So, you finally decided that dancing in your flip-flops and sneakers isn't the best way to salsa dance. You want to buy the right pair of shoes but you don't know where to start. What can you do?
Buying dance shoes is a lot easier then you think. There are three ways to go about getting a pair of shoes you can burn the floor with:
1. Buy authentic dance shoes that were designed for dancing,
2. Buy any type of shoe and hope they can be used for dancing,
3. Modify your pre-existing shoe for dancing.
The easiest thing to do is to buy a pair of shoes designed for dancing. These shoes are purchased at stores that advertise themselves as selling dance shoes or dance supplies. These shoes are typically flexible, with full support on the front and back, and have a suede sole.
The women's dance shoes I will say typically look great, offered in varying designs and colors to match the ever-so-large women's wardrobe. The men's dance shoes however typically are sold in the European style and to me don't really fit with most clothing styles.
Dance shoes can also be purchased at large functions such as the Salsa Congresses. You can find a variety of styles at times.
The other option is to use a pair of use already in your arsenal of foot-wear. A pair of shoes with worn-down rubber soles are a perfect example of shoes you can use for dancing. Dance shoes have no threads in them so if the sole is flat likely you can use them. Leather-soled shoes are also an example of a pair of shoes you can use. Yes, flip-fiops are flat but what they lack is the full support of the back heel, which we will discuss later.
Finally, you can modify your pre-existing shoe to become dance shoes. Best done with leather-soled shoes, you can have a shoe shop attach suede shoes onto them. It's also possible with rubber soles but it is unlikely they would last long (due to the sole wearing down over time).
Things to Remember:
Leather vs. Suede - Leather against a a smooth surface is very slippery, especially new leather soles. If you plan to use shoes with leather soles as dance shoes, break them in until they're not quite as slippery. Suede is best for dancing on smooth surfaces (like ballroom floors) however if used on a dirty club floor, you'll get nothing but gunk on them. It's equivalent to using a cloth to clean the club floor.
Full support on back for women's shoes- The last thing you want is to spin on a pair of shoes that won't stay on your feet. A shoe with some sort of strap to keep your heel on your shoe is important for spins and maneuvering.
Own a shoe brush - If you have suede shoes, you'll always want to have a wire shoe brush. It helps with cleaning gunk on your shoe and un-flattens the suede from the sole. Remember how leather shoes are slippery? Well imagine suede fibers flattened like paper and you have the same thing.
Heel Height - The shoes come in different heel heights so make sure you can pick a pair of shoes that are comfortable to your tastes. Sure you'll look good on 3-inch heels but it doesn't matter if you can't walk more than 2 steps.
Shoe Trees - Moisture shortens the life of shoes so all that sweating sure isn't going to help. Shoe trees will keep your shoes dry but also give it that cedar smell we all love. It will also keep the creases from forming, which if forms catches dirt in them and in turn scratches into the leather. Put your shoes trees on the instant you get your feet out of them.
Leather Care - More so for men's shoes, you want to keep those shoes shiny and clean. Make sure you have a full shoe cleaning kit, whether a travel version or home version.