Salsa Dance Shoes - Advice.

So you are serious about your dancing.

 

This calls for new pair of shoes! Obviously!

 

Well, actually it's not so obvious.

 

So, let me give you some information about why dance shoes are important, what Salsa dance shoes can do to assist in your dancing.

The role of Salsa dance shoes.

This might seem like a ridiculous question to ask, but actually it's one of those questions that drags a plethora issues with it. Let's explore:

Salsa dance shoes fashions & styles.

Dancing is one of the most expressive activities one can participate in, and social dancing has the added dimension that you also chose your apparel.

 

Before you go out and procure that pair of wicked heels that are higher than most men's standards, lets have a look at some of the things you should consider.

High heel Salsa dance shoes.

High heeled dance shoes are absolutely fine for Salsa dancing, but there are a couple of safety issues that must be addressed:

1) The dance shoes must be a good fit.

Too tight and after a short while they will cause cramps, aching, and maybe even blisters.

Too loose and you will feel unstable as your foot slips around in the shoe. Additionally, it will be more difficult for you to feel your connection with the floor, and your footwork will be imprecise and untidy. Also, excessive movement can cause blisters.

2) The dance shoes must be secure.

Just being a good fit isn't enough. Some shoes will come away from your foot as you leg bends and straightens as you step through the dance. Movement and change of direction can be quick, and this challenges the connection between foot and shoe. If the shoe does come away from the foot then there is a real danger that you will miss-step and do a serious injury to your ankle. Therefore most Salsa dance shoes have some sort strap holding the lower to the instep or ankle - so look for this before buying. If it is not evident that there is a strap then it's possible that some other system is employed, so that's worth enquiring about before purchase.

What you are trying to achieve here is keeping the heel of your foot firmly in the heel of the shoe.

What can dance shoes do for you?

What can dance shoes do for you?

In this article:

The role of Salsa dance shoes.

Salsa dance shoes fashions and styles.

High heel Salsa dance shoes.

What can Salsa dance shoes do for me.

Salsa dance shoes and balance.

Salsa dance shoes and impact.

Salsa dance shoes and torsion.

Salsa dance shoes and hygiene.

These are some ladies high heel dance shoes I can recommend on Amazon

We all know that a girl's outfit begins and ends with shoes. It doesn't matter that you cannot walk in them, or that you can't sit down or stand up without the aid employing Yoga techniques or 70's disco moves to disguise the operation....however, there are other considerations when dancing in your stylish new shoes.

Here is a list:

1) Balance

2) Impact

3) Torsion

Don't stop reading because those words sound boring - you absoloutely need to know about these things.

In order:

Salsa dance shoes and balance.

Maintaining good balance in Salsa for a lady is extremely important. This is why: The ladies are expected to maintain precise timing and position on the dance floor. This doesn't apply to all dances to the same degree, but in Salsa dancing it is crucial.

a) If your connection with the floor is compromised, maintaining balance is very hard. You have to be able to feel the floor to keep balanced. This means that dance shoes with thick soles under the ball of the foot are not suitable for Salsa dancing. You need something that is thick enough to provide a little stabilisation of the ball and toes, but is flexible enough that it provides a compliant interface between foot and floor. As you put your weight on to the ball, the shoe should hug the floor. If it rigidly rolls then that is too stiff.

b) Secondly, (and this does necessarily apply to flat shoes) the instep of the shoe needs to provide stability between the heel and the ball. It should be quite stiff, but not solidly rigid. This is because if weight is transferred from back to front (or the reverse), then the shoe should not roll to accommodate the transition if the two are slightly different angles - as is with most people's feet. What you need is for the dance shoe to accommodate the transition without losing stability between front and back.
Conclusion: If shoes have very thick soles, or very rigid (such as clogs or platforms), then it will be impossible to feel the floor, and it they will feel very unstable as you step through the moves.

Maintaining good balance in Salsa for a lady is extremely important. This is why: The ladies are expected to maintain precise timing and position on the dance floor. This doesn't apply to all dances to the same degree, but in Salsa dancing it is crucial.

a) If your connection with the floor is compromised, maintaining balance is very hard. You have to be able to feel the floor to keep balanced. This means that dance shoes with thick soles under the ball of the foot are not suitable for Salsa dancing. You need something that is thick enough to provide a little stabilisation of the ball and toes, but is flexible enough that it provides a compliant interface between foot and floor. As you put your weight on to the ball, the shoe should hug the floor. If it rigidly rolls then that is too stiff.

b) Secondly, (and this does necessarily apply to flat shoes) the instep of the shoe needs to provide stability between the heel and the ball. It should be quite stiff, but not solidly rigid. This is because if weight is transferred from back to front (or the reverse), then the shoe should not roll to accommodate the transition if the two are slightly different angles - as is with most people's feet. What you need is for the dance shoe to accommodate the transition without losing stability between front and back.
Conclusion: If shoes have very thick soles, or very rigid (such as clogs or platforms), then it will be impossible to feel the floor, and it they will feel very unstable as you step through the moves.

Maintaining good balance in Salsa for a lady is extremely important. This is why: The ladies are expected to maintain precise timing and position on the dance floor. This doesn't apply to all dances to the same degree, but in Salsa dancing it is crucial.

a) If your connection with the floor is compromised, maintaining balance is very hard. You have to be able to feel the floor to keep balanced. This means that dance shoes with thick soles under the ball of the foot are not suitable for Salsa dancing. You need something that is thick enough to provide a little stabilisation of the ball and toes, but is flexible enough that it provides a compliant interface between foot and floor. As you put your weight on to the ball, the shoe should hug the floor. If it rigidly rolls then that is too stiff.

b) Secondly, (and this does necessarily apply to flat shoes) the instep of the shoe needs to provide stability between the heel and the ball. It should be quite stiff, but not solidly rigid. This is because if weight is transferred from back to front (or the reverse), then the shoe should not roll to accommodate the transition if the two are slightly different angles - as is with most people's feet. What you need is for the dance shoe to accommodate the transition without losing stability between front and back.
Conclusion: If shoes have very thick soles, or very rigid (such as clogs or platforms), then it will be impossible to feel the floor, and it they will feel very unstable as you step through the moves.

Salsa dance shoes and impact.

There are lots of steps in a Salsa dance. In an average Salsa dance the Lady will step over 500 times in an average tune. That could equate to 18,000 steps over 2 hours. It's not a huge leap to see how the shoes can play a role in comfort and safety.

Every time you step there is an impact. The energy of the impact is absorbed by the floor, the soles of the shoes, muscles, tendons and joints.

Sprung floors are a dream to dance on as they absorb the vast majority of step impact energy without compromising connection. However, not all floors are sprung, and especially newer floors in smaller venues are on a hard substrate as full spring floor is hugely expensive to install and maintain.

Unless you are very lucky, it's likely that most of your dancing will be executed on a hard floor. If the shoe is not able to absorb step impact energy, then that will all happen in your body. It's true to say most people find their legs and feet get tired much quicker on hard floors compared to sprung floors - that's because the muscles are working much harder after the step. It won't make any significant difference to actually initiating the steps. Also, energy will be dissipated in tendons and joints. Muscles are fairly resilient and mostly just ache, so the effect on them can usefully be classified as discomfort. The story with tendons and joints is a bit different. It's possible to suffer tendonitis, and some people report pain in their Achilles tendon. Joints are probably the biggest concern: Dancing is actually incredibly good for the joints. For most people the impact is actually a good thing: it can increase bone density and have a positive effect on joint robustness and mobility. The physical body needs stress to keep it in good running order - it's only too much stress that's not good for you. The low impact of Salsa dancing is probably about the best a normal active person can do to preserve good condition. However, you have to remember that you may be dancing for many hours in one continuous chunk, so given that are going to start, or have already started social Salsa dancing, then it makes sense to address the issue of sustained, albeit small, continuous impacts...

OK, more information coming: some Salsa dance shoes have a slightly cushioned sole. If they have, then it's not usually much, but if you have sensitive joints then I would say it's definitely worth checking out. If they haven't got any significant cushioning, and you just have to have those drop-dead-gorgeous red little numbers, then all is not lost. Gel pads are widely available, as are silicon inner soles. Some stick into the inside of the shoe, and other types can be cut to fit the whole sole. For Salsa dancing the main part that needs protection is the ball end of the foot. This may seem counter-intuitive at first, but correct stepping in Salsa dancing means you connect (and disconnect) with the floor through the front and not the heel, as this creates the correct bending and straightening on the knee joint. If you have really creaky knee joints, then heel protection is also a prudent measure.

Salsa dance shoes and torsion.

Salsa dance shoes and torsion.

Torsion is just a posh word for the stress that arises from turning or twisting something.

Joints are very susceptible to torsion injuries. Especially knees.

You really really really want to reduce the possibility of torsion injuries to your joints as joint injuries tend to be troublesome to fix and painful.

Almost every move in Salsa dancing involves some sort of spin or turn, so it needs exploration:

Now, you may feel that your knee joints are super robust and indestructible, especially if you very active and participate in sports, but what you have to understand this: your body has evolved of millions upon millions of years of evolution and natural selection to MOVE. Every joint and sinew and muscle and bone in your body WANTS to move. Your body is a truly amazing example of an almost perfect moving intricate and ingenious moving machine. Even with modern scientific analysis we still don't fully understand the incredible and complex relationship between all the different elements of how your body moves. When you start to delve into the resonant and sympathetic contra movements throughout the body you are stunned into silence by the sheer elegance and beauty of it all. OK...so what's my point? Well it's this: even with all that, we weren't really designed to spin. So, although sports are generally tuning into something the body is match for, and that extends to dancing, it doen't include spinning.

Obviously we can spin, becasue we do. But, the knees don't cope so well.

If you have sensitive joints, in the vast majority of my experience, people who dance report a positive result drom dancing, and even if you have sensitive joints, there is no need to worry - we just have to do the right thing. Which is this:

When we spin we want to have zero friction between our shoe and the floor.

No friction, no torsion, no joint stress, no injury, 

Well that was easy - all we have to do is do our Salsa dancing on an ice rink.

OK, if am nit-picking there is a small issue of fall flat on our faces between all the beautiful frictionless spinning, so I suppose we'd better address that...

Actually, being serious, we absolutely need friction between our shoe and the floor to execute Salsa dance steps and moves.

So there is a conflict - we need friction and we need frictionless.

Thankfully there is this brilliant invention that is suede-soled shoes.

These solve the problem as they have the following properties:

1) When you place them on the floor they provide good stiction, and allow you retain position and balance.

2) As soon as you slide them and overcome to small initial friction, the fiction reduces dramatically and allows the sole to gluide. So for spinning they continue to allow spinningwith negligable torsion until the sole comes to a stop. As soon as the stop state is entered the friction immediately jumps back up again allowing normal stepping.

This propert of suede soles has been known for at least 6.5 yonks (that's a technical term for "a long time".

If you asked for this behaviour in a material it would be quite seductive to think a visit to NASA's Materials Lab would be in order, but we dancers are very lucky in that this "low-tech" solution exists. Suede soles don't seem to command much of a premium, and so my strong advice is get shoes with suede soles :-)

The only caveat is that you cannot wear these shoes outside: You will wreck them within a few steps. They will tear, get clogged with dirt, and any moisture damages their primary proerties. Only wear them when dancing on a flat, clean dance floor. If you look after them they will last for a long time.

Salsa dance shoes and hygiene.

OK, we don't want to talk about it...but you can read!

Let's start with brutal truths:

1) Feet don't smell.

2) Shoes don't smell.

Odour is a simple matter of cleanliness. OK, let's discount rare skin conditions, which have to be treated medically. Other than that, there are feet that smell gorgeous and shoes that are a nasal delight, and conversely there are feet that are not clean, and shoes that have not been maintained. The truth is that bacteria cause the odours. If feet aren't washed properly, then the bacteria left on the skin will cause odours. If shoes are subject to sweat, and not treated, then they too will suffer the same fate.

It's all about bacteria.

Right, so we understand that, let's look at the problem and solutions.

When you dance, often you will perspire. Perspiration is worse where the skin cannot breathe. This is because the mechanism of perspiration is that the small amount of moisture on the skin is expected to evaporate, and this process (you can check out the thermodynamics of this elswhere as it's outside the scope of this artice) cools the skin, and in turn cool the body. If the covering over skin is not breathable, then moitsure is trapped and simply builds up.

This in its self is not a problem, other than it may not feel very nice.

It won't cause any odour problems at all, it's salty wetness, nothing more.

However, if the environment is not sterile, then what ever bacteria may exists will go "yummy yummy, water, I love water, I am going for a swim and multiply millions of times...!" I can't verify that's the exact thought process of the bacteria, but I am pretty sure that's as near as damn it.

Anyway, you get the picture.

So cleanliness is the solution.

Feet are easy, just wash them really well. Use antibacterial soap, wash thoroughly and regularly. It's that simple. If your feet are cheesy, then you need to clean them more thorougly, that's all.

What you can do to help in the processes of modern life is use an anti-bacterial spray. Teatree, or other sprays exist that work incredibly well, so that''s worth considering.

Shoes are basically the same. Although (as far as I know), shoes don't actually sweat themsleves, they do inherit it from their owner.

It the owner's feet have significant levels of bacteria, that that will be transfered to the shoe. If one's feet were super clean, then this would not be a problem as the shoes would get wet, and then dry out. Of course in the real World, bacteria are everywhere, so the shoes will be susceptible.

I am pretty sure most people don't wash their shoes as regularly as their feet, if at all, so put like that you can see the problem...

It's not a huge leap to see how shoes carrying bacteria can easily transfer that to clean feet...

The good news is that solution is incredible simple and cheap.

Shoe spray. Some are desgned to control bacteria, and some to elimenate odour (or both). If you have new shoes, then the maintenance is simple. A quick spray with an anti-bacterial spray once a week is all that's needed. For shoes that have already succumb, then an ant-odours spray may be required in addition to restore them to less perfume-challanged condition.

Because you are actually dancing, and therefore exerting yourself, in dance shoes, then you have to accept that some sort of maintenace will be required, even if for the simple fact that the soles of many shoes are not breathable and thus condusive to bacterially friendly envirnment.

So: A quick spray of anti-bacterial agent on your feet before dancing, and quick spray of anti-bacterial agent in your shoes after dancing. They may be the same product, but make sure if it is that it is foot-friendly.

Easy peasy.

Foot protection.
Wire suede shoe brushes can be used to restore clogged suede soles:
Foot and shoe
hygiene products.