Which Shoes Are Ideal for Street Dance?

General Information

In reality, any shoe can be danced in, but what is ideal?

Here you fill find pointers if/when in search of your first or next pair of dance shoes. 
Keep in mind: we are not sneaker heads nor is this orthopedic advice; however,

through experience, you learn what to watch for outside of preference.
 

  • How often you plan on using a dance-specific shoe?

  • Will it be for consistent training, leisurely dancing, mixed-use?

  • Form (look, brand, style)? 

  • Function (how does it feel in-practice)?

  • Which are the common brands or go-to's? 

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What To Look For

Support & Stability

 

Soles: 
 

  • Insole -- inside -- this is what rests inside your shoe to offer arch support, cushion and sweat absorption. Can be removed/replaced.
     

  • Midsole - rests underneath the insole and is above the outsole. The midsole is crucial in absorbing impact, shoe flexibility and a cushion boost. Depending how thick, it can add weight, bulk and stiffness. Not every shoe will have a midsole.
     

  • Outsole - key in how your feet will contact the floor, i.e. grip (how your shoe sticks to something upon contact) and traction (how strongly the shoe resists an outside force). 
    With dance, specifically, the ideal is actually minimal (but just enough) for both traction and grip, allowing fluidity while moving. This applies to many, but not all dance situations.
     

  • The Heel - Keep an eye on how much the heel compresses when pressure is applied. The more it gives, the less ankle support/stability is offered; if stiffer, it will offer better support. The midsole is key in this. How is the heel shape and weight? Is rounded or more square, affecting fluidity in transitions
     

  • The Toe - Just like the heel, notice how the toe of the show will either give or resist. The more resistance, the more weight burden the shoe carries. When softer, the front of your foot takes on more. Keep this in mind when pivoting or dancing on the balls of your feet; a softer shoe will feel more like your foot directly contacting the floor. A rounded, firmer toe is especially advantageous for pivoting.

 

Brief Summary:

 

A stiffer shoe offers clearer, more direct feedback in response to your movement. This is notably helpful for beginners or simply wanting the said feedback. Stiffer shoes tend to have more bulk or weight. 


A softer shoe requires greater responsiveness and control, but allows for greater foot articulation within your movement. Less bulky, light-weight.

 

Soul II Soul - Back To Life
(Zepherin Saint Tribe Vocal Mix)

Common Go-To's & Comments:
 

Nike Air Max 90s
(Good support, sturdy, mid-weight, rounded toe, stiffer sole outsole; more responsive. Bulkier and pricey)
 

Nike Roshe Run (Ones):
(Breathable, flexible, lightweight; doesn't stick to floor; can articulate foot. Moderate ankle support, not as durable. Don't recommend dancing outside with them often).
 

Puma Classics/Suede Classics:

(Sturdy and responsive; flat sole for clean footwork and minimal resistance against the floor.  Not ideal for extended activity; so-so support, not as flexible.)
 

Adidas Originals - Superstar Collection:

(Sturdy, rounded toe; flat sole for clean footwork; minimal resistance against the floor. Easier to find for cheap  Not ideal for extended activity; support is decent, not as flexible.)
 

Fuego Shoes - Designed Specifically For Dancers:
(Notice the outsoles: made for turning. Lightweight and comfortable with minimal grip or traction. Pricier and online only)
 

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