Best Dance Shoes Reviewed & Rated

For any dancer, one of the most important pieces of equipment they will ever own is their shoes. 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: January 18, 2018
By Alanna Elia:

This article has recently been updated and now includes the criteria used to determine the best dance shoes, as well as, a FAQ section, with answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. It includes an up-to-date list of the 10 best dance shoes.

Featured Recommendations

Bloch Boost Dance Sneaker
  • Bloch Boost Dance Sneaker
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • EVA Footbed
  • Variable Lace System
  • Price: See Here
Tent Leather Upper Jazz Shoe
  • Tent Leather Upper Jazz Shoe
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Soft Leather
  • Low Heel Height
  • Price: See Here
Bloch Prolite ll
  • Bloch Prolite ll
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Split Sole
  • Canvas Arch Support
  • 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. Bloch Prolite II Hybrid

Ballet dancers are regarded as being both graceful and weightless as they perform. They are renowned for their elegant pointe work and impossible poses, non-of-which would be possible without a quality ballet slipper. The Bloch Prolite ll is the perfect choice for ballet style dancing. Made from AAA grade leather with cross elastic straps for a secure fit. A thin cotton drawstring enables perfect adjustment, while a leather split sole and pillowy canvas arch insert hug the foot during points.
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AAA Grade Leather
Made from top-grade AAA leather which is resistant to abrasions, while providing superior comfort and breathability.

Leather Split Sole
Split sole shoes are designed without the use of leather in the arch of the shoe making it easier to point your feet while dancing. This also helps to exaggerate the look of the pointe achieved which is highly desirable.

Cost & Value
Bloch's Prolite 11 offers exceptional value for an incredible price. These low-cost ballet shoes are perfect for achieving a glamorous pointe while offering top-of-the-line comfort. Made from high-quality materials and designed to maximize performance, these are an excellent choice for anyone interested in ballet.
Pros
  • AAA Grade Leather
  • Cotton Drawstring
  • Split Sole
  • Canvas Arch Insert
  • Cross Elastic Straps
Cons
  • Small Fitting

2. Bloch Boost Dance Sneaker

Hip-Hop dancing is a dance style performed to hip-hop music and inspired by hip-hop culture. Naturally, dancers want to keep their style fresh while performing and nothing will help to achieve this better than a stylish pair of kicks! That's where Bloch's "Boost" comes into play. Boost is a lightweight canvas sneaker, perfect for hip-hop style dance. Their spin spot design makes for better turns, while the variable lacing system ensures a secure fit. A built-in molded EVA sockliner contours to your heel and helps to elevate the arch.
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EVA Sockliner
The "Boost" comes equipped with a removable EVA foam padded mesh footbed. EVA is a foam midsole material that provides high-level cushioning and compression set.

Variable Lace System
A Variable lacing systems allow for individual adjustment which maximizes comfort and makes for a perfect fit.

Cost & Value
These shoes are reasonably priced and offer an excellent value. Their sturdy and durable construction, matched with a trendy, stylish design make these a must-have for hip-hop dancers.
Pros
  • Spin Spot Design
  • EVA Sockliner
  • Variable Lacing System
  • Canvas 
  • Secure Fitting
Cons
  • Fits Small

3. Capezio 176 Contempora

These Capezio's offer a long-lasting toe box and are perfect for dancers with high arches. They are comfortable and supportive while offering the stability of a larger platform. A narrowed heel design gives a one-of-a-kind fit and will look elegant as you dance.
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V-Shaped Throat
V-cut vamps give a more elegant and classic look. They cover more of the toes, with a slight, v-shaped dip at the center. This can offer added security and less restriction while dancing.

Leather Outsole
Long lasting and flexible leather outsole is comfortable and minimizes wrinkling.

Cost & Value
While slightly more expensive than other options the Contempora is still a budget-friendly option. They offer a durable design and sturdy construction, with soft lining and a shorter leather outsole. These Capezio's are known for giving a feeling of stability while dancing, yet still appear elegant and graceful thanks to their v-shaped design.
Pros
  • Medium Vamp Length
  • V-Shaped Throat
  • Short Leather Outsole
  • Moderate Platform
  • Soft Lining
Cons
  • May Fit Wider Toes Better

4. RYKA Tenacity Cross-Trainer

4. 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 dancers 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
  • Higher Priced 

5. Ariat Heritage Western R Toe

5. 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

6. Tent Leather Upper Jazz Shoe

6. Tent Leather Upper Jazz Shoe
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. It's split sole design offers a flexible and lightweight feel, while the flat heel height is perfect for jazz dancing. 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 it's shaped 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-ons.
Pros
  • Soft Leather
  • Low Heel
  • Cotton Lining
  • Split Sole
  • Slip-On
Cons
  • Small Fitting

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 micropoly 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. It's 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 offer 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. Roymall Satin Latin Dance

8. Roymall Satin Latin Dance
This soft suede shoe is perfect for latin dancing. Their high-quality design and glamorous look make Roymall a top-choice for dancers everywhere. Made of satin and suede, these shoes are both comfortable and durable. A lower heel height gives stability while dancing and their non-slip sole ensures that no accidents happen.
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Non-Slip Sole
Any latin dancer knows that slips can easily happen. Thankfully, these Roymall's have a non-slip sole to prevent tumbles on the dancefloor.

Chunky Heel
A chunky heel gives a dancer more stability making it easier to turn, twirl, and move about without having to worry about slips.

Cost & Value
The Roymal Satin Latin Dance Shoe is reasonably priced considering it's stylish design and comfortable wear. These are an elegant choice of footwear and are sure to look great on the dance floor.
Pros
  • Suede Sole
  • Satin Upper
  • Low Heel Height
  • Multiple Color Choices
  • Stylish 
Cons

Narrow Toe

9. Taikesi Lyrical Foot Thong

9. Taikesi Lyrical Foot Thong
Contemporary dancers combine elements of several dance styles while connecting their body and mind through the fluidity of their movements. While contemporary dancers do not usually wear regular shoes, they do need a good half sole foot thong to help keep their feet pain free.

That's where Taikesi's Lyrical Foot Thong steps up to the plate. With their Spandex high elasticity mesh and microfiber anti-skid pads, these really are music to a dancers ears. A sole pad prevents slips while their high-quality fabric material keeps feet comfortable for long periods of time. Machine or hand washable for super easy care.
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Microfiber Anti-Skid Pads
Microfiber absorbs moisture better than naturally occurring materials and lasts much longer making it an excellent material to use for anti-skid pads.

Spandex Mesh
Spandex is a highly elastic material which makes for extreme flexibility while dancing. The mesh material design is light and airy which keeps feet cool and dry.

Cost & Value
The Lyrical Foot Thong is a total bargain. Low-cost and completely comfortable, these are a great choice for anyone performing contemporary dance.
Pros

Spandex Mesh

Anti-Skid Pads

Low Cost

Machine Washable

Cons

May Tear With Overuse 

10. Matisse Cimmaron Coconuts

10. 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

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

Criteria Used To Evaluate The Best Dance Shoes

Material

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

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 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 is a sturdy woven material which is light and airy, making it a perfect upper material for dance shoes.
  • Rubber is best used for the shoe sole thanks to its moisture resistant, anti-slip properties.
  • 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.

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

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.

Brand/Features

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

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. Dependant 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 of 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-know 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 dancers’ 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 of 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 while maintaining the desired barefoot esthetic.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: What are ‘pointe shoes’ and does it really matter which ones I choose?

A: Pointe shoes are a type shoe worn by ballet dancers. They enable the dancers to dance on the tips of theirs toes, appearing weightless. It is very important that a dancer chooses a pointe shoe which is going to feet their feet appropriately. Otherwise it can affect their performance and may possible 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 with a suede sole. 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 appear to fit the ‘style’ associated with the dance. Hip-hop is related to hip-hop culture and is based on street styles of clothing.

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 enables 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,

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