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Dr. Rick's Health Tip of the Month

May 2001

Five Keys to a Good Lady’s Ballroom Dance Shoe

By Rick Allen, DC

ladies dance shoes photo

Five Keys to a Good Shoe

There are five factors that I consider keys to a good shoe apply to both lady's and men's shoes:

  1. Shank - A solid steel shank will be good arch support. Test the shank by pressing into the arch of the shoe. The shank should not collapse.

  2. Counter - The heel counter that forms the back of the shoe should be solid and built straight on the heel. Ideally, it should wrap around the heel, although, for the sake of fashion, some are narrower (see the silver shoes in the center of top photo).

    ladies dancing shoes front photo

  3. Laces - Lady's shoes have various straps around the ankle and over the ball of the foot. Some shoes have a longitudinal strap connecting the ankle and toe straps, adding additional stability (see the pink shoes on the right of the 2nd photo).

  4. Heel - Lady's ballroom shoes typically have 2 to 3-inch heels. If possible for the sake of your back, avoid extreme high heels. When practicing, I suggest you wear 1-1/2 inch practice shoes similar to the photo at left, unless you are focused on getting the feel of wearing high heels.

    ladies practice shoes photo

  5. Fit - Even though lady's shoes are less supportive than men's, the counter should be snug, the longitudinal and metatarsal arches should feel supportive, and there should be room for toe movement. Ask your salesperson how much the shoes will stretch.

See last month's tip for a review of men's ballroom dance shoes.

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