A Beginner's Guide to Ballroom Shoe Heel Heights: Where to Start?

Knowing which heel type is right for you can be hard, especially with ballroom shoe manufacturers adding more and more heel options. When it comes to choosing your first pair of dance shoes, consider the following to help make your choice a little easier:

  1. Dance Style: Will you dance American or International styles? Latin or ballroom? You tend to see shorter, flared heels in International Standard compared to American Smooth, for example. But in Latin and Rhythm, many different heel types are used. 
  2. Skill Level: If you're just starting out, don't jump right to a 3 inch stiletto heel until you have a few hours of dance under your belt. We recommend choosing a 2 inch or 2.5 inch flared heel for your first pair of dance shoes.
  3. Physical Balance: Do you tend to have good balance when dancing, or do you need a little more assistance? If you're great at walking in heels and know you can handle the challenge, your 3 inch Latin heels will probably be just fine. However, if you tend to prefer the security of a lower heel when dressing up, you'll probably find a 1 inch Cuban heel to be more comfortable.
  4. Aesthetics: Last, but definitely not least, is your personal preference. What do you like? What looks good on you? If you love a stiletto heel but need a little extra help with balance, there's a way to accomplish that. If you love a flared look but want to show off your long legs, we have some gorgeous recommendations. We're here to guide you in the right direction!

Below are pictures and descriptions of each heel type. Almost all of the shoe manufacturers we carry offer each type. If you don't see the shoe you want with the heel option you're after, please contact us.

Stiletto heels are thin and tapered at the end. They generally come in 2.5 inch and 3 inch heels, but are sometimes available in shorter and longer options depending on the manufacturer. They’re available for Latin, International Standard, and American Smooth dance shoes.

Ray Rose H869-X Moonglow Xtra Light Tan Satin Latin Shoe 

BD Dance TG002 Red Patent and Black Leather Tango and Social Dance Shoe

Dance Naturals 29 Locandiera Flesh Satin Pointed Toe Ballroom Shoe

Flared heels are also generally thin, but become slightly wider at the end. They are also most commonly found in 2.5 inch and 3 inch heel heights, but can come in other heights and widths.

International Dance Shoes ICS RoundToe Ladies Peach Satin Standard Ballroom Dance Shoe

Ray Rose 824-X Tania Xtra Dark Tan Satin Ladies Latin Dance Shoe

Dance America Charlotte Ladies Light Tan Satin Smooth Ballroom Dance Shoe


Cuban heels are wider and cover more of the bottom of the heel than flared or stiletto heels. They generally come in 1.5 inch to 2 inch and are most commonly found on men's Latin shoes and ladies’ practice shoes.  

Dance America Savannah Black Leather and Mesh Ladies Practice Shoe

International Dance Shoes Artiste SS Himalayan Rose Practice Shoe with Metallic Rose Gold Accents

BD Dance T1 Black and White Houndstooth Pattern Practice or Teaching Shoe

 All other heel types generally fall into one of these categories. If you have a heel request, please contact us. We'd be happy to help!