How are Social Dance Shoes Different from Ballroom Dance Shoes

Posted by Tina Lee-Almazar on

It’s understandable for some people to mistake Latin dancing for Ballroom dancing. But the thing is, these dance styles are very different from each other, and so are the shoes! If you’ve been taking ballroom dance lessons or you’ve started joining social dance events, it’s essential to wear the right shoes. From the construction right down to the design, here are some of the critical differences between ballroom dance shoes and Latin dance shoes

Heel

Ballroom dance shoes are called court shoes. These dance shoes have a thin heel, like a stiletto heel about two to two and a half inches high. On the other hand, social dance shoes or Latin dance shoes typically come with either flared heel or stiletto heel. The heel height varies greatly, two to four inches in height, but the sweet spot is 3 to 3.5 inches. 

Because Latin dance shoes generally have higher heels, the bodyweight is shifted to the forefoot while dancing. This leads to forefoot pain, which makes dancing for a couple of hours painful unless you’re used to wearing high heels or wearing supportive dance shoes like Yami dance shoes!

Design

Ballroom dance shoes are fully closed, while Latin dance shoes have an open-toe design and straps. You can say that Ballroom dance shoes are similar to regular closed shoes, while social dance shoes are akin to sandals because of the open design. 

Ballroom dance shoes are designed for standard dances or dances with smooth dance movements like the Waltz or Foxtrot. These dance styles also demand a more traditional, classic dance shoe style. 

On the other hand, Latin dance shoes are optimized for toe-pointing. That's why the open-toe design and straps highlight the feet. The open-toe design makes it easier to execute footwork precisely. Also, the silhouette is more attractive when pointing the toes because of the skinny straps and open toe design, both of which give the illusion of longer legs.

Sole

Ballroom dance shoes and Latin dance shoes have suede or microfiber soles. The smooth soles are designed to give traction on the dance floor, allowing you to make those spins and execute tight turns without slipping. The suede or microfiber soles also enhance balance, so you have more control over your movements on the dance floor.

That said, ballroom dance shoes have less flexible soles compared to Latin dance shoes. Latin dance shoes have very flexible soles because the dance moves have a lot of foot articulation. The shoes are designed for pointing the toes. Because the soles of Latin dance shoes are flexible, they’re not very supportive of the arches unless the insoles are padded.

On the other hand, ballroom dance shoes have stiffer suede or microfiber soles. Generally, ballroom dancing doesn’t have much toe pointing so the soles are not as flexible.

Yami dance shoes boast strategically-placed insole cushions to support the arches while alleviating heel pain. You can dance for hours without pain because the cushions absorb peak impact with every step. But don’t take our word for it; try a pair of Yami social dance shoes today and feel the difference yourself!