If you are new to the line dancing scene, you are probably wondering which shoes you should be wearing when you go to your class or out to your local dance venue. Can you wear your favorite pair of sneakers and avoid buying the somewhat pricey boots? Which shoes would be the best for line dancing?
The best shoes for line dancing are boots or shoes with smooth leather out-soles. Split-soled dancing shoes are a second option. Lastly, you can also wear dance sneakers, although you should avoid dancing in these for more than a few hours.
To learn more about the reason why you need a specialized shoe for line dancing, how to pick the right boot, and other precautions that you should take when using shoes instead of boots, you are in the right place–read on!
Do You Need a Specialized Shoe for Line Dancing?
When you are choosing the right shoe for line dancing, you want it to be comfortable, providing enough support to your ankles, heels, and knees. At the same time, you probably also want to look good wearing it!
If the shoe you are wearing does not offer adequate support or fit you properly, there is a significant risk for potential injuries. If you do not want to get a sprained ankle or a jammed knee while dancing, you need proper shoes.
When buying your shoes, it is also essential to consider where you will be wearing them. If you are taking professional line dancing classes, you are likely working with a smooth, polished floor. This is a different terrain from line dancing in the park, on an uneven surface like grass, or just practicing at home.
Thus, my recommendation is that you need at least two pairs of shoes for line dancing – cowboy boots with heels for the smooth floors and dance sneakers for rough terrain like grass or concrete.
Not only is having a good pair of shoes crucial to preventing leg injuries, proper footwear that supports your feet also increases your concentration when you are dancing. You will not have to think about the uncomfortable and constricting sensation that your shoes provide.
Instead, you will be able to focus more on learning the choreography and become a better dancer much more quickly. Here are a few shoes that can let you reach the best version of your dancing self!
Leather & Suede-Soled Cowboy Boots for Line Dancing
You can never go wrong with a traditional leather-soled shoe. Line dancing requires a great amount of pivoting and sliding, and once you wear your soles out a little bit, you can glide effortlessly across the floor. Without a leather out-sole, your rubber-soled shoes will grip the floor, and you will have to contend with the problem of all that friction when trying to do the moves. Adding that resistance could lead to tripping, or possibly future knee problems. But there’s also a 3rd option: suede! Read on to find out more about this! But first, we’ll deal with size.
When you get your boots, they need to be form-fitting. Otherwise, they will not support your ankles, and you will have gone to all that trouble of getting your special boots for nothing. Your boots should fit snugly with flexibility in the toe box for dancing. When you put them on, at first they may feel a little too small, but there’s a perfect “pop” when your foot slides down and settles in.
If you are worried about the sweat generated by the exertion getting trapped in those leather boots, you can always get an open-faced dress shoe.
The Option of Suede
When you purchase some new boots for dancing you also have this choice! You can go with the more traditional leather, western look, but I want to mention the really cute option of suede. And with suede boots, the suede extends to the outsole as well!
For dancing, suede provides a perfect balance between grip and the ability to still spin! A harder sole may lead to slipping without warning, and a rubber soul might stick too much leading to a twisted ankle or knee.
Speaking of suede, the SwayD brand is a great option for dancing and also for comfort and style! I’m sure a lot of you gals have a pair of these. They’re super cute, affordable, and meet all the requirements for sliding and spinning on the dance floor.
SwayD boots is currently including a free gift with a purchase from my site!
Just enter the code BrianS at check out!
FREE GIFT: SHOE BACKPACK, SHOE BRUSH, or a USB CABLE.
They have 8 different lines of Women’s Boots for dancing (6 are pictured below). SwayD is a brand of shoes and boots designed “by dancers, for dancers!”
Take special notice of the blue URBAN VIBE boots below. Notice the suede sole! Go on over to the Swayd Shoes website to check out these great suede (SwayD) options!
No matter your gender, you should never go higher than a Cuban heel. A Cuban heel is 1.5 inches high, compared to the regular boot height of an inch. Note: even if you are very experienced, high stilettos are not suited for line dancing, and you will twist your ankle attempting to perform your choreography.
In addition to this, stilettos make a different sound than the characteristic ‘click-clack’ of riding boots. The noise produced as we’re shuffling and stomping is a part of the dancing, and getting a shoe with a different sound won’t really fit in. Not to mention the looks you might get on the dance floor with them!
Beginners should be wary of getting heeled boots as they require more prowess to work. However, if you are confident in your ability to perform well in a one-inch heel, then you should go for it! When I first started line dancing and wanted to get a pair of boots I needed to buy the 1″ heel. The larger heels just felt awkward to me. Maybe this was just my preference, but I am dancing in those boots to this day!
Here’s a few more links to shop for some boots, beginning with those Justin Bent Rail Boots! (Made for both Men & Women) & a few other great women’s boot options included here as well!
When you are getting your heeled shoe, it should only allow for ¼” – ⅜” of slippage. Anything above this range is an pretty loose boot. If you are shopping for some good boots, here are a few good cowgirl and cowboy boots that you can check out (on my recommended wear page) if you need to get a pair!
If you have been unsuccessful in finding a pair of boots that fits you well so far, consider investing in a pair of custom-made boots. These will be much more expensive than factory-made boots, but they will last you significantly longer and be more comfortable moving around in.
Don’t forget! If you are interested in one of the cute SwayD boots above, right now you can also pick up a FREE GIFT with your purchase! Click on the picture of boots above to go to their site and then just enter the code BrianS at check out! Or just click here to go to swaydshoes.com
Split-Soled Shoes for Line Dancing
Split-soled shoes are gaining traction in the line dancing community. As long as your split-soled shoes have smooth hard soles, you can wear them for line dancing. However, if they’re made out of rubber, avoid wearing them on a smooth wood floor as they will stick to the floor when you turn. Even if these shoes look cute to wear to class, you need to value your comfort first. Of course, the caveat to this is where you will be dancing. If it’s in the park or on concrete the rubber souls (both ball & heel) are prefereable. Know that outside dancing is just different. You won’t be sliding around like you can on the hardwood dance floor or polished linoleum.
In addition to this, depending on the type of shoe that you are getting, you might need orthotics. If you are wearing a boot, you likely will not need any. However, regular shoes do not provide enough support to your foot’s arch, so you should get the additional in-soles.
The shoes below (available on Amazon) are examples of good, split-soled shoes for dancing. You’ll notice these shoes are also pretty affordable. And they really can be quite comfortable for dancing.
Sneakers for Line Dancing
Canvas shoes like Toms are, surprisingly enough, great for line dancing. They have a sole that is slippery enough to slide on a wooden floor. You should only be using these shoes for a few hours at one time – if you know you are going to be dancing the whole day, pick a pair of boots instead. This reduces the risk of injury. Despite this, dance sneakers are an excellent option for line dancing.
If possible, try to insert some orthotics in your shoe to have more stable support to draw from.
When your newest tennis or canvas shoes are not letting you swivel as freely as you would like, wear out the soles against rough terrain for a smoother glide across the floor. Below are a few options out there for you to shop around. Click on any of these links to get to the Amazon store and shop around for some good looking Sneakers for line dancing.
Alternatively, you can also stick Dr. Scholls’ Moleskin onto the bottom of your shoe after tracing the pad so it fits the shape. This prevents your shoe from jamming up, reducing friction between your shoe and the floor to allow for smoother turns. If you are not used to it, be careful the first time that you use it! See the video below for a demonstration of how to apply it to your shoe.
TIP: You should also be using your dance sneakers for dancing on non-wooden floorings, like grass. If you use your line dancing boots on open terrain, they will likely get damaged from surrounding sharp edges or objects.
Which Shoes Should I Avoid When Line Dancing?
There are also a select number of shoes that you should avoid when you go line dancing.
Here is a short list complete with explanations:
- Flip-flops. Flip-flops provide no support to your feet whatsoever; they are an injury waiting to happen.
- Open-backed shoes. Although open-backed shoes are highly comfortable and have a high arch that seems like they would be sufficient to support your feet, it is all too easy to slip out of this shoe.
- Toe-loop sandals. The toe loop might make it seem like it is sufficient to keep your foot in place. However, when you slide your heel back, either the shoe will come off, or you will end up with a twisted ankle.
As boots are much more expensive than a pair of canvas sneakers, you should not use them for every line dancing location. Pick and choose the type of shoes that you need to wear appropriately. A lot of this is just good common sense of course. I think having a couple of different options is good, the most important thing is to take some good precautions ahead of time to maximize your fun and enjoyment of your line dancing moments. And also, while the focus is on line dancing, the dressy boots that we begin with will have you covered for any partner dancing you also want to be ready for, as there’s lots of sliding and spinning involved there too!
I’ve also added a great video that goes over and embellishes on some of the things to consider when picking out some shoes for line dancing. In the video, Judy emphasizes how you need that leather sole so you can spin and not stick, which can jam your knee. She even mentioned bowling shoes as an option! Toward the end she goes into how you can use Dr. Scholls’ Moleskin clearly demonstrating how to apply it. Check it out!