Different Types of Dance Shoes

Different Types of Dance Shoes

Dancing lets you free your mind, exercise your body, and move your soul. Unfortunately, it also can be expensive, especially if you dance professionally or with a group. 

That's true when it comes to shoes, but it doesn't have to be. One of the main reasons dancers overspend on this item is because they don't know which kind to buy. 

There is a vast world of dance shoes, not just specific to each kind of dance, but there are even variations within each type.

If you educate yourself on the style of shoe best suited to each dancing tradition, you'll save your feet (and your wallet) in the long run. Here are 9 of the most popular types of dance shoes. 

Ballet Slippers

In a sense, ballet slippers were the first type of dance shoe. Ballet goes back as far as the 15th century. In the Italian Renaissance, royal courts used to orchestrate elaborate parties, where they danced an early version of the ballet.

You can find heeled variations on the ballet slipper in the earliest paintings of ballerinas. These slippers are usually canvas or leather, sometimes with a split sole and sometimes a full sole.

Pointe Shoes

Pointe shoes are variations on ballet slippers. They allow ballerinas to dance on their toes, point, and fly through the air like ethereal angels. 

Old school pointe shoes wrecked ballerinas' feet. They went on point onto bare wood or other rigid material. Ballet dancers still wrap their feet when they wear these slippers to protect their toes, but the design has improved for protection.

Character Dancers

If you're in the musical theatre world of dance, you'll want to get character dancers. These stylish little slip-ons are often black, usually made of leather, and have a small heel. These shoes are worn on stage and are great for numbers involving song, dance, tap, and acting.

Pirouette Slips

These slips are also known as lyrical shoes and come in canvas and leather. They're similar to pointe shoes in that they're for ballet. Pirouette slips are essentially a pocket for the toes with an elastic band that stretches over the ball of the foot, perfect for pirouette training.

Tap Shoes

If you're a tapper, you've got to have the right tap shoes. These models feature metal taps on the toe and heel that make percussive sounds when tapped against the ground. The sound you'll get changes with the shoe material, style of dance, and weight.

Jazz Shoes

These form-fitting shoes look like little trainers with a heel, although variations without laces are now becoming popular. They rise to just below the ankle, come to a point at the toe, and come in both black and nude tones. They make quick turns easy.

Flamenco Style

Flamenco is a very old, captivating style of dance. This sensual, exciting dance style, a national art in Spain, actually has its roots in Northwest India.

Everything associated with flamenco is over the top. But these kicks also have to be functional—with a wooden heel and a nailed steel shank and toe.

Irish/Scottish Ghillies

Also called Highland shoes, these dance pumps are leather with criss-cross laces. The laces form intricate, eye-catching patterns that dazzle audiences as much as the dance does. 

These shoes are for both male and female dancers and coated in fibreglass, which gives them their signature sound.

Dance Trainers

For hip-hop and street dance, get yourself some solid dance trainers. Leather and suede trainers may look good but don't have as much breathability or versatility as fabric and foam.

Regular trainers can work just as well for street dancing, but some specialised versions also have a higher arch cut out from the sole. The style looks like a cross between trainers and jazz shoes. 

Ballroom Shoes

Lots of dancers start in ballroom, no matter where they end up. Freestyle dancers, hip hop dancers, and ballerinas are all encouraged to learn the elegance and rhythm that comes with ballroom. But for that, you need the right shoes. 

Ballroom shoes look a lot like a court shoes that someone might wear out for a casual dance on the town. However, they are specifically suited to support the dancers feet so they can perform at their best. These shoes occasionally have a strap across the foot to make it more secure, whilst gliding through the dance steps. 

Latin Shoes

Latin dances are usually athletic and exhausting. Though these shoes look sleek and unforgivingly stylish to the eye, modern advancements have actually made them quite sturdy while also remaining comfy.

Latin dance shoes are usually sandal style shoes with an open toe area and suede soles that allow for arch flexibility. You need to be able to shift your weight forwards and back on the ball of your foot so you need a shoe with a well balanced heel.

Dance the Night Away

When you feel secure in your dance shoes, you feel confident in your moves. Supadance carries styles and models for everyone, for Latin American, Ballroom and Social dancing. Shop our extensive collection and find exactly what you're looking for today.