Dancing shoes and the right size

Ok, here's one I've been dying to know the right answer to...when I bought my first pair of dancing shoes about a year ago, I was told by the fellow I bought them off (a former competition dancer) that I should buy half a size smaller.
I, naively I now realise, agreed and bought size 6 (UK, Supadance) instead of 6.5. As a result, not only are the shoes tight even after the natural expansion of the material, they're tight when my feet swell having danced for hours on end. I've also got this shockingly bad line starting to develop on my foot where the shoes tend to cut into my skin.

What I'm hoping someone might be able to tell me (before I buy a new pair in a few weeks) is was it the wrong thing to do, as I suspect it was? I fully intend to buy 6.5, but has anyone else been told this and is it common practice to buy a shoesize smaller than your foot ... or was I just silly? I don't think the man I bought it off had any ill will towards me, I think he genuinely believed what he told me and even said that all his former partners had done the same.


Well-Known Member
Hi MadamSamba! Welcome to forums! And thanks for making your first post! :D

Hmm. Finding the right dance shoes is SO important, isn't it? The rule of thumb is that, for closed toed styles, the shoe should fit snugly, very close to your toes, but not actually rubbing. This means they'll fit a lot tighter than your street shoes, but they shouldn't squeeze your feet, even when they're brand new. Open toed, Latin shoes, should fit so that your toes come right to the edge of the shoe or hang over a little bit (a quarter or half an inch -- a centimeter or so). I don't want to get into size numbers, because you really do need to try the shoes on and see how they feel. But, so far, I've always been able to buy my dance shoes the same size as my street shoes and find the proper fit, since they're cut slightly more snugly. (Let me clarify this. The same size as my street shoes, after the American/English size conversion is done! Ther is a 2 to 2.5 size difference between American and English shoes!) Ugh! Shoes are so complicated. This is my second edit. The size difference English/American is different between men and women's shoes. Also, most shoe manufacturers will make suggestions as to how to fit dance shoes. Use that suggestion as a starting point, but make your final selection based on how your feet feel. Hope that helps more than it confuses! :lol:

I suppose others have different points of view, but this is mine.

Thanks again for participating! Yay! I hope to see you posting again soon! :D

you most likely have wide feet like myself. satin shoes tend to give more than leather shoes. you might want to look into the sizable shoes like ones with buckles. some shoe models have the wide option or if you see medium b-c that is a tad wider. I was told that you should buy a half size smaller as well. I was told that a dancer should have her toes 1/4 inch off the front of the shoe actually hanging over. I was also told that no part of the sole of the shoe should be visable when wearing them. hope this helps.
I fully relize that my opinion won't really change this but I think that shoe size should be more like the sizing of men's trousers-- based on measurement!! It makes so much sense!! No room for vast differences in size from manufacturer to manufacturer. I think the size of the shoe should be the length of the foot that's supposed to fit inside it in centimeters. I would be a size 24... how easy that would be!! then they could still denote 'wide' and 'narrow' just as they do now.

Now I want to start a sizing revolution! Especially in the woman's department!! That place makes absolutely NO sense... you don't have to wonder for very long why for the most part I've stopped shopping there!!
dress sizes: how can three measurements turn into ONE arbitrary number? aahh it's frustrating to me

The only sizing in the world of women's clothing that makes any sense is for bras-- thank goodness because I still buy those.

okay, I need to go cool off! I could go on about the evils of the women's department... I'm sorry this is not entirely on topic.
hahahahhaa... that's sort of what I've done!! Not so strickly of course! I have to thank Metrosexuality for making it possible :wink: so there are plenty of cute and nice clothes in the men's and boy's departments. They look nice AND they are comfotable and essecially none of this "dry clean only" crap! and what? PRE-shrunk?? what a novel idea!!


Different brands fit differently. You should try on as many different styles as you can. There are almost always vendors at dance competitions. Eventually, you will find that magic shoe for your foot.

The reason they say the shoes should fit snugly is because the shoes will tend to stretch, moreso with leather.


Well-Known Member
Thanks, DM. This actually bothered me until I got up early to post.

I wanted to avoided saying this earlier, but anybody who gives you advice to buy your shoes a half size small is giving you incomplete advice at best. Perhaps bad advice.

Dance shoes should be snug but comfortable the first time you wear them. Never, ever, should they pinch or squeeze your feet.

For at least your first couple pairs of shoes, DM Is right. Go to a shoe dealer, either a distributor with a showroom, or at a dance comp or something, and try on as many pairs of shoes as you can until you find something comfortable. Get advice from the shoe saleperson, who has experience in fitting DANCE shoes. Dance around in them (on clean carpet!) If narrow or wide feet are an issue, both International and Supadance (and other companies) offer several styles that can be ordered in narrow or wide.

If you don't have a dealer in your town, or need to keep expenses down by ordering discount shoes or buying consignment shoes, the same standards apply. Do your homework first(maybe on the web), then don't buy any shoes until you find comfortable ones. If they're mail order, make sure the company has a liberal return policy before you order.

Bottom line: closed toe shoes should be close to your toes, open toe shoes, your toes should come all the way to the edge or hang over a little. Forget about shoe size, and focus on comfort.

Hope this helps. :D


Well-Known Member

I just did a web search and found one of my favorite dance shoe manufacturers has three sales offices in Australia. Maybe one of those offices is near you, but if not, at least having an office in Australia will help keep your shipping costs down. PM me if you want the link.



Well-Known Member
Oh yes. One more thing about shoes, then I'm done. Honest! :lol:

They do loosen up over time, as DM mentioned. So although you buy them snug, after a bit of wear, at least for women's shoes, my local shoe dealer and other recommend getting a half insole, front of foot only, to make them fit snug again.

They should always fit snugly, because that helps you maintain control of your movement, especially for spins and turns.
shoe size

Evening, folks. Thanks so much for all your fabulous advice (Dance Mentor and Pygmalion) and insight (Swing Kitten and Miss Alyssa). I believed the line about buying shoes one size smaller to begin with, but of late the pain in my feet has been uncomfortable enough for me to question his advice. As mentioned on the other threads, vanity isn't exactly unknown in the world of dancing, particularly ballroom, so I just assumed it was another one of those silly things, but when the vanity is causing you pain, then that's another matter.

The shoes are fine, and I did opt for the ones I have after way too much research (I tend to go a little overboard in the research department!), but my main concern was the advice being given and whether or not anyone else had received similar advice. I'd say obviously not after reading the responses. I was just concerned that it may have been convention in the ballroom world. I'm glad to discover it ain't!

Pygmalion, I agree with you, buy 'em snug, but not tight...I'm getting new dancing shoes for my birthday (yay!) and, you know what? They're going to be the right size this time! :)


Well-Known Member
Re: shoe size

MadamSamba said:
Pygmalion, I agree with you, buy 'em snug, but not tight...I'm getting new dancing shoes for my birthday (yay!) and, you know what? They're going to be the right size this time! :)
Hey MadamSamba. Any update on your new shoes? :D

I have to go either tomorrow or Tuesday and get a pair of Latin shoes for my comp. Has anybody tried the new supafit line from Supadance? Good choice?


Well-Known Member
Re: shoe size

MadamSamba said:
The shoes are fine, and I did opt for the ones I have after way too much research (I tend to go a little overboard in the research department!)
Too funny! I do way too much research, too. I had to get new Latin shoes this week, and when I went to the dance shoe dealer, I walked in and said, I want blah-blah style in such and such a size and color. In and out in five minutes! And most of that spent tallying up and paying the bill. After only nine hundred hours of web research! :shock: :lol:
Shoes for wide feet?

I can't wear most women's dress shoes because they aren't wide enough, and I'm afraid that I'll run into this problems with ballroom shoes. Anyone have experience with wide ballroom shoes? I found one style, International in LTB that offers a wide style. Does anyone have recommendations?


Well-Known Member
Hi Ashley. Did I welcome you before? If not, please regard this welcome as sincere. Late, but sincere. :oops: :D Welcome. :D 8)

I have medium width feet, so I can't say personally. My friends with wide or narrow feet have never been able to get a good fit via mail order. They wait for a dance shoe dealer to come to town, then they try on shoes until they get a proper fit. I guess I'm lucky. Every time I've bought a shoe out of the box, it has been just fine. I guess it depends on the width of your foot. *shrug*
Alright, ive been doing some reading on the dance shoe posts, and cant find anything on the height of arches. :oops: forgive me if im duplicating a thread.
First of i wear size nine, and my dance shoes are american 7, or 7.5 (i cant remember off hand.)
I just got new dance shoes (celebrities coach tan suede- thats another issue entirely, suede shoes. Now how do you clean those!)
When i bought them i actually had piles of shoes miles high surrounding me on all sides... I actually wasnt gonna buy these, but the lady who owned the store let me spin with them on a wood floor. Boy did that sell me.
Im still in the breaking in process, but after just a week, there really comfy.
Now to the point of this post. I have really high arches. The arch of my foot comes like an inch of the sole of the shoe. Ive never worn an arch support, and never considered doing, but i was reading somewhere that the fit should be perfect on the arches, and i was wondering if any of you guys have arch supports, and if it is worht it, and if you would suggest them for me, and where i should get them.

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