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Salsa Dancing: How to Find the Perfect Pair of Shoes

by Maria Berg

Choosing the right dance shoes is a guarantee of your safety, health, endurance, as well as good-looking and grace. Don’t underestimate the importance of specialized footwear for dancing. Each dance style has certain requirements for both amateurs as well as for professionals. Passionate Latin Salsa dancing is no exception. In this article, we will look at the essential parameters to pay attention to when choosing a pair of shoes for Latin Salsa.

Salsa Dancing: How to Find the Perfect Pair of Shoes

Salsa Features

To understand what kind of shoes Salsa dancers use, you need to know the features of this style. Salsa is considered a flirtatious dance. Although it has certain rules and techniques, it is still more free than, say, classical European styles:

  • The standard for Latin dances 4/4 pattern;
  • One partner leads another easily and naturally;
  • Improvisation and communication are the main features of Salsa;
  • It is important to feel the music with every part of your body;
  • Do not stay indifferent; Salsa is a dance of passion.

The key to mastering this style is not only gaining experience but also “peeping” for professionals. You can get tricks and techniques from experienced dancers, as well as see what kind of shoes they use for their rehearsals and performances. Since Salsa dance is supposed to look easy and casual from the outside, you need footwear that allows you to feel as relaxed as possible. Unlike shoes for line dancing, they should be flexible, soft, and almost weightless.

Choosing the Right Shoes

If you are a beginner, you can come to the first lessons of Salsa, Latin dance, or Bachata in loose clothing and any comfortable shoes. However, as you learn and master all the dance techniques, you may need special shoes. Comfortable footwear significantly affects success in mastering dance movements.

There are fewer requirements for men’s shoes, so in this post, we will look at the options for choosing women’s dance footwear. Men can dance in universal jazz dance shoes. They are pretty flexible and, at the same time, perfectly follow the curve of the foot, protecting you from injury. The sole of such footwear is made of durable rubber that can withstand heavy loads and does not slip.


The choice of shape largely depends on the structure of your feet. The task of Salsa shoes is to fix the feet and prevent them from moving during the dance. Otherwise, you will not be able to perform movements at full strength and even risk falling during an unsuccessful turn.

If you have a wide foot, choose an open model with lots of straps. They should be secure enough to hold the foot in place but not restrict your movements. Those with medium or narrow feet can opt for closed models that do not allow toes to slip out. An additional advantage of such shoes is that they protect you from injuries that can occur if you dance with an inexperienced partner.

Semi-closed (from the toe or heel) dance shoes are considered universal models. It is desirable that they also have adjustable straps. It is also important to pay attention to the straps’ shape. The most reliable is the so-called T-shaped fastener. It is also ideal for beginners who cannot figure out if the shoe fits comfortably on the first try.


Dancing in flat shoes is not customary for several reasons. The fact is that heels simplify some movements, help relieve tension from your heels, and contribute to the proper weight distribution. All this is extremely important for Salsa, in which the upper part of your body should, as it were, strive towards your partner.

If you have a lot of experience wearing high heels in everyday life, you can choose models with a heel size of 3 inches (from 8 cm) and above. If you’re unsure you can run and jump like this, opt for shoes with heels about 2 inches long (5 cm). It is acceptable for beginner dancers to use models with lower heels; the main thing is to move to higher ones as you gain experience.

If we talk about the shape of the heels, the so-called “Cuban heels” are considered the most stable. They are sleek enough yet allow you to move confidently around the dance floor. Once you gain experience, move on to “Flare heels.”


Most often, dancers choose leather shoes. They are quite durable and easy to care for, and your skin breathes thanks to the natural material. It is believed that leather stretches more than other materials over time, which means the straps may not hold your legs firmly enough. To minimize this disadvantage, you should choose models with adjustable straps.

Suede and nubuck are the same leather, only processed in a special way. Shoes made of such materials look luxurious and expensive, but they quickly get dirty and are difficult to care for and clean. Beginners and visitors of large-scale Salsa parties are not recommended to choose such footwear, as it can quickly lose its appearance.

Satin shoes rub your feet less than leather ones. This material can be of various colors, and you can decorate such a product for your taste. However, like suede, satin is difficult to care for. To keep shoes in their original state, you need to know how to clean and store them properly.


The sole of dance shoes should be made of genuine leather to ensure a tight grip on the floor. It looks like suede but does not slip. Dancers in such footwear have a good feel for the floor surface. If the sole is made of plastic, the foot will slip, and the rubber sole will interfere with many dance elements or movements. Also, always pay attention to arch support. For Latin dances, the load is mainly on the toes; shorter arch supports are chosen.

Take Proper Care of Your Shoes

We hope this complete guide will help you find the perfect pair of shoes for your hot Salsa dance routine. For the chosen footwear to serve you as long as possible, you should learn how to care for it properly. Clean them regularly with soft shoe brushes and beeswax products, and treat the inside with an anti-sweat spray. If you do not use your shoes for a long time, store them in a cloth bag, not a plastic one that does not allow air to pass through. Also, check the condition of the soles and heels and repair them as needed.

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