The Latin Ballroom is a widely known dance genre that uses shoes with heels for both women and men. It’s a social dance created to be danced with two people, reflecting history, culture, relationships, and more. This dance genre has beginner-friendly moves that anyone can do, but the professional level is performed by dancers who dedicate years of learning and practice to master it.
The dancers usually wear elegant outfits to match the elegance that the Latin dances offer. In addition, men typically wear black oxford shoes with 1–2 inches of heel, while women usually wear open-toe high heels with ankle straps for stability and fluidity.
Shoes are an important part of social dances as it accentuates many movements and generally makes a routine more comfortable to execute or perform. However, wearing them for too long or wearing the shoes incorrectly can cause mild to extreme foot pain and may even cause foot deformities. This article will tell you what to do to make dance shoes such as black heels with ankle straps feel more comfortable so you can dance all day and night.
Heel pain isn’t a common problem for everyone, but if you experience it when wearing dance heels, there are some reasons. Avoid the long-term negative effects of wearing high heels by taking note of the following:
All foot lengths and widths are different, so don’t expect all commercial dance shoes to fit you perfectly. Unless you want your ballroom heels to be customized, you may need to check how specific brands do their sizing so you can choose the right size for your foot. Using a tight fitting pair of heels may cause Morton’s neuroma over time, so be conscious of this.
Wrong heel height
A common mistake in purchasing dance heels is overestimating your comfort and buying a heel height that you feel like you could walk in. Remember that you may be comfortable walking in 4-inch heels but have a hard time dancing in them. Foot type comes into play with comfort as well. For example, if you have an arched foot or strong ankles, swaying in heels may not be a problem. So take into account your feet type for a better fit.
Lack of padding
First of all, unlike sneakers or flats that have soles with sufficient padding to protect your feet from the ground and rough surfaces, high heels lack this layer of protection, so your body is more likely to feel discomfort while standing on hard floors like concrete.
Be mindful of how long and how often you use high heeled shoes as you may be at risk of overusing your tendons on the ball of your foot and developing a condition called sesamoiditis. This commonly happens to athletes or dancers who overuse their feet, and neglect foot care.
Preventing Pain on Your Heel and the Ball of Your Foot
Aside from wearing the correct type and shoe size, there are a few footwear accessories that can help prevent or alleviate foot pain when wearing dance heels. Foot gels inserts or pads are shoe accessories that you can bring anywhere and use whenever. Alternatively, you can stick them to a pair of heels that you often use.
The most effective step to take is wearing dance shoes with enough padding. You can add extra padding to your heels with insoles. Always check if your ballroom heels have padded insoles, which can be made of foam or gel materials that naturally conform to the shape of your foot and absorb shock when dancing. These types of sole inserts are easy to slip into any heel you own, which will give you the right height and comfort.
Keep in mind that your inserts should still be slightly shorter than your actual foot length when buying padded insoles. This is to prevent your entire foot from slipping off the shoes.
Cushioning on your foot’s ball
Metatarsal pads are small round pieces of cushioning that can be placed under the ball of your foot for extra comfort. They are usually made from gel or foam, but some heels come with built-in metatarsal pads already inside them. These pads reduce pressure and tension on the ball of your feet as you dance, which helps prevent pain.
Another way to reduce the risk of foot pain from wearing heels is by using arch pads. These provide a solid grip on your arches to reduce slippage and keep you stable while dancing.
Luckily, it isn't hard to look for foot pads specifically made for heels. Dr. Scholl's has a line of gel pads called "Stylish Steps" that are meant for both closed-toe and open-toe high heels. For ballroom dancers, who mostly use the ball of their feet while dancing, the perfect product is Dr. Scholl’s Stylish Step Ball of Foot Cushions for High Heels.
Product Highlight: Dr. Scholl’s Ball of Foot Cushions
In social dances, women spend most of their time dancing on the ball of their feet since they do many spins, pivots, and foot extensions. This shift in gravity naturally makes you lean forward and arch your back. However, this also puts a strain on the metatarsals that may become painful in the long run. Additionally, as you keep dancing, your feet may excrete sweat that can make your shoes slippery and hard to dance in. Even if your shoes are originally snug and fit, continuous wear can cause them to expand and you will then notice them feeling looser than you remember. To keep your dance heels secure on your feet, you need to use gel shoe inserts that keep the ball of your foot cushioned and in place. Along with cushioning, these foot inserts help reduce pain by increasing comfort and footing when dancing.
These ball of foot pads are made from medical-grade silicone, so they naturally fit in any type or size of heels without slipping or sliding. They are also non-sticky and can be worn with bare feet without causing discomfort or sweating.
They are easy to attach to any pair of shoes. All you need to do is clean your shoes of any debris by wiping them with a dry cloth, then peel the plastic backing, stick the adhesive side on the inside of the shoe, and then test it out!
- Can last up to six months or up until you see signs of wear and tear
- Visually discreet
- Works great on open-toe dance heels
- Soft and flexible
- Good for people who are not used to heels
- Helps alleviate the pain after standing in heels for hours
- May increase tightness in closed shoes
- May not be enough support if you are prone to other foot pain
- May not be re-used in other shoes since unsticking the gel pad can cause the adhesive to be less sticky.
Dr. Scholl’s Stylish Step Ball of Foot Cushions for High Heels is a great product to have as it gives you the right height, stability, cushioning, and comfort every time you wear dance heels. It will give you that extra edge to dance all night long without any foot pain or tiredness, so go ahead and try them out!
Before you buy that beautiful pair of black open-toe heels with straps and Dr. Scholl's metatarsal pads for your Bachata or Rumba night, you may want to check out what heel heights you should get for your ballroom shoes.
Here is a short guide for women’s heels.
|1.5 inches / 4 cm||Practice||Best used for teaching/practice sessions|
|1.25 inches / 3.2 cm||Practice||Best used for girls or young adults|
|1.9 inches / 4.85 cm||Wedge||Ladies’ standard|
|2 inches/ 5 cm||Cuban||Best used for teaching/practice sessions|
|2 inches / 5 cm||Flared||Ladies’ standard dance shoes / Ladies’ Latin dance shoes|
|2.5 inches/ 6.5 cm||Flared||Ladies’ standard dance shoes / Ladies’ Latin dance shoes|
|2.5 inches/ 6.5 cm||Slim||Ladies’ standard dance shoes / Ladies’ Latin dance shoes|
|3 inches/ 7.5 cm||Flared||Ladies’ Latin dance shoes|
|3 inches/ 7.5 cm||Slim||Ladies’ Latin dance shoes|
|3 inches/ 7.5 cm||Straight||Ladies’ Latin dance shoes|
|3.2 inches/ 8 cm||Flared||Ladies’ Latin dance shoes|
|3.2 inches/ 8 cm||Slim||Ladies’ Latin dance shoes|
Remember that being comfortable dancing in stilettos may take time, so make sure you use comfortable shoes with insoles and don’t rush your progress. One of the best types of heels you can start with are chunky heels with ankle strap. These wedges give you more balance and the ankle straps make sure your feet are secure.
If you want more support around the ankles, you can try ankle boot heels that are semi-open around the toe area. However, if you have previously worn heels before for casual use, you may practice with whatever heels you have to get used to the general feeling of how dancing in high heels is like.
No matter what kind of shoe style and heel size you end up choosing, try to provide it with the ultimate comfort by adding gel insoles such as Dr. Scholl's Ball of Foot Cushions.
Getting comfortable with dancing in heels is important for many reasons. First, it gives you the confidence to dance all night long without any foot pain or tiredness so that you can enjoy every single song! Second, it makes sure that your performance on the dance floor is as flawless and seamless as possible because you are not distracted by the pain in your feet. Finally, it shows how dedicated you are to dancing because you will find ways to overcome the pain in your feet!
To make sure that you can bring out the best version of yourself on the dance floor, sweep the ballroom all night long with Dr. Scholl's Cushions for High Heels.