Jazz Shoe Guide
Bloch has been the innovation leader in dance shoes for nearly a century. Our jazz shoes 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.
Bloch shoes are perfectly designed and customized to provide for any age and proficiency level. With a complete collection of jazz shoes for adults and children, we aim to create confidence, stability and beautiful lines for any dancer.
Whether you are just getting started in jazz or searching for your next performance shoe, our guide is packed with information to assist you in your search. From the variety of jazz shoes to choosing the most comfortable size, here is our guide to jazz shoes.
What are Jazz Shoes?
Jazz shoes are a specific type of dance shoes that can be worn for a variety of dance styles, such as jazz, musical theatre, hip-hop, aerobics and salsa. While there are many variations of jazz shoes, most variations are flexible, hug the foot tightly and have rubber on the base for traction.
Jazz shoes have different styles specifically designed to meet the range of needs, material preferences, dance styles and foot sizes of different dancers. Listed below are common shoes worn for jazz in the dance industry and information on what functionality you can expect with each shoe.
Full sole jazz shoes
Full sole jazz shoes are supportive because they have a continuous rubber sole that makes up the underside of the shoe. Choosing a full sole jazz shoe style will allow the dancer to build strength and muscle, as the style is very structured.
A full sole jazz 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.
Split sole jazz shoes
While a full sole shoe has a continuous rubber sole, a split shoe only has rubber under the ball and heel of the foot. The gap of rubber on the arch of the foot makes the shoe more flexible and can emphasize a dancer’s arch, point and line of foot. The flexibility of a split sole jazz shoe is seen as an advantage because it allows the dancer to more easily execute correct foot technique and form. However, split sole shoes do offer less support beneath the foot.
Split sole jazz booties
Bloch offers jazz booties, which are a blend of a jazz boot and a jazz shoe. Bloch jazz booties include split soles and side elastic inserts. The elastic inserts replace the need for laces, which are typically necessary for jazz boots, all while offering an exceptional fit in the upper arch. Jazz booties are used for the same dance styles as jazz shoes, but booties offer more ankle support.
Slip on jazz shoes and booties
Some dancers opt for the slip on style of jazz shoes or booties, which allow dancers to slide the shoe on without having to take the time to tie laces and adjust the shoe’s pressure on the foot. Slip on styles often offer a firmer fit compared to lace up styles. Many dancers may select slip on shoes as the style is ideal for quick shoe changes between practices or performances, and slip on shoes will not untie during a practice or performance. In addition, slip on shoes are ideal for children who struggle with laces.
Visually, a slip on shoe will give a more smooth and cohesive appearance than a laced shoe. The decision between a slip on and a lace up shoe is up to the dancer’s preferences in shoe fit and appearance. Slip on shoes are favorable among dancers with narrow feet as the styles provide a snugger fit. Some dancers with wider feet may choose a lace up style because the laces can be loosened as needed.
Additional jazz shoe types
Jazz boots are structured, sturdy and heavier dance boots typically consisting of a full sole that relieves pressure from the ball of the foot. Jazz boots are normally only designed in lace up styles.
Jazz sneakers are also sturdier than jazz shoes, but often come in a split sole or flexible sole design to assist the foot’s flexing and pointing. Jazz sneakers are also typically heavier than jazz shoes or booties and provide an athletic appearance. Bloch offers lightweight jazz sneaker options with smart lace technology.
How should Jazz Shoes Fit?
Like ballet shoes, jazz shoes must fit accurately in order to serve the dancer properly. Jazz shoes should feel snug on the foot, similar to how a sock may feel. Over time, jazz shoes will naturally mold to the shape of the foot.
While the jazz shoes should feel firm on the feet, it is important to recognize if the shoes are too tight. 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 jazz shoe is worn, that indicates the dancer needs to try a bigger size. While you should expect a dancer’s toes to squeeze together due to the design of a jazz shoe, all the toes should be able to rest flat on the ground.
If there is extra material in the shoe, especially near the toes, then the jazz shoe may be too large. Jazz shoes that are too large can cause uncomfortable rubbing on the feet. For more information on sizing and conversion charts, visit our BLOCH US size guide.
Jazz shoes should be durable without compromising comfort. We recommend that dancers visit one of our Bloch stores for a professional fitting by our highly trained staff to avoid potential injury caused by an ill-fitting shoe. Bloch store locations can be found on our store locator page. Our guide on What To Expect When You Visit a Bloch Store will ensure you’re completely prepared for your leap into the dance world.
About BLOCH Jazz Shoes
From premium materials to hand-made, artisanal construction, quality is in every shoe we create. Bloch leads the way as the ultimate dancewear destination. We strive to equip you or your child with the tools and confidence to dance courageously and beautifully. Our materials, such as our revolutionary moldable suede, arch-hugging neoprene or breathable mesh meet the demands of any dancer.
Bloch offers a wide selection of jazz shoes, including full sole, split sole, jazz booties and sneakers for all dancers, including men, women and children. Many of our styles also offer a variety of material, color and lace options.