Looking for general men's dance shoes
September 9, 2017 2:01 PM   Subscribe

I'm finally starting to take some dancing lessons. The program is at a local ballroom and switches styles every 3 weeks, over the course of several months. The instructors recommend shoes that will slide easily on a wooden floor. I think I'm looking for a smooth leather-soled shoe, but it turns out those are not super common in stores. I don't really love the look of the oxfords I've found; I'd like something less pointy and decorated. What should I be looking for? Links to zappos or similar would be highly appreciated. I don't want to spend a ton on these if possible (with the assumption that I'll probably buy something else in 6 months once I've got some experience and know what I'm looking for)
posted by curious nu to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I take it you've googled "men's ballroom dance shoes" and didn't like what you found? Because that is what most dancers wear. They may look odd to you, but they won't look odd to other dancers. Capezio is the standard brand, I found these for less than $70. They have suede soles, which is pretty common for dance shoes, slippery enough but won't scuff floors.

You would not wear these as street shoes. If you want street shoes you can also dance in, that is another story. Allen Edmunds makes some nice plain-toed oxfords, but they're north of $300. They will, however, last forever.
posted by mr vino at 3:04 PM on September 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Hi there, I'm a ballroom/latin/swing dancer. If you're a beginner, what you want is probably what's usually called a "practice shoe". Those are much cheaper than the dance shoes that are geared for specific dances (i.e. ballroom, tango, latin, swing) or performance/show shoes. But they still are usually at least $50 (anything dance specific is usually marked up for reasons).

There's some options on Zappos if you just search "dance shoes" - the main cheaper brands in this arena are Capezio and Bloch. Dancesneakers are awesome and multi-functional so you could consider something like this shoe.

You could also try a local store to try on shoes - many dance stores will usually have a few options for ballroom/latin/swing dancing. When you're ready to get fancy, then you can splurge on something like Freed of London (I love that brand but they are pricey!).

Feel free to memail me with further questions, good luck and have fun!!
posted by FireFountain at 3:06 PM on September 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

There are also treatments to make the front sole of shoes you like slipperier, which you can use on any foot-gripping shoes to save your knees while you're looking. Basically you either put a tough little sock on the outside, or gaffers' or better tape under the forefoot, etc. See here:


and the same org has good advice on buying dance shoes, and on putting suede soles on shoes you already have.

Practice shoes are worth it, I find, because they grip my whole foot better than almost any street shoe. I like knowing where I am w.r.t. the floor.

Welcome to dancing!
posted by clew at 3:59 PM on September 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

A friend at a swing dance once showed me his ordinary sneakers which he was had modified by gluing suede to the soles. Obviously, you probably want something other than sneakers, and this guy had a fashion reason for doing that specific thing, but really it was a cheap way to achieve what you're looking for. I cannot remember what kind of glue he used.
posted by girl Mark at 8:11 PM on September 9, 2017

The Capezio sneakers weren't great for my foot/arch shape, but I found some Blochs at a dance store that worked great. Thanks!
posted by curious nu at 10:17 AM on December 18, 2017

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