Best Dance Shoes Reviewed & Rated

For any dancer, one of the most important pieces of equipment they will ever own is their shoes. Well, outside of barefoot dancers, of course. The wrong pair of shoes can negatively affect not only your physical wellbeing but, also, affect the level of skill with which you perform. If your shoes do not provide the right amount of support and cushion, or if they are poorly fitted, it can restrict your ability to move freely while dancing. This results in a less-than-graceful performance.

Last Updated: June 11, 2018
By Tony Skye:

The recent update reflects the best of 2018’s dance shoes of all types, shapes, sizes, colors, with new information as to how to choose the best dance shoes and our criteria for evaluation. Also, included are some of the most frequently asked questions about dance shoes.

Featured Recommendations

Capezio Daisy 205 Ballet
  • Capezio Daisy 205 Ballet
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Suede Outsole
  • Leather Upper
  • Price: See Here
Capezio 550 Jr. Footlight
  • Capezio 550 Jr. Footlight
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Moisture-absorbent Lining
  • Folded Edge Topline
  • Price: See Here
Theatricals Lace Up Tap
  • Theatricals Lace Up Tap
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Cushioned Sockliner
  • Taps, Screwed On
  • Price: See Here

Dancing requires both anaerobic and aerobic movements which can put tremendous amounts of pressure and strain on your legs, feet, back, neck, shoulders, and hips. Wearing the right kind of shoes which were, specifically, designed to enhance your style of dance, will help to relieve the pressure on your feet and legs and will, also, give your back and hips the added support they need. Wearing good shoes will help to keep your arch strong and will protect and cushion your heel to prevent injuries from happening. In the right shoes, you will appear far more graceful and elegant while you dance.

But with so many different dance styles, it can be tough to figure out which shoes are the right ones for you. This list will help you to find the best shoes based on the style of dancing that you prefer.

 

10 Best Dance Shoes 

 

1. Capezio Daisy 205 Ballet

Move in both style and grace with these Capezio Daisy 205 Ballet shoes. Ready with a drawstring for a better fit, and made with a leather upper and suede outsole, these are shoes which are ready to showcase your hard-earned moves with elegance. Furthermore, they are lightweight and help to promote less fatigue, as a result.
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Suede Outsole
The go-to choice for dancers, a suede outsole gives you the right amount of both grip and slide. Stop when you need to, slide into your next move, or land with grace. This is an outsole ready for the ballet.

Leather Upper
The leather is a natural, breathable material; and as such, your feet will remain cooler. The upper is made to have longevity; as well as, provide you with comfort.

Cost and Value
When compared to other shoes on this list, this is a pair which is budget-friendly. Moreover, these ballet shoes are ready to know the dance, as only you can give them.
Pros
  • Suede Outsole
  • Leather Upper
  • Bar-tacked, Elastic Drawstring
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Size runs wide

2. Capezio 550 Jr. Footlight

Dance in comfort with a folded edge topline and moisture-absorbent lining. A 1.5-inch heel height is at the ready; as well as, a leather outsole. These character shoes are compatible with Tele Tone toe, Duo Tone heel, or Selva Staccato taps. Moreover, they look great for performance and are subtle enough to not indicate specific time periods.
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Moisture-absorbent Lining
Remain cooler within a moisture-absorbent environment via the lining. Not only will your feet remain cooler but you will, also, gain the added bonus of promoting healthier feet, as well.

Folded Edge Topline
The top-line is designed to bring you comfort by reducing the cutting effect of other top-lines which are more rigid. Your feet will thank you, as you transition from one move to the next in comfort.

Cost and Value
These shoes are budget-friendly, in terms of cost and value. An ideal pair of character shoes to add to your wardrobe, this is a great pair to consider when either purchasing a new pair or a pair for rotation.
Pros
  • Leather Outsole
  • Moisture-absorbent Lining
  • PU Upper
  • Folded Edge Topline
  • 1.5-inch Heel Height
Cons
  • Taps not included

3. Ariat Heritage Western R Toe

Country Western or Line dancing just isn't the same without a good pair of cowboy boots. But not just any boot will do! Ariat's Heritage Western is as comfy as it is stylish, thanks to their ATS® MAX™ technology. Designed with added shock-absorbing elements and a moisture-wicking footbed, these boots are perfect for long hours of western line dancing.
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ATS® Technology
Advanced Torque Stability (ATS®) Technology adds extra cushioning and support while you move which reduces overall fatigue.

Moisture-Wicking Footbed
A built-in moisture-wicking footbed helps to keep your feet cool and dry all day long. Perfect for dancers!

Cost & Value
While the Heritage Western is not the cheapest option, they possess unparalleled quality in craftsmanship. Their comfortable wear and trendsetting design help to make these boots a priceless must-have.
Pros
  • Moisture-Wicking Footbed
  • ATS® Technology
  • Gel Cushioned Footbed
  • Heel Stabilizers 
  • Ergonomic Design 
Cons
  • Higher priced
  • Break-in period

4. Capezio Daisy Ballet

4. Capezio Daisy Ballet
Step into tranquility with a leather upper and suede outsole. Furthermore, a minimally padded footbed gives you the best of both worlds, in the form of both comfort and the ability to remain lightweight. In other words, you can dance your way through to the end, as you ballet with grace and devotion.
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Padded Footbed
A padded footbed is built with flexibility and comfort in mind; that is, padding can be a good thing, as it applies to long hours on the dance floor. This padding is minimal and, therefore, you won't lose the importance of a lightweight dance shoe.

Leather Upper
Sturdy; yet, flexible, this is what it means to have an upper made of leather. Moreover, the leather material is naturally breathable; and as such, you can promote better overall foot health, as well.

Cost and Value
Priced to be budget-friendly, this is a pair of dance shoes ready for the ballet. Furthermore, made with high-quality materials, these shoes are made to last.
Pros
  • Leather Upper
  • Suede Outsole
  • Bar-tacked Elastic Drawstring
  • ID Tag
  • Padded Footbed
Cons
  • Size runs small

5. Theatricals Lace Up Tap

5. Theatricals Lace Up Tap
Tap your way to the delightful tune of screw-on taps, a non-skid safety patch, soundboard, synthetic/leather upper, and a cushioned sock liner. Laces help to create a better fit but, more importantly, the overall structuring of the shoe is made to give you the sturdiness you need for tapping; yet, there is a decent amount of flexibility for transitional movement.
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Taps
These taps are screwed on and they do come equipped with the shoes. Replaceable, the taps can re-invent the shoes, as it were; that is, you might find these shoes lasts longer than the original taps do.

Lace-up
With these dance shoes, you gain a better fit via the laces. Moreover, you provide an ample opportunity for an environment conducive to safer feet; no more worrying about your feet making a move without your shoes.

Cost and Value
These are budget-friendly. Moreover, they are made to last and with screw-on taps, you have the ability to replace them. Furthermore, these shoes have a soundboard, non-skid safety patch, and cushioned sock liner. They are a great addition to any tapper's wardrobe.
Pros
  • Cushioned Sockliner
  • Taps, Screwed On
  • Soundboard
  • Non-skid Safety Patch
  • Synthetic/Leather
Cons
  • Minimal color variety

6. Matisse Cimmaron Coconuts

6. Matisse Cimmaron Coconuts
Matisse and Coconuts shoes have become an international favorite for a good reason, their quality craftsmanship, and stylish designs. Every shoe they manufacture maintains the highest quality standards making these an ideal option for western or line dancing. With a low heel height and synthetic upper, these boots are ultra comfy. A 9-inch shaft and pointed toe give these a sleek appearance and are sure to be the envy of the dancefloor.
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Dual Pull-Tabs
Have you ever found yourself stuck in a pair of cowboy boots? They can be difficult to take off but with the Cimmaron's dual pull-tabs you can effortlessly slide out of your boots once the dancing is done.

Chunky Heel
A low 1½ inch chunky heel makes these an ideal boot for dancing. A higher heel can cause discomfort when wearing for a longer period of time, while a low heel is easier on your joints and muscles.

Cost & Value
These hot cowboy boots are a complete steal! They offer top-of-the-line craftsmanship and superior quality for a price that is completely budget-friendly.
Pros
  • Low Heel Height
  • 9" Shaft
  • Dual Pull-Tabs
  • Contrasting Trim Detail
  • Fabric Lining 
Cons
  • Narrow Toe

7. Capezio N625 Jr. Tyette

7. Capezio N625 Jr. Tyette
Capezio's best seller, Jr. Tyette tap shoes will keep you tapping your feet all day and night. Complete with a foam-padded footbed and brushed micro-poly lining for superior comfort, they are designed with lower side heights, flexible outsoles, and a foam padded sheepskin collar. Their firm heel counter and light toe box give perfect support and make for a snug fit. A grosgrain ribbon ties at the front, while their rubber sole patch keeps you steady on your feet.
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Micro-poly Lining
The micro-poly material wicks moisture away from your feet, keeping them cool and dry. Its elastic and moveable texture make this an ideal lining material.

Tele Tone Heel Taps
A sound-resonating fiberboard designed to bring taps closer to the edge of the shoe, Tele Tone taps are known to be the best sounding taps available.

Cost & Value
These Capezio's offers a reasonably priced tap shoe that is widely regarded as being the best on the market. They come complete with Tele Tone heel taps; so, there is no need to install these yourself. Lightweight, stylish, and durable, these tap shoes are, definitely, a hot item!
Pros
  • Tele Tone Taps
  • Micro-poly Lining
  • Sheepskin Collar
  • Grosgrain Ribbon Tie
  • Foam-Padded Footbed
Cons
  • Narrow Fit

8. Bloch Dansoft Ballet

8. Bloch Dansoft Ballet
Fly through the air in these oh-so-soft ballet shoes. Made with a cotton lining, your feet will feel the softness all around. Leather uppers help to retain structural integrity; as well as, provide a decent amount of flexibility. After all, it takes both elements to give you the best possible dance shoes available. With these ballet shoes, you will be ready to reap the benefits of all of those hard-worked hours.
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Suede Outsole
Grip and slip are both needed for the ballet. A suede outsole provides the perfect mix-and-match protocol, as you are able to slide into your next move or stop when necessary.

Cotton Lining
Your feet are heavily worked while in ballet form. As such, every bit of comfort then becomes more of a necessity. With a cotton lining, however, you can gain that extra comfort.

Cost and Value
The price associated with this pair of dance shoes is budget-friendly. Moreover, these shoes are made lightweight with all available comfort factors onboard. As such, these best dance shoes are a worthy purchase.
Pros
  • Leather Upper
  • Suede Outsole
  • Cotton Lining
  • Elastic Drawstring
Cons
  • Size runs big

9. Ryka Tenacity Cross-Trainer

9. Ryka Tenacity Cross-Trainer
These stylish training shoes are perfect for hip-hop dancing. Their synthetic and breathable mesh upper make these a lightweight choice. A midfoot Velcro strap ensures a secure fit, while a dual foam midsole provides extra cushioning to forefoot pressure points. Complete with a rubber outsole and pivot design, making these shoes the perfect pair of kicks for hip-hop and studio dancing.
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RE-ZORB Footbed
A foam compound designed to provide maximum cushioning and comfort, along with superior shock absorption.

Rubber Outsole
Rubber is a strong, lightweight, and flexible material. It offers a good amount of grip and is resistant to abrasions.

Cost & Value
The Tenacity Cross Trainer is pricier than other options on the list but their stylish vibe and superior wearability more than compensate. These shoes are made to move and are a hip-hop dancer’s best friend. Available in a wide range of colors, there's something that will appeal to everyone.
Pros
  • Midfoot Velcro Strap
  • Secure Fitting
  • Dual Foam Midsole
  • Pivot Design
  • Trendy & Fashionable
Cons
  • Break-in period

10. Tent Linodes

10. Tent Linodes
Jazz dancing is upbeat and energetic. Dancers perform their own interpretative movements and are often found leaping or twirling across the floor. This type of high-energy performance requires the right kind of shoe. Tent's slip-on jazz shoe is made of satin and soft leather which makes for a perfect fit. Its split-sole design offers a flexible and lightweight feel, while the flat heel height is perfect for jazz dancing. These are available in multiple different colors with half sizing options to suit all needs.
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Soft Leather
A soft, leather upper makes these a lightweight and adaptable choice of footwear. The leather is abrasion-resistant and retains its shape well.

Low Heel Height
Jazz dancing requires a lower heel which will offer better stability and comfort while you dance.

Cost & Value
These jazz shoes are, definitely, not going to break your bank. They're reasonably priced while maintaining a stylish and modern vibe. Look good while you move in these jazzy slip-on dance shoes.
Pros
  • Soft Leather
  • Low Heel
  • Cotton Lining
  • Split Sole
  • Slip-On
Cons
  • Small Fitting

Keep in mind, no matter which style of dance it is that you prefer; proper footwear is an essential element, especially when considering the best dance shoes.  Having the right pair of shoes will not only enhance your performance but will, also, keep you safe from injuries.

Criteria for Evaluating the Best Dance Shoes

Best-Dance-Shoes-Reviewed-&-Rated-For-Performance

Material

Comfort and fit are crucial for dance shoes, meaning materials must be lightweight, flexible, and soft. The upper and soling materials may be the same, or different, depending on the style of shoe, and must be durable, in order to withstand long hours spent on the dancefloor.

Materials to Look For:

  • Leather –
    Leather is breathable and lightweight, allowing air to flow naturally around the foot. It has excellent moisture-absorbing properties, making it a great material for lining, while it’s resistance to abrasion are ideal for the upper and sole.
  • Canvas –
    This is a sturdy, woven material which is light and airy, making it a perfect upper material for dance shoes.
  • Rubber –
    Commonly seen, rubber is best used for the shoe sole, thanks to its moisture-resistant, anti-slip properties.
  • Suede –
    When it comes to soft Suede is an excellent material to be used on the sole of a dance shoe. Suede gives the perfect balance between slipperiness and grip for turns and twirls across the floor. Suede soles will need to be maintained by brushing the sole with a wire dance shoe brush from time-to-time, in order to up-keep their roughness.

Materials to Avoid:

  • Synthetics, such as polyester and acrylic, are less than desirable for dance shoes. They fail to absorb moisture; as well as, preventing air from freely flowing around the foot.

Best-Dance-Shoes-Reviewed-&-Rated-For-Performance

Insole

Dancers often spend hours-a-day practicing and performing on hard surfaces, like tile or wood flooring. This puts the dancer at risk for a number of foot-related injuries. Such as:

  • Anterior/Posterior Impingement Syndrome
  • Lateral Ankle Sprain
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Hallux Rigidus
  • Bunions
  • Achilles Tendinitis

To reduce the risk of injury, a dancer should select a shoe which has a quality insole that will both absorb shock, as well as, conform to the shape of their foot. An insole with too much cushion will take up too much room in the shoe and can give an ungraceful appearance when the dancer performs.

Best-Dance-Shoes-Reviewed-&-Rated-For-Performance

Brand/Features

Just about any shoe can be danced in but what sets a good dance shoe apart from the rest are the features it offers, which will aid the dancer in performing their best. Dependent on the type of dance style being performed, the dancer will require different features from their dance shoes. The following is a list of things to look for in a shoe based on the dance style:

Ballet: Ballet shoes are all about the ‘pointe.’ Pointe shoes are made up of several different parts; the shank, throat, vamp, toe box, and platform are the major components of any pointe ballet slipper. These components all serve an important part in aiding the dancer to achieve the most elegant pointe possible.

  • Shank: The rigid insole which gives support underneath the arch of the foot.
  • Throat: The opening of the shoe.
  • Vamp: The area of the shoe which covers the top part of the toes and the foot.
  • Toe Box: The cup which holds the toes and ball of the foot.
  • Platform: The bottom of the toe box where the dancer stands.

In order to determine the right pointe shoe, a number of factors will have to be taken into consideration and it is recommended that a dancer be professionally fitted for their pointe shoes.

Jazz/Tap: For tap dancing, the most important feature a shoe can offer is the taps, themselves. Different styles of taps will offer a unique sound; some will be lighter and tinier, while others will provide a deeper tap. Some of the most well-known taps are produced by leading manufacturers and offer a great distinction from one another. For example:

  • Capezios Tele-Tone taps are lightweight and offer up a much lighter tone of a tap.
  • Leo’s Ultratone toe tap is a thicker style which fills out the edge of the shoe.
  • SoDanca’s taps are a bit convex and offer a great upper-register tone.

Latin: A good shoe for Latin dancing will need to be comfortable, durable, and practical; while, also, helping add to the dancer’s graceful appearance. Some of the leading brands for Latin dance shoes are:

  • Bloch
  • Capezio
  • Freed of London
  • Top Line

These brands are going to last for a solid span of time and will keep the dancers’ feet from tiring and becoming painful.

Western/Line: Ideal shoes for western/line dancing are, of course, going to be cowboy boots. But not just any boot will do! In order to stay comfortable during long hours spent spinning and twirling across the dance floor, your boots will need the following features:

  • Good ankle support
  • The right amount of slip
  • Flat, or very low heel
  • Secure fit while allowing room to move unrestricted

Hip-Hop: Hip-hop dancers, unlike others, do not necessarily need shoes which are designed for dancing, any athletic shoe would be acceptable. However, looking stylish and remaining comfortable are two major factors when selecting a pair of shoes for hip-hop.

Stability and grip are important safety features which should be considered; as well as, ensuring that your shoes fit securely. Rubber is an excellent choice for an outsole for hip-hop dancing, due to its excellent grip and anti-skid properties.

Contemporary: Traditional shoes are not the best choice for contemporary dancers; instead, a foot glove is a much more appropriate choice. A foot glove protects the ball of the foot while providing anti-slip security at the same time of maintaining the desired barefoot esthetic.

FAQ Best Dance Shoes

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: What are ‘pointe shoes’ and does it really matter which ones I choose?
A: Pointe shoes are a type of shoe worn by ballet dancers. They enable the dancers to dance on the tips of their toes, appearing weightless. It is important that a dancer chooses a pointe shoe which is going to fit their feet, appropriately. Otherwise, it can affect their performance and may possibly endanger the dancer. It is recommended that a dancer be professionally fitted for pointe shoes.

Q: Aren’t Latin dance shoes just high heeled shoes?
A: Latin dance shoes are lightweight and flexible, with a certain type of sole. Usually, made of leather and with a suede outsole, Latin dance shoes need to offer the right amount of slip while, also, providing traction to prevent falls.

Q: Aren’t hip-hop dance shoes the same as ordinary athletic shoes?
A: Essentially, hip-hop dance shoes could be any pair of athletic type shoe. It is imperative in hip-hop dance that the dancer appears to fit the ‘style’ associated with the dance. Hip-hop is related to hip-hop culture and is based on street styles of clothing. Pivot points on the outsole come into play when considering hip-hop dance.

Q: Are tap and jazz shoes the same thing?
A: What distinguishes tap shoes from jazz shoes is the addition of metal screw-in taps. These are what enable a tap dancer to produce clear, crisp tap sounds when they perform.

Q: Why do contemporary dancers only wear a foot glove?
A: Contemporary dance is expressed through the fluidity of movement. More often than not, contemporary dancers prefer to wear as little clothing as possible, due to the fact that clothing inhibits the audience’s ability to observe the dancers movements.  

Sources

  1. Kent G Becker, Pointe Shoes Part 1, Article,
  2. danceshoesstore.com, Why Dance Shoes?, article; blog, Sep 19, 2018
  3. dance-america.com, Dance Shoe Heel Types, article; blog, Sep 19, 2018
  4. Cyr, M., Choosing Ladies Latin Dance Shoes, article; blog, Jun 28, 2013
  5. beyonddancingsarasota.com, I’m going to my first ballroom dancing lesson, what do I wear?, article; blog, May 14, 2014


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