What are the differences between a dance sneaker and a normal trainer?

As part of our Ask a Dance Teacher series, dance teacher Johanna Hadley takes us through why a dance sneaker is designed specifically for dancers, and how it differs from a normal sneaker or trainer.

Dance teachers V high street trainers

There are many different styles of dance sneakers available. If you’re waiting for your dance sneakers to arrive and are considering whether you should use trainers in the meantime, I’m going to show you a pair of Bloch dance sneakers and hopefully you can really see the big differences between normal trainers and dance sneakers. Each brand of sneaker available offere different benefits so have a good look around. Some can be quite cheap ones, which are really good to get started with. And you can go for more expensive ones which have some fantastic extra features.

I’ve got here a Bloch dance sneaker and straight away I think you can hopefully see the difference here in the shape of the shoe. So particularly at the minute I know that the fashion for trainers is to have quite a wide sole on them. So it’s a slightly narrower sole, but the main difference as you can see here, is the shape of the arch of the shoe. Dance sneakers do have built-in arch support and look at the flexibility in that shoe. That really allows you to point your feet and go through your feet. You can go straight up onto the demi points, you can go through your feet, articulate through the feet and all the time your arch is being supported.

The benefits of dance sneakers

The next thing I’m going to talk about is the weight of this shoe. It is so light. It’s made from a very breathable lightweight material and it has a lot of ventilation in it. The material is almost like a mesh on the outside and it’s just not got that heavy feeling like a normal high street trainer has. Another really beneficial feature of a dance sneaker is the cushioned heel. This is so important for dancers especially if you’re doing anything like Zumba. It really provides a huge amount of support. I’m just squishing this here and I can really feel the support. It’s supportive but it is still soft. It’s not hitting a hard sole underneath and that’s so important for dancers to really make sure we don’t have any problems starting to develop with the heel.

Moving on to the sole of the shoe, hopefully you can see here this little oval section here. This is what Bloch call a spin spot. Now high street trainers don’t have spin spots. These are specifically designed for dancers and so this area here helps with turns. Also the sole is a very flexible material and it’s specifically a non-marking sole. So if you wear your normal high street trainer in a dance studio and particularly on the more modern dance floorings, you can create little marks all along the floor, which won’t make your dance teacher very happy. But with these shoes it’s a special non-marking sole.

Another lovely feature of dance sneakers is the very light padding, which goes all the way around the back. I can feel a little bit as well just underneath this front section here. When you’re wearing normal trainers it can be a real problem with shoes starting to rub you and that shouldn’t be a problem wearing dance sneakers, because it has this padding all the way around. It’s not heavy padding. Also just to mention that the lining as well is made from special material which has wicking properties to help prevent your feet getting hot and sweaty. This means that the shoes won’t become a very hot and sweaty environment. It’s a really nice amount of padding that makes the shoe very comfortable to wear.

So hopefully by the end of this video you can really see that a dance sneaker, has been made specifically for dance classes thinking about the problems that dancers might encounter and protecting the dancers feet.

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