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Guide to Ballroom Shoes

Is There a Difference Between Ballroom Shoes and Other Shoes?

Women's Ballroom shoes:

1 The heels are usually not too high to enable balancing - some of the weight is brought forward onto the ball of the feet, but not all of it. This is important for good dancing.

1 The upper is attached to the insole not only using rubber cement (which all shoes use) but on top of that, they use nails as well. This ensures ballroom shoes are super-strong.

3 In between the insole and the outsole, there is a shank (a piece of metal) to support the arch. the shank is shorter in ballroom shoes to provide extra flexibility.

4 Very smooth outsole, of leather or suede - they must be able to slide and pivot on the dance floor without slipping.

5 The padding on top of the insole is thicker to provide extra comfort.

Men's ballroom shoes:

1 Very smooth outsole, of leather or suede - they must be able to slide on the dancefloor without slipping.

2 The padding on top of the insole is thicker to provide extra comfort

What Are the Features of Ballroom Shoes?

1 Heels: for women, the heel is not as important as you would think because much of the energy and weight is distributed into the balls of the feet. As such, heels come in every shape and size (literally there are about 10 different heel types, and up to 20 different heights). Men's heels are generally low on the ground.

2 Quality sole: the outsole (or more commonly called just 'the sole') is the bottom part of the shoe, and is very important to get right because you need to slide and pivot easily. As a result, common materials such as rubber and plastic cannot be used and are replaced with either suede or hard leather. Suede is a very soft type of leather, that is both non-slip and enables gripping due to tiny fibres. It does however require brushing to keep up its quality. Hard leather outsoles last longer than suede but are more slippery - though they are great for sticky floors. Another unique feature of ballroom shoes is that the outsole never protrude past the shoe.

3 Strong support: ballroom shoes must provide considerable support, with at the same time be flexible - somewhat contradictory requirements. This is achieved by ensuring that the heel and arch do not bend too much, and the shoe must be quite tough around the ball of the foot and toe area.

4 Strap: your ballroom shoe has to hug your foot without any slip or space, otherwise there will be significant chances of accidents and pain. To ensure tight fitting, both straps and laces are used. Straps come in multiple forms and fashions, but an adjustable ankle strap for women is considered extremely important for stability. In addition, for even more support, some ballroom shoes (including the adjustable Shoes) have a second adjustable strap on the front of the shoe. This is particularly good if your foot has a slightly unusual shape or size, for example narrow or wide.

5 Smooth shape: a ballroom shoe cannot have bumps anywhere on it that may catch against other shoes, including your own. To ensure this, the shoes will be very smooth.

How Do I Maintain My Ballroom Shoes?

1 Never wear them on the street. The soles are too delicate for this, and you will damage them.

2 Use a shoe bag to protect the shoes.

3 Brush your shoes regularly with a brush to remove any material that is stuck to the soles.

4 Polish them regularly.

5 Don't leave your shoes in the sun.

How do I convert different sizes for different regions?

1 For women see the Women's Size Chart on this website.

2 For men see the Men's Size Chart on this website.

What are the different materials use to make ballroom shoes uppers?

1 Suede is a favorite of many ballroom dancers because it is soft and comfortable, stretches and does not slip. The down side is that it does not last as long as hard leather, and needs more brushing.

2 Leather is the good old classic: long-lasting, very durable, and will mold itself to your foot.

3 Printed Leather is leather that is embossed with a pattern, often an animal imprint such as snake or lizard. This will be a little more rigid than free leather.

4 Satin shoes are often very beautiful, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this so long as the lining is leather (which all shoes on this website are). They stretch less than suede or leather and mark more easily.

5 Glitter is a fabric that has been treated with sparkle - looks quite beautiful, and is fine so long as the lining is leather (which all shoes on this website are). Glitter will be more rigid than other materials.

Difference Between Open and Closed Toe Women's Ballroom Shoes

1 Open-toe ballroom shos are preferred by most women because they enable better balance (as the toes are very important here) and - arguably - look much prettier.

2 The significant advantage of closed-toe ballroom shoes is the protection they provide.