Virtual Shoe Shop logo BUYING YOUR FIRST DANCE SHOES - FAQ




Why can not I dance in my normal street shoes?

Dancing in your normal street shoes is not forbidden (in most places) but by doing so you instantly make it harder for yourself to use your feet properly and put yourself in disadvantaged position. That's because no normal street shoes are so soft as dance shoes and you won't be able to use your feet to the best of their ability. Additionally dance shoes have suede soles which provide just the right amount of slipping so you will slip enough to dance, but you won't slip and fall over.

Some more respectable dance studios, which have installed expensive sprung floors will not allow stepping on them in anything else other than clean dance shoes that have not been worn outdoors.

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What shoe size shall I order? My normal street shoe size, bigger or smaller?

The general answer is: Yes, you should order your normal street size, unless otherwise stated. Some particular shoe models make exception from this rule, but this will be explained when you come across such shoe. British manufacturers make shoes according to British sizing, European makers use European sizing and there are also American and Japanese sizing systems, but all these can be relatively easily translated to one another using this shoe size conversion chart

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My feet are wider (narrower) than average. Does anyone make shoes for me?

Yes, most companies do wide and narrow fitting in their most popular models. The undisputed market leader in wide and narrow fitting is International Dance Shoes factory, who can make almost any of their models in Wide, Extra wide or Narrow fitting.
  • International: Any model can be made in Wide, Extra Wide, Narrow, Extra Narrow verion
  • Supadance: Selected most popular models are made in Wide version, very few in Extra Wide
  • DSI: All their regular shoes seem to be a little wider than those from other companies, Wide fittings also avaialble on some most popular models.
  • Tango OK: Any models can be made in Wide or Narrow. No Extra Wide, though.
  • DANsport: Only a few of the most popular models come in Wide.
See Fittings explained for more precise description of Wide and Narrow fittings

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My male partner is much taller than me, shall I take very high heels?

Definitely not. Do not take heels higher than you can comfortably dance in. The higher the heels, the harder it is to dance in them and the stronger and more flexible ankles you need. That will come with time and practice, but in the meantime take heels no higher than you can comfortably dance in. Having them too high for your dance experience you may add half an inch to your height, but you will loose a mile in your dancing quality. Very bad deal overall.

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Can you explain the difference between slim, flared, cuban, spanish and other heel styles?

Images of heel types


Slim heels is what used to be worn by ladies dancing Ballroom or Latin-american dances for decades.

If you are not used to wearing high slim heels and find dancing in them difficult - wear 2" ladies cuban (spanish) heel. They are easier to balance.

Flared (flare/fleur) heels were first invented by International Dance Shoes and called IDS heels. Other manufactures followed through and made their versions calling them Flare/Fleur/Flare etc.

Men typically wear 1" low heels for Ballroom and 1.5" cuban heels for Latin-American dances. If you however feel strange in 1.5" heels, you can wear 1" low heels for Latin too. If you would go for a heel higher than 1.5" cuban - there are a few choices: International makes 2" mens cuban heels, Rummos makes 2" heel option in their mens latin range.

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How should you measure the heel height?

An overwhelming majority of shoe makers measure the heel height at the back, from the point where the heel meets the back of the shoe vertically down, excluding the heel tip.

Rummos however measure the heels at the front of the heel. With heels of 2" and lower this does not make any difference, but with higher heel the height at the back can be up to 8mm (0.3") higher than at the front. To find out more read about Rummos shoes

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I am having knee pains while dancing. Do you have any mens shoes with sprung heels?

Yes, there are two mens ballroom shoe styles with sprung heel made by Supadance. These are 2500 Heelflex and 5200 Supaflex. You will find them in Supadance mens ballroom shoes section of our Virtual Shoe Shop.

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I am a lady with UK shoe size 9 (European 43). Does anyone make dance shoes for me?

Most manufacturers make ladies shoes up to UK size 8 only, but we know of two exceptions:
  1. Cindini make ladies shoes in up to UK size 9
  2. Tango OK theoretically make shoes up to European size 42 only, but their open toes ladies sandals come 1 size oversized, therefore if you order size 42 you will practically get size 43.
  3. We still have some shoes in sizes above UK size 8 on our SALE stock page.


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How do I clean satin ballroom shoes?

To clean the uppers: Put some warm water and hand washing liquid into a bowl. Take a sponge and apply the water with washing liquid onto the uppers of the shoes till clean. Leave overnight to let them dry out.

To clean the soles: Use a metal brush (supplied by shoe resellers) to brush off any dirt and dust. I suggest you do it along the shoe sole from the back towards the front, but that's not overwhelmingly important.

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