Putting my feet up at salsa classes, wearing my Bloch dance shoes.
Salsa and many other Latin and Latin-esque dances often have quite a fast beat, it means we have to fit in a lot in a very small amount of time. We can expect to do a full turn in a single beat before continuing on as if it was nothing, the key to that is stability. There are many things that can help our stability, and here look at how shoes can help or hinder things, and if it helps us in heat and passion of a salsa routine the same can be said in our everyday lives.
Dance shoes typically have a moderate heel, a shortened foot allows the body to pivot much easier and thus allows more intricate turns. This comes at a cost, without the necessary strength in the ankles (and the support of a partner), even an experienced stilettoista will get injured. Even when we have graduated to the big girls shoes, most higher dance shoes are still constructed a little differently offering more support yet also more flex compared to regular heels.
Close up on the construction of a pair of dance heels. The sole has extra flex for freedom of movement, while the strap goes around the shank of the shoe to ensure the foot is held correctly for optimal support
What I have found is that not all dance shoes have these straps that go across the foot, and when we are wearing tights with a court style dance shoe we need an extra strap to help offer more support. It just so happens that outside of the dancehall they’re just as useful. Over the winter I’ve really enjoyed wearing my more revealing shoes with socks or tights and the clear dancer’s shoe strap is really useful.
Straps are available in a number of styles, a thin single strap that goes across the foot (left), or a crossed strap arrangement (right) similar to my Bloch dance shoes.
Both have their advantages and disadvantages, the crossed strap goes around the ankle and really offers great support, however they’re really thick straps and quite visible. The single strap is far more subtle and thin, they still hold very well and works for shoes with more structure as pictured here, I wouldn’t want to wear a d’Orsay shoe with a single strap though.
They’re available on amazon, and probably eBay too. They do the job well, my only complaint is they are a little shiny which does show on close inspection. Frustratingly in the UK my favourite straps by Capezio are not available for sale, however if you see them where you live, I would buy these by Capezio as they’re are super thin and have a more natural satin finish.