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  • Ally Gavigan:
  • 25 September 2014

The importance of correctly fitting dance shoes

Ill fitting shoes can be dangerous..

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Dancers have one advantage over athletes on the field in that they have (more or less ) one type of flat surface on which to land.

Teachers can therefore understand and develop the necessary bio mechanical functions of the dancers’ technique in landing safely.

However, a badly fitted shoe, an old shoe that has stretched or a secondhand shoe can all be reasons for an incorrect landing and subsequent injury.


This was explained to me over 25 years ago by a former principle dancer at New York City Ballet. When the shoe is in your foot and you feel the shoe, if the shoe twists through being stretched or too big, you can get a false feeling that makes you 'THINK' that the foot is in the right position for landing but if the foot is actually following the fit then the foot can actually twist slightly to follow the shoe itself and thus causing a faulty landing. No matter how imperceptibly that deviation can result in a faulty landing and therefore injury.

I would like to quote a paragraph from an article written by Ric Studer that more or less explains this need for understanding the landing:

"You either learn how to do it right or not. Research in cognitive science shows us that the brain is sophisticated enough to effortlessly create neural pathways that tell the body how to land whenever it jumps, regardless of the circumstance. With repetition the entire leaping process becomes one continuous action, triggered by the jump. Landing on an unanticipated surface is another thing entirely and is obviously more prevalent in a situation of density of uneven surfaces. So there is a greater threat of injury for athletes than dancers, but primarily for physical rather than purposeful reasons."

What can we learn from this?

The concept of landing ass a learned technique is one thing but not to take on board the correct shoes for your own feet or the correct fitting could cause you to without knowledge or intent fall prey to unintentional faulty technique.

There are too many bones and tendons in the feet for the dancer not to take notice of this fact. Make sure that your shoes fit.


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