Whether you are an amateur or a pro, there is little doubt that dancing can be a lot of fun. It can, however, get tricky or downright dangerous without the appropriate footwear. According to fitness expert from monderesmart.com, Megan Jones, Latin American dance styles, such as salsa, can be particularly tough on your muscles and ligaments, resulting in frequent sprains and strains caused by overstretching or twisting. Luckily, wearing the right shoes while you strike your dance moves can make the activity a lot more enjoyable, not to mention prevent rolled ankles. No matter your level, keep in mind that there are pros and cons to every type of dance shoes. Here are just a few options for your next salsa session.
Sneakers are probably the starting point for most aspiring salsa dancers—let’s face it; most of us already have a pair at home. If you decide to dance in sneakers, however, opt for ones that a relatively lightweight and narrow. Some sneakers even feature special suede or prickly plastic soles to minimize friction. The major downside of selecting this type of footwear for dancing is that it is usually not very durable—their soles can wear out relatively fast. Also, while lightweight sneakers might be ideal for a salsa class, they lack the wow factor for a nightclub dance floor.
LATIN BALLROOM SHOES
Popular among professionals, Latin ballroom shoes are lightweight and usually feature a suede sole (if you are not sure what they look like, check out a ballroom dance competition on TV). Most ballroom shoes are designed to allow for flexion between the heel and the ball of the foot, making it easy to perform specific dance moves. They also come with an elevated heel, letting you keep your weight on the balls of the feet—exactly where it should be when dancing. On the downside, depending on the style of dance, some may find the heel and uncomfortable and restrictive in terms of movement.
If you are a regular on the salsa dance scene in the US, you may very well be familiar with—or even wear—this style of shoes. Featuring pointed toes, cowboy-style shoes come either in a low dress shoe version or as boots. The pointy area of the shoes is angled upward, forcing the weight to the balls of the feet, and ensuring stability on the dancefloor. Besides, this footwear comes with hardwood-style soles and rubber heels, making them ideal for spinning on wooden dance floors. While not the best option for beginners, due to their length, cowboy-style shoes are a worthy dancefloor accessory.
While jazz shoes are not suitable for dancing the night away at a club, they are ideal for dance lessons due to their sock-like snug fit. Jazz shoes are ultra-lightweight, and most come with suede soles, making you grounded enough to perform spins without having to worry about losing your balance. As these shoes are not very sturdy, they generally only last between six months and one year. Nevertheless, they still make a lot of sense considering the affordable price tag.