Man with white salsa dance shoes hold a lady with black salsa dance shoes

The Ultimate Guide To Select The Best Salsa Dance Shoes

1. What are the best salsa dance shoes?

Everybody’s choice varies according to their taste. That said when it comes to selecting the perfect salsa dance shoes you don’t want fancy taste to go in the way of safety or quality. Are pointy shoes ideal when in essence it only means your feet will be in pain? Why shouldn’t you just go with your everyday shoes? Probably because salsa dance involves lots of turns and high grip shoes will do nothing but prevent that and hurt your feet. Should you go for high heels or flat shoes? Carry-on reading and you will find out my best recommendation based on my own usage of the shoes and seeing some of them used by my female partners.  

1.1. Key factors to consider when selecting your salsa dance shoes

Salsa is a dance style that involves plenty of turns, the ability to lead a partner (for men) and appropriately follow for ladies. Another important aspect of salsa is the ability to dance on beat. You might ask what these points have to do with selecting your salsa dance shoes. Well, if your dance shoes feel awkward it will be hard for you to feel the contact with the floor and therefore dance on beat. Moreover, if you wear shoes that have too strong of a grip (like sport shoes), you definitely will not want to try and turn since you are likely to twist your ankles. Finally, if your shoes are too slippery you will find it difficult to lead your partners or, on the other side follow the lead of the guy. I have seen plenty of people fall on the dance floor thanks to poor turning techniques associated with low quality dance shoes.

🇨🇺 Disclaimer

I am an affiliate on the dance shoes I will suggest to you. However, my suggestions will steam from personal trial and error and that’s why I will only suggest very few dance shoes. As for ladies my recommendations will be based on what I have seen ladies wearing when they dance, and my personal opinion on how these dance shoes reflect on the quality of these ladies. Because believe it or not, you can tell a beginner from an advance dancer just by the types of shoes they wear.

2. What shoes are good for beginner salsa?

The ideal salsa dance shoes for beginners are those that allow for simple turns to be executed, while not being too loose so that you cannot handle the floor. You might have noticed but some salsa dancers like to use baby powder to spread on the floor. That’s to help them with their turns. I am not a big fan of this because sometimes the floor can be very dry and already slippery. But in a bar environment where someone might have wet shoes, its easy to get the floor sticky. Therefore, the powder does have its benefits. The shoes I recommend for beginners are as follow:

2.1. Salsa dance shoes for Men:

🎶 Mid-heels for Style

Depending on your size you might want to try mid-heels salsa dance shoes. I used to like high heels because I found them elegant. 
They can be used during dance shows, rehearsals or dance training. Their soles are very convenient for turn patterns. I used mine during many salsa festivals in Shanghai and they were very comfortable and convenient. These types of shoes have another benefit. They can fit with your costumes. Moreover, unlike conventional shoes that might hurt your feet and that are not made for dancing, these shoes are very good.

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Images of me wearing these shoes during a Salsa Performance in Shanghai China.

Man and lady wearing mid-heels salsa dance shoes during dance performance

🇨🇺 White leather to fit with the salsa spirit

White leather salsa dance shoes

I absolutely love these white leather salsa dance shoes for dancing, partying or performance. I love the fact they blend perfectly with the spirit of salsa dance. They indeed match with white clothes. And if you add-up your white Son Cubano hat, you are definitely set to impress during your salsa parties. The soles are perfect for wooden dance floors, and they will accommodate white baby powder to help further with your turns.

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Images of me wearing these white leather salsa dance shoes during another Salsa Performance in Shanghai China.

Man with white salsa dance shoes hold a lady with black salsa dance shoes

🎶 Flat for rehearsal

My absolute favourite salsa dance shoes are the flat ones. I love dancing barefoot when I train and even perform. But sometimes it’s good to have some style and comfort. That’s why I love these flat salsa dance shoes. They allow me to feel the floor better and help me exert the right amount of pressure on any parts of my feet. They also guarantee I will not have much ailments in the future arising from back issues. Therefore, I would advise the first two pairs of shoes for nights out, while I suggest these ones for training purposes. Not everyone loves to dance barefoot. So, they are the closest you can get from the benefit of engaging with the floor without having to make direct contact with your feet to the floor.

Images of me wearing these flat salsa dance shoes during a photo shoot with my dance partner.

dancer with flat salsa dance shoes outside

These flat shoes in practice. Although I advise against using your dance shoes outside, for the purpose of this video I needed them.

2.2. Little trick:

When you start with news shoes chances are that your feet will feel uncomfortable for a while. In order to avoid such problem as blisters you can try and put two socks on per foot, a thin one and a regular one. What you definitely should avoid is no socks at all. The two socks trick will prevent your feet from constantly sliding inside the shoes hence decreasing chances of friction with the sides of the shoes. 

2.3. Salsa dance shoes for Ladies:

For ladies what matter is style, elegance and convenience all at once. You definitely want shoes that do not scream “students” all over the place. You might not think of it that way, but I have come to know exactly what kind of partner I was facing just looking at their shoes. Therefore, I will provide the best of guide no matter your level.

🇨🇺 High-heels with colourful Style

Red colour high heels salsa dance shoes for ladies

The first one I suggest mixes elegance and colour. They will be good grip when you dance and not too slippery for your spin. One of the key problems for dancers who engage in turn patterns is that they might not know the whole technique. Especially that of keeping your gaze on one spot and making sure your eyes are the last thing that leave that spot when you engage in a turn. If you add bad shoes to average technique you can have disastrous outcome. I have personally witnessed it. Therefore, I advise on these shoes.

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🇨🇺 Tan Satin that matches the settings

The second one I would advise are these satin shoes. They will blend perfectly with your clothes and will provide comfort during your turns. They have a nice quality feel into them and most importantly, the heels are not too high and therefore not a future source of back problems.

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3. Difference between dance and regular shoes?

Regular dance shoes, unlike salsa dance shoes, are designed specifically for the outside environment while salsa dance shoes are made for a dry and wooden floor setting. That said in the dance floor environment described above, the salsa dance shoes will be better because they are lighter and allow for turns and glides when normal shoes tend to have strong grips that do not allow for all the spinning so popular in salsa dancing. 

4. Can I wear dance shoes on the street?

I would strongly advise against wearing salsa dance shoes on the street. The main reason is that salsa dance shoes are made for one type of surface and environment. That’s is dry wooden floor. If you start adding a bit of water on the floor, you will feel a strong wetty feeling in your feet. Most of these shoes are not made to withstand harsh environment.

5. What to bear in mind with dance shoes?

One of the key issue’s dancers face, especially ladies, are the damage caused to your back by high heel shoes. You might already be spending most of your days in high heels. Now you are dancing around with elevated shoes. You need to be careful about this over the long term since your back will feel the pain. That’s why I did not suggest super high heel shoes but high enough for you to dance with style. Another aspect of dance shoes are their uni-purpose. Therefore, avoid using your shoes to go out on the street or going to wet surfaces. Even shoes that are designed for outside use, such as leather shoes do not tolerate adverse weather too well. Just imagine salsa dance shoes.

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