Dance is a form of artistic expression that has been practiced for thousands of years. It often involves moving your body in ways that are considered unusual or strange, which is why dancers need special shoes to allow them to move freely without hurting themselves.
Dancers wear different types of shoes depending on what kind of dance they are doing and the style in which they perform. Ballet dancers wear pointe shoes, which are made out of leather and have a small box at the front for the toe to sit in.
Modern dancers wear jazz shoes, which have a hard sole and soft upper so that they can move freely while still protecting their feet from injury. Hip hop dancers usually wear sneakers or boots because they need to be able to jump high off the ground during their dances.
Right here on Buy and slay, you are privy to a litany of relevant information on types of dance shoes, what do ballet dancers wear when performing, what do ballet dancers wear to practice, what do ballet dancers wear on stage and so much more. Take out time to visit our catalog for more information on similar topics.
What do dancers wear on their feet?
Dancers wear many different types of footwear depending on their style. The most common types of shoes for dancers are: ballet, jazz, tap, and pointe.
Ballet shoes are typically made with a satin fabric, which makes them easier to slide around in. They have ribbons covering the top and bottom of the foot to make it easier to slip on and off. Most ballet shoes have a small heel so that you can stand up straight when you dance.
Jazz shoes are similar in style to ballet shoes except they are more flexible and comfortable, which is important when dancing on hardwood floors.
Tap shoes are made of wood or plastic with metal tips attached to them. In order to prevent slipping during performances, tap dancers wear special socks made from felt that grip onto the metal tips on their shoes so they don’t slip while they’re tapping away!
Pointe shoes look like ordinary ballet slippers but they have an additional layer of material sewn into them that extends up over the toes of your feet (known as “toes”). This extra layer provides support for when you’re dancing en pointe (on your toes).\
What Is A Half-Sole Dance Shoe?
Half-soles, or “turners” as many dancers call them, are exactly that – half of a dance shoe that purports to help dancers turn better. Half-soles include the front half of a ballet shoe, with one or two elastic straps that loop around the heel to keep them on the foot. Made of leather or canvas, these shoes became popular as dancers realized that rhythmic gymnasts wore them to create a more seamless line between their legs and their feet unlike full sole shoes.
Half-soles have a suede patch on the ball of the foot just like ballet shoes. Without the back half of the shoe, the dancer’s arch is on full display and creates a long visual line from toe to hip while turning in relevé.
These types of shoes are mostly made in a variety of flesh tones, and are meant to be worn without tights. A challenge of wearing half-soles is that depending on the shape of your foot and heel, the elastic straps can fall off easily when the foot is pointed (in the biz, we call this “disappearing heel syndrome”).
One hack that can sometimes help is to wear stirrup tights over the shoe so that the stirrup part of the tights wraps around the elastic, keeping it a bit more secure to the foot. Also, many half-soles like this pair from Bloch include a silicon backing on the elastic straps that stick to the skin to help keep the shoes on.
What Are Dance Socks?
Socks are no strangers to the contemporary dance classroom -especially in college, but a recent change in the world of dance is the technology used to create dance socks that are specifically worn instead of footwear. This phenomenon has taken off in recent years due to the popularity of shows like So You Think You Can Dance, and social media trends.
Dancing in socks can allow for greater articulation through the feet, a more solid foundation on the floor, and a seamless look if the socks are skin tone.
Dance socks like the popular Apolla Shocks are made of moisture-wicking, antimicrobial compression material, creating a snug fit in all the right places. Shocks, as they’re known in the biz, have a right and a left and come in several styles and traction options.
Unlike your run-of-the-mill, regular cotton socks, socks made for dancing like the BlochSox have features that emphasize safety and health, like a padded heel for shock absorption, and compression for circulation.
How Are Dance Socks Supposed to Fit?
Most dance socks come in Extra Small through Extra Large sizes, but because of the compression fabric, you may need to size up if you have a wider foot or are uncomfortable with compression. Dance socks should be tight but should allow all ten toes to rest comfortably on the ground.
How much do Lyrical or Contemporary Dance Shoes Cost?
Lyrical and Contemporary dance footwear ranges in price from $20 USD to $40 USD.
Should You Wear Only One Lyrical Shoe?
Absolutely not! Think of it this way – would you wear only one tap shoe? No. Would you wear only one sneaker? No! By wearing only one lyrical shoe, the dancer is broadcasting that they only plan to turn on one side – the side with the shoe. In addition to promoting one-sidedness, wearing only one shoe is confusing from an aesthetic point of view. The one shoe trend might be popular, but it is incorrect. As I like to say, “It’s two shoes or no shoes for me!”
How Do You Store Lyrical and Contemporary Shoes?
Whether you choose half-soles, paws, or dance socks, be sure to store them properly – allow them to air out between uses and keep your dance bag open to allow for air flow. Dance socks can be hand-washed or machine washed and line dried.
Can Lyrical and Contemporary Shoes Be Tried On or Returned?
Most dance stores do not allow paws or socks to be tried on due to hygiene issues, so always double check the sizing conversions to ensure you purchase the correct size. Similarly, paws and socks usually cannot be returned because of hygiene issues and the fact that they stretch quickly once tried on or worn even for a short amount of time.
Types of dance shoes
Dance shoes are their own category in fashion, entirely. When the time comes for finding the right dance shoes, you must know what dance classes you intend on taking. Every genre of dance calls for a different attire and pair of shoes! Being prepared for the class always starts with the correct pair of dance shoes.
Some of you may be wondering, “Why would I need anything other than ballet slippers or tap shoes?” The reality is, there are different sets of shoes made particularly for specific techniques and styles. I am here to tell you about these diverse dance shoes, and why they are worn for their own genres.
Let us start with talking about Character Shoes. They are usually used for performances, but can also be worn as dress shoes. These shoes are only to be worn in the studio or on stage for performances. Character shoes are ideal for dance classes involving heels or titled as “Musical Theatre”. Musical Theatre is a form of theatrical performance combining songs, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance. You can also use these if your dancer is interested in ballroom. They may not look as flashy as the typical ballroom shoes, but having one pair of shoes unique to your foot is always preferred when it comes to learning technique and choreography.
The classical Ballet shoe is a common pair of shoes most dancers own. They come in different colors, material and styles. Being classically trained means you take ballet and own a pair of either Satin ballet shoes, with a ribbon for your little ballerina, or classic canvas ballet shoes for older, dedicated ballet dancers. Ballet shoes are the most popular pair when it comes to dancing. The classic look is simple and goes with everything. So much so that “Ballet flats” uses the name and similar style for a non-dance occasion. Classical influences usually keep their classical style, and Ballet shoes are no exception.
Starting off with a bit of history: For decades, dancers were forced to wear ballet shoes fused with high heels that were then removed, replaced with wire, and used to hoist ballerinas to their toes. It wasn’t until the 20th-century that the famous and talented Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova influenced the modern pointe shoe. With her slender, tapered feet, she inserted toughened leather soles into her shoes for extra support to flatten and harden the toe area to form a box.
Ballerinas usually dream of putting on their first pair of pointe shoes and gliding across the floor seamlessly. Pointe shoes are sometimes called “toe shoes” since they are used to stand on your toes. These solid, boxed shoes make it look like you are barely hovering on your toes, but the insertion of toe pads creates a cushion feel to your hard-working toes. Proper training is required with pre-pointe shoes before going on to actual Pointe Shoes. Your ankles and toes go through immense pressure, so extra care of your toes and toe nails need to be taken into consideration. If you are a serious ballerina with extensive training, then you can decide if pointe work is something you want to put your feet through. The Pointe Shoe has become revolutionary over the last century, and most ballet companies will not consider you as a serious dancer without years of experience of pointe work.
Also known as lyrical shoes and come in either canvas or leather. These simple, yet effective set of shoes are best used for competitive dance, especially with a lot of turns. The word pirouette means to turn on one leg usually in relevé (rising to the balls of the feet). These shoes are literally meant for turning. Pirouette shoes cover the ball of the foot and are usually padded to protect your dancers exposed feet with an elastic band around the ankle to keep the toes in the padded pocket. These shoes are more universal than the others listed as they can be used for modern, lyrical or contemporary dance. Over the past decade, this type of shoe has evolved into being multipurpose, which is recommended for dancers expanding their training.
I am sure you have heard of and seen these shiny and sleek pairs of beauty. Jazz shoes are usually used in jazz classes but can also be extended to musical theatre and even lyrical dance. They can be laced up with a tiny heel or be a slip on in the colors black, beige or white. Jazz shoes are a part of the out fit just like character shoes are. You need to break them in well before performing to avoid blisters. A good tip for this is to put thick socks under your jazz shoes for the first few classes so the material can stretch. But like most dance shoes, you want them to fit snugly and protect your feet while allowing you to turn, kick, and jump across the floor. So pack a pair of socks in your dancer’s bag in preparation for breaking these bad boys in! We have an article around the brief history of jazz dance if you are interested.