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Finding the perfect fitting shoe can be just as important – if not more important – than the right dress. We understand that going shoe shopping for Ballroom or Latin shoes can make you feel a bit like Cinderella at midnight. That’s why we’re here to give you some tips before you turn into a pumpkin!

If you’ve already taken a couple of dance classes and decided you want to pursue Latin/Ballroom dancing, you’ll need to get yourself some dance shoes. Dance shoes are specially made to mold to your feet, give you added support, and help you move more easily across the floor. They are made with suede on the bottom, allowing for easy turns, seamless gliding, and graceful fluidity.

The most important thing when looking for any dance shoe is to make sure that they give your foot, including the arch and ankle, proper support. This means that your dance shoe will not fit you like a street shoe. Dance shoes are going to fit much tighter around your foot, with little wiggle room, especially in the ankle area. Try on a size or two smaller than what you would normally buy, to allow the shoe to comfortably mold to the shape of your foot. For Latin shoes, your toes might go off the top edge of the shoe, but that’s ok, as long as your foot feels secure.

For Latin shoes, a 2.5 or 3-inch heel is typical. For standard shoes, try a1.5 to 2-inch heel. If you’re buying Latin and Ballroom shoes together (or a second pair of either), I suggest getting a shoe with the same heel height. This way, your partners and teachers won’t have to adjust to your new height when you put on your shiny new shoes. This is important because if you change your heel height, it will also change where your hands are in relation to your partner, affecting where he/she will find your hands after coming out of a turn.

Try on different brands of shoes. Everyone makes their shoes differently, so it’s not uncommon to find that you don’t feel comfortable in Dance Naturals but feel great in Supadance, even if the sizes are the same. There are lots of brands, so if it’s your first time buying shoes, carve out a couple of hours out of your day to spend at the store. Try some other popular brands like Ray Rose, IDS, DANSport, and Dancefeel.

Remember that it will take some time to break in your shoe. No matter how many years you’ve been dancing, a new pair of shoes will hurt the first couple of times you wear them. Be prepared to have blisters on your feet, so bring lots of band-aids with you to practice. And don’t buy new shoes the week before a performance or competition, because it will hurt to wear them. One way to loosen up new shoes quickly is to put your shoes in the bathroom while you take a hot shower. The heat and moist air will loosen up the fabric, making your shoes easier to break in.

Do you have a brand of shoes that you swear by? Have more tips on how to break in new shoes? Let us know!