Ballroom Dance > straight vs. flared heel?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by chachachikka, Jun 19, 2006.

  1. chachachikka

    chachachikka New Member

    What are the advantages to straight vs. flared heels? Why do people prefer or get one over the other? Is one more for standard and one more for latin? What do you have on your shoes? Is one better for stability and balance? Is one easier to do heel turns on? Does it matter?

    Also... what's your opinion on plastic heel protectors v. suede stars? What's better for what? Why do people prefer one over the other?
  2. PasoDancer

    PasoDancer New Member

    I prefer the security and stability of a flared heel. That's not to say that someday my preference might change, but that's how it is now. My shoes usually come with plastic or suede-tipped heels, and I think the plastic heel-protectors look a little like that invisible Barbie stand that you aren't supposed to see, but is still there- tacky. But some places require your having them, I'm told.

    Clear as mud, eh?
  3. DancerForLife

    DancerForLife Member

    For standard / smooth I prefer the slim heel; for latin / rhythm the flare one. Just personal preference in terms of balance and heel positioning.

    Re: heel protectors: I usually wear them, otherwise I'd go through a pair of heels at each smooth / standard event. Latin - don't usually use them, I have a pair of 2 year old Supadance sandals where the heels are still in perfect shape.

    The suede star is more durable but can look very ugly unless you trim it to a minimum and glue it on well. Plus they require extra tools to apply. The plastic tips are easy to change.
  4. RIdancer82

    RIdancer82 New Member

    For latin/rhythm, I use flared heels and I don't use heel taps because there is already suede glued to the heels. When it wears out, I'll either have the suede replaced, or try to fit the plastic covers on them. I've never tried a slim heel for latin, so I cannot compare them.

    For smooth/standard, I use the slim heels w/ the plastic covers. I have never tried flared heels on these shoes, but I would imagine that things like heel turns would feel better w/ the slim heels.
  5. mummsie

    mummsie Member

    Flared heels are fine for latin and I much prefer to use them as it gives you stability. For standard I only ever use slim line heels. Even for very experienced dancers flares heels on modern shoes push you to the limits. Its very hard to do a 'good' heel turn on flared heels. I bought a pair once because they were cheap to wear when I teach. I ended up wearing them twice and threw them away. It is impossible to do a heel lead and the balance just isn't right. Some people get away with it - depends on how good you want your dancing to look. Just my opinion. Mummsie
  6. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I cannot stand flared for smooth and least not if I am doing anything related to a heel turn...actually a few other times as well...I just do not like them...for latin, I have no preference....when praticing, strictly out of care for my shoes, I like the hardest possible plastic heel comps it grips too much tho' especially on those funky floors so I usually take them off then or do suede
  7. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    At least on supadance, the flared heel is *always* a latin heel, even if it's sold attached to what would otherwise be a standard shoe. If you look on their website, they have a picture of the two heels side by side, without the shoe attached - which lets you clearly see how much further back the flared heel's tip is. That's great for a latin shoe intended to keep you on the balls of your feet, but bad for a standard shoe designed to aid in rolling your weight from beyond the toe to beyond the heel in one smooth motion. Heel turn issues are only the most unavoidable symptom - if there are shoe problems there, there are problems in continued forward and backward movement too.
  8. LaLoona

    LaLoona Member

    I checked some photos of pro latin dancers on line. I have seen both - straight and flared. I recoll from the videos I have seen Karina and Elena are always wearing straight. Actually, after looking closely at the pictures I think that flared heels in Latin look little "heavier" than the straight ones. When a lady has her heels high in the air the leg line looks longer since smaller straght heel is less visible...
  9. and123

    and123 Well-Known Member

    Plastic wears out. Suede, by comparison, does not (takes a helluva lot longer). I've found that if you glue a flat piece of suede to the bottom of the heel tip, invariably it starts to peel off over time due to dragging in contact with the floor giong backwards (specifically Standard and Smooth, assuming you're using the proper footwork, and I know you are :)). So I've come up with my own version of the "suede star". Now for some more crappy ascii art (ignore the elipses - had to fill in the blank spaces to maintain the formatting):

    The horseshoe-shaped part is glued to the bottom of the heel, and the long "flaps" are folded up and glued along the sides of the heel tap. The part in contact with the floor during "dragging" is a continuous piece and thus won't peel off. Since scrap suede is available in many colors, I have no problem matching it to my shoes (or I can paint it to match as necessary).
  10. Laura

    Laura New Member

    I don't like the slim heel because I am not a slim person. I need something a little heftier so I don't look like I'm striding around on toothpicks. The placement of the heel is important, different brands put their flared heels in different places. I liked the "Latino" heel from Diamant, and the standard flared heel from Stephanie Dance Shoes is also nice.
  11. swan

    swan Member

    I swear by my Supadance flared heel standard shoes. I also like the International ones but they only come in 2.5" heels (which is not an option for me right now as my partner is barely taller than me and I have to wear the 2" heels).

    I used to wear the slim heels by Supadance. I don't like them. I dance much better in the flared heels. Heel turns are non-issue for me in those heels, and I have no problem rolling my weight thru either.
  12. LaLoona

    LaLoona Member

    May be customer servise of those on-line stores can give professional advise on the matter?
  13. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    If you can support your entire weight on the heel while rolling off of it, I'm quite impressed - to date I think I've only seen flared heel shoes worn by those who aren't yet fully doing so.

    In theory, if you can do it, the more rearward placement of the flared heel will give you more benefit from rolling it than a more forward traditional heel would - but the increased lever arm makes it like pushing your weight up a hill.

    To some extent, heel turns are simpler than continued walks, as heel turns don't actually require taking the weight behind and then off the heel - just taking it back far enough to unweight the toes so that they can slide across the floor.
  14. skwiggy

    skwiggy Well-Known Member

    I hate dancing standard in flared heels. Definitely have much more trouble staying balanced. My feet always slip out from under me.

    For latin I prefer a thicker heel, but not necessarily flared. Dance Naturals has a heel that's thicker from top to bottom.
  15. Anna

    Anna New Member

    I've sworn by my Supadance flared heels (the model with the pointed toe and diagonal strap, I think 1021) for over a year, but recently I found I can't stand them _at all_. I can't wait until they're worn out enough that I can justify buying a new pair (rounded toe this time, too)!

    I also just changed to suede heel protectors which I've found are much more durable and move much better against the floor. Right now they're attached with ugly black tape though so for competitions I'll definitely have to figure out something else.

    For latin, I like the stability from a flared heel, plus it looks nice.
  16. latingal

    latingal Moderator Staff Member

    Chris, I have in the past heard that the non-flared or the straight heel is better for "rolling through" (as you infer above)...I've not yet heard why this is so, would you be able to enlighten me on why the structure of the straight heel is better suited? Is it the actual shape of the heel, the placement of the heel? I'm just curious....
  17. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I agree, but can't explain it...but it just seems to me that the shape is counter productive to moving the foot over the floor going backward...I am forever catching the edge of the doggone thing on the floor esp. on a feather or a heel turn
  18. skwiggy

    skwiggy Well-Known Member

    Funny, I have more trouble with the flared heel moving forward than I do moving backward.
  19. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I just have trouble moving forward in
  20. caityrosey

    caityrosey New Member

    It never matterd to me much until I bought my first pair of slims for standard. Now I do think they feel better

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