Ballroom Dance > 'Safe' heel height?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. Active Member

    I am 5'6 without shoes and I do Latin dance. A pro I know, is helping me buy my Latin shoes and she highly recommends that I switch to 3 1/2-inch slim heels as the usual 3-inch slim heels that I normally wear is not available. Flare heel is a no-no for me.

    She claims it will look great and make me work harder, which I know is true but is this height actually safe for dancing long hours? I used to have a pair of practice shoes, much like the men's shoes but now as I train regularly for competitions, I am almost always dancing in my 3-inch shoes.

    I don't whether it's the old minor injury, shoes or dancing that gives me slight discomfort at the lower back whenever I am done dancing. Walking on streets or for activities as such, I sometimes even wear 4 1/2 or 5-inch heels and I don't feel anything, save for the occasional blister. Dancing is a whole different thing, isn't it? I am just concerned and hoping to get some advice here.
  2. latingal

    latingal Well-Known Member

    Speaking for myself, I would never go above 3" for my own dancing. As it is dancing in 2.5" or 3" puts a lot of pressure on the ball of the feet, and if you dance more than a couple of hours a day, I wouldn't go higher.

    I think the higher you go, the more it inhibits your ability to move fluidly through your heel and settle your weight in to your hip. In a ladies heel, you are put so forward on to the ball you have less access to the full "figure 8" of the cuban action (see how much action you can generate on flats vs. higher heels?), I wouldn't want to inhibit that any further than I had to (leg line vs. hip action).
  3. Active Member

    Thank you for your response latingal. I think the figure 8 example is very true! I shall have to consider this...can't decide yet!
  4. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    I find 2.5" too short, but 3.5" too high. Though as NP were talking in my last lesson, it's getting to the point where the legs are so straight in Latin we're going to be en pointe at this rate, so maybe higher is better. (That's slightly saracstic, but only just. I mean, I get Latin wants a straight leg but if I am going to move it has to bend at some point.)
  5. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    I would say not to go beyond 2.5 inches, for postural/biodynamical reasons. That is my recommendation to all my students.
  6. Active Member

    I have never danced in 3.5" heels before, so I don't know what it feels like. Might get some samples to try on tomorrow though.
  7. Active Member

    I am quite comfortable in my 3" heels save for the little discomfort in my lower back. Hmm...was thinking if 3.5" heels will make a whole lot of difference because when I switched to 3" from 2.5", I got used to it almost immediately.
  8. TinyDancer109

    TinyDancer109 Well-Known Member

    why are the flared heels a no no?
  9. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member

    There are many things to consider when selecting dance shoes---especially the height of the heel---so you probably don't want to do this arbitrarily.
    We might have discussed this topic somewhere in DF, but here's a couple of quick thoughts...

    1. Proportion. Are your feet short relative to your height? Are they long? The longer the feet, the higher (or not so higher) the heel (should be relative to your height). Do you have long toes? Or short? This will dictate the length of the toe box, which in turn dictates the length of the shoe, which in turn dictates the proportion of the heel, again (you guessed it, relative to your height). Is your foot wide or narrow? etc...
    2. Fit. Does the shoe bend naturally at your joints? When you do a check (forward or back) how does it give a little or compress your foot? How comfortable is the angle when your weight is on your heel, arch, sole of feet, or toes?

    My point is, the proportional heel requirements for a lady who's 5'9" would be different from someone who's 5'1"---so you CANNOT put an artificial limit on heel height, nor consider a heel size worn by another who is not very close to the same height or shoe size as you.

  10. Active Member

    I can't stand the look of it. Absolutely loathe it.
  11. Active Member

    Never thought of it this way, but it is indeed very true! Thank you madmaximus! :D
  12. Active Member

    I ordered a pair of 3.5 inches shoes the other day. I asked the cobbler to let me try on a pair first to see if it is alright, before ordering it. He didn't have any Latin shoes that height so he gave me a pair of Argentine Tango shoes instead. I tried it on and it felt ok so I asked him to make me a pair with 3.5-inch slim heels. The thing is, for shoes with 3.5-inch heels, he will have to make the front sole hard, so it's pretty much like street shoes except it has suede soles.

    He said either that, or make the heels flared. He also told me that if I were to make a pair of 3.5-inch slim heel shoes with the soft sole, I wouldn't be able to balance on that shoes. I thought it over for a while and decided to go with flared heels. Went to get it today and tried it on. It felt normal, like really normal. Zero difference from wearing my 3-inch shoes. I didn't even have to reposition my balance, centre or whatsoever though I must say that I have not danced in them yet so I can't know for sure.

    If I am not that picky, the heel actually isn't quite that chunky, and it looks very very close to a contour heel. So I guess I can let go of the heel part, but the heel tips are absolutely horrible! They aren't the straight type, they are those slanted kinds so the base is wider than the top! They look really ugly and chunky to me, was hoping that I'd be able to get the cobbler to change it or something. Ugh! Any DIY tips for me??
  13. MissKitty

    MissKitty New Member

    Hi, I am also 5"6 in bare feet.

    I currently wear a 3" heel, which FEELS great to dance in, and I have no plans to change right now, but in the future when my technique is better I may change to 3.5 purely for the asthetic value (but only when I can dance well enough to warrant it)

    Reason I would consider changing as I have quite long feet. Standing next to some of the youth competitors in the studio who have smaller feet, their heels look sky high and mine look like a 2 inch, even though we are all wearing a 3 inch heel. Which makes my feet look kind of frumpy.

    My teacher says I could handle a 3.5 because of the size of my feet, but I am not ready to change until I can get more hip action, because once the heel goes higher, that will be even harder.
  14. Active Member

    Yeap yeap. I have a long feet too. My feet is 25cm. And a flare heel would only make the heel even bulkier.

Share This Page