Why You Shouldn’t Buy Bargain Dance Shoes at a Discount Store or Online Site
So, you’ve decided to enroll your child in dance… or maybe you’d like to try an adult class for yourself! That’s wonderful news! We’re sure you’ve noticed that there are a lot of expenses to consider. Apart from registration fees and tuition, you’ll need the proper attire and shoes for class. It can all add up, but here are a few things to consider before deciding to try and save a few bucks by buying inferior dance shoes.
1. What does your studio recommend? You’ve spent time researching the right studio for your needs. You like their philosophy. You trust their instructors to educate you or your child safely and with expertise. Please trust them to recommend the style and brand of shoe that will serve you best in class. Ask your studio! You should give some serious thought to purchasing the shoes that your instructor or studio recommends. Your class may need a uniform look for performances. Your instructor may prefer certain types of shoes especially for little ones. Ballet shoes with ties are a big inconvenience in toddler and preschool classes. Inevitably, the instructor or assistant will end up tying endless tiny bows and using valuable class time to do it. Studios may prefer tap shoes with Velcro so that little ones can change on their own. Be considerate of the instructors and ask what they prefer the dancers to wear in class.
2. Not all shoes are created equal. Tap shoes are instruments and sound quality is an important consideration. What kind of metal is the tap made from? How thick is it? Where are the taps placed? Does it have a toe tip? Are the taps attached with screws or held on with rivets? These are important considerations and you should know what your studio prefers. Ballet shoes can be split sole or full sole. Your teacher will have a preference depending on your dancers age and foot strength. They can have a drawstring tie or elastic opening. The straps could be sewn straight across, in an x, or not sewn at all. Find out what is best for your dancer’s needs by asking your instructor.
3. Some shoes can be bad news for your studio’s floors! Your studio may have wood floors or vinyl specialty dance flooring. Tap shoes that are mass produced with rivets can seriously rip up a vinyl dance floor and scratch or even gouge chucks out of a wood floor. Your studio works hard to maintain the right environment for the dancers. Don’t show up with low-quality shoes that can damage the facility.
4. They are bad for your wallet long-term. An inferior quality dance shoe won’t last as long as a better-quality product. Dance shoes need to bend and flex a whole lot more than regular shoes and there is certainly a science behind making shoes that will hold up to the rigors of dance training. Basically, you get what you pay for. Cheap shoes will need replacing sooner than ones that are built to last.
5. They are bad for your dancer’s feet and dance training. Your dancer can experience blisters, aching feet, shoes rubbing, discomfort from bulky construction and more. Poor quality dance shoes are hard to train in. They can create bad habits from poor fit or lack of support. Many shoes sold at deep discounts online may look similar, but are lacking the details of a quality shoe. Ballet shoes have pleating at the front around the toes. A good quality shoe will have flat pleats where the excess is trimmed inside the construction of the shoe. This allows a dancer to releve (go up on the balls of her feet) without feeling lumps and bumps under the foot. A shoe made without this attention to detail will not allow a dancer to learn to balance on releve without discomfort. They may look the same from the outside, but any dancer who put them on would immediately notice that the sole is not constructed correctly. Tap shoes can have a heel cushion to assist the dancer as they move the weight to the ball of the foot. The taps need to be placed correctly for optimal performance and sound quality. And as discussed earlier, a low-quality tap shoe is not only dangerous for your dancer, it is also detrimental to your studio’s floors.
6. Dance shoes should be fit by a dance professional. Tap and ballet shoes should not fit the same as regular shoes. All parents want “room to grow” in their child’s shoes. However, when it comes to dance this can be a dangerous situation. Shoes that are too big can cause the foot to slide around in the shoe. When a dancer is up on the balls of her feet, extra room in her shoes can cause her to trip and fall, injuring herself or others in the room. Tap shoes are actually instruments that create rhythm. A dancer will not have adequate control of this instrument in a shoe that is too large and moving around on the foot during practice. An employee at your studio or a dance specialty store will be able to advise you on the best fit for your dance shoes.
7. It’s great to support the business to which you’ve trusted your child’s dance education. If your studio sells shoes and dancewear, support your studio if you can. The few dollars you may save shopping online or in a discount store are not nearly as valuable as ensuring the small business you trust will succeed and thrive. And your dance instructor will appreciate you showing up to class with the right shoes for a successful experience!