, has stretch panels for an optimal fit.

best jazz shoes
The Sansha Moderno Leather Slip-On consistently gets high reviews from Jazz dancers. Click here to learn more.

4. Choose a Jazz shoe that looks good!

While your foremost consideration should be on choosing a jazz shoe that is breathable, has an appropriate sole and fits well, you also want to look good in the process!

There are various designs and colors in Jazz shoe styles to keep you looking stylish and to fit your personality.  There are low rise, one of the most common.  These shoes can have buckles, resemble a Mary Jane or tap type of shoe.  There are high rise choose too that are more supportive to the tiring ankles.  Some of these do sport buckles or straps too.  Although black and tan are the most common colors, there are others too choose from as well or sometimes just a splash of color here and there. Even if you prefer the more recognized simple styles, you can find some options there too, such as this sleek version from Bloch found at Zappos.com

 

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Check out the Bloch Neo Flex Slip-On by clicking on the image.

Now that you know what to look for when purchasing Jazz shoe, here is our list of the top 5 Jazz shoe brands:

1.  Capezio Jazz shoes

 If you want a brand that is has a reputation in the dance world, Capezio is it.  They makes dance shoes for many styles of dance, including ballet, tap, jazz along with dancer wear such as leotards, tights and other dance related accessories.  They are one of the top dependable and hugely popular brands for many, many years.  You can not go wrong with any of the Capezio Jazz shoe options.   There are a number of options for Jazz shoe styles, whether lace-up, slip-on, high-top etc, and Capezio also have some cute buckle versions, such as this version in light tan. One of the best value and most popular are the Carpezio Economy Jazz Slip On, which you can find on Zappos, here.

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Checkout Zappos’ great range of Carpezio Jazz shoes by clicking here!

2.  Bloch  Jazz shoes 

If you want edgy, up to-date style shoes and more variety of colors, Block is what you’re looking for.  This brand is well known and very popular within the hip hop based jazz scene. Also, some of Bloch styles can be used for boys and men, a group that unfortunately still does not have as many options as the girls and women.  Bloch jazz shoes come in many  popular styles, including the split-sole, lace-up and high top over the ankle versions. These Bloch jazz shoes for men are made of supple leather  for a snug ballet fit, along with laces for a secure feeling.

 

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Click to hear to shop of Bloch jazz shoes

 

Bloch’s dance sneakers are also very popular for Jazz, and they come in a great range of styles & colors, are made of durable canvas material and are still very affordable. Check them out here. 

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Check out these great Bloch Jazz sneakers by clicking on the image.

 

Check out Bloch’s Neo-Flex, a great beginner unisex Jazz shoe for boys and girls alike.

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Click on the image to check out the Bloch Neo Flex on Amazon

 Sansha Jazz shoes

Sansha’s  makes great over-the-ankle-top boots, some with buckles or straps.  They carry both suede and canvas dance sneaker’s that are  incredibly light and flexible. Features include  lace-up front’s, turn spot on sole, split-soles, and some with  shock absorbers in the heel of the shoe  and an inner padded sole and toe area  for additional comfort.  Sansha makes both low and high profile Jazz shoes. Their styles have fantastic bright colors , but they do make more traditional, black, tan or  white colors in their Jazz dance boot and Jazz sneakers. You can check their various models out here.

best shoes for jazz
The Sansha Soho Lace-Up Jazz Shoe is a crowd favorite! Check the out by clicking here.

4. Saucony Jazz shoes

Our fourth choice for a great Jazz dance sneaker is Saucony:  This lace-up is stylish and is super comfortable. Available in a wide range of cool colors, the Jazz Lo Pro is very light weight. It also features inside padding in the tongue, heal and arch area adding to more shock absorption.  This shoe is just so comfortable and stylish it can be worn for a variety of other activities too. Check out the great range of Saucony Jazz Shoes, here.

saucony jazz shoes
These Saucony Originals Jazz Low Pro have five stars on Zappos are are by far, one of the most popular on the market. Click on the image to learn more.

Next question you may ask is where to purchase your new Jazz shoes?

There are many options for purchasing Jazz shoes online.  Zappos is a favorite for their famous customer service, including free returns! For discount Jazz shoes, consider payless.com, which has jazz shoes starting from as little as 26.99. Amazon and ebay are also great places to find quality and inexpensive jazz shoes.  For example, have a look at these great pair of tan Capezio lace ups from Amazon for only 19.40!

tan jazz shoes

 

Just remember to take your time and find a shoe that is breathable, has a sole that is both durable & flexible,  fits correctly,  and also looks good!  Then get out there and enjoy your spins, leaps, pirouettes, all the while dancing yourself into a physically, mentally and healthier you!

Tango Shoes – Your Must Read Guide Before You Buy

The tango is a very unique dance, full of fire and passion so when dancing the tango you’ll need a unique pair of shoes that will help you perform your most perfect and most passionate dance.

Tango shoes, like a lot of other dance shoes, are designed to not only make your legs and feet look beautiful, but also help you dance better.

Why can’t you use your regular ballroom dance shoes for dancing tango? For amateurs, this might be OK, but anyone learning the real art of tango will understand that ballroom tango and Argentine tango are two very different dances. Authentic Argentine tango shoes, like the Comme Il Faut brand, feature leather uppers and soles, and are more flexible and generally more comfortable than generic dancing shoes.

If you’re getting serious about Argentine tango, then you’re going to need the right pair of tango shoes. In this article we’re going to show you how to choose the right pair of tango shoes for your feet and your dance, and also review the best tango shoes available in 2013.

What Makes A Good Pair of Tango Shoes?

While there are different characteristics that make different shoes more suitable to different dancers, good tango shoes for both men and women have a few overall key characteristics.

Tango Shoes Should Have Leather or Suede Soles

The soles of men’s and women’s tango shoes should have a leather or suede sole. This enables you to pivot and slide smoothly while providing traction enough so you won’t slip.

tango shoes scarlet
Mythique makes authentic Argentine tango shoes. The soles are made from either leather or suede. Click on the picture to purchase.

Tango Shoes Should Have Soft Lining

Tango shoes need to be comfortable, so you’ll ideally be looking for shoes that have a soft lining, preferably leather.

As long as your foot is comfortable and the padding does not impede your flexibility nor your sensitivity to floor contact, the choice of lining thickness is generally personal.

mens tango shoe santa fe
These tango shoes for men from Neuva Epoca have a breathable and moisture-absorbent calfskin lining. Click on the picture to purchase.

Tango Shoes Should Have Thin, Flexible Soles

A thin sole is important as it enables you to feel the ground, assisting with your balance and foot placement. This is important for men but particularly important for women’s high heels. The sole also needs to be flexible to enable it to move with the natural contours of your feet and your rhythm.

In regular ballroom dance shoes, the sole will be supported by a steel shank (flat metallic strip) to prove arch support. In Argentine tango shoes, this shank is considerably shorter to enable greater shoe flexibility.

tango shoes persefone
This handmade tango shoe from Mystique has a thin, flexible sole. Click on the picture to purchase.

Tango Shoes Need Heels

High heels are a cornerstone of the tango. Not only do heels make your legs look elegant, the heel also helps you maintain balance when stepping. During the tango, your balance is set slightly forward and a high heel helps to offset this and maintain stability.

Beginners not used to wearing high heels often choose to start in lower heels and work up to the higher heels while their ankle strengthens. Same too with beginners choosing a wider heel and then working their way up to a stiletto.

Dancers with longer feet can generally more easily adapt to higher heels as there is less gradient between toe and heel.

Heels generally range between 2 to 3.5 inches (5 to 9 centimeters) for women. For men’s tango shoes, the typical Cuban heel height of 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) is generally sufficient, but men can choose higher or lower depending on their preferences.

tango shoes - lilit
Mythique allows you to choose the height of your heel. Choose 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 inches. Click on the picture to purchase.

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Tango Shoes Need A Secure Fit

A secure fit is vital. A well-fitting shoe not only keeps your dance steps on track, it also protects your feet and legs from injury.

Your foot should not slide in your tango shoe, and if it does, your shoes are too big. Your shoes need to be just longer than your feet – a 0.5cm length difference is ideal. Shoes that are too long increase your risk of tripping and stepping on your partner’s toes.

The right width is also important to keep your foot stable. When fitting for your width, remember that leather shoes will stretch, and natural leather and suede will stretch more than patent leather or shoes designed with satin.

tango livia
These Mythique Women’s Tango Ballroom shoes have excellent fit. Make sure to consult the sizing diagram before purchasing. Click on the picture to check them out.

Other Factors to Consider When Choosing Tango Shoes

Heel Cage and Straps

Your choice between an open or closed heel cage is a personal one, and most beginners worried about the security of their feet will choose a closed heel cage and or a closed toe. Open cages are still secure, especially with thicker straps. Some shoes have a combination style cage.

All straps should fit snugly but not bind or cut the feet in anyway.

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Do You Need Practice Tango Shoes?

Most tango experts recommend practicing in the same shoes you’ll be wearing to your milonga, and don’t recommend practicing in flats, low heels or fitness trainers. Balance is an important part of learning the tango and switching between low and high heels impedes your balance training. Besides, the high tango heel is a pillar of the tango dance tradition.

Now we know what makes a good tango shoe, let’s turn to looking at some good choices for tango shoes currently available.

Mythique Lilit

Handcrafted in Argentina, these Lilit tango shoes from Mythique are perfect for beginners and tango pros alike. They feature a leather sole with a soft suede upper, and are slightly padded to ensure excellent comfort and fit. The Lilit has a partially open heel cage for that more elegant look while still providing the foot protection that comes with a full heel cage.

tango shoes - lilit
Click on the picture to check out the Mythique Lilit on Amazon

Available in black and gold, in narrow, medium or wide width, and a range of heel sizes from 5 to 9 centimetres.

Pros – Soft suede upper

Cons –  The narrow heel might not  suit beginner dancers

Mythique Livia

The austere look of the Livia tango shoe presents a bold statement about your dance, speaking to the authentic Argentine tango traditions from the streets of Bunes Aires. Handmade in Argentina, the Livia is crafted from soft, durable leather with excellent stability from all angles across the foot and ankle.

The fully enclosed upper provides good protection for the foot, especially suitable for beginners and those with less experienced partners who might tend to step on your toes. The wide but still high heel is a good choice for beginning dancers who would like to start dancing in high heels but still have the foot protection of a full shoe before moving onto something more strappy.

tango livia
Click on the picture to check out the Livia tango shoe

Shown here in black natural leather, it’s also available in patent and lame. The Livia heel height ranges from 5 to 9 centimetres.

Pros – Excellent all over foot protection

Cons – The fully closed in look might not be suited to all dancer’s tastes, and your formal competitions may have some rules against this style of shoe for aesthetic purposes.

VFS Party Series

For the boys looking for a good pair of men’s tango shoes, these Party Series shoes from VFS are a fine choice. Not only do these shoes look fantastic and provide the real flare that a tango dance inspires, they’re also built with all of the features that define an excellent pair of tango shoes. They are all leather, with a suede sole and a cushioned insole for comfort.  They’re very versatile and are good for ball room, standard or smooth dancing. If you wear these, you’ll be sure to receive compliments on your style!

The heel is standard at 2.5cm.

 

VFS Party Series
Click on the picture to check out this Men’s tango shoe

 

Pros – Stylish with a cushioned insole for comfort.

Cons – Has been reported to be tight across the toes.

 

Mythique Scarlett

Another fine women’s tango shoe from Mythique, the Scarlett feature a vibrant red and black suede and patent leather upper and leather sole. The closed toe and enclosed heel cage provides excellent foot protection and the T-bar strap design provides a secure and flexible fit while still delivering an elegant shoe.

Like all Mythique shoes, the Scarlett is handmade in Argentina and can be customised to suit your specific tango shoe needs.

Heel sizes are available from 5 to 9 centimetres.

wonen's tango shoes scarlet
Click on the picture to check out these women’s tango shoes on Amazon.

Pros – the best of both worlds with a closed in toe and heel cage as well as T-bar straps

Cons – the standard toe box can feel a little narrow on some feet and some customisation may be required before purchase.

Mythique  Charlotte

Mythique’s Charlotte tango shoes are an excellent choice for dancers looking to add a little vibrant colour to their tango  shoes. The charlotte’s feature an all suede upper and a fine leather sole. The strappy, open toed design delivers exceptional flexibility while the partially enclosed heel cage provides excellent stability while still maintaining the elegance of an open cage.

They are made with a built in padding point of the ball of the foot to provide increased support during pivot movements.

Available in scarlet and burgundy with heels ranging from 5 to 9 centimetres.

tango charlotte

For dancers looking for a shoe similar to the Charlotte but with a more subtle colouring, the black and silver Mythique Persefone is a worthy alternative.

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Pros – vibrant colouring on soft suede uppers

Cons – the added pivot support might not be suitable for all foot types or dancing styles.

With everything the tango dance has to offer for both your body and your soul, fitting the right pair of tango shoes is an absolute must for any tango dancer. From beginner to professional, men and women, the best tango shoes are easy to find now you know what to look for.

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Best Ballroom Dance Shoes: Your Must Read Guide Before You Buy

Whether you’re a professional or an amateur, finding the best ballroom dance shoes will make all the difference to your performance and help protect your feet from injury. In this article we provide an overview of the various types of ballroom dance shoes, including the four key characteristics you should consider before purchasing.

Types of Ballroom Dance Shoes

There are three basic types of ballroom dance shoes for both women and men. These are:

  1. Standard
  2. Latin
  3. Practice

Men’s ballroom dance shoes

For men, the major difference between the three is the heel height. A standard pair of men’s ballroom dancing shoes typically has a lower heel height (between 0.5” and 1”) than the Latin (typically 1.5”) and are easier to balance on. The Latin shoe’s heel, called a Cuban heel, helps keep the weight forward on the foot for dances like the Salsa or Tango. Men typically wear Cuban heels in Dancesport competition. Men’s practice ballroom dance shoes have perforated leather uppers to help cool the feet, but aren’t worn in competition.

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Men’s standard ballroom shoes have a lower heel height

 

mens ballroom latin
Men’s latin cuban heels have a higher heel height

 

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Men’s practice shoes are made from perforated material to keep the foot cool

 

Women’s ballroom dance shoes

For ladies, the differences between the three types are far more detailed.

Women’s Standard

Typically, women’s Standard ballroom dance shoes are closed-toed pumps, with a heel more centrally under the foot to help with back-stepping movements in dances like the Charleston. The standard heel is also more narrow than a Latin heel. Many women wear standards if they’re worried their partner may step on their toes.

womens glide standard
The Glide G-Elastic is a good example of a standard women’s ballroom dance shoe. Click on the picture to purchase

 

Women’s Latin

Most women choosing only one pair of ballroom dance shoes will choose Latin. Latin shoes are usually open-toed with a wide heel from 1 to 3 inches. The standard heel is 2.5 inches. Latin shoes are more flexible than standard shoes and are suitable for all styles of dance whereas standard shoes are impractical for performing Latin dances like the tango or salsa. The thicker heel of the Latin shoe also provides more stability than a standard heel.

 

bloch simona latin dance shoe
The Bloch Simona is a great example of a latin ballroom dance shoe. Click on the picture to check them out on Amazon. 

 

Smooth shoes are a combination of the closed in toe of the standard with the strappy heel to ankle area on the Latin. Some Dancesport competitions don’t allow smooth shoes.

 

Women’s Practice

Women’s practice ballroom dance shoes are typically fully closed in leather shoes, with breathable perforations and a low heel. Some women practice in standards or smooths.

womens practice
these Capezio women’s practice ballroom shoes are a great pick. Click on the picture to check them out on Amazon

Key Characteristic of Ballroom Dance Shoes

In addition to knowing which type of shoe to wear, whether you’re stepping out in a tango or a waltz, there a few overall key characteristics to looks for when choosing the best ballroom dance shoes.

Any pair of high quality ballroom dance shoes for both men and women will feature the following:

  1. A thin sole made of either leather or suede
  2. Flexibility
  3. Arch Support
  4. A heel appropriate for your dance level

 

1. Ballroom Dance Shoes Need a Thin Sole

A thin sole is one of the most important factors in a pair of ballroom dance shoes. Having a thin sole on your shoe allows you greater responsive contact with the floor which minimizes your chance of twisting your ankle.

Choose a thin leather or suede sole as these will allow your shoes to glide with the perfect amount of traction. Avoid rubber soles. While they are more durable, they provide too much grip and can impede your movement. Also avoid plastic soles, which wear out quickly and can be slippery.

 

Capezio Women's SD02 Rosa
Notice the thin sole on these SupaDance 1410 ladies latin sandal. Click on the picture to check them out.

2. Ballroom Dance Shoes Need to Be Flexible

Flexibility is important for both the execution of your dance moves and the safety of your feet. An inflexible shoe risks foot and ankle injuries as well as blisters, not to mention getting in the way of your perfect dance steps.

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The Stephanie X-Strap Sandal is a good example of a ballroom dance shoe with flexibility. Click on the picture to check them out.

3. Ballroom Dance Shoes Require Arch Support

Strong arch support is particularly important for women wearing higher heels, but good arch support is important for all ballroom dance shoes. As you’re dancing, your arches are under a huge amount of pressure and inappropriate arch support can cause your feet to pronate incorrectly. Pronation problems not only impede your dancing but also risks serious injury to your feet, ankles, knees and hips. Generally, the higher your heels the more arch support you’ll need.

 

best ballroom dance shoes - capezio SD02
These Capezio Rosa have good arch support. Click on the picture to check them out.

4. Ballroom Dance Shoes Require a Certain Heel Height

All ballroom dance shoes have some heel height, typically from 0.5” for men and 2” for women. As a general rule for women, 2.5” is good for beginners because higher heels require greater amount of ankle strength. As your skill increases and your legs becomes stronger, your heel height can increase although most women dancers don’t often go above 3” heels.

If you find your feet are hurting with higher heels, you might want to try a shoe with increased arch support.

latin bloch
These Bloch Vida LBs have a 2.5 inch heel height. Click on the picture to find out more.

Other Elements to Think About

While these are the four main factors the best ballroom dance shoes should feature, you’ll also be thinking about these other elements, especially if you’re involved in Dancesport.

Leather Type for Men’s Shoes

For men’s shoes, regular leather is best. Patent leather looks sharp but is less flexible and the leather does tend to crack. Patent leather also tends to grab which is a tripping risk, especially for beginners.

Colour and Decoration

Men should wear black shoes, whereas women have more options. Flesh coloured shoes make the leg look longer and also don’t draw attention to the feet which is especially important for beginners. Certain competitions have strict rules against decorative elements like rhinestones, so always check before your performance.

Strap Style

Women’s Latin shoes have a range of different strap styles. T-Bar style straps stop the front of the shoes from sliding forward when you point your feet, where an X-strap keeps the bottom of the shoe separating from your feet when you point. Your choice will depend on your foot shape and your choice of dance. Generally, a strappier shoe will provide greater forefoot flexibility and conform better to the foot shape.

The Best Ballroom Dance Shoes Reviewed

Supadance 1069

The Supadance 1069 Latin is a good choice if you’re only buying one pair of dance shoes. The strappy forefoot provides excellent flexibility and the 2.5” flared heel gives a good stability makes them perfect for all dancing, not just Latin. Available in dark tan satin to harmonise with a range of skin tones.

best ballroom dance shoes - supadance 1069
Click on the picture to find out more about the Supadance 1069

If you do prefer a T-Bar Latin shoe, the Supadance 1410 is a worthy alternative to the 1069, available in silver or gold.

best ballroom dance shoes - supadance 1410
Click on the picture to find out more about the Supadance 1410

 

Supadance shoes do run narrow so if your feet are wide, check the size charts before ordering or try a pair on before you buy.

Pros – Excellent flexibility and stable heel

Cons – Narrow fit. Rhinestone embellishment on the buckle may not be permitted in some competitions.

 

Capezio Women’s SD02 Rosa 2.5″ Flared Heel Shoe

The Capezio SD02 is a durable yet delicate Latin ballroom shoe with a comfortable cushioned insole and suede sole. These offer superior flexibility, while the interwoven forefoot straps provide great support for the entire foot. Great arch support and the under arch ankle strap is particularly good for dancers with high arches than can have trouble keeping other shoes in place.

A convenient buckling design lets you get them on and off in a hurry, perfect for changing shoes between competition heats.

best ballroom dance shoes - capezio SD02
Click on the picture to purchase

Available in black leather or camel satin.

Pros – Comfortable fit with excellent support

Cons – The ankle straps do run quite long which can be an annoyance for some dancers.

Stephanie Open Toe X-Strap Sandal

If you’re looking for discount prices on ballroom dance shoes without sacrificing on style or quality, then the Stephanie Open Toe x-straps might be just what you need. These feature a full suede sole and a flexible and cushioned insole providing an excellent and comfortable fit while the x-strap keeps your ankle in place. The footbed on these shoes does tend to run quite long, so some dancers will benefit in ordering a half or full size down.

Available in a range of colours with variations in embellishments.

stephanie
Click on the picture to find out more.

Pros – Budget cost and a range of colours and design

Cons – Long footbed. Only one colour option comes without rhinestone embellishments

 

Bloch Vida LB

Bloch’s Vida Latin shoe is a great luxury ballroom dance show suitable for beginners and pros alike. This stunning shoe features a flexible suede sole; a wide, middle set heel; a comfortable cushioned insole and an all leather upper that provides a secure yet flexible fit.

The ankle straps can be adjusted to a range of different styles and the self-locking buckle makes getting in and out a breeze.

Because of the unique design of the shoe, Bloch recommends dancers order a half size up from their street shoe size, or a full size if you have wide feet. Available in black or silver.

latin bloch
Click on the picture to check on the Bloch Vida latin ballroom dance shoes on Zappos

Pros – adjustable ankle straps can be changed into different styles

Cons – can be difficult to fit without trying a pair on before purchase

 

Glide G-Elastic Ladies Ballroom Court Shoe-Dark Tan Satin-2.5″ Flare Heel

If you’re after a reliable pair of cheap practice shoes and don’t want to wear the lace up style of practice shoes, then you can’t go past these elastic ballroom court shoes from Glide.

The soft leather upper and elasticated sides make these some of the most comfortable ballroom dancing shoes you’ll be likely to find. Featuring suede soles, they also have a uniquely cushioned removable insole. Available in nude leather, these are available in a range of widths from extra narrow to extra wide.

womens glide standard
Click on the picture to check out the Glide G-Elastic shoe on Amazon

Pros – Comfort. Excellent range of sizing options.

Cons – Unsuitable for competition dancing.

 

From beginners to seasoned pros, from foxtrots to salsas, choosing the best ballroom dance shoes is easy when you know what to look for and with this must read guide you’ll be sweeping your partner off his or her feet in no time.

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Best Shoes for Zumba: Your Must Read Guide Before You Buy

Shoes for zumba - nike free 3

Finding the best pair of shoes for Zumba is one of the most important steps you’ll take in your whole workout. In this article we point out the top 4 features to look for in a pair of Zumba shoes – so you can get the most out out of your workout.

With the enormous range of motion involved in a zumba session, from top to toe your zumba apparel is going to make a huge impact in your workout efficiency and this is most true when it comes to what’s on your feet.

Like any type of workout, wearing the right shoes for zumba is important for safety as well as maximising your performance. Looking good doesn’t hurt either and there are a huge range of shoes for Zumba on the market right now that fit right, perform well and look fantastic.

So, what is a good shoe for Zumba?

There are four key factors to consider when choosing shoes for Zumba

  1. Weight
  2. Breathability
  3. Support
  4. Flexibility

We’ll go through each of these below providing examples of the best shoes for Zumba that meet these requirements.

Choose a lightweight shoe made from breathable material

The best shoes for Zumba should be lightweight so they won’t get in the way of you keeping good form while executing your moves.

Breathable material is another desirable feature for a pair of zumba shoes as with any intense physical workout, you’ll be looking to keep your feet as cool as possible during your session to maximise your overall performance.

Shoes for zumba - Ryka Studio D black
The Ryka Studio D is a light shoe with breathable mesh and removable sock liner. Shown here in black. Click on the picture to find out more.

Find the right balance between traction and ease of movement

Good shoes for zumba will also need to have superior traction, but at the same time a shoe with too much grip will prevent you moving properly, so it’s important to find that right balance in a shoe that will let you glide and turn easily, but also prevent you slipping over.

Shoes for zumba - reebok dance ur lead yellow
The Reebok Dance UR Lead has excellent support and stability, with shock absorption technology through the sole. Shown here in yellow. Click on the image to find out more.

Cushioning and support are essential

From the Merengue to the Reggaeton and every step in between, during a zumba workout, your feet are under a lot of pressure from a range of different angles so your zumba shoes need to have good cushioning and support. The best shoes to wear for zumba classes or working out on your own, will provide adequate arch support as well as stability to protect your ankles. A lot of zumba sneakers will also feature a special pivot point support on the ball of the foot.

Shoes for zumba - puma soliel synthetic
The Puma Soliel feature a contoured sole as well as a reinforced pivot point to support your foot. Shown here in the synthetic leather white and lime green. They are also available in patent, in a range of colours. Click on the image to see more.

While cushioning and support is vital for your safety and your foot health, you don’t want your shoes to be so cushioned or bulky it impedes your foot flexibility. As such, you’ll be looking for a shoe that strikes the perfect balance between support and flexibility, stability and movement.

nike free run for Zumba
The Nike Free Run s one of the most flexible athletic shoes on the market and is perfect for Zumba. Available in a huge range of colours and designs. Click on the image to find out more.

A lot of Zumba dancers workout wearing a traditional jazz shoe. While jazz shoes are lightweight and flexible, they don’t offer a great deal of ankle stability or footbed support. Plus, the traditional high heel design of a jazz shoe can cause a whole load of problems during an intense zumba session, particularly with anyone dealing with pre-existing knee or back issues.

Tennis shoes and other standard sports trainers are also a popular choice among the zumba crowd, as they’re typically well cushioned and also provide decent traction. For some participants, tennis shoes for zumba will work fine. It’s important to remember though that your sneakers will need to provide you with enough flexibility along the length of your foot as well as the cushioning and stability a pair of sneakers will offer.

Zumba is a unique sport, so whether you’re shaking your shimmy at home to a Zumba fitness DVD or dancing till you drop in a studio with a group class, get a pair of shoes designed to cope with the unique range demands zumba place on your feet.

The best shoes for Zumba for 2013

Now we know what we’re looking for, what are the best shoes for zumba?

Let’s take a look at the four best shoes for zumba in 2013.

Puma Soleil

The Puma Soleil is one of the most obvious choices for the best zumba shoes for women. Not only are they available in a great range of colours and fashionable designs, the Soleil are super lightweight, available with synthetic leather or patent uppers and comfortable padded collar and tongue. Puma’s lacing system ensures a close but not restrictive fit along the length of your upper foot. It’s a minor point, but depending on your personal foot shape, sometimes these flat laces can come undone easily so a lot of dancers prefer to switch to a different style of lace.

The Soleil also feature a reinforced pivot point to give the ball of your foot that extra bit of support during your workout.

The Puma Soleil has a slightly rounded sole and contoured arch support which provides a good range of motion through anything a zumba workout can throw at you. However, if you have specific sole needs, orthotics, for example, the contoured fit might not be your best choice.

Shoes for zumba - puma soliel
The Puma Soleil. Shown here in the patent Liberty Blue Cabaret Dark Shadow design. Click on the picture to find out more.

Pros  – Pivot point. High arch popular with flat feet.

Cons – Contoured sole might not be best choice for dancers with specific arch and foot support needs. Flat laces can come undone easily.

Ryka Studio D

The Ryka Studio D dance shoe is one of the most popular shoes for zumba in 2013. Available in a range of funky colours and designs, the Ryka zumba sneaker features a combination of synthetic moulded covering and breathable mesh to provide a lightweight and flexible design that will keep your feet cool all workout. Ryka also has removable sockliner slippers for breathability and dry comfort.

A padded collar and tongue ensures comfortable heel stability and the midsole and heel sole cushioning provide superior shock absorption. The Ryka also features a solid rubber vertical shank for added arch to heel stability, particularly around the Achilles area. This is a relatively flat soled shoe so might not be your first choice if you’re after firm arch support built in.

Shoes for zumba - Ryka Studio D
Ryka Studio D, shown here in the Granite Gunmetal White. Click on the image to find out more.

Pros –Light. Removable slipper lining for increased comfort and breathability.

Cons – Little contoured arch support, may case problems for people with flat feet.

Nike Free Fit 3

In the Nike range of dance shoes, the Nike Musique are often a first choice for zumba shoes. A lot of zumba dancers however find the Musique have a touch too much grip and are also not the most breathable or flexible of zumba shoes.

Instead of the Musique, many dancers looking for zumba shoes in 2013 are opting for the Nike Free 3. The Nike Free brand are a barefoot running shoe with excellent reviews across the fitness industry, and have now taken the Zumba crowd by storm.

The Nike Free are great for Zumba as they have fantastic traction but are still smooth enough to let you glide and spin. The strategically placed rubber pods in heel and forefoot suit a wide range of floor surfaces from carpet to tiles and boards and even outside.

The Nike central lacing system and cushioned collar and tongue ensures a snug fit.

These shoes are super lightweight and flexible and although they are a flat shoe, they have a cushioned insole with impressive impact resistance. The foam midsole together with the patented Nike flex grooves on the outsole are deigned to work with the natural range of motion in your foot, mimicking the feel of bare feet and providing  great flexibility while still offering secure foot support.

The Nike Free 3 are available in an incredible range of fun colours and exciting designs, making these some of the best looking shoes for zumba available.

Shoes for zumba - nike free 3
Nike Free 3 barefoot running shoe is perfect for zumba. Available in a huge range of vibrant colours. Click on the picture to find out more.

Pros – incredible flexibility and great range of colours and bold designs

Cons – moderate arch support and flat sole might not be enough support for some dancers.

 

Reebok Dance UR Lead

One of the best all round dance sneakers on the market, the Reebok Dance UR Leads are lightweight and breathable, with a mesh overlay combined with a shoe frame that’s both supportive and flexible. They are available in a fantastic range of colours and out there designs that really suit the spirit of zumba.

The Dance UR Leads have a great and comfortable fit with a padded collar and tongue as well as a traditional sports sneaker lacing system to ensure the shoe remains snug right along your foot. That said, they do run a bit narrow on sizing so ordering half a size up might be a handy tip for wider feet.

A lot of close fit shoes will limit flexibility, but not so with the Reebok Dance. These shoes have special grooves built into the sole to provide a fantastic range of movement, with a rugged traction that’s still smooth enough to glide and step smoothly.

Reebok’s  patented Ultralight outsole is super supportive, with great shock absorption but still won’t weigh your foot down like a lot of heavily cushioned sneakers will. The sole also has an inbuilt pivot point and patented turn zone to take the impact on those pressure points across the top of your foot strike. As with the Nike Frees, these Reeboks have a flat sole so that might not be the first choice for zumba dancers looking for inbuilt arch support.

Shoes for zumba - reebok dance ur lead
Reebok Dance UR Lead, shown here in solid teal. Click on the picture to find out more.

Pros – lightweight but still excellent cushioning and stability, with superior shock absorption designs through the sole.

Cons – a narrow fit won’t suit wider feet.

So there you have it. Wonder no more what to wear for zumba with four of the best shoes for zumba in 2013. Like any fitness pursuit, finding the right pair of shoes most suitable for the activity as well as your feet can take some trial and error, but remembering the four key factors in choosing zumba shoes – lightweight, supportive, flexible and breathable – you should match your feet to the best shoes for zumba in no time and be ready to set the floor on fire.

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