Dancing Essentials: Dance Shoes Types and Significance

Dance Shoes Types and Significance
Girl puts on dancer's dress sitting on fluffy carpet

Dance is one of the fundamental actions that humans share throughout the world and has continued since times immemorial. Although the types may be different, like ballet, tap, salsa, or flamenco, they all share the mood of exuberance. From the tap shoes’ sound to an Australian ballet dancer’s saute, dance evokes good feelings, excellence, and camaraderie. 

Dancing reflects the harmony seen in nature. Animals also make movements to express their mood, which sometimes reflects a dance. The rustling of leaves and the ebb of a tide are all nature’s way of showing rhythm and harmony, which is the foundation of dance. 

Specific dance styles require specially designed materials to aid the dancer in performing their best. From clothing to shoes, these materials help the dancer maintain stability, add beauty, and prevent injury. Dance shoes are different from regular footwear. The most commonly found types are ballet shoes, tap shoes, character shoes, and jazz shoes. The main aspects that are vital in choosing dancing shoes are 

  • Sole composition:- 

Regular shoes do not offer the same support as dance shoes. If the sole is too thick, it inhibits a dancer’s flexibility. This quality is why most dancing shoes have a ‘break up’ sole, where the partition helps in free movement. For example, tap shoes have specially designed soles to enhance the sound. 

  • Body of the shoes:- 

The material and design of the shoes’ body add comfort to the user. For example, ballet shoes are delicate and skinny to promote full freedom of movement. 

  • Additions:- 

It includes straps and buckles on the exterior to ensure a good fit. 

Most-Used Dancing Shoes in Australia: 

  1. Ballet Shoes:

Ballet shoes are essential for ballet dancers right from the beginner phase. Dancers of all ages wear these shoes while practising techniques. Dancers wear them during practice sessions as without their aid dancers will find it impossible to perfect the movements. 

Female dancers typically wear pink or nude shades that blend with their skin tone. Male dancers, on the other hand, usually wear black or white shoes. It depends on the colour of their costumes or socks. 

These shoes are lightweight and are made of leather or canvas. Although leather shoes are more durable, advanced dancers do not prefer them. As for the sole, it has a thin layer of leather that covers the bottom of the shoes entirely. Or it is split to cover only the ball and the heel. A piece of elastic on the top of the foot keeps the shoe in place. 

  1. Tap Shoes

Tap shoes are distinct from other shoes due to their function. They may appear similar to Jazz shoes, but they have a different bottom. They have a thick heel and a firm sole. The soundboard, which is a thin fibreboard in the sole, is attached to the taps. The bottom has elements of metal, which is attached to the toe and heel. The sounds they make are what make these shoes unique and indispensable to tap dancing. 

  1. Jazz Shoes:

Musical theatre players, hip hop dancers, and jazz dancers wear these shoes while dancing. It is a leather shoe having a split rubber sole. Although there are many variations to the shoes, they all have the thick rubber heel in common. It is present for shock absorption. Both lace-up and slip-on models of jazz shoes are available to dancers. 


Dancing shoes are as essential as music to dance. So investing in good shoes is vital to improving one’s performance. Dancers should also change their shoes periodically, as they degrade over time due to wear and tear.

Read Also : 4 Things To Consider When Buying Shoes For Kids