Country and Western > Purchasing Footware: Boots or Shoes?

Discussion in 'Country and Western' started by b19wh33l5, Dec 28, 2006.

  1. b19wh33l5

    b19wh33l5 New Member

    I did my first competition back in November. I did the novice two step and west coast swing jack and jill at a UCWDC event and loved it. I have looked ahead to 2007 and saw 3 competitions on the UCWDC calendar I plan to attend and a couple others that are maybe's at this point. There are also some swing competitions like Mad Jam I found on other sites that look very interesting. I would plan on doing the jack and jills for all of these events with the possibility of moving on to am/am with my girlfriend, or doing pro/am if the opportunity presents itself, at the country venues, but probably not until 2008 at earliest.

    With the above in mind, all of the dancing I have done to this point has either been in a pair of hard leather soled cowboy boots (has been working ok for me) or a pair of rubber soled dress shoes (ouch!!). I would like to purchase some real dancing footwear, so I did some research and found Evenin Stars for around $200 and most standard/latin shoes for around $70 - $160. At those prices I really can't afford, or justify, buying both.

    At this point I am leaning towards getting the shoes over the boots for a couple reasons:
    1. I have never seen anybody wear cowboy boots for a WCS J&J. I don't think it is a good idea to stick out like that (correct me if I am wrong) and my rubber soled dress shoes will kill me out there.
    2. Since my cowboy boots are hard leather bottomed they are at least tolerable on the dance floor and I would just need them for the two step J&J's at this point. I could get the Evening Stars later when I have more money or when/if I start doing pro/am or am/am.

    However I have also looked at the flip side of the coin some:
    1. Everything I am doing at this point is leaning towards UCWDC competition and the chances of me doing pro/am or am/am are getting better weekly. If this continues I will probably need dance boots if I am going to be serious about competing, correct?
    2. I could always do something with my dress shoes like put duct tape on the bottom so I don't come to a dead stop and kill my legs every time I try to turn or spin.
    3. The boots I have right now are just western style cowboy boots and are in no way balanced or meant for dancing at all, and I have been told several times that the Evenin' Stars will make a significant difference. I have tried a pair on and the difference did seem "night-and-day" compared to just my regular cowboy boots.

    So what do you all think? Are there any other things I should think about in my decision in dancing footwear? Any words of wisdom or advice?
  2. DancinAnne

    DancinAnne New Member

    This past year was my first for competing, so I'm a relatively new dancer. I did UC and AC events, along with some other venues. I bought the boots (shankless, weltless... the works - ouch) AND swing shoes, because I pro am, jack & jill and couples swing. If you are pro am-ing, you'll have to wear boots and the good ones would be nice to have, IMO. And they would work for the j&js even if they aren't ideal. Good news is those boots wear really well and you should be able to wear them for a long time. I bought mine through Evening Star and found them very helpful regarding sizing and such, which is nice when you are making such an investment.

    Since the requirements on the j&js aren't as stringent, I would think you could also get by with a cheaper pair of suede soled shoes. That said, I wouldn't think that the boots would stick out like a sore thumb dancing swing at a UC event. At a swing event, perhaps.

  3. Taurus57

    Taurus57 New Member

    You need to check the UCWDC clothing rules, which are posted online at . Boots, black jeans, and a hat are required attire for competitive dancers. You will loose point from the judges with costuming violations. In fact, if you start out at newcomer, you can't wear a costume and are limited to a finite level of dance steps you can perform. If you start out at novice, the world open up for you both in steps and costumes. At that point, you want to get a good pair of dance boots.

    I would start with the shoes and after you and your SO make the decision to go am/am or pro/am buy the boots. As you said, the earliest would be 2008.

    You kind of need to decide when you want to go into UC competition and plan on getting a pair of boots before your first event. If you go pro/am, your coach should tell you all the rules you need to be aware of. However; I would recommend downloading them and reading them on your own. That way you will sound more intelligent when asking questions of your pro.

  4. DancinAnne

    DancinAnne New Member

    Taurus makes a really good point... if you aren't going to am/am or pro/am until 2008, may be no need to invest now. And another good point on the rules, I think a yoke or a vest is a requirement too... but as T said, good idea to look up the rules as they do change.
  5. b19wh33l5

    b19wh33l5 New Member

    Thanks for the advice everyone. I have read the rules, they are on the UCWDC site here: Page 9 on the 2007 rules goes over the costuming requirements. For guys it seems the following applies:

    1. Cowboy boots
    2. Cowboy hat
    3. A visible yoke on the front and back of the costume

    The rules never seem to speak specifically about J&J events though. They only directly mention couples, pro/am, pro/pro, line dancers, and teams. Before I went to my first competition I called the directors and asked them about dress and they said a hat and yoke were not needed. I don't think any of the guys that entered the two step J&J in the beg, int, or adv level wore a hat or yoke when they were being judged that weekend. So I don't think it will be much of an issue for me this year since there is a good chance any pro/am or am/am stuff would not happen until 2008 unless some act of God occurs.
  6. DancinAnne

    DancinAnne New Member

    Yeah, I never wore my UC costuming for any of the J&Js or swing comps that were conducted at the UC events. And we've won and/or placed at a couple of these comps (swing/J&J). I mostly wear swing clothing for social dancing, so that is often what I wore to the swing/J&J comps.

    Good luck to ya!! Sounds like off to a great start!
  7. chandra

    chandra New Member

    If you were to go to madjam, which is a swing event, Id highly reccommend the shoes over the boots. However, having been said, I bet if you wore appropriate and long enough flowing (moving, loose, whatever) black pants, people MIGHT not event notice. Im trying to think if I EVER remember seeing someone in cowboy boots in a JnJ at a westie event, and I dont particularily recal. However, Im sure out've the nearly 20 comps Ive been to, (multiplies) the 2000 some dancers Ive seen in my JnJs, one of them MUSTVE been wearing cowboy boots. That would mean I just didnt notice, which is good news, no?
  8. Taurus57

    Taurus57 New Member

    I haven't been to as many comps as you, but I agree. It is rare to see anyone wearing boots when doing JnJ/Swing. I think BigWheels should wait until ready to do pro/am or am/am before investing in the "ruled" attire.

    Hat. $45
    Wrangler jeans $40
    Custom made shirt $135
    Weltless boots $210
    Entry fees $???

    It starts adding up very quickly, especially if you get to pay your pro to dance with you $25 each dance X 8 = $200 + entry fees... You get my drift.

  9. wcsjon

    wcsjon New Member

    I would start out with shoes, try they may not be as nice as Stephanie's or Supadance etc, but for the price, they are hard to beat. I've never ordered from them, but my next pair will come from them for sure. Look under men's latin and there will be what most of us wear for swing shoes. Then Save up and buy you a pair of nice evenin' star boots. I wear then without a shank, they used to call this XP, it was a 10 dollar option, I guess it's still the same? Currently I'm wearing Stephanie's as far as swing shoes go, and my previous pair were supadance, I loved the supadance, the price is a major factor there though. The Stephanies are great and they are split sole so foot shaping it great, the only complaint I have about them is the material the heel is made out of is black, so heel slides make a black mark across the floor.

    As far as costs go with country, yeah it is pretty expensive, however it is a lot of fun. Might wanna second price the hat price that was listed above though, lol. :) Most competitors wear 8X and above, because the thicker felt looks better under the lights, my hat that I used to compete in is a 10X and the box says $350. I'm not saying blow all of your money up front, but asking questions and the such as you are doing and then making an educated decision is best. There's no reason in buying a hat or other product that you are going to use once or twice and decide you should have gotten something better and then you have waisted more money.
    I wish you the best!

    Oh, and the thing about hats/boots requirements would usually be on the event flyer, not specifically in the rule book. :)
  10. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    Yea, do the shoes . . . since you don't need boots for a while . . . and do get Evening Star boots when you get boots - don't use your street boots! Big difference . . . I have a pair that are at least ten-years old, and they have only been re-soled twice - the suede portion only. You never wear them outside, nor get them wet - unless you like being glued to the dancefloor!

    My boots also have the more-rounded toe option - not the very pointy look of everyday cowboy boots - a look that I dislike for dancing! I hate looking down (and we all do) and seeing those elf-like pointed boots.

    Next time you go to an event . . . try on several pairs of different kinds of shoes (and ES boots) . . . don't go too high with the shoes if you'll be doing the 2 Step in them, but slight (1" inch) heels are great (for me) for WCS!

    BTW . . . I have competed in J&Js wearing tango shoes and dance sneakers - the boots, hat, vest with a yoke iare not required . . . and although I have competed in jeans, I rarely do it, and when I do it's when they ask for more males to balance out a division, so I go out with whatever I have on! I just think jeans look tacky and like you don't care . . . but I've seen lots of finalists and winners who wear jeans. Best jeans for 2 Step and WCS (besides nice baggy ones like I wear) are black Wrangler 20X jeans . . . they have a small red tag on the right rear of the jeans! Great for competition too . . .

    I agree with wcsjon . . . the hat will be the biggest expense. Don't get a cheap one, as it will bring your overall look down

    Watch the rules for 2007 - big changes are coming!
  11. b19wh33l5

    b19wh33l5 New Member

    Good deal! Thanks everyone for the help. I will buy dance shoes from one of the vendor tables at the next event I go to. Probably one of the nicer brands like Stephanie's or Supadance if I can find them. Either way I will try several pair on before making my final decision (and give the boots a spin as well). Anyone know any good resources for learning more about men's dance shoes so I can make a good, educated choice when I make it to the vendor tables?

    Thank you, that is very good to know!

    I will be sure to try the different heights out to see how they all feel. I have heard a lot of swing dances say they tend to go towards the higher heels, like the 1.5" heel, but I will try other size heels out too and see what I personally like best.

    This really set my mind at ease as well. I didn't pay real close attention to the footwear people used for the the J&J two step and it is good to know that some people use footwear other than boots.

    Currently have a 4X Stetson I purchased when I very first started line dancing, back before I knew country western dance competitions even existed! I think it was around $160. If I do get into doing am/am or pro/am I will be sure to ask around and see if I need to "up-grade" to a better hat. It is a little harder for me to get a hat though since my hat size is in the 7 5/8 to 7 3/4 range. It seems to limit my selection a little :(
  12. chachachacat

    chachachacat Well-Known Member

    It's footwear.
  13. wcsjon

    wcsjon New Member

    4X should be fine. :) Good luck! :) And remember.............HAVE FUN!
  14. b19wh33l5

    b19wh33l5 New Member

    Believe me, I wouldn't do it if it were not fun. I like to win, but I like to dance more than I like to win! It is easy for me to get caught up in details, what can I say, I am a software engineer, lol. Thanks for the advice. :D

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