Getting ready for your first (or hundredth) dancing class always begins with the right pair of shoes. “Why would I need anything other than ballet slippers or tap shoes?” you may be wondering. In reality, there are various shoe sets designed specifically for unique approaches and styles.

Dance shoes are a whole different category in the shoemaking industry. When it comes to purchasing the appropriate pair, you must first decide which dance courses you intend to attend and start building your outfit from there.

Character Shoes

Let us begin by discussing the popular character shoes. This is the classic black shoe that you see women wearing for work, business meetings and any other occasion of a formal character. But although they look the same, typically actors and dancers have a designated pair for the stage that is built differently than those you would wear on the street.

Character shoes are perfect for dance classes that include acting, dancing and moving on heels. They are especially characteristic of musical theatre. Musical theatre is a type of theatrical performance that combines songs, spoken dialogue, acting, and dancing. They may not be as spectacular as traditional ballroom shoes, but having one pair of shoes that are specific to your foot and type of dance is always preferable while learning technique and choreography.

Jazz Shoes

beige jazz dance shoes
Source: aliexpress.com

The jazz type of footwear is typically used in jazz classes, but it can also be used in musical theatre and lyrical dance. These shoes come in black, beige, and white and can be laced up with a little heel or as a slip-on. The jazz dance shoes like character shoes are an essential part of the ensemble and a must-have for any dancer, actor and other kinds of stage performers.

If you’re just starting, to avoid blisters, you should break them in thoroughly before performing. For the first few courses, wear thick socks under your jazz shoes to allow the material to stretch. However, as with other dancing shoes, you want them to fit tight enough to protect your feet while also allowing you to move freely.

Ballet Shoes

beige ballet shoes
Source: ripleys.com

The traditional ballet shoes are a standard pair of must-have shoes owned by almost all professional dancers. They are available in a variety of colours, materials, and styles. Being classically trained entails having a pair of satin ballet shoes with a ribbon for little girls just starting as ballerinas or classic canvas ballet shoes for older, serious ballet dancers.

Ballet along with jazz dance shoes are perhaps the most common type of dance shoes. The traditional look is straightforward and flexible. So much so that the name “ballet flats” is used for shoes worn by women that are inspired by ballet shoes but have additional support for daily wear. Ballet shoes are no exception to the rule that their traditional look is generations preserved.

Pointe Shoes

Let’s start with some history: Dancers were forced to wear ballet shoes fused with high heels for decades, which were later removed, replaced with wire, and used to hoist ballerinas to their toes. The current pointe shoe was influenced by the famous and brilliant Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova in the twentieth century. She fitted tougher leather bottoms into her shoes for more support, flattening and hardening the toe area to form a box, with her slender, tapered feet.

Every ballerina fantasises about donning their first pair of pointe shoes and gliding across the floor effortlessly. Pointe shoes are also known as “toe shoes” since they are worn when standing on your toes. These strong, boxed shoes give the impression that you’re barely on your toes, but the insertion of toe cushions provides cushioning for your hard-working toes.

Before moving on to true pointe shoes, proper training with the pre-pointe alternative is essential. Because your ankles and toes are under a lot of pressure, you should take particular care of your toes and toenails. If you are a serious ballerina with significant training, you can determine whether you want to put your feet through pointe exercises. The pointe shoe has been revolutionary in the last century, and most ballet companies will not consider you a professional dancer until you have years of pointe work experience.

Pirouette Shoes

brown pirouette dance shoes

Pirouette shoes also known as lyrical shoes are mostly produced from canvas or leather. These simple-looking yet efficient shoes are best suited for competitive dancing, particularly those with a lot of turns. The term pirouette refers to turning on one leg, typically in relevé (rising to the balls of the feet) as they are made to turn.

Pirouette shoes are typically padded to protect the dancer’s exposed feet and include an elastic band around the ankle to keep the toes in the padded pocket. Pirouettes are more versatile than the others because they may be worn for modern, lyrical, or contemporary dance. This sort of shoe has evolved over the last decade to be versatile, which is ideal for dancers who are expanding the dynamic in their training.

Flamenco Shoes

Flamenco shoes are the shoes that flamenco dancers wear. They are commonly worn by female dancers and are known as flamenco heels, and they are traditionally worn with “traje de flamenco” costumes. Male flamenco dancers, on the other hand, often wear short heeled boots, while more flamenco shoe styles are now becoming available too.

What’s characteristic of the flamenco shoes is their sound. Small nails are usually inserted in the toe and heel of flamenco shoes to increase the sound of the dancer’s percussive footwork. Leather and suede are the most prevalent materials, however, synthetic materials are also used in certain classes of shoes. Heel varieties include normal, “carrete” (curved), and “Cubano” (short and thick), with heel sizes ranging from 4cm to 7cm on average.

Many modern flamenco shoemakers produce a variety of quality classes of shoes aimed at dancers ranging from novice to semi-professional and professional. Different manufacturers may name their shoe grades differently. Professional-level shoes frequently include additional reinforcement and other improvements for longevity and sound quality as that is the main characteristic of flamenco dancers.