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Alright, it’s time to lay down the law about swing dance shoes.

What are the best swing dance shoes? What are the best Lindy Hop shoes? What kind of shoes should I buy? Where should I get them? Good questions!

Here are my recommendations for swing dance shoes:

It’s generally understood that Aris Allen shoes are the best option for swing dancers. They are not the ONLY option, but they are the primary option. Aris Allen shoes can be purchased through http://www.dancestore.com/ and they are more or less a reliable source for Lindy Hop shoes for both men and women.

Men's Swing Dance Shoes

Aris Allen White Captoe with Raw Leather Sole

For Men, variations of the captoe shoes with raw leather sole are the way to go for a more dressy shoe, though Aris Allen also makes casual dance runners that are also an option. At one point there was a joke about guys having to graduate to a high enough level before they’d be allowed to wear the white version of the captoe shoe, because only the most advanced guys used to wear them. However, everyone is wearing them these days (in various colours) and they’re a great option for men.

Some men prefer a suede bottomed shoe over a leather sole, but the leather is generally easier to care for and more practical for most dance floors.

For women, there are a lot more factors to consider.

Flats, heels or wedges? Leather, suede or dance rubber?

As a follower, I’m personally not as fond of suede bottomed shoes; I prefer a leather sole that allows me to feel the floor and has a bit of sound to it. Some people will disagree, but for me there’s no contest and my choice is leather all the way. I also don’t really like taking care of suede bottomed shoes, though I do have one pair (the classic Aris Allen Wingtip Athletic Mary Jane – Black & White) that are very comfortable and I wear those if I know that I’m going to be teaching and on my feet for more than 4 hours.

Women's Swing Dance Shoes

Aris Allen Wingtip Athletic Mary Jane

As for a heel, I do like a heel, but I don’t recommend higher than a 1.5 inch. I have several pairs of 1 inch and 1.25 inch heels that I love. Always look for a cuban heel which is chunkier and more stable than a narrow heel. The low heels have got just enough height that they can look dressy, but they are comfortable and grounded enough to do Lindy Hop without floating or feeling off balance.

Mandi's pick: Capezio Lilina 455 women's character shoe with a low (1.5") cuban heel.

I personally also like a basic ballroom shoe with a low cuban heel. You can also find this type of shoe as a tapless tap shoe for women. I find this type of basic shoe to be extremely practical and I wear my basic mary jane style character shoes more than anything else. I have a black pair, a nude pair and a white pair and I’m hunting for a nice red pair as well. You can find this type of shoe from Capezio, Bloch and other such companies.

Some good sources for character shoes:

Capezio Dancewear Shop
Bloch World
All About Dance
Onlinesports.com

As for the other factors, it’s more of a question of style than anything else. The choice of colour and style is really up to you, and like any other kind of shoe, you might find that you’re going to want to build a small collection of shoes that are appropriate for your mood, wardrobe and circumstances. Because you can never have too many shoes – or dance shoes for that matter! Happy shopping!

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