dance shoes for west coast swing

west coast swing dance shoes

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West Coast Swing Dance Shoes

I constantly get questions about which kind of dance shoes should we wear for West Coast Swing and where to get them.  My first piece of advice to find west coast swing dance shoes is to seek out the shoe vendors at WCS events.  I always prefer seeing dance shoes in person and even trying them on before shopping online. If you are not able to attend a big weekend west coast swing event then hopefully this blog post will be your #1 resource to choosing the right west coast swing dance shoes for you.

Pro tip: When picking out a dance shoe that is right for you, comfort and style are key factors. Be prepared to allow a break-in period for any new pair of dance shoes.   

Want to hear what other dancers have to say about west coast swing dance shoes?

Read this post from our Facebook page It has some fun 'real world' info from other dancers.

Womens Shoes


Although the fashion boots have become the in thing these days... the 'strappy sandals' or "practice cuban heels' are a core shoe that will serve you well for not only WCS but your other dance styles as well.

Pro tip: The fit of these shoes is important. Your big toe should line up with the front edge of the shoe. Also remember these shoes will stretch out overtime and form to your foot.

Style Options: There are many options for sandal and strappy looks. These are nice if you are wanting to wear shorts or a skirt, as well as pants. While the tan strappy sandals are probably the most common selection, the nice thing about these shoes is that the major shoe vendors make several styles of them so you can get something that both fits your taste and your feet.

Where to buy:

  •  Dance Shoes of TN has a nice line of these types of shoes. You'll also see them as vendors at many weekend dance events. They are REALLY good folks!
  • Very Fine is another common company that has a nice selection. They carry many different options but here is a link to the most popular one, the tan practice cuban strappy's.
  • Supadance is a very popular shoe in the ballroom community and they make a quality option for WCS dancers

West Coast Swing Dance Boots

West Coast Swing boots are also popular favorites these days.  Several manufactures have created several different high quality dance boots. As of the date of this post in 2019, dance boots may be the most popular options for women at west coast swing events.

Style Options: They come with many options of brand, color, heel size & shape, and material (usually suede or leather).

Pro tip: Sway'd boots have the most comfortable stylish options for west coast swing.

Where to buy:

  • Dance Shoes of TN carry our  favorite west coast swing boots for women. Sway'd boots! They are urban in style and can be dressed up or down
  • Dance Connection also has some options for you as well.
  • Danceweare Europe has some high quality stylish boots and might be easier to get if you live in Europe.

    Closed toed practice shoes

    These are not the most popular choice for west coast swing but they serve a purpose. If your feet don't fit the strappy sandals or if you want to protect your toes.. these are an option.

    I recommend a shoe with a heel height of about 1.5 inches tall.  The most popular for woman are black, closed-toe heeled shoes with laces. For a full description of heel heights check out this page.

    Style Options: While the black closed-toed options are usually chosen for comfort and protection of your feet, there are still some cool options. Ray Rose has some cool choices. There are so many options for material, color, and style, that your choice comes down to personal preference. 

    Pro tip: You will find a lot of professional dance teachers wearing these. I always recommend double knotting the laces.

    Where to buy:

    • Dance Connection has several basic options including one with extra padding.
    • Ray Rose is one of the highest quality shoes out there. Plus they have some fun color choices.

Hybrid Dance Sneakers

While not the most popular option among women (these are very popular for male dancers) these hybrid dance sneakers provide a comfortable option for long hours on the dance floor.

Style options: These come in several color options however there might be a long wait time for some colors

Protip: Again if comfort is your main concern Dance Connection makes a pair of hybrids with extra padding.

Where to buy:

  • Dance Connection has some comfortable options for aching feet and different colors as well.
  • Veryfine makes several selections in different colors

Street shoes

Ladies have LOTS of different options for shoes. Here is a great video on Street Shoes vs Dance Shoes so you can learn the no no's of what shoes you should avoid.

Many of my students have taken regular street shoes to a cobbler and requested that felt or suede be added to the bottoms. The result: a pair of cool, danceable street shoes.  These students want to look like they fit into a club or bar without looking pretentious. This route makes them feel more comfortable, like they naturally fit into the scene. 

Pro tip: The shoe brand Tom's is popular for WCS social dancing. 

Shoe bags 

Lastly, it is always recommended that you don't wear your dance shoes on any floor other than a dance floor.  Use a shoe bag to transport your dance shoes to and from the car, and change shoes before and after dancing. 

Pro tip #1: Let shoes air out before putting them back in the shoe bag or they will get stinky. Leave your shoe bag in the trunk of your car instead of the back seat when not in use.  I have had many dancers report that their car got broken into because they left a shoe bag in plain sight and it got stolen! 

Pro tip #2: Make sure you add a unique marking to your shoe bag. I've seen many people mistakenly take home the wrong shoe bag because they all look the same.

Mens Shoes

Ballroom Shoes

If you dance other dance styles Dance shoes with heels are very popular for competitions and social dancing in the West Coast swing genre for both men.  A traditional Latin dance shoe usually has a thick, chunky heel that is 1.5 inches tall.  I recommend  a smooth style dance shoe, which is typically one inch tall.  The most popular for men  are the black, closed-toe heeled shoes with laces. 

Style Options: While black shoes are pretty standard and go with anything, if you are looking for a bit more style check out some of the options at Very Fine

Pro tip: I always recommend double knotting the laces for competitions and shows.  

Where to buy:

  • Supadance make a quality dance shoe worn by many professional dancers
  • Dance Connection can be found at many WCS events. Their 'Ultimate' shoe has the most padding on the market


These might be the most popular shoe for male west coast swing dancers as I write this in 2019. They are reasonably stylish and very comfortable. If you're looking to put in lots of hours of dancing these are a good choice.

Style Options: Again black is the most common choice but you can actually get these in different colors and with some cool stylish options

Pro tip: If you want comfortable shoes these are your best choice

Where to buy:

  • Dance Connection offer the most common hybrid dance sneaker for west coast swing
  • Very Fine has several different styles and options

Street Shoes

Many of my students have taken regular street shoes to a cobbler and requested that felt or suede be added to the bottoms. The result: a pair of cool, danceable street shoes.  These students want to look like they fit into a club or bar without looking pretentious. This route makes them feel more comfortable, like they naturally fit into the scene. 

Pro tip: The shoe brand Tom's is popular for WCS social dancing.

Comments 7

  1. Many thanks for producing this Brian, very much appreciated. Particularly interesting to find out that suede is added to the sole of shoes that would normally have no slip. Now I understand why people wearing trainers can spin so easily!

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  2. Brian, what is your opinion of suede, stick on soles from ‘Soles To Dance’. I have put them on Converse Jack Purcell’s with great success. The Jack Purcell’s have flat rubber soles and take the adhesive on the suede sheets instantly and nearly permanently.

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      I don’t have any experience directly…
      But I’ve heard of a few people putting suede on the bottom of their favorite shoes with good success so I think Soles 2 Dance would be an easy way to do that.
      Thanks for sharing your experience.
      Here’s the link to for those who want to try!

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