No Ladies, I'm not talking about how to find the man of your dreams; close. I'm talking about finding the perfect dance shoe! For those who have danced before, you know this can be quite a challenge, and once you find the perfect fit, you will never let it go. But for those of you who are just beginning your dance journey, here are some helpful tips on selecting THE one.
What style of dance are you doing? Probably the easiest place to start. Ballet = ballet shoes, ballroom = ballroom shoes, etc....
2.) Why and How Often?
Now, a deeper question. Are you dancing for fun or to prepare for a performance? If you are dancing for fun, then you know you can go crazy with fabrics and colors (as long as there is no dress code for class). If you are getting ready for a performance, do you need to match? If you do, that will decide the fabric, color, style, etc. If you do not, you still need to consider what "look" you want for your performance. Also, how often you will be practicing for the performance will determine if you will need two pairs; one pair for practice and one for performance. Also give and flexibility. If you are practicing four days a week for a performance in three months, you have time to break your shoes in.
3.) Fabric and Color
After answering question 2, you have hopefully narrowed down your options, but you still maybe deciding what fabric to go with. Think of shoe fabric the same as clothing fabric; patent leather will stick, suede will scuff, cotton will dirty, etc. Also, how those fabrics feel as shirts or slacks will give you a pretty good idea of how they will feel on your feet. Now color. Everyone has their own opinion, but dance shoes, in any style, were designed to match the dancers legs/leg line. Black for jazz and tap because you are almost always in black jazz pants or black tights; pink or nude for ballet and ballroom because you are almost always in pink or nude tights. When your shoes match your legs, it gives you a slimming clean look; however, if you want to make a statement (like those neon orange and green shoes your gym nemesis wears) that's okay too :)
Everyone makes a big deal out of size, but believe it or not, it's not a big deal. You can use size guides in catalogs or online and be fine. Of course, if you can get to a store that would be ideal, but in the crazy world I live in, that cannot always happen. You want your dance shoes to fit snug. Like a sock. Not uncomfortably tight, but tight. Every dance shoe is made to stretch and conform to your unique feet. When students tell me "well, my feet are narrow" or "I have fat toes" or "I have special feet", I have to stop myself from giggling because once you become a dancer, your feet will be like every other dancer's.....gross. I can wear the same sock as you and in a couple of wears it will feel like my sock no matter the exact size of our feet. So don't sweat size.
5.) Finally...where are you going to purchase from?
I think Google is one of the greatest inventions since sliced bread! Use it to find local shops or distributors online. Wherever you purchase from, befriend the sales associates for future ease of transactions, recommendations, and discounts galore!