We love to dance, and we LOVE Belly Dance for the freedom it provides us. One of the beauties of this freedom is the ability to dance bare feet.  It’s an amazing feeling; to feel the earth beneath your feet and every little movement your body does. Balance, precision, strength: all are achieved so much easier when the feet are connected to the ground, feeding the earth’s energy. It’s a beautiful thing.
However, with time you realize that you need shoes.
In my opinion, you should never practice without shoes. Any accident here can affect your performance. Hours of practice without protection can lead to calluses, that can affect your performance on stage. Another fear is the ‘knee torque’, which is caused by a turn where the feet sticks to the ground and can cause severe damage to the knee joint. Also the stage area! You might perform on a festival where the previous dancer left coins on the floor, or there are those venues where the “dance floor” might be carpet, grass or concrete, making the dance floor difficult to dance at.
I picked a few examples of dance shoes that were designed to bring more comfort to your practice and/or performance. Below you will find options for the studio, performance or both :-)


1. Pedini Style
I started wearing the Pedinis about 3 years ago. I wanted to explore the idea of wearing high heels and I thought those were the perfect shoes to start of. Split sole, 1″ heel, makes it a great practice shoe. It’s extremely comfortable and a great practice companion.
2. Jazz Split Sole
Made of  soft, durable leather with foam padded insole. Closed toes might be a challenge for some dancers, but they sure keep your feet clean :-)
3. Jazz sneakers
Perhaps the only shoes to ofter a complete overall protection for feet and knees. For dancers with knee problems this is a must!! These shoes can take away the softness of some movements, but in terms of protection, nothing compares to it.
4. Soft Ballet Shoes
With the options of split or full sole, Ballet slippers are great, specially for dancers who practice both styles.
5. Lyrical sandals or Half sole
One of my favorites practice companions. They provide protection for the ball of the foot making turns smooth and clean.  These are perfect for dancers who want the freedom of bare feet with the protection of the ball of the foot.
6. Lyrical – Foot Undeez
I’ve worn those before for class and I only wear them if I don’t have other option. Foot undeez come off too easy  while you are dancing and can hurt in between toes. Still some people really like them.

 

Practice shoes are great, but not always look good on the stage. Here are a few of my picks for performing:

1. Hermes Sandals
These were my first Belly dance shoes. I’ve worn these kind for over 10 years now and still, they are my favorite all around practice and performance shoes. Soft sole makes it very comfortable, and the straps have a “Greek” feeling to it. Great for outdoor performances. They never pinched my feet, however the straps can come loose if not well tight.
2. Gold Lyrical Sandals
For those who really like the feel of half sole, those Lyrical sandals also come in Gold and Silver.
3. Belly Dance slippers
These soft leather shoes, have elastic around for comfort. They provide all around protection for your feet. Some dancers might add theses to more folkloric costumes such as the baladi dress. It’s a favorite among many dancers.
4. Cuban Heel
Decided to go with Ballroom but can’t dance on 2.5″ heels? You may want to consider the Cuban Heel. With 1.5″ and a nice design, it may be the perfect shoe to start of.
5. Latin T-Strap 2.5″
I love the look and feel of these Capezio Alandra Shoes. They are so, so soft and light weight, it makes you float on stage.

High heels are a  staple of Turkish and Lebanese styles, although some dancers like Soraya Zayed made them part of Egyptian routine as well. They not only add a nice touch to the elaborate costumes, but can also add a nice touch to your movements. I noticed that my shimmies are way stronger when I wear high heels, and because I am more cautious turning, it also adds softness to my dance.
If you are feeling adventurous, try ballroom shoes, but practice before your performance :-)

And talking about shoes, I could not forget to mention The DancEsmeralda Shoe Project. Esmeralda is a Brazilian dancer who, after a decade working in the Middle East, in association with Capezio Brazil designed the very first Belly Dance High Heel Shoes. At 7.5 cm tall, approximately 3″ tall!!! Thick, hollow heels make them extremely light weight and perfect for balance. The sole is Suede like all ballroom dancing shoes, but there is a thinner insole for the shoe to be 100% flexible and good even for Turkish drops! The open toe shape was made for comfort and the design keeps you feet from sliding out of your shoes  The half-moon shape heel allows greater control on level changes. For more information on the shoes visit her website: Dancesmeralda.com.br

Do you know of other Belly dancing perfect shoes out there? Do you have any questions? Please share with us in the comment box below :-)