It’s important to know exactly which type of dance sneaker will be the best choice for your dance style. Whether you are just getting started in the process of choosing your first dance sneaker or searching for your next performance pair, the Bloch Dance Sneaker Guide is packed with information to assist you in your search.
From the variety of dance sneaker styles to choosing the most comfortable size, here is our guide to dance sneakers.
What are dance sneakers?
Dance sneakers are sneakers specifically designed to be worn for dance, such as hip-hop, jazz or Zumba. While there are many different types of dance sneakers, each are engineered with different materials, soles, fastenings and shoe weight for a specific purpose, such as street or studio dance.
Types of Dance Sneakers
The different types of dance sneakers are distinguished by the design of the sole: full sole, split sole or midsole. Each of these types of dance sneakers will provide a different level of foot support and arch lift applicable for different dance styles and wear.
Full sole Dance Sneakers
Full sole dance sneakers are supportive because they have a continuous rubber sole that makes up the underside of the shoe.
A full sole dance sneaker shoe doesn’t allow for much flexibility since the base of the shoe is coated in a rubber layer. However, this style shoe includes more resistance beneath the arch of the foot. If you are looking for a shoe with a solid and sturdy appearance, the full sole style is a favorable choice. Additionally, full sole dance sneakers are often good for children as it allows them to learn technique and dance moves more easily before introducing a sophisticated arch.
Full sole dance sneakers are a good choice if you are looking for a pair that can be worn in or outside the studio. Because it’s not recommended to wear ballet, jazz or tap shoes outside of practice, these sneakers are a great option to wear to and from practice as they are lightweight, designed for dancers and can be carried easily in your dance bag.
Split sole Dance Sneakers
A split sole dance sneaker only has rubber under the ball and heel of the foot. The noticeable gap of rubber on the arch of the foot makes the shoe more flexible and emphasizes a dancer’s arch, point and line of foot. The flexibility of a split sole dance sneaker is seen as an advantage because it allows the dancer to execute correct foot technique and form more easily. However, split sole shoes do offer less support beneath the foot. This makes split sole dance sneakers a bit lighter in weight than other sole options, and an optimal sneaker for executing turns.
While some full sole and mid sole dance sneakers are suitable for outdoor use, such as street dancing, most dance sneakers with split soles are designed to only be worn for dancing inside studios. For example, Bloch split sole dance sneakers are made with a specific non-marking sole, meaning the shoes will not damage dance studio flooring, and wearing the shoes outdoors can damage this non-marking lining. In addition, Bloch split sole dance sneakers are dance sneakers with spin spots on the sole of the shoe, which allows the dancer to spin and slide with further ease.
Midsole Dance Sneakers
Midsole dance sneakers are a hybrid between full sole and split sole sneakers. These sneakers have a continuous rubber base like a full sole; however, they provide a unique and supportive arch lift like a split sole. Unlike split sole options, these sneakers can be worn on the street as the rubber will provide traction while the design will allow for quality dance technique.
If you like the structure of midsole dance sneakers, but you are looking for a sneaker that provides for easier turns or less traction, BLOCHspot stickers can be added to the base of your dance sneaker. BLOCHspot stickers, an innovative product by Bloch, are stickers that can be applied to the bottom of any sneaker to create a spin spot. BLOCHspot stickers are complimentary with every purchase of the Alcyone midsole dance sneaker.
What are Dance Sneakers Made of?
While dance sneakers are inspired by the look of a classic sneaker, they are engineered to support the dancer in ways that traditional sneakers are not. Below are some elements you will find in a standard dance sneaker.
The dance sneaker upper is the material that covers the top of the foot. The upper part of a dance sneaker is often made of flexible mesh material to allow for breathability and bending of the shoe for a range of movement.
The outsole of a dance sneaker is the material that comes in contact with the ground. The outsole of a dance sneaker should be shock-absorbing and offer a level of traction. A split sole dance sneaker’s outsole should consist of a material that is optimal for turning and will not damage studio floors.
The insole of a dance sneaker is the material on the inside of the shoe that supports the bottom of the foot. The design of the insole will differ between the split sole, midsole and full sole dance sneakers; however, the material should be cushioned with impact protection to offer the best comfort while dancing.
The heel counter of a dance shoe is the material on the back of the shoe which will stabilize and support your foot. Dance sneakers should have a padded internal heel counter to hold your feet securely in place and prevent blisters when dancing.
Collar or topline
The collar or topline of a dance sneaker, which is where you insert your foot, is often made of a padded and stretchy material to allow dancers to move their feet freely while providing enough ankle and foot support.
The toe bumper, or toe cap, of a dance sneaker is an extension of the outsole that covers the very front of the toes. Dance sneakers should have a durable toe bumper in order to protect your toes when dancing and withstand the natural wear-and-tear that comes with dancing in sneakers.
Dance sneakers often come in a lace up or slip-on fastening. While a slip-on dance sneaker will give a visually smoother appearance, a lace up sneaker will allow the dancer to tighten or loosen the shoe to their comfort. Lace up sneakers are more common because dance sneakers are meant to mimic the design of regular sneakers and because many dancers prefer the option to adjust reinforced laces.
Choosing the Best Dance Sneakers
When it comes time to decide which type of dance sneaker is best for you or your child, there a few considerations to make.
- If you’re looking for a dance sneaker to wear to dance indoors only, and one that can be worn with dances that require turns and perfect technique, then a split sole is a great option.
- If you’re looking for a dance sneaker to wear in-between and to-and-from dance classes that offers comfort after even the most intense practices, then a full sole dance sneaker is the one to go with.
- If you’re looking for a shoe that can do both—we’d recommend a midsole hybrid. Midsole shoes will allow you to dance in the studio or street with the best functionality possible.
- If you’re just getting started in dance or if you’re not quite ready to make an investment in a new dance sneaker yet, BLOCHspot stickers can be applied to the base of any sneaker to instantly create a spin spot.
If you’re still not sure which dance sneaker is best for you, it’s always a good idea to ask your dance teacher or instructor for advice and recommendations.
How should dance sneakers fit?
Like all dance shoes, dance sneakers must fit accurately in order to serve the dancer properly. Dance sneakers should feel snug on the foot without compromising comfort. If the shoe is hurting the side of your feet, that is a good indicator that the shoe is too narrow. If toes are bending, curling or overlapping when a dance sneaker is worn, that indicates the dancer needs to try a bigger size. If there is extra material in the shoe, especially near the toes, then the shoes may be too large.
When choosing a pair of Bloch dance sneakers, please refer to the fit advice on the product pages for each dance sneaker, as we provide different advice for each style of sneaker. For more information on sizing and conversion charts, visit our BLOCH US size guide.
Where to Buy Dance Sneakers
With so many options, it can sometimes feel overwhelming when deciding where to purchase a dance sneaker that’s going to provide the quality and fit that you desire. However, taking the time to conduct research into the different retailers and dance shoe brands should be the first step before diving into a purchase.
It’s important to purchase dance sneakers from a trustworthy and established dance shoe brand that understands the industry and the different needs of dancers. This will ensure that dance sneaker you buy will be made of high-quality materials and excellent construction. Afterall, if you’re investing in a new pair of dance sneakers, you’ll want a pair of that can stand the test of time.
For example, Bloch shoes are perfectly designed and customized to provide for any age and proficiency level. With a complete collection of dance sneakers for adults and children, we aim to create confidence, stability and beautiful lines for any dancer.
What are the Best Dance Sneakers?
The best dance sneakers are going to be the ones that leave you feeling comfortable, confident and courageous when you step onto the dance floor. That’s why here at Bloch, we strive to equip dancers with the absolute best selection in dance sneakers—all made with premium materials and artisanal construction.
As the innovation leader in dance shoes for nearly a century, every Bloch dance shoe is designed with the dancer in mind—ensuring that we provide dancers with the high-quality shoes they need in order to dance their absolute best.
About BLOCH Dance Sneakers
Bloch dance sneakers can be found on the feet of professionals in the dance industry across the globe. Bloch provides a superior craft in dance shoes—perfect for students, teachers and masters.
We lead the way as the ultimate dancewear destination. Our materials, such as our revolutionary moldable suede, arch-hugging neoprene or breathable mesh, combine with revolutionary technology to meet the demands of any modern dancer.
Bloch offers a wide selection of dance sneakers, including full sole, midsole and split sole, for men, women and children. Many of our styles also offer a variety of material, color and lace options. Browse Bloch adult dance sneakers and children’s dance sneakers to find the perfect pair today.
Have additional questions about dance shoes? Explore our blog, The Pointe, for different dance shoe guides and more.