A question we’re often asked as ballroom professionals is about dance shoes. Whether you’re a man or a woman, there are many qualities of dance shoes that are beneficial to your dancing progress! There are generally two different kinds of dance shoes; smooth shoes and rhythm shoes. Smooth shoes are used for our smooth dances, such as tango, waltz, and foxtrot. For women, they are closed toe, so we can reach our feet behind us with the tip of the toe and roll onto the foot. They are made for taking walking steps forward on the heel of the foot, and have a sturdier heel than Lady’s Latin shoes. For men, they have a lower heel, which allows them to roll through their feet easier. They are always black matte or patent leather with laces and a 1 inch heel. They are made for taking walking steps forward on the heel, and so they don’t allow for easy pointing of the foot. Rhythm shoes are used for our Latin dances, such as rumba, salsa, and swing. For women, these generally have open toes and higher heels, as well as straps that go around the entire foot or ankle. The heel is usually 2.5 to 3 inches, and is the least sturdy heel of all the dance shoes, since steps are generally taken on the ball of the foot. For men, they have higher heel, and a flexible sole which allows for pointing the toe easier.