[Callers] Shoes

Hgrastorf at aol.com Hgrastorf at aol.com
Wed Jun 25 20:05:24 PDT 2008

If your ankles are the least bit liable to "turn" if you wear what  costumers 
call "character shoes" -- a classic woman's dance shoe which  has 2" or 2.5" 
heels that taper considerably toward the bottom -- then you might  want to 
look for a character shoe with what is called a "Cuban" heel. They  resemble tap 
shoe heels in that they are "squared off" and do not taper. I  wear a Capezio 
style (now discontinued, alas) with a 1" Cuban heel, which I  actually find 
less fatiguing than flats, and which gives terrific  support. They have a strap 
which fastens to a buckle which is on a  fold of elastic, which allows for a 
certain amount of "give."  They  are lightweight, but sturdy.
If there's a dance supply store in your area, you  should consider getting 
properly fitted for your first pair -- many dance  shoes run a size or half a 
size smaller than "street" shoes.  A store which  also sells pointe shoes 
usually has expert fitters, carries more than one brand,  and also has a range of 
useful accoutrements -- moleskin, etc.   But once you've found a style and size 
that work for you, look online to get  replacement pairs.  Discountdance.com, 
for instance, usually runs about 25%  less, although there's the shipping 
If, like me, you wear orthotics, then it's crucial to make sure that the  
shoes accommodate the orthotics comfortably, and that the heel is not so high  
that it compromises the insert.  If (like an acquaintance of mine at Glen  Echo) 
you absotively posolutely insist on dancing contra and waltz in  2" heels and 
you wear orthotics, ask your podiatrist to fit a custom  pair of orthotics 
which will accommodate the "lift" at the heel. Your insurance  probably won't 
cover it, but they can be ordered that way.  (Your  podiatrist will have a thing 
or three to say about that, mind you.)
The leather soles on my Capezios give me just enough spin for the floor at  
Glen Echo. I wear them only for dance, and I check the soles carefully  and 
remove any build-up of floor product residue. I have two pair (one black,  one 
taupe), which I try to use alternately. I have tried a wide  range of other 
dance shoes (split-sole dance/jazz sneakers, leather  jazz shoes, etc.) but I 
always come back to the Cuban-heel character shoes. 
April Blum 

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