Dancing in High Heels

pygmalion said:
But I have worn three-and-a-half to four inch heels all day long (in the past, before I stopped caring LOL!). Yes, they can be comfortable, but it has more to do with the cut of the shoe and the way it's balanced. I'm not talking dance shoes now, although this probably still applies.

I think the cut was the big problem. The costumer got women's 11s for me, so length wasn't a problem, but they were so freaking NARROW. Plus, I tip the scales at 200 lbs., so it felt like my toes wanted to come out as sausages through the little opening at the end.

I started off in 2 inch character shoes, and those never bothered me. I also wore a rope tying my knees together for 2 weeks of rehearsal to lose "the guy walk."

Oy, what we do for our art.

(I bought the 7 inchers after the show closed and they now sit on my bookcase in all their fire engine red glory. I don't wear them anymore. Well, not much. :twisted: )


Well-Known Member
Yes, oh yes. Too narrow shoes are murder! :evil: I'm glad you still have the shoes, though, to remember the good old days, if nothing else! :lol: :D

Just a cautionary note for all you high heel wearing people out there. Check out this link, which lists some possible neagtive effects of wearing high heels (wearing, mind you, not even dancing.)

BTW, the article mentions the fact that most people have two different sized feet. I know this is true of me. Not different enough for me to need different sized shoes. But, for those of you who might need that, try toe2toe.com. You can special order any pair of shoes with two different sizes (i.e. size 7 left foot, size 7.5 right foot) Amazing the things you can find on the web, isn't it?


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I'm really not trying to be difficult here, about the high heels. I see why a lot of people consider them a necessary evil. Leg lines are important, especially in ballroom. The reason I started this thread is so that we could share up's, down's and preventative measures. Anyone?

What about the idea of deceptively not high heels? The last time I went to the dance shoe dealer, she suggested Dance Naturals shoes, because, "they look much higher than they are." The 2.5 inch heels looked a lot higher than 2.5. Is that an option?
Halter pads - have never heard of them, thanks for the info - sounds like hope for the toes! :D I'll try these sometime - maybe then I'll dance in heels again :D
High Heels

Re inserts
For black toe prevention and protection, try tubular foam toe bandages, a little foam tube protects the length and end of your toes.

And for pain/pressure on the ball of the foot, I have just ordered two sets of metatarsal pads, one for my ballroom shoes and one for my running shoes. There are triangular versions of this pad which purportedly fit in narrow shoes.

Limping to work did not create a good line, and the cortisone shorts were killers. So I now appreciate my shorter heels.
Keep dancin'.


Well-Known Member
Has anybody tried the gel toe protectors -- a little cup that covers all of your toes and fits into the toe box of your shoes? They sell them in ballet stores for about $20. They look like good preventative care for hammertoes, etc.
I have used these in the past as a ballet dancer. However generally you have to go up one shoe size to accomodate them. Being that ALOT of ppl have problems with wide ball of foot narrow heels then this would worsen that problem.

My suggestion is when buying new shoes is to take all the padding you ever plan on wearing with you and try it on with that. That way you can be sure of how the showe will fit.
I believe it is very important to also own and wear a pair of practice shoes with a low heel. You HAVE to take care of your feet. It is not good to dance in high heels every day for many years. You WILL have have problems that degrade your ability to dance, and even worse. I know some teachers make students practice in the shoes they will be competing in on every single lesson, but I think this is a mistake, because you have to take care of your feet. Oerthotics are great, but they still won't completely compensate for the damage a high heel can cause over time.


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I totally agree, DM. Totally. I think that, if you just have to wear high heels, you'll do your feet and your leg muscles a favor if you rotate through various heel heights from time to time. Your feet really taking a pounding in those high heels. If you plan to do this long term, you have to preserve your foot health, IMHO.


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tasche said:
I have used these in the past as a ballet dancer. However generally you have to go up one shoe size to accomodate them. Being that ALOT of ppl have problems with wide ball of foot narrow heels then this would worsen that problem.

My suggestion is when buying new shoes is to take all the padding you ever plan on wearing with you and try it on with that. That way you can be sure of how the showe will fit.
Welcome to the forums tasche! :D

Thanks for the suggestion. I will try the toe protectors -- actually I have a couple pairs of dance shoes that are a bit too big. Maybe I'll try one of them with all the extra padding.

BTW, I have shoes in a bunch of heights -- from men's 0.75 heel ballroom oxfords to three inch heeled court shoes. But I'll often practice at home in socks or bare feet. Much easier on the feet. When in doubt, my 1.75 inch heeled practice shoes are always my first choice. *shrug* Those things are great! :D


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ballroomboilergirl said:
To me, practicing in 3" heels in much like how professional cyclists train up in the mountains before a race: if you practice in a way that is a lot harder than actual competition, once you get to competition, it'll be a piece of cake.
This is a great suggestion. My competition shoes have 2.5 inch heels. So when I'm preparing for my next comp, I'll add my 3 inch heels to the practice mix. I bet it will help a lot. Thanks. :D
ballroomboilergirl said:
my mom worries about my feet and tells me I should go to a podiatrist, but I know they'll only tell me to stop dancing in heels (fat chance). The faculty advisor for my team has been dancing for 8 years and as a results has a permanently deformed little toe and arthritic ankles. All of the doctors that have looked at her feet have told her to stop dancing or she might have to have surgery when she's older, but she just keeps dancing like there's no problem whatsoever...now THAT is dedication.
Most doctors won't consider the fact that you will keep on dancing despite pain and injury, but if you "shop around" you can find a doctor that wil work with you. I'm new to ballroom (and dancing in heels) but have been dancing (jazz and ballet) for years, as a result of which I have bone fragments lodged in my toe joints. Luckily for me the first podiatrist I visited turned out to be great! He new that I was going to continue dancing no matter what and therefore helped me focus on pain management and prevention of future injury. He put me on medication to reduce inflimation and my feet never felt better (that is until I started ballroom and dancing in heels!)
I dance in 2.5" heels for everything, latin, standard, etc. Use them for practice as well. I don't understand how you can practice in practice shoes and then perform the same way in higher heels. It would throw your balance off! :shock:

I tried 3" heels at one point, but my balance was not good and my ankles could not cope with keeping all 3"s off the floor for rise and fall movements. 2.5" for me!! :roll: :wink:
Wow, this is a great thread!

I'm still waiting for my first pair of practice shoes -- and their my first set of *true* heels as well. Any "raised" shoe I've ever worn happens to be platform-esque, or something screaming, "I belong on a street corner or in Rocky Horror!" :oops: :roll: (I make a point, being the tomboy that I am, to never buy a shoe I can't run in... =^_^=;;)

So, all of this advice is *really* great for me! I look forward to seeing more of this, and the links that have been put out have been *AWESOME*! Although, I can't help but be a little nervous that I'm going to break my ankle or something my first time out in those new shoes (whenever they get here...)!! :oops: :x :oops:

Sagitta, something we learned in my Sports Med. class that might help you with those ingrown toe-nails:

If they're not in too, horribly deep (in which case, Pygmalion's got you covered with the surgery), then, after a shower or a bath, take some cotton balls, Q-tips, etc, and stuff some of the cotton underneath the buried edges of your toe-nail until it's raised up over the skin that was over it. Make sure you put some of that cotton around the side edges of the nail to make sure they're completely away from the overgrown nail bed. (Use the little, "cleaning" part of your nail clippers to dig the buried part of the nail up.) Do this while the nail is soft, or your in for some MAJOR pain. (*speaks from experience...* :oops: :x ) If you can, while the overgrown part of the nail bed is softened, if any of it is calloused, dead skin, try to cut that off; it'll give you less to try and unbury the nail from.

Also, once you have the nail grown out, cut the nail across, and not at an angle. That'll prevent the nail from getting ingrown again.

Again, if this won't work for you because their condition is too bad, check out that surgery in the doctor's office Pygmalion brought up! Hope this helped you and anyone else with the problem! :)

Sakura Kitty :kitty:

foursquare said:
I did the Rocky Horror Show (the stage version) about a year ago. I had two pairs of shoes; the pair in the first act and beginning of the second act had 6 inch heals, and then I switched to 7 inch heals for the rest of the show.
:shock: :D :shock: :D :shock: :D :shock: :D I've mentioned you're my HERO, right?! I love Rocky Horror! (My friends and I go to the midnight showing's every other weekend here, so, you'll forgive my "fangirl" homage to you as an actor from the Stage version!) From something you said about your shoes sitting on your shelf in their, "fire engine red glory," I take it you were the great Frank, right?! 8) Long live Rocky Horror. =^__^=


Active Member
I have two pairs of dance shoes: strappy shoes with 2.5" flared heels and dance boots with 2" spanish (chunky) heels. The boots double as my practice shoes.

I don't wear heels higher than 2 inches outside dancing and am not very good at keeping my balance on high heels. I'm forever tripping over when the heel slips sideways under me, which happens both when I'm dancing in my 2.5" shoes and walking in my work shoes. If (when :lol:) I buy a third pair of dance shoes, they will likely to have 2" heels again. Not pretty but give me the stability I need.

I do envy those dancefloor beauties who look elegant in pretty 3" latin sandals though.


Well-Known Member
pygmalion said:
Here's one for the ladies. Do you have a preference of heel height for your dance shoes?
I prefer dancing in the 2 1/2 inch heel Latin and smooth shoes. My practice shoes, which have lower heel, are more comfortable, but it's more realistic for me to practice in the other shoes. :wink:
I use 2-1/2 inch heels for both latin and smooth. I have a pair of 3 inch latin sandals I do practice in sometimes at home, as several DF'ers have already mentioned their own merits of that. For me, practicing in 3 inch heels, does make me work harder on balance.

One of my instructors has told me that he prefers me in 2-1/2 inch heels. He says my control is much better, which I agree, but he also says that the extra height with a 3 inch heel makes me seem way too tall. Any other's had comments from instructors or partners about your heel height?



Well-Known Member
Half an inch of shoe heel makes that much difference in your perceived height? Wow.

No, I've never had anyone tell me that. :? I guess the feedback could be valid. I know that half an inch of heel makes me FEEL like a totally different dancer. Maybe it makes me look like one, too. :?
Well I am taller than average, 5-8", and I took his comment to be his comfort level with me at a certain height. I suppose that someone that you dance with regularly becomes comfortable with their partner's (or instructor's) height, and the way that they move. I know I would never dance in 3 inch heels(at least not yet! :) )

It is very different for me when I dance with someone much taller (or shorter) than me, but I attribute much of that to my being a beginner still.

Side note: I go for my preliminary bronze checkout tomorrow night! (in 2-1/2 inch heels! :lol: ) Wish me luck!

I've seen many men around 5'6" or so who absolutely love it when a girl who is 5'8" wears three inch heels. But most of them have bad habits of breaking frame with their heads! :wink:

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