Want walkable wedding heels? Try dance shoes!

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Capezio Ladies CaitlinIt's come up many times in the comments on my shoe posts, and an Offbeat Bride named Theresa emailed me to remind me again: if you want truly comfortable but also kinda fancy looking footwear for your wedding, you may want to try dance shoes. Because if you can dance in them, surely you can walk in them.

I mean seriously, Zappos' descriptions never include text like this:

The “Jemma” features a 2.5″ flared heel plus dual density top lift with a soft bottom layer for shock absorption and a hard, grooved top layer for stability and traction.


Shock absorption, stability, and traction all sound like ideal features for wedding shoes… and dance shoes have the added bonus of being pretty affordable. Almost all the styles I'm about to show you are under $100, and most of them are under $70.

Stephanie Regular Series - Latin Rhythm

Go Go Slim Heel Latin Dance Shoe

Bloch Adult Elaine Ballroom Shoe

Very Fine Shoes Ladies Latin

Sansha Rhine

Go Go Slim Heel Latin Dance Shoe

Sansha Women Ballroom Shoe

Capezio Ladies Constance

Capezio Ladies Alicia

Random bonus shoe!

Mandalay - Brownimage 3657204 10511749 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

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Comments on Want walkable wedding heels? Try dance shoes!

  1. If my wedding wasn’t outdoors and in the mountains I would totally get the purple ones in the bottom row!

  2. I’ve seriously thought about getting married in a pair of character shoes, since I’ll be doing a lot of walking. Someone did tell me, though, that they have a suede bottom that is intended for walking on polished wood stage surface, so that wearing them on the street might not be such a good idea. Anyone ever use these as regular shoes, or wear them to an event that involved regular walking? I’d love to hear someone’s experience.

    • Yes! I have. You can generally buy dance shoes with either a sueded sole or a street sole. Specific character shoes will usually have a softer sole not made for the street, though not always suede (sometimes it’s just a softer rubber, etc.). Many dance shoe sites will include in the description whether or not their shoes can be used as street shoes. Hope it helps!


    • You can buy rubber stickies that stick on to the leather soles of your character shoes. They should sell them at drug stores or shoe stores. They’ve always worked for me if I needed a little bit of traction for the sole.

    • I have a pair of character shoes that have a plain leather sole, not sueded.

  3. Because the soles are so flexible they’re not going to be great for walking on uneven surfaces and it will kill the suede bottoms. I wouldn’t do it if you’re going to be doing a lot of outside walking, especially on dirt or gravel. However, if you’re having a mostly indoor wedding with loads of dancing, definitely go for it. Dance shoes usually have a nice mid-heigh heel, are super comfortable, and come in lots of lovely styles – and are super affordable compared to fancy street shoes!

    • I’ll mostly be walking on sidewalk and indoors. I might give them a try. Some of the character shoes are cheap enough that if I ruin them by the end of the day I’ll not be too hurt about it. Thanks Brenda!

    • Quick fix- have a shoes repair person line the soles with thin rubber/plastic and a fresh set of heel taps = street ready shoes

  4. Yeah, I remember taking the taps off an old pair of tap shoes and wearing them as regular shoes. They didn’t last long with Canadian salt and sand on the winter sidewalks. Lesson learned.

    But there was an Offbeat Bride from last month who wore really snappy dance shoes – Elsa of Elsa and Jonathan? Hers were custom-made I think.

    • Hi there! Yes I did wear dance shoes! And they were custom made LaDuca’s. LaDuca’s are great if you’re willing to drop some cash – mine were the Angelique model.

  5. As a former ballroom and latin dancer of (eek) 12 years, I’ve had plenty of dance shoe experience.

    Firstly, yes they’re comfy but only if they fit well, like any other shoe. However, if you go to a proper retailer they often have multiple widths and heel heights in the same style for you to try.

    Heel height is very important. A heel too high and you’ll end up never being able to straighten your knees when you walk and you’ll end up more tired than in a lower heel.

    The soles of ballroom shoes are usually a suede or variant of. These are great for sprung dance floors (although you may want to key up the surface a little with a wire brush so they’re more worn in) but not so good outdoors. The suede will be ruined by any moisture contact and the soles are thin and flexible so you will feel every bump on an uneven surface.

    My old dance teacher wore an old but well loved pair when she got married and was comfortable all day. She was also accepting that they might be ruined for dance purposes afterwards but she could still get a little use out of them. An old pair of dance shoes that I used for nights out lasted a couple of wears but then they’d had it, although they were essentially worn out prior to use.

    I’d also recommend looking at dance shoes for bridesmaids/flower girls and grooms too. The come in some very dapper 20s styles, 50’s styles as well as formal styles.

  6. This looks like a great idea, but what if you need 4-4.5 inch heels? Because the bottom of my dress has a scalloped hem and the whole thing is about ten layers of silk, etc., paying to get the dress taken apart to hem from the waist is NOT an option.
    Any suggestions would be welcome–otherwise I am going to have to shell out the $300+ for Hey Lady shoes, and while they are adorable, I am way too broke-ass for that these days.

    • How about another layer of crinoline? I’m not sure if this is a ballgown style of shift dress, but if it’s ballgown/hoop skirt type stuff, then add the extra padding. It’ll bring it up another couple of inches.

      Also the company I just mentioned in my own comment below, Hey Lady, has a few styles that come in 4″ on a bit of a platform.

      • It’s still quite long with the crinoline.
        I will probably break down and get the Hey Ladys, but they are so expensive. Maybe I can find some used or on Ebay. Unfortunately all the used ones I’ve found have been like a size 6, not a 9.5-10.5 like I’d need….

        • I know the price tag hurts but hey, think work events in the future or New Years where you may be on your feet. That’s what I’m convincing myself. When I get a little closer into my date I’m going to order myself a pair.

  7. This!!! I have planned on getting dance shoes to wear as my wedding shoes. I wear a size 10AA and I rarely wear heels because I feel like I am going to fall out of them. BUT I did ballroom and social swing and I know how comfy I feel in dance shoes.

    I know dance heels are good for long, narrow, flat-arched ladies like myself (many size 10 shoes in dept stores are too wide for me), I’ve wondered if they are also good for regular->wide widths footed ladies.
    The other bonus for me if that the heels are usually lower then regular high heels, and they also usually have a tiny flare out at the bottom of the heel, making it easier to balance to dance/walk.

    My plan is to buy a fab pair of “latin” shoes, and wear the heck out of them. Sure it may “ruin” the suede sole, but $100 to feel comfy and sassy = totally worth it to me. Something like these, but maybe add more sparkle 🙂 http://www.zappos.com/bloch-eden-sb-tan

    Edit to add: Look at these!! COmfy and outrageous?! http://image.discountdance.net/image/560×600/br423_inset1.jpg

  8. Katja, thanks for the link. I’m always looking for comfy heels, I can’t seem to walk in the otherwise. Thank you!

  9. I was pumped to see this article because that’s exactly what I’m doing! My fiancé is a ballroom dancer and he gave me a pair of gold ballroom dancing shoes for my birthday. So when we got engaged, I knew right away that these would be The Shoes.

    If you’re going this route though, it’s better if you have a mostly indoor wedding. Dancing shoes have suede bottoms that don’t stand up well to cement, grass, or mud.

    Also, for this, I’d recommend getting them from a bricks and mortar store if possible rather than online. They have all kinds of widths and sizes available and the people who work there really are expert and can measure your feet properly.

  10. This is what I’m doing! There’s a store in Seattle (though I’m ordering online since I’m in Massachusetts) that does custom ballroom shoes! They have tons of different styles, and you can pick your fabric (or fabrics) and the heel type you want. Oh, and you can get them with a street sole instead of a dance sole if you want. I’m doing that because of the outdoor ceremony aspect of my wedding. Here’s a link! http://dance-wear.net/product.php?cat_id=7

  11. Ahahahahaha. Your random bonus shoe made me laugh out loud.

    Love the idea of dance shoes not only for a wedding day, but for any special occasion where one has to be on her feet for long periods of time.

    I lerve muh heelz, but I’m not about to go to Disney land in them. 🙂

  12. lotsa comments about the feasibility of wearing dance shoes on the street…re-sole! i did it frequently, when adapting rubber-bottomed street shoes for use on the dance floor. my local shoemaker charged around $15 to put on hard leather soles, and i know that the possibility exists to rubberize the bottoms as well (though i never have, since i was wanting less traction for better dancing). great option for anything suede-bottomed that you want to take on the street!

  13. Those second shoes, gimme gimme! My mother had that idea as well, but the only dance shoes in town we ever found were solid black. Pretty, but not pink.

  14. I definitely think this is a great idea 🙂 If the more strappy ballroom shoes aren’t your style, try Aris Allens … they’re a swing dance brand that has a range of modern-casual to vintage style shoes with smooth leather or suede soles. They’re super comfy, economical, and come in a lot of sizes.

  15. And, also, if you have square feet like me (almost as wide as they are long), dance shoes not only come in about fifty gazillion widths, but — even better — look deliciously retro/vintage! I’ve been buying them since I was a wee punk rock girl circa mid-80s. Now as a half-century “eccentric”, I tap in them at bus stops. Nah, not really. But I cooooould.

  16. I got custom shoes when I stood in my brother’s wedding last fall from Step One. They offered an option to get hard leather soles instead of the chrome leather. They have fabulous customer service and will even send swatches of their materials out to you before you order. http://www.steponedanceshoes.com/

  17. I am so in love with the bonus shoe! I found the button on its website that will have them e-mail you when the price is reduced! SQUEEEE!

  18. Love all the comments, it is SO important to wear comfortable shoes on your wedding day, but of course you want them to be beautiful as well!
    Professional dancer Angela Nuran was an instructor choreographing wedding first dances. Her commitment to provide comfortable shoes for brides on the most important day of their life was born. She started selling white ballroom shoes, but many brides couldn’t balance in them, or didn’t like their toes extending beyond the short length of dance shoes, or weren’t thrilled with the styles. So Angela designed and manufactured her line of hybrid shoes combining the elegance and fashion a bride expects with the comfort and quality a dancer requires.
    Angela Nuran now makes comfortable wedding and formal shoes that women like me can wear for hours. I have worn my some days for over 1o hours. No other shoe line offers as much. There has been concern in the conversation here about the suede soles; I personally have worn my pair of Starletta’s and L’amore’s for over a year, wearing them at least 3-4 times every week, in all kinds of weather (except snow; I live in Florida!), and have had no problems with the suede sole. You owe it to your feet on your wedding day or any formal occasion!
    Harpist Esther Underhay who played the harp for Angela’s wedding

  19. So I got on the Discount Dance site that is linked to the pics above. Has anyone tried the footundies? As much as I like to put on heels and look in the mirror I hate wearing them and I just know that I will end up barefoot for most of the night. These look like they would be perfect for dancing barefoot…

  20. I want a pair of comfortable heels for my son’s wedding, and dance shoes came to mind. But somewhere I read that with dance shoes, your toes are often longer than the soles (probably for better control for dancing) but needless to say, I don’t want that for shoes for a wedding. Can anyone expound on that? Thank you for your help!

  21. I read about using dancing shoes for comfort as wedding shoes. I can honestly say – DO IT.
    I love my heels – they make me feel elegant and that’s important on your wedding day. I could not bare the thought of agonizing feet on my wedding day so I decided to try a pair.
    I bought a cheap pair online to begin with at just under £30. I was amazed at how good they look (I wish I had the option to post a picture). I am not getting married until 2018 so I made sure I got them well in advance to wear them in to be sure no parts hurt. They felt like slippers as I did my housework in them on a daily basis around my home. Soft, flexible and comfortable.
    I knew I would have no street walking on these suede soles for my wedding venues so these are ideal for hotels, cruise and anywhere indoors. But – I loved these shoes so much I wanted to use them outdoors. I took them to my cobblers (shoe repairs) and got him to fit a leather sole (you can get different thicknesses) to wear outdoors. Because they were cheap I didn’t expect them to last long but I have worn them outdoors at least 10 times or more (not street pounding or working all day).
    Loads of people asks about these shoes and where I bought them from. I am going to order a more expensive pair now for my wedding and that is why I am searching forums and came across this site.
    Positives – Everything I have said above. You can on most sites choose heel size/type too (the latin/american heel was for me). You can on some sites choose to costomize.
    Negatives – You have to get past the sole being suede as it’s not a look your used to seeing on your shoes (as I did in the beginning). You have to remember that people see the tops of your shoes and not the soles. If your wearing a long wedding dress the soles of your shoes are covered as you kneel so no one sees’ it anyway.
    I am not a dancer so do not know if the cheap shoes I bought would stand up to rigorous dancing.
    This is only MY opinion from the shoes I bought. I hope it helps.

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