Dance sneakers are arguably the most important item of clothing a dancer can buy. This article outlines the 6 key features that define the best dance sneakers. Follow these guidelines and take your dancing to the next level.
Dance sneakers are athletic training shoes specially designed for the unique demands high intensity dancing can place in the feet. Some ballroom dancers wear dance sneakers for practice dance shoes instead of the typical ballroom dance pumps; some zumba instructors swear by them as critical zumba equipment and some men, women and kids choose to wear dance sneakers even for casual dancing.
Whatever your dance needs, there are a pair of dance sneakers to suit your feet and this article is going to show you what to look for when choosing the best dance sneakers and then take a look at some of the best dance sneakers on the market.
Key Features of Good Dance Sneakers
Whether they’re dance sneakers for men or women or dance shoes for kids, the perfect pair will have the following key features:
- Arch support
- Reinforced Sole
- Cushioning and Stability
Dance Sneakers Need to Be Lightweight
The last thing you need when you’re dancing is a heavy shoe weighing you down. The best dance sneakers are made of lightweight material that let your feet move freely while still providing adequate foot, heel and ankle support.
Dance Sneakers Need to Be Breathable
Tearing up the dance floor, your feet are going to get hot. The best dance sneakers will incorporate light breathable fabric to keep your feet aerated and cool as well as controlling moisture to keep your feet dry and prevent blisters and other foot health complaints.
Dance Sneakers Need Good Arch Support
Your feet are under a great deal of pressure with every step you take so your shoes need to be able to support your arches. Different feet have different arch support needs just as every shoe offers different arch support solutions. Finding your right fit might take a bit of trial and error but your feet and your dance moves will thank you when you find the perfect pair. Arch support is especially important in dance with a lot of jumping or hopping like hip hop or Irish dancing.
Dance Sneakers Need to Be Flexible
While you want your feet to be supported by your shoes, you still need some give in the shoe structure and an inflexible shoe will prevent a lot of foot action. The best flexible dance sneakers will also have a flexible sole. Flexibility is especially important in mixed step dancing activities like zumba or jazzercise.
Dance Sneakers Need Reinforced Soles
Unlike normal training sneakers, a good pair of dance sneakers will have special reinforcements in the sole. This is typically in the ball of the foot as a pivot point and in the heel. When wearing dance sneakers for dance practice for ballroom dancing or jazz, this reinforcement is particularly important.
Dance Sneakers Need Good Traction
Whatever style of dancing you’re doing, traction is important. Your dance sneakers need enough traction so you won’t slip, but also need to be smooth enough to allow your feet to glide properly as you step without grabbing on the floor.
Dance Sneakers Need Security and Support
While you don’t want your shoes to impede your dance steps by being inflexible, a good pair of dance sneakers will still need to provide enough cushioning to protect you from pressure and impact, and also enough support to keep your foot stable and prevent ankle injuries. This is especially important for dancing with a lot of side to side action like hip hop or mixed routines like zumba.
Now we know what makes the perfect pair of dance sneakers, let’s take a look at some of the best dance sneakers available in 2013.
The Best Dance Sneakers Reviewed
With a suede and synthetic mesh upper, the Bloch Boost is an incredibly lightweight dance sneaker for women that still maintains excellent cushioning and supportive stability. The Boost has exceptional built-in arch support and its unique lacing system provides optimum forefoot fit for excellent stability and comfort. The outsole is split for added flexibility and made of high density polyurethane with a reinforced air cushioned heel, making for durable yet cushioned sole with perfect traction for sliding. Available in black or pink.
Because of the unique design, Bloch recommends ordering the boost a half size larger than regular shoes, or a full size for wide feet.
For men looking for a shoes with similar features of the Bloch Boost, the Bloch Evolution is a unisex dance sneaker. Like the Boost, the Evolution provides superior comfort and stability while still being an excellent lightweight, breathable and flexible shoe. The Evolution has the added benefit of toggle fasteners to help you get them on and off quickly.
Note that while this is a unisex dance shoe, the shoe is listed in women’s sizing.
And the kids don’t have to miss out either. Bloch also makes dance sneakers for kids and these Bloch Boot Mesh sneakers for kids have all of the features that make the Bloch Evolution and the Bloch Boost such fantastic dance sneakers for adults. The Mesh Boots are available in pink and black and are available in both toddler and youth sizes.
Pros – The Bloch Evolution, Boost and Boot Mesh all have superior arch support in a durable lightweight shoe.
Cons – Limited range of colours and designs. Smaller sizing can be difficult to fit some feet.
The Sansha Motion Dance is a brilliant choice for anyone looking for discount dance shoes. Although these are on the cheap side of the price scale, there is no sacrificing quality or style. With suede and mesh uppers, these shoes are super light and breathable and have decent cushioning and flexibility in the rubber split sole, which also has an air cushioned heel. There is moderate arch support, but it’s nowhere near as supportive as something like the Bloch Boost or Evolution above.
The Motion Dance are available in Black or red and black. They do tend to run short on size, so ensure to check the size charts before ordering or try a pair on.
Pros – Quality shoes at discount price
Cons – Short sizing. Little inherent arch support.
The fierce Dansneaker does indeed put out some fierce competition when it comes to the best dance sneaker. Capezio, as usual, matches high quality with a low price. These lightweight shoes are durable and breathable, built of tech-mesh and synthetic leather for the uppers and a hard wearing polyurethane outsole. The super flexible non-marking sole is a cleverly designed split system with special reinforced zones. The fierce also come with a special built in arch support.
These shoes are a medium width but run very short so ordering a half to a full size up from your street shoe size is recommended to find the right length.
The Capezio Fierce Dansneaker are available in black.
Pros – Cheap. Good arch support.
Cons – Small sizing. Only available in black.
Ryka’s Tenacity are a fashionable and functional dance sneaker for women. The uppers are built of synthetic leather, mesh with high density foam that is not only breathable and light, but also stable. The lacing system together with the Velcro closures ensures a perfect fit from the toe right up to the ankle and the high tops ensure maximum ankle stability. The Tenacity feature a durable rubber, diamond shaped sole for perfect dance floor traction. They also have a special heel guidance reinforcement designed to guide foot strike alignment with maximum lateral support. This unique design however creates a slightly flared footbed that might take some getting used to. The Ryka Tenacity is available in a range of colors and designs including basic black, orange and pink and metallic silver and purple.
Note that the Tenacity are the upgraded model of the Ryka Downbeat.
Pros – unique heel and lateral support to guide footstrike
Cons – unique footbed design can be uncomfortable for some feet and may take some adjustment
Janine from Puma are a stylish pair of women’s dance sneakers that look great and offer outstanding performance. The uppers are leather and while this might not be the most breathable of fabrics, it is certainly durable and light with all of the forefoot flexibility you’ll need in a dance sneaker. The collar and tongue are lightly padded to stabilize the fit and comfort and the lace up front provides a secure fit. The rubber sole provides superior shock absorption across the entire footbed and is also reinforced with a unique pivot point. The pivot point reinforcement is particularly good for dance that uses a lot of toe pointing like Latin ballroom or jazz dancing.
Janine’s are available in a wide range of colours including grey and pick, white and teal and black and fluro purple.
Pros – Unique reinforced pivot point sole
Cons – Leather uppers decrease breathability.
Fitting the right pair of dance sneakers to the right pair of feet is simple following these guidelines and recommendations, so whatever your dance moves there’s a pair of dance sneakers out there to lift your performance to new and exciting heights.