Jess Cranney

Dance shoes are more than just shoes! They come in a variety of styles, sizes, materials, and purposes, giving dancers the support and stability necessary to perform everything from turns to flips. Let’s look at some of the shoes that make the most popular styles of dance possible.

Ballet Shoes

Eden Buchert

One of the most well-known dance shoes, ballet slippers are very flexible and allow dancers to bend their feet. Maybe even more iconic are the rigid pointe shoes which include a reinforced toe box. Higher-level ballet dancers use pointe shoes to dance on their toes, and unlike slippers, pointe shoes require a break-in process and once they lose their shape, have to be replaced.

Jazz Shoes

Jess Cranney

While their name may suggest otherwise, jazz shoes are used across a variety of dance styles, including jazz, contemporary, and even musical theater. A comfortable shoe typically made of leather or a canvas-like material, jazz shoes may be flat or have a small supporting arch depending on style. Jazz shoes are great support for turns, leaps, and quick direction changes because they offer some resistance but allow dancers to turn easily on any surface.

Tap Shoes

Jess Cranney

Armored with metal plates on the heel and toes, jazz shoes are the musical instruments of dance shoes. The metal plates or “taps” create the clicks and taps that tap dance is known for. Tap shoes are sturdy and not very flexible to support quick, controlled movements and complex rhythms.

Hip Hop Shoes

Nick Marek

Hip hop shoes are highly customizable and versatile. Either true streetwear or dance sneakers, hip hop dancers will often wear shoes with a higher ankle that have plenty of cushion and support throughout the shoe to absorb the impact from jumps to acrobatic tricks. While other dance shoes may have a limited color range or require that the material matches a dancer’s skin tone, these shoes can come in a variety of styles and colors unique to a dancer, team, or performance.

Ballroom Shoes

Ballroom dancing is a style that requires a lot of fast movements across the floor. Sambas, salsas, and waltzes can’t be accomplished in sneakers! Shoes for these dancers are typically made up of leather or satin with suede soles at the bottom. Women’s shoes typically have a small heel while men’s shoes are flat. Cha cha and foxtrot in style!

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Trina Hannah is a graphic design major and dancer at Siena Heights University. She loves all things creative including photography, painting, and writing. Trina has a passion for helping other young women build up their self esteem and chase their dreams all while making a positive impact.