Buying West Coast Swing Dance Shoes: My Shopping Experience & Reccomendations


 

West Coast Swing Champions Melissa Rutz and Ben Morris
West Coast Swing Champions Melissa Rutz and Ben Morris

So, you want to be a westie?! How exciting! Since you are joining this awesome community, let us talk about a very important subject:shoes. So, where do you start? I have been in your position, my friend. I would like to share my discoveries to help your shoe shopping experience go a little smoother.

Does Size Matter?

Getting properly sized is so crucial. Even though I was sized at a dance store, I sized for the brand Stephanie and it did not stay consistent when I bought my pair of Very Fine “westie” shoes. Make sure you research… Ask other dancers which shoes they purchased. Talk to the instructors. After you selected a particular shoe, go to either your studio or a dance shoe store to get properly sized. Most everyone finds a pair that is more snug than their normal street shoe. You are going to sweat in these shoes when you dance. Dance shoes are made of material that naturally stretches. So, think ahead when purchasing.

Another reason why size matters: BALANCE. In WCS, if the shoes are too large or too small, it makes executing the technique of the dance a lot harder. Especially balance. When I was in Ballroom and Latin, I bought Capezio heels that were too large (I have really small feet). When I would turn, I would lose my balance and I kept wondering why. Switching to a lower heel, and making sure they fit me helped tremendously.

Comfort! You want to be able to dance in them for long periods of time (especially at late night socials, am I right? ;)). Even though they might be really tight at first, choosing a shoe that really hugs your feet will help out in the end. Think about other things like heel height as well. We want you to be out on the floor as much as possible!

Brands

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 2.35.07 PMScreen Shot 2014-07-21 at 2.36.20 PMBloch: These are most common in the WCS world. Competitors ranging from newcomer to champion level wear Bloch’s. Many of my westie friends recommend them.

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 2.37.17 PMVery Fine: A common name in the Ballroom and Latin world.  They do make shoes for westies, and I have some right now! They are pretty comfortable, and I love how much more grounded I feel in them versus my ballroom shoes. You can find them under Practice/Cuban Heel Shoes. 

Supadance, Internationals, Stephanie… These are some other brands you can check out.

A Closing Note: 

Pros are known to wear sneakers, Toms, and other street shoes… (I saw a video of Sin City Swing where the ladies wore insanely tall spiked stiletto heels! How do they do it?) If that’s more your style, that is perfectly fine! However, if you are looking for dance shoes I hoped this post helped in you some way. Get your shoe buying on and happy dancing!

Steph

 

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