We often get questions about shoes from our students regarding shoes, both when they start, and when they become advanced. So here is a summary of a few things to consider for shoes.
It is important to note, that we are a Cuban Salsa dance school and therefore our recommendation fits Salsa and does not necessarily apply to all dances.
Should I buy dance shoes?
Comfortable shoes can be enhancing to your dance and kinder experience to your knees and overall feel.
For Beginners, we normally recommend withholding any purchase of professional dance shoes for one simple reason: You don’t know yet if it’s just a taste or if you continue to the dance for a longer period of time. But of course, it’s up to you.
As you get more advanced, we do recommend choosing the right shoes that enhance your dance and feel comfortable to you. The right shoes can make the dance feel more natural and easy.
Cuban Salsa is relaxed about shoes
Cuban Salsa is a dance that is part street part ballroom, and therefore the shoes of choice for dancers range from sneakers to professional dance shoes. No shoe is objectively better – What you should consider is what you enjoy dancing in and your comfort.
Sneakers / Sport Shoes
Sneakers are the top choice for the majority of men & women.
Some of the benefits:
- Comfortable for long period of dancing and supporting
- Nice grip on the floor
- Relatively flexible.
- The best category of shoes to support Afro-Cuban Styling.
- Casual and can be used in open-airs and bad floors.
- Depends on the shoe the grip on the floor can sometimes be too much and make turns more difficult. (sometimes it becomes better as the sole wears down).
- Some sneakers have a hard sole that is not fully flexible.
Dance high heels are often preferred by women. It is important to choose the right one. Normal high heels are not designed for dancing. There are special high heels for dancing, they are flexible, supporting, and built for good movement on the dancefloor. When choosing one be sure to ask the store owner for Salsa shoes. Some really pretty shoes are made for Tango but their sole is not flexible enough to the needs of Salsa.
Some of the benefits:
- Dance high heels are build for dance and a good one should be supporting, relatively comfortable, and enable you to turn easily.
- It is enhancing what is considered to be a feminine posture.
- While they can be realtively comfortable. Long period of dancing on high heels can be taxing.
- Dancing on high heels might require some training. Many movements can be initially more difficult on high heels. (Especially Reggaeton or Afro-Cuban styling)
- Dance high heels are usually (but not always) built for the dancefloor. Using them on a bad floor will quickly deterioate the shoe sole.
If it is your first dance shoe, take a 5 cm elevated heel. 7 cm is quite popular but can be more taxing.
Other dance shoes
There are various types of dance shoes that are worth experimenting with. in particular, there are two types of shoes that are worth a look at: Ballroom and Jazz. They are often favored by men since women tend to go with high heels, but it’s anybody’s choice really.
They are quite handy and built for the dancefloor. Some are comfy, some look quite snazzy (often at the cost of some comfort). It’s hard to put them all in one box though, each can be different. Unfortunately, many have a look about them that is not favored by most Cuban Salseros. They are also built for the dancefloor and their usage on other floors will deteriorate most of their sole usually.
You can dance to anything really as long as it works out for you and support your feet: Oxford shoes, boat shoes, loafers, etc… The nicest thing about some of them can be their smooth sole that enables easy turns. I find that many of them are quite uncomfortable though for the purpose of dance.
Shop recommendation in Berlin
Pro Danse is one great shop for dance shoes in the middle of Berlin. If you say you are coming from La Candela’s recommendation you might get a 5% discount.
Hacke & Spitze is another great option with a versatile collection.
Lastly, we can recommend Rumpf as an online dance merchandise store from Germany.
The owner of La Candela. A Dancer and a certified teacher for Cuban dances for over 10 years. Studied under many Cuban teachers, including with Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba for a longer period of time.