One of the most recognizable aspects of dance uniforms is the shoes. Most of us can instantly recognize ballet shoes or tap shoes, for instance, and know that they are associated with that type of dancing. These different types of shoes are specifically constructed in a way that allows the dancers to perform the footwork that they need for that type of dance. Dance sneakers are a relatively new form of dance shoe that is becoming more and more popular for a variety of different dance styles and they definitely aren’t just your regular dance sneaker. They are also constructed perfectly to support dancing. Read on for our handy guide on the best dance sneakers for men, women, and kids.

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What are dance sneakers?

Dance sneakers look at first glance like a regular pair of sneakers. They have a sporty and athletic look and they wouldn’t seem out of place at the gym. When you dive a bit deeper, however, you can see that they are constructed quite differently. Dancers have very specific needs when it comes to how their shoes perform,

1) Flexibility

It is essential for most types of dancing to be able to both flex and point your foot. Regular sneakers have a hard stiff sole that won’t allow this type of movement in the foot, but the sole of dance sneakers will. It is either a full sole that is very flexible or it will be a split sole where the sole is only at the forefoot and the heel.

2) Traction

With most sneakers, the goal is to be able to grip the floor as much as possible. Some types of dance sneakers will also have a similar rubber gripped sole but other types will have a suede sole to allow the dancer to spin, turn, and glide. Or they may have a rubber sole with a suede patch at the forefoot specifically for turning.

Most dance sneakers are unisex, but is always a good idea to take a close look at the sizing instructions as these can vary for men and women.

Can you wear dance sneakers outside of dance class?

Some dance sneakers are designed to be used outside as well as in, so they won’t get damaged by wearing them on the street. Other types of dance sneakers, however, and especially those with a full suede sole, should only be worn on a dance floor or the sole will get ruined. Dance sneakers also don’t always have the same sort of arch support that you would expect from a normal pair of sneakers. The soles are designed to be flexible at the arch so your foot isn’t supported. This makes them unsuitable to be worn for long walks or running.

What types of dance can you wear dance sneakers for?

Some people assume that dance sneakers should only be worn for street dance styles. And, while it is true, that many street dancers will wear dance sneakers when they perform, the sneakers are actually very versatile and can be worn for all sorts of dance styles. Many people prefer to wear dance sneakers for practice because they are so comfortable, so you will see ballroom dancers and jazz dancers wearing these shoes to practice. They are also a popular choice for people who take part in dance fitness, such as Zumba.

What to look for in a pair of dance sneakers

When you are looking for a pair of dance sneakers, there are lots of different variables to consider. And the ones you choose will depend on your personal preference and the types of moves that you will be performing.

Low or high top?

Dance sneakers come in both low and high-top styles, but the low-top is definitely more common. If you prefer the high-top style, or you want a bit more ankle padding, then you can still find a pair that works for you.

Full or split sole?

Both these types of soles will be flexible for dance sneakers, but a split sole will allow you to point your foot in a more dramatic and extreme way. And it will also contour your foot when you point it for a more pleasing line. If the type of dance you will be performing doesn’t require a huge amount of pointing, then a full sole can give you lots of flexibility while also allowing your whole foot to make contact with the floor.

What sole material?

A suede sole is common for lots of dance shoes. Suede is a great material for dancing because it provides that sweet spot between enough grip that you don’t slip but enough smoothness to allow you to glide your foot along the floor. Some dance sneakers, and especially jazz dance sneakers, will have a full suede sole. If you want more traction, however, then a rubber sole can be a better option. This is great for high-energy dance styles that require a lot of leaping. You can also opt for a suede patch at your forefoot so that you can still spin and turn.

Arch support?

Many dance sneakers don’t provide much arch support. And especially those with a split sole because there will be no sole at all underneath the arch of your foot. Other types of dance sneakers are made with arch support so these can be a good choice if you are concerned about having none.

The best dance sneakers for men, women, and kids

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Jazz sneakers

Jazz sneakers are their own sub-type of dance sneakers. They tend to look more obviously like dance shoes rather than street sneakers and they allow for a lot of foot flexibility due to how much is needed for jazz dancing.

Best jazz sneakers for men and women

Sansha Salsette 1 Jazz Sneaker

These jazz sneakers are perfect for jazz dancing, as well as salsa, ballroom, and exercising. They have a full sole made of suede which makes them perform really well when gliding on a dance floor and they have a small 0.5-inch heel. The upper is made from mesh and suede which makes it both durable and breathable.

There is a padded collar at the heel to help prevent it from rubbing against your Achilles tendon, and there is also arch support. So your foot will be supported and protected when you dance.

Features at a glance:

  • Upper – mesh and suede
  • Sole – full suede
  • Lace-up
  • Arch support
  • Colours – purple/black, red/black, gray/black, black

Dance fitness

While you can wear any dance sneaker to a dance fitness class, there are some that have been specifically designed for this purpose. They are more of a hybrid shoe with elements of both an athletic sneaker and a dance sneaker.

Wearing specific dance sneakers to a dance fitness class, rather than normal sneakers, can help you to perform better during class. They are designed to support you in the foot movements that you will need to make so it will make life a lot easier for you.

Best dance sneakers for dance fitness class

Zumba Air Classic

These dance sneakers are created by Zumba to be used in their dance fitness classes, so you can be sure that they will perform really well. And, as you would expect from Zumba, the different designs are vibrant, colorful, and loads of fun. They have a rubber outsole with “Z-slide technology” to give it grip but still allow you to glide.

Because Zumba is such a high-energy dance, the shoes have impact protection built-in, including air pockets. They have cushioning inside, including in the tongue, and the insole is replaceable. The outer is made of suede and breathable mesh to give you support and prevent moisture from getting trapped in the shoe.

The sole is split (some of the other designs have a full sole) but with arch support, so you get the flexibility you need while also supporting your feet.

Features at a glance:

  • Upper – mesh and suede
  • Sole – split with rubber with Z-slide technology
  • Lace-up
  • Arch support
  • Huge variety of colors and designs
  • Impact protection and cushioning

Bloch Element Women’s Dance Sneakers

Bloch is one of the big names in dance shoes, and they have turned their attention here to athletic dance and dance fitness. These shoes have a full sole and lots of foot support. The sole is multilayered to help with shock absorption. The upper is made of mesh to make it breathable and the tongue is padded to help with fit and comfort.

The sole of the shoe has a spin spot included at the forefoot. This is common in lots of dance shoes to help with turning and spinning, so it is really helpful to have this incorporated into the shoe. Bloch created this by using a mix of materials to give that part of the shoe the balance between grip and glide that you need. The sides of the sole act as breaks to further help prevent slipping, which is helpful when doing Zumba slides!

Features at a glance:

  • Upper – mesh
  • Sole – full, multilayered, and rubber
  • Lace-up
  • Colors – pink, orange, black
  • Spin spot at forefoot and sole edges that act as a brake

Ryka Women’s Vida RZX

While the Bloch shoes are dance shoes made into sneakers, you can think of these Ryka shoes as sneakers made into dance shoes. They have more of an athletic bent than a dance one, but there are modifications that turn them into a dance sneaker. They are popular for dance exercise classes such as Jazzercise and Zumba.

The sole is made of rubber and it has a pivot point at the forefoot to help with turns and spins. It also has an Ultra Flex forefoot to help with pointing and a precision return footbed. So you will be able to move your feet as much as you need to while knowing that the shoes will move with you.

The upper is made from mesh to make it breathable and it also has synthetic overlays to make it a supportive structure for your foot. They have a RE-ZORB high impact cushion in the heel so your feet are protected when jumping. Everything about their design makes them perfect for a high-energy dance class.

Features at a glance:

  • Upper – mesh and synthetic
  • Sole – full, rubber
  • Lace-up
  • A wide variety of colorful designs
  • Pivot point at forefoot

Sansha Motion Dance Sneaker

These sneakers are perfect for high-energy dance workouts. The upper is made from breathable mesh and suede so they are both soft and lightweight. The sole is made from hard rubber that will glide on the floor as you dance. It is split to give your foot enough flexibility as you dance. They also have a cushioned heel with shock absorption air pockets.

Features at a glance:

  • Upper – mesh and suede
  • Sole – split, rubber
  • Lace-up
  • Colors – black or red/black

Best split sole dance sneakers for men and women

A split sole is a common design feature in many types of dance shoes. It means that there is a sole underneath your forefoot and your heel but no sole at the arch of your foot. This allows the shoe to completely contour to your foot so that you can point and flex it as if you were barefooted, but it also gives you the protection of a shoe at the points where your foot makes contact with the floor.

So if you are looking for complete flexibility in your foot, a split sole dance sneaker is a great choice for you.

Capezio Canvas Dance Sneaker

These dance sneakers are good all-around dance sneakers that would work for a wide variety of different dance styles. They have a split sole with no arch support so you will get the foot flexibility that you are used to from other types of dance shoes. The sole is made from rubber with built-in flex points and a spin spot at the forefoot to help with spinning and turning. It is also non-marking so if there are restrictions on that at your dance studio, these shoes will be fine.

The upper is made from canvas so is breathable and durable and there is a contoured removable EVA footbed inside. They come in black or white and they have no other colors or patterns on them at all. So if your dance class has clothing restrictions when it comes to your dance shoes, these are likely to conform to them.

Features at a glance:

  • Upper – canvas
  • Sole – split, rubber
  • Lace-up
  • Colors – black or white
  • Spin spot at the forefoot
  • 1.25-inch heel

Bloch Troupe Dance Women’s Sneakers

These shoes have been designed to be perfect for both indoor and outdoor use. So if your dance class sometimes takes place outside or you want to take part in some street dancing, these will work really well. But they also have a non-marking sole which makes them perfect to be worn in a dance studio.

The sole is free moving and split with a spin spot at the forefoot and is made from rubber. The heel has DRT cushioning to help with comfort and shock absorption. The upper is made from mesh with synthetic structural points to give your foot support.

Features at a glance:

  • Upper – mesh and synthetic
  • Sole – split, rubber
  • Lace-up
  • Colors – black or white
  • Spin spot at the forefoot

Capezio Women’s Fierce Dance Sneakers

These shoes have a split sole with built-in flex points to give you the flexibility you need to point and flex your foot. The sole is made from rubber and has a spin spot at the forefoot so that you can glide, spin, and turn with ease. It is also non-marking so these can be used at most studios or gyms. They also have arch support so the flexibility is balanced with supporting your foot.

They are also nicely cushioned to help keep your feet comfortable and for shock absorption. The color, tongue, and removable EVA footbed are all cushioned and there is an Achilles notch to prevent the shoe from rubbing your Achilles tendon. The upper is made from tech mesh with support from synthetic overlays and it uses a sport lace system to ensure that they fit well.

They come in black and white and there are a variety of accent colors to choose from. You get two pairs of laces with each pair – one black and one with the accent color – for a little bit of subtle fashion. They also have a flat boxed toe to help with toe stands.

Features at a glance:

  • Upper – mesh and synthetic
  • Sole – split, rubber
  • Lace-up
  • Colors – black or white (with a variety of accent colors to choose from)
  • Spin spot at the forefoot
  • Flat boxed toe

Capezio Rockit Dance Sneaker

These dance sneakers have a split sole with built-in flex points so you can get a lot of foot articulation out of them. They also have a spin spot at the forefoot to help you spin and turn as much as you need to as well as a flat boxed toe to help with foot stands. So you can expect these shoes to move with your foot while you dance and support you in all of your footwork.

The upper is made from a mixture of PU Nubuck, imitation suede, and SBR nylex mesh. This makes them both soft and breathable. They also have a perforated arch to add some extra breathability to the shoe. The laces use a sport lace system to help you get the perfect fit. There is a contoured and cushioned EVA footbed to keep your feet comfortable no matter how long you dance. They also have a padded collar and Achilles notch.

Features at a glance:

  • Upper – PU Nubuck, imitation suede, SBR nylex mesh
  • Sole – split, rubber
  • Lace-up (sports system)
  • Colors – black
  • Spin spot at the forefoot
  • Flat boxed toe

Best high-step dance sneakers for men and women

Wearing dance shoes with heels is common for a lot of different dance styles, and you might think that you would have to sacrifice that if you opt to wear dance sneakers for dance practice. But there are actually many dance sneakers available that have a heel incorporated into them to give your foot the extension and position that you need.

Sansha Hi-Step Unisex Dance Sneaker

These dance shoes are made from leather and canvas so they are super soft to wear. They have a split sole with a high arch and a heel so they are perfect if you are planning on using them for practicing ballroom dancing or something similar. There is a spin spot at the forefoot to help with turning and spinning and the lining is padded.

Features at a glance:

  • Upper – leather and canvas
  • Sole – split, rubber
  • Colors – black
  • Spin spot at the forefoot
  • High step

Slow Man Split-Sole Lace Up Dance Shoes

These dance sneakers have a medium-high heel that makes them perfect for a variety of dance styles. They also have a sporty look with a variety of colorful designs so wouldn’t look out of place at a Zumba class. They are made of mesh which makes them breathable and lightweight and they have a perforated arch to make them even more breathable again. They are terry-lined, which helps to wick any moisture from your foot away.

The sole is split with a spin spot at the forefoot to help with spinning, turning, and gliding, and the toe is boxed to help with toe stands. The collar is padded and there is a built-in arch and Achilles support, as well as a memory foam footbed, to keep your feet comfortable as you dance.

Features at a glance:

  • Upper – mesh
  • Sole – split, rubber
  • Wide variety of colors
  • Spin spot at the forefoot
  • High step
  • Boxed toe

Bloch Boost Canvas Split Sole Dance Sneakers

These dance sneakers have a high arch which helps to accentuate the arch in your foot and give you the foot position you need to practice a variety of dance styles. There is also in-built arch support to help keep your feet comfortable. The sole is split and the design of the outsole means that it is flexible in all directions. It also has a spin spot at the forefoot.

They have a variable lacing system to help ensure that you get a great fit and the Dri-Lex lining is non-wrinkle and breathable. It is also odor and mildew resistant and these issues, as well all know, can be an unfortunate side effect of high-intensity exercise and dance. They have a compression-molded EVA footbed for comfort and fit.

These shoes also provide a high level of shock absorption. They have a D.R.T cushioned heel with an air cushion that has a shock absorption of 4PSI. So if your style of dance requires a lot of high-impact moves, these dance sneakers will help to protect your feet.

Features at a glance:

  • Upper – canvas
  • Sole – split, rubber
  • Colors – black
  • Spin spot at the forefoot
  • High step – heel is 1.25 inches and platform is 0.75 inches
  • Shock absorption

Sansha Tutto Nero Dance Sneaker

These shoes have a high step which helps to position your foot and accentuate your arch. They look quite futuristic which can really help you to stand out from the crowd. They are made of mesh with suede overlays to help support your foot.

The sole is split with a spin spot at the forefoot and there are straps coming from your arch over your foot to help with arch support. The heel has shock absorption and there is an inner padded sole for extra comfort.

Features at a glance:

  • Upper – mesh and suede
  • Sole – split, rubber
  • Spin spot at the forefoot
  • High step
  • Shock absorption
  • Color – black

Bloch Criss Cross Split Sole Dance Sneakers

If you’re less concerned with shock absorption and more concerned with having a lightweight shoe with an elevated arch, these are the shoes for you. They do have an elevated arch to help position your foot and accentuate your arch with enhanced arch support included. They are also extremely lightweight and breathable with a lightweight mesh upper.

They have a crisis cross design across the arch of the foot that comes in a variety of colorways that look stylish and sporty at the same time. The sole is split with a TPU spin spot to help you turn, glide, and spin. They also have a non-wrinkle Dri-Lex lining to reduce mildew and odor.

Features at a glance:

  • Upper – mesh
  • Sole – split, rubber
  • Spin spot at the forefoot
  • Elevated arch
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Colors – black with a variety of colorways

Best dance sneakers for kids

We all know how important it is to get the right shoes for kids. Their feet are so much more vulnerable than adults because they are more malleable and they are still growing. So, for an activity like dance, where their feet are going to be working hard, finding a pair of dance sneakers that will keep their feet comfortable and give them the support they need is key.

Just like for adults, dance sneakers are a versatile dance shoe for children. They can be used for dance styles that would typically wear dance sneakers for performances but they are also useful for styles like ballroom or jazz where practicing in comfortable shoes can be a great idea, even if you wouldn’t normally wear them to perform.

Capezio Little Kid/Big Kid Canvas Dance Sneakers

These dance sneakers are both soft and flexible due to their canvas upper. They also have a padded collar and tongue as well as a cushioned footbed to keep your child’s feet comfortable as they dance. The lining is terry cloth which is great for moisture-wicking. Reducing moisture is important not just because it stops your child’s feet from smelling, but also because it helps to prevent rubbing. They have a gilly lacing system to help ensure that the fit is perfect.

The sole is split to help your child find the foot flexibility they need to complete their footwork and it is made of hard rubber that is non-slip but also allows their feet to glide across the floor.

Features at a glance:

  • Upper – canvas
  • Sole – split, rubber
  • Gilly lace-up
  • Padded
  • Color – black

Capezio Little Kid Rockit Dance Sneaker

These dance sneakers are super breathable. They are made from a combination of PU nubuck and imitation suede for support but with SBR breathable nylon mesh and air vents to help the air to circulate and allow your child’s feet to breathe.

The sole is split to give your child enough foot flexibility and articulation and they also have a flat boxed toe so that they can learn to do toe stands. The sole is non-marking which will make it suitable for most dance classes. They have a padded collar, tongue, and Achilles notch to keep your child’s feet comfortable and prevent the shoes from rubbing. They also have a speed lacing system that starts further to the side than most shoes so that you can be sure that they fit perfectly and don’t rub. There is a contoured, cushioned, removable footbed to help support your child’s feet.

Features at a glance:

  • Upper – PU nubuck, imitation suede, SBR nylex mesh
  • Sole – split, rubber
  • Speed lacing system that covers more of the foot
  • Flat toe box
  • Padded
  • Color – black

Bloch Dance Girls Troupe Split Sole Dance Sneaker

These shoes are perfect for both indoors and outdoors. So if your child loves to dance in the street or some of their dance classes are outside, these will be perfect. They have a rubber split sole with a spin spot at the forefoot to help your child spin, turn, and glide. It is non-marking so will be suitable for most dance classes.

They have built-in arch support to help keep your child’s foot supported and comfortable. They also have DRT cushioned heel which is both comfortable and provides shock absorption so that your child’s feet will be protected even when they are jumping around. The upper is made from mesh which is lightweight and breathable.

Features at a glance:

  • Upper – lightweight mesh
  • Sole – split, rubber
  • Spin spot at the forefoot
  • Shock-absorbing heel
  • Colors – white and black

Baxinier Girls White Cheerleading Dance Shoes

Originally designed for cheerleading, these dance sneakers will also work well for lots of other types of dance. They have a split rubber sole that is light and flexible. They also have a mesh tongue to help your child’s foot to breathe and holes along the edges of the shoe to help with extra air ventilation.

They are laced but with an adjustable hook and loop system which will help your child to get the shoes on quickly and easily. The insole is contoured and padded to help keep your child’s feet comfortable as they dance. And they are lined with terry cloth to help wick any moisture away.

Features at a glance:

  • Upper – canvas and mesh
  • Sole – split, rubber
  • Laced with adjustable hook and loop system
  • Breathable
  • Color – white

Baxinier Girls White Mesh Cheerleading Dance Shoes

These are another pair of cheerleading shoes that are also perfect for dancing. But these ones are designed with full breathability in mind, with a knitted mesh upper. They also have a terry cloth lining to help with moisture wicking.

The sole is split and made from featherweight rubber and is very flexible to allow your child to articulate their feet in whichever way they need to. It is slip-resistant but also not so grippy that your child won’t be able to glide.

Features at a glance:

  • Upper – knitted mesh
  • Sole- split, rubber
  • Color – white
  • Breathable
  • Flexible

Skazz by Sansha Unisex Child Dance Sneakers

Unlike some of the other children’s dance sneakers, these can’t be worn outside and in. And that’s because they have a split sole with a rubber heel and a suede forefoot. While it does mean that they can only be worn at dance class, the suede forefoot is perfect to support your child in executing their spins and turns.

The upper is made of mesh with suede overlays to help give your child’s feet the support that they need.

Features at a glance:

  • Upper – mesh and suede
  • Sole – split, rubber and suede
  • Lace-up
  • Color – black

WUIWUIYU Hook and Loop Cheerleading Dance Shoes

A lot of dance sneakers for children have a split sole, but if you are looking for a pair that have a full sole that is still flexible enough or dancing, these are a great option. The sole is made from soft gum rubber so is flexible while still having a full sole that supports the arch of your child’s foot.

The upper is made from leather with air holes across the side and front, so it is both durable and breathable. The tongue is mesh and the lace-up system is quick, easy, and secure. The inner is cushioned and they have a padded collar. These shoes are even water-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about getting caught in the rain or your child spilling anything on them!

Features at a glance:

  • Upper – leather and mesh
  • Sole – full, soft gum rubber
  • Quick lace-up system
  • Water-resistant
  • Color – white

Sansha Flight Dance Sneaker

These dance sneakers have a split sole with a high instep. This can help your child to articulate their feet perfectly for dancing and will help to accentuate their arch. The upper is made from mesh with synthetic leather overlays to help your child’s foot breathe while also being supported.

The heel is cushioned and features air pocket shock absorption technology. This can help to protect your child’s feet even when they are doing high-impact, high-energy dancing. They also have a flat toe box to help your child learn to do toe stands.

Features at a glance:

  • Upper – mesh and synthetic leather
  • Sole – split, rubber
  • Lace-up
  • High instep
  • Flat toe box
  • Shock-absorbing heel
  • Color – black

Bloch Girls Criss Cross Split Sole Dance Sneakers

These dance sneakers are super lightweight with a full mesh upper that has a criss-cross design along the instep. The sole is split with a high instep that helps to elevate and accentuate your child’s feet. They also have enhanced arch support and the sole is non-marking.

There is a TPU spot at the forefoot to help your child to spin and turn as they dance. These shoes are also great for reducing moisture. The lining is made from Dri-Lex, which is moisture-wicking and doesn’t wrinkle. It is also odor and mildew-resistant.

Features at a glance:

  • Upper – lightweight mesh
  • Sole – split, rubber
  • Lace-up
  • Elevated arch
  • TPU spin spot at the forefoot
  • Lined with Dri-Lex
  • Color – black with a variety of colorways

Dance Class Lace-Up Jazz Shoe (Little Kid/Big Kid)

These dance sneakers for kids are all about comfort and support. They have a breathable mesh upper that is supported by leather overlays across the foot. The sole is made of rubber and is split to help your child be able to flex and point their feet, but there is arch support so that their feet still stay supported. The collar and the tongue are both padded for extra comfort and they have a shock-absorbing insole.

The speed lacing system makes the shoes quick to put on and is designed to be form-fitting so that the shoes stay snug around your child’s arches and across their feet.

Features at a glance:

  • Upper – mesh and leather
  • Sole – split, rubber
  • Speed and form-fitting lacing system
  • Shock absorbing
  • Padded
  • Color – black

The bottom line

Dance sneakers have become very popular in recent years, even for dance styles that wouldn’t normally be associated with sneakers. And there are good reasons for that. Sneakers have been the top choice for exercise since they were designed because they tend to be lightweight, breathable, comfortable, and have good support. And the same can be said of dance sneakers, but with a few tweaks to their design to make them perfect for dancing. Whatever your style of dance, and whatever you need your shoe to be able to do, there is a dance sneaker that will keep you comfortable and performing at your best.