Dancing Shoes and Attire.
“The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want.”
– Ben Stein
Attire at the Studio
For our group classes and private lessons at the studio, choose clothes that are comfortable. We do not have a dress code. Some come directly from work and are dressed in corporate casual; some come from the gym and are dressed in sweats. Wear what makes you feel comfortable. However, as you learn more about dance you will find that dressing the part will inspire your dancing.
Basics for Shoes
Ballroom dance shoes are unique in that they have a suede sole; they cannot be worn outside and must be brushed from time to time. Some shoe stores claim to have ballroom shoes but instead sell character shoes which have a leather bottom and are more restrictive. Ballroom shoes offer a wide range of motion and allow the foot to feel the floor.
Dance shoes are generally worn snugger than street shoes. They must fit snugger, but without pinching, to maintain balance on the dance floor. The shoes will stretch so they must start out tighter than they will be normally worn. However, unless you are a professional, the shoes should not hurt. Glove snug is the goal. Consider if the fit is uncomfortable or just different from street shoes.
Closed Toe Fitting
In closed-toe styles (women’s and men’s) the toes should be as close to the end of the shoes as comfortable, without crunching your toes.
Open Toe Fitting
In open-toe shoes the sole should be completely covered by your feet; some dancers prefer if the toes hang over the shoe by up to ¼ inch. This is subject to wearer preference; some ladies are very uncomfortable with coming to or over the end of the shoes. We suggest going as short as is comfortable for you.
Shoes can be in the shoe maker’s country of origin. We suggest asking the seller their conversion for approximate US size street shoes and let them help you decide the best fit.
Even regular US sized dance shoes can vary up to 2 sizes compared to your street shoe.
We recommend brushing the suede soles of the shoes to keep them free of wax build up from typical dance floors. Wax and dirt can cause soles to wear out faster and can make the shoes very difficult in which to dance. Make sure to never wear your dance shoes outside. Men’s shoes should be cared for like any leather shoe. Ladies fabric can be cleaned with a damp cloth for light dirt, or shoe fabric cleaner.
Most companies will let you return the shoes if you try them on a clean, soft surface like carpet to prevent soiling of the suede soles.
We promote Showtime dance shoes. Catalogs can be obtained in the studio from your instructor. These shoes can be a bit pricy, but they are well made and worth the cost. If you order from Showtime and note that you are a member of studio number 0255, they will provide you with a free shoe brush.
It is hard to find local stores that sell shoes, but here are some recommendations:
Footlights Dance & Theatre Boutique
306 East Church St.
Frederick, MD 21701
Largest dance retail on East Coast
In the site, hit the shoes tab and select ballroom shoes.
Or online at
Zappos has free shipping and returns with no minimum order. The ballroom selection is not large, but the shoes get good reviews from our students. This link was a simple search for the word ballroom on their site, feel free to search within their site.