Having good dance shoes will make you feel more comfortable on the dance floor. Dance shoes need to hug your foot and move easily across the floor. For this reason, most dancers choose to purchase a pair of shoes specifically designed for dancing. These shoes are not designed to be worn outside, so we bring them with us to dances and lessons and change our shoes when we arrive. The cost of a pair of dance shoes can range from $50 to $190, so consider this an investment in your dancing. The right pair of shoes will absolutely make you a better dancer, and even beginner dancers need a good pair of shoes.

Finding the right pair of shoes for you can be a challenge. Here are a few resources that I recommend:

1. TuTu's Dance Wear located at 944 Sutton Bridge Rd # 4, Rainbow City, AL 35906. (256) 442-3196

Finding the perfect fit in dance shoes can be difficult. TuTu's will order one or more pairs of shoes for you and return shoes that do not fit. Many of my students rely on TuTu's for their shoes because they are so willing to return shoes that don't fit. TuTu's does not keep dance shoes in stock, however, so you will have to return to TuTu's to pick them up when they arrive. Remember dance shoes stretch after you wear them for a while. So make sure you have room for your toes but also make sure you have a snug fit around your foot.

2. Dance Shoes of Tennessee (Online at www.danceshoesoftennessee.com or visit them in person just outside of Chattanooga in Franklin, TN). (615) 595-5905

Dance Shoes of Tennessee carries a full line of dance shoes and keeps them in stock. You can order shoes from their website (the hybrid sneaker and west coast boots are my favorite). You can also special order custom-sized and custom-styled shoes. It is worth the drive to head up to Franklin, Tennessee (just outside of Nashville) and try shoes on with the assistance of a trained specialist. You can also order them online. John and Patsy provide great customer service. Plus the coolest thing about Dance Shoes of Tennessee is that they will measure your foot for you and make you a custom pair of shoes. You can choose the style, heel height, etc. and they will design the shoe to fit the parameters of your foot. Custom ordered shoes can take up to 8 weeks but they are worth it! If buying stock shoes, remember Remember dance shoes stretch when you wear them for a while. So make sure you have room for your toes but also make sure you have a snug fit around your foot.

Dance Shoes of Tennessee now carries Hybrid Dance Sneakers and other shoes by Dance Connection! Hybrid Dance Sneakers feel like a sneaker but dance like a ballroom shoe, and West Coast Swing practice shoes are super comfortable and so easy to find the right size. John at Dance Shoes of Tennessee can help you find the right size for you. Just give him a call.

They will be at the Birmingham Ballroom Dance Marathon in October, so that is a great place to grab a few pairs of shoes or get a pair custom-ordered!

3. Jazz Sneakers or Zumba Shoes

Many dancers like to use these shoes for practice because they are so comfortable and they are relatively inexpensive. They do not move across the floor as well as a true ballroom dance shoe, so I do not recommend them as your only pair of shoes. However, many students find them to be a nice addition. I usually recommend Amazon for these, although TuTu's, Comfort Dance Shoes, and Dance Shoes of Tennessee sell them as well. Be sure to read the reviews on Amazon to know what size to buy. Some shoes run up to one full size larger than you regular street shoe and you will only know this by reading user reviews. Another great alternative is the Hybrid Dance Shoe Sneaker sold by Dance Connection. They are made for men and women and glide across the floor better than a jazz sneaker.

There are many other sources for purchasing dance shoes, including shops in Atlanta and Huntsville, but I am not personally familiar with them. If you order shoes online, make sure they have a good return policy. I have seen many students buy a pair of shoes on sale on the Internet, thinking they are getting a great deal, only to find out that the shoes don't fit and they can't return them. Remember, this is an investment in your dancing. So invest the time and money to get the right shoes!