Saturday, January 18, 2014

Dance shoe size matters-Choosing the right dance shoe

How important is it to have a proper fitting dance shoe?  VERY!  Experts say "A quarter of parents say they don’t get their children properly fitted for shoes on a regular basis and with ill fitting shoes causing anything from bunions and athletes foot to far more serious long term issues like back problems and bone deformation, experts are worried about the harm being done to the health of millions of children." 

More often than not we don't notice that are children's feet have grown out of their shoes.  Case in point;  At the beginning of the fall dance class season, which was September, my daughter was a street size 1 shoe.  Small feet for a small girl for sure.  By the time November came around her foot had grown and increased 2 whole shoe sizes.  My daughter, who recently turned 12, had very steadily increased her shoe size by 1/2 every year since young toddler hood, talk about a growth spurt! Luckily for her, being that I am in the business of selling dance shoes and all things dance, I was able to quickly get her into a new shoe. 
Rare is it that a child says my shoes are too small.  It's difficult in our busy lives to take the time or
make the time to constantly have our children sized for shoes.  

FACT:  If a dance shoe does not fit properly than your child will not be able to dance properly. 
When your shoes are too small and your toes are cramped, or just as bad, your toes are coming out of the tip of the shoe, you simply cannot and will not have proper dance technique.  Thus the beginning of bad dancing habits.  Try this; put on a pair of shoes that are too small and too tight.  How does it feel at the end of the day when your toes are cramped and aching?  Yeah, it's tough to dance correctly when your shoes have seen better days.  Studies have proven wearing shoes that are too small can cause serious long lasting problems.
Bob Hardy Fellow of the Society of Shoe Fitters comments: “Ill fitting shoes are most uncomfortable when you are active so shoes that don’t fit will discourage kids from enjoying physical activities that help to keep a healthy mind and body. Most kids aren’t even aware their shoes are a factor so as a result don’t complain to their mom or dad.”

Here's a secret.  There are only a few dance shoe companies.  Yet, there are so many "brands" of dance shoes.  A big name brand company will own several other brands of shoes.  Ever wonder why one shoe looks so much like another yet they are a different price?  Yeah, it is because they were made my the same manufacturer, over seas, by the way.  Case in point;  Bloch owns 5 different dance shoe brand names.  Same thing goes for Capezio, etc. etc.  It's the same thing in the automobile industry.  Ford, Mercury, Lincoln, Volvo, Jaguar.  All are Ford products.  Some cars are almost exactly alike, the difference is the interior and some minor differences in the engine output.  Same goes for shoes.

Anyway, back to the shoe business.  There introductory level shoes, mid-level and so on.  The thing is with shoes is there is not a one size fits all.  Surprise!  Because our feet are so unique you really have to go with what works best for your child's feet.  Of course I have my favorites, shoes that I recommend and shoes that I strongly dislike. This is more about quality.  Then there are shoes that I recommend for narrow and the opposite, very wide feet.  I could literally type for hours talking about shoes.  However, what is most important is fit.  Don't be fooled, just because a shoe is less expensive than another does not mean that it is inferior.  Often the cheaper shoe is just as good as or even better than the more expensive shoe.

In regards to pointe shoes, that's an article within itself.  You must go to a store to try on pointe shoes.  Honestly, going on pointe should only be done if your child is serious about ballet.  If you are a jazz, lyrical, or a contemporary dancer, then you don't ever need to go on pointe and this is from experts.  There are upper level ballet classes that you can take and bypass the whole pointe issue altogether.

Size matters and so does the type of dance shoe that you wear.  Would you wear a tap shoe for a lyrical class?  Would you wear a ballet shoe to a jazz class?  You shouldn't wear a ballet shoe to any class except a ballet class. They are different!  Then there is the argument of canvas versus leather.
So, every dance studio, or at least every studio should have a dress code and shoe requirement list.  Some schools like leather.  Some dance schools like canvas.  Sometimes you have options and sometimes you don't.  Often if you are on a team then everyone has to have the same shoe.  If you are serious about dance then be serious about the dance shoe that your child is wearing.

So, a few tips.  Measure often, at least every 6 months. You can measure accurately, at home.  It only takes a few seconds. When it comes to a particular style of shoe and brand, it's all about trial and error.  Spend some at a dance store, if you can.  Nowadays dance stores will charge a fee, as much as $35.00 to try on shoes.  If you buy a pair of shoes than that fee is null and void.

Discount code TP67920
Buying dance shoes online- If you plan ahead and you know the correct street size shoe, than go ahead and order online.  Online retailers are selling the exact same shoe and they come with the same warranty just as if you were buying them at a retail store front.  The only difference is the cost and the time you spend time traveling to and from a store front.  If you go this route than I highly recommend Discount Dance Supply.
If and when you order dance shoes online, be sure to look at the shoe size chart.  Often the size of dance shoe is not the same as the size of a street shoe.  Also, each brand has their own conversion sizes! You will have to look at the provided conversion chart and then make your choice. If you have questions you can simply call customer service.  TP67920, this is a discount code that you can use for multiple purchases at Discount Dance Supply.  Simply input the code at checkout.

Here's an example of a size chart that you MIGHT encounter when converting a child's street shoe size to adult.  Notice too that this particular shoe brand company first has you increasing the shoe size and then giving you the corresponding adult size shoe to purchase.  This is NOT the case with all styles or brands of shoes. 
Converting Child to Adult Sizes
First increase the child street shoe size by two. Then follow the suggested fitting for the adult shoe you are purchasing.
Child Street Size Adult Street Size
1.0 3.0
1.5 3.5
2.0 4.0
2.5 4.5
3.0 5.0
3.5 5.5
4.0 6.0
4.5 6.5

You can do a Google search for a shoe size chart.  There you will find various printable sizing charts which can facilitate you in sizing your child at home. 

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