A dancer's outfit is not complete without dance shoes. And when it comes to dance shoes, there are so many styles to choose from, including dance heels. Dance shoes are sold according to type. Some are made for ballet; others are made for Latin dance.
Types of Heels for Dance Shoes
A Cuban heel is a low heel with a tapered back and a straight front with a height that ranges from 1.5 inches to 2.5 inches. It is similar in shape to a cowboy boots' heel.
A Spanish heel is a thick heel that's moderate in height, about 2 inches. The heel is meant to optimize balance and stability while dancing.
Cuban and Spanish heels are very similar in appearance and height. Both heel types are meant to optimize balance and stability while dancing. Because of the low heels, the body weight is distributed evenly so the feet are perfectly balanced while dancing. Spanish or Cuban heel is ideal for routines with lots of backward movements.
Latin heels tend to be thinner compared to Cuban or Spanish heel. The height varies from 2 to 3 inches so the bodyweight is set on the heel. Latin heel is designed to isolate the balance onto the balls of the feet, allowing you to perform dizzying turns and slides or frenetic footwork.
Because the heel is slimmer and higher, Latin heel is best for experienced dancers - those who are accustomed to dancing in heels. If you’re shopping around for dance shoes for the first time, go for the lowest heel first then work your way up to higher heels in the future.
Dance Shoe Heel Shapes for Women
Flared Heel: A flared heel has a thick base, a slim middle, and a flared bottom. Because the heel has a thick base and a wider contact surface area, the flared heel is very comfortable to wear. It gives ample support and balance so there’s no wobbling when you wear the shoes. The flared heel also adds a lovely curve to the feet, giving your entire look a touch of elegance. However, the chunky heel might feel limiting for those who are not used to this kind of heel shape.
Slim Heel: A slim heel is a standard heel in Ballroom, Latin, and Latin-American dances for decades. The base is thick but the heel tapers to a slim heel up to the bottom. It’s a sleek heel shape that’s meant to highlight the form of the legs as well as the precision of the footwork. The slim heel may look dainty but it’s surprisingly supportive and resilient. But, because of the thin heel, walking and dancing in slim heels will take a lot of practice!
Straight Heel: Slim and straight heel look similar at a glance but they’re quite different. Between the two heel shapes, the straight heel is slightly wider, giving you extra support and balance. The straight heel is all about putting your best form forward; it gives you a flattering silhouette because of the way that the body shifts itself when wearing heels.
Stiletto Heel: Stiletto is an ultra-slim, long heel that’s about 3 to 5 inches in height. Of all the heel shapes in this list, the stiletto is the hardest to wear simply because of the combination of the ultra-slim heel and the height. It’s not for the faint of heart but stiletto heels give you an attractive leg line and a fabulous form to match. It will take a lot of practice before you get used to dancing in stilettos but these heels are definitely designed to wow the crowd.
Dance Shoe Heel Shapes for Men
Men’s dance shoes come in different styles but as far as the choices for the heels, they’re not as vast compared to women’s dance shoes. Most men’s dance shoes come in lace-up Oxford design with a flat Cuban heel that’s about an inch or two in height.
The general rule is that the lower 1-inch heel men’s dance shoes are reserved for standard Ballroom dances while the higher 2-inch heel is for Latin dances.
When shopping around for dance shoes, higher doesn’t always mean better. Though high heels give the legs and body a gorgeous silhouette, comfort and support should always be a priority. After all, any discomfort that you feel while wearing a pair of dance shoes will show on your performance.
To minimize your risk of injuries and get the most wear out of your first pair of dance shoes, choose a pair that feels comfortable, stable, and balanced - like Yami dance shoes. The fit should be perfect so you can execute those fancy footwork flawlessly.