Choosing The Right Contemporary Dance Shoes: A Comprehensive Guide to Brands, Fit, & Care

Choosing The Right Contemporary Dance Shoes: A Comprehensive Guide to Brands, Fit, & Care

Ever wondered what’s the secret behind those flawless, gravity-defying contemporary dance moves? It’s not just the years of rigorous training, it’s also about the shoes. Yes, you read that right! The right footwear plays a pivotal role in a dancer’s performance.

Choosing the perfect pair can be a bit of a puzzle. With a plethora of options available, knowing what to look for can feel overwhelming. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you navigate this maze.

Key Takeaways

  • The right footwear is crucial in contemporary dance not only for aesthetic appeal but for supporting safe and complex dance move executions.
  • Contemporary dance shoes range from barefoot alternatives like Dance Paws, Dance Socks, and Foot Undeez, half sole shoes such as Capezio FootUndeez, Bloch Neo-Flex, and Sansha Hi-Step, to minimalist options as Foot Thongs.
  • Choosing dance shoes involves considering factors like comfort, fit, material durability, and the balance of flexibility and support.
  • Popular brands offering suitable options for contemporary dance footwear include Capezio, Bloch, and Sansha, known for comfortable, robust, flexible, and supportive shoes.
  • Once you’ve acquired your perfect dance shoes, proper cleaning, maintenance, and sensible usage habits are crucial for prolonging their lifespan and maintaining their performance.

Understanding Contemporary Dance

Unearthing the rich tapestry of contemporary dance involves delving into different aspects, one of which is the significance of suitable footwear. Bridging comfort, movement ease and aesthetic appeal, dance shoes are an essential component that often gets shrugged off.

The Importance of Footwear in Dance

In the realm of dance, footwear earns a status beyond mere aesthetic appeal. A dancer’s shoes, like their companions, carry the onus of ensuring their safety and aiding the execution of complex dance moves. An inappropriate pair of shoes can mar performance, limit movement, and even lead to physical injuries, causing hindrance in a dancer’s path.

Proper footwear, on the contrary, enhances your foot flexibility, provides requisite cushioning, and ameliorates your overall performance. Leotards, for example, are perfect for ballet dancers as they provide adequate support, enabling graceful leaps and pirouettes. For contemporary dancers, barefoot is a popular choice, providing the freedom of unrestricted movement. Contemporary dance shoes, which bear semblance to ballet shoes in terms of design, offer the balance between support and flexibility, making them a close second.

The Evolution of Dance Shoes

A look back at history reveals how dance shoes have evolved over time, adapting to various dance styles. From the platform shoes of ancient Greece to the high-heeled shoes of the Renaissance, dance footwear has always echoed societal changes and danced to the tunes of fashion trends.

In the 1910s, dancers began sporting softer, flexible shoes causing a remarkable shift in dance aesthetics. The advent of jazz brought along jazz shoes with split soles, further pushing the boundaries of footwear flexibility.

Contemporary dance shoes, today’s topic, were sidelined until the 20th century, but their rise has been meteoric. These shoes now feature a partly suede sole, allowing for spins yet providing enough traction, ensuring contemporary dancers all the support they require.

Therein lies the beauty of contemporary dance, encapsulating freedom, versatility, and expression, a reflection of which is found in its footwear preferences.

Types of Shoes Suitable for Contemporary Dance

Types of Shoes Suitable for Contemporary Dance

Bearing in mind the essence of freedom, versatility, and expression in contemporary dance, let’s examine the preferred types of footwear that dancers employ to enhance their performances. These options range from barefoot alternatives to half sole shoes and foot thongs.

Barefoot Alternatives

Dance paws, dance socks, and foot undeez represent various barefoot alternatives. Dance paws, made of durable, breathable fabric, offer protection while allowing the dancer’s foot to remain close to its natural state. Dance socks, similar but lightweight, give dancers a near-barefoot experience with added slip resistance. Foot undeez, a delicate fabric cushion primarily for the ball of the foot, innovate by providing dancers with greater sensitivity and connection to the floor.

Half Sole Shoes

As a middle ground between barefoot alternatives and full-soled shoes, half sole shoes secure a prominent position in contemporary dance. Half sole shoes provide adequate flexibility, allowing dancers to bend, turn and leap with greater ease. They also offer additional traction, offering security and grip during strenuous routines. Let’s take a look at notable half sole shoes such as Capezio FootUndeez, Bloch Neo-Flex, and Sansha Hi-Step.

Foot Thongs

A minimalistic approach to contemporary dance shoes includes foot thongs. Foot thongs epitomize freedom, flexibility, and protection. Their design solely covers the ball of the foot, leaving the rest unrestricted. Often used in styles, where the foot’s appearance is crucial, foot thongs like Bloch Foot Thong III or the Capezio Foot Thong offer effective protection without compromising the elegance of the foot.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Dance Shoes

Factors to Consider When Choosing Dance Shoes

When you’re considering which shoes to use for contemporary dance, several key factors are necessary to examine.

Comfort and Fit

Finding a pair of dance shoes that deliver superior comfort and an optimal fit constitutes an essential first step. Given the physical demands of contemporary dance, shoes that don’t fit comfortably can cause unnecessary discomfort or even injuries. Opt for shoes that snugly fit your feet, without being too tight or loose. For instance, dance paws, praised previously for their natural feel, offer a snug fit that mirrors barefoot dancing, achieving maximum comfort and a perfect fit.

Material and Durability

Choosing dance shoes made from durable materials ensures they’ll last through rigorous practice sessions and performances. Quality dance shoe manufacturers like Capezio and Bloch use robust, high-quality materials to construct their shoes. For example, Capezio FootUndeez and Bloch Neo-Flex, mentioned earlier, feature strong, lasting materials that can withstand the rigors of contemporary dance.

Flexibility and Support

The shoes you choose need to offer both flexibility and support, two critically important factors in contemporary dance. The shoes ought to allow for smooth, unrestricted movement, while still providing sufficient support to protect your feet. Half sole shoes, for example, balance flexibility and traction, thus granting fluid movement and stability. Foot thongs, such as Bloch Foot Thong III and Capezio Foot Thong, offer an impressive combination of flexibility and support, enabling freedom of expression without sacrificing protection.

Popular Brands and Options for Contemporary Dance Shoes

Finding the perfect dance shoe often involves a search through multiple brands. The following are some popular brands with options suitable for contemporary dance.


When considering comfortable contemporary dance shoes, Capezio reigns supreme. Specializing in a variety of dance equipment, they produce shoes that offer the perfect blend of comfort and quality. Capezio’s FootUndeez, for instance, showcases how the brand merges minimal design with maximum utility. The shoe’s fabric ensures durability while its design accommodates flexible movements—exactly what you’d want in a contemporary dance environment. You’d also find Capezio’s “Freeform” models quite appealing, as they feature elastic spandex uppers for perfect elasticity.


Bloch, another industry giant, deserves mention due to their offerings of resilient contemporary dance shoes. Particularly, Bloch’s “Neo-flex” slip-on jazz shoe highlights how flexibility and support can coexist in a dance shoe. A soft leather upper contributes to its durability, and a split rubber sole enhances a dancer’s ability to perform complex contemporary movements. A bonus is the shoe’s neoprene midsection which accommodates expanding feet—a relief if you’re on your feet for extended dance sessions.


If you’re seeking contemporary dance shoes tailored for intricate movements, Sansha’s array of footwear is worth exploring. Known for their focus on dancers’ comfort and mobility needs, Sansha shoes embody a simple design with strong material durability. One of their standout products, the “Recital” model, showcases a soft leather upper for durability. The shoe’s full-length sole provides ample support while allowing optimum flexibility, a combination you’ll learn to appreciate when executing those challenging contemporary dance movements.

Caring for Your Dance Shoes

After acquiring your ideal dance shoe from brands such as Capezio, Bloch, or Sansha, it’s crucial to maintain these products properly, ensuring their longevity and preserving the shoe’s comfort, flexibility, and structural integrity. The section offers practical guidelines on shoe care, including tips on cleaning and maintaining your dance shoes, as well as enhancing their lifespan.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Regular cleaning and maintenance are critical to ensure your dance shoes retain their aesthetic appeal and functional status. Dust off your shoes after each practice or performance, making sure to remove any grit or small stones caught in the soles. You can utilize a soft, dry cloth for this purpose. For models like Capezio’s FootUndeez or Bloch’s Neo-flex, hand washing using mild soap proves effective; avoid using harsh cleaning agents which might degrade the material over time. Always air-dry your shoes, as direct heat sources can distort the rubber and fabric’s shape and elasticity. Regularly inspect your shoes for signs of wear and tear, especially on the sole and stitching areas, to prevent any damage from escalating – early detection increases the chance of a simple repair.

Longevity Tips for Dance Shoes

Prolonging the lifespan of your dance shoes isn’t simply a matter of thorough cleaning and maintenance. Thoughtful usage habits contribute notably, too. Rotate your dance shoes if you own multiple pairs, giving each pair a break to fully dry out between sessions—this guards against moisture buildup, which can lead to premature material degradation. Likewise, only wear your dance shoes on proper dance surfaces; other surfaces can degrade your shoes faster. Consider using products like heel protectors or toe pads as they can limit wear on specific areas of your shoe, thereby extending their life. Lastly, storing your dance shoes in a dry, well-ventilated space prevents mold growth and preserves the shoes’ structural integrity. Remember, care translates directly to the durability of your dance shoes; investing your time in proper shoe care guarantees more dancing time out of every pair.


So, you’ve got the lowdown on choosing the right shoes for contemporary dance and how to care for them. Remember, comfort, fit, durability, flexibility, and support are key factors in your decision. Brands like Capezio, Bloch, and Sansha offer a variety of options to suit your needs. But don’t stop at purchase. Your dance shoes need love too! Regular cleaning, correct drying, and early detection of wear and tear will keep your shoes in top form. Thoughtful usage habits and correct storage can further extend their lifespan. With the right shoes and care routine, you’re set to dance your heart out.

According to Move Dance US, popular options like Footundeez by Capezio and Foot Gloves by Bloch provide minimal coverage while offering essential protection and support for dancers. Ensuring a proper fit is crucial, and it’s recommended to try different styles and sizes to find the most comfortable option for your foot shape. Additionally, Dance Parent 101 suggests that whether you choose half-soles, paws, or dance socks, they should be allowed to air out between uses and stored properly to maintain their shape and condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the importance of appropriate footwear in contemporary dance?

The appropriate footwear is crucial in contemporary dance as it greatly affects a dancer’s performance. It ensures comfort, gives the right fit, provides durability and flexibility, and offers the necessary support for a dancer’s feet.

What are some popular brands for contemporary dance shoes?

There are several popular brands providing quality contemporary dance shoes, but some of the standout ones include Capezio, Bloch, and Sansha.

What are the important factors to consider when choosing dance shoes?

When choosing dance shoes, one must take into account numerous factors; including comfort, fit, durability, flexibility, and support. These attributes allow dancers to perform their best while reducing the risk of injury.

How can I care for my dance shoes?

To care for your dance shoes, regular cleaning is a must. It is also important to properly dry them after use, watch for early signs of wear and tear, rotate usage among different pairs, and use protective accessories when needed.

How can I enhance the lifespan of my dance shoes?

Enhancing the lifespan of your dance shoes involves regular cleaning, using proper drying techniques, detecting wear and tear early, and having thoughtful usage habits like rotation. Storing shoes correctly to prevent damage is also key.

What should be the correct way of storing dance shoes?

Shoes should be stored in a cool, dry area away from direct sunlight to prevent any UV damage. Furthermore, they should not be stored in a cramped condition to avoid creases or damaging the shape of the shoe.

Why is shoe care crucial for dance shoes?

Proper shoe care is important for durability and ensures dancers can get more dancing time out of each pair. Maintained shoes also help in minimizing possible foot injuries and performance hindrance.