Leather or PVC for Pole Dancing?

by Jenelle
(Tulsa, OK)

I want to buy a pair of shoes or boots for my pole dancing class but I'm not sure what material is best. Should I get leather or PVC?

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Stay away from leather
by: Susan from PDFF

Thanks for your question Jenelle.

Many women wonder if leather or PVC is a better choice in in terms of their footwear assisting with their pole grip.

For pole dancing, you'd definitely want to go with PVC, PU, or patent as these have the best grip quality (more about these materials below). Genuine leather doesn't do much for the grip at all, and can actually make things more slippery.

If you're considering pole dancing boots, all three man-made materials (patent, PU and PVC) do allow some movement through the knee, though you may not be able to drop into a deep squat, depending on the thickness of the material in the boot. But typically they allow for at least a 90 degree bend in the knee, which should be adequate for the majority of pole dancing moves.

Real leather is much more supple, so it's a good choice if you're thinking of thigh high boots and will be doing a lot of floor work, for example. However, leather pole dancing boots won't be very useful in terms of helping you grip the pole during climbs and aerial poses.

Also, just a further explanation about materials..."patent" used to refer to a type of real leather that was shiny as opposed to matte or dull like natural leather. I'm not sure what the process was, but it was an actual leather, back in the day.

These days, the term "patent" usually refers to a man-made material that's shiny like patent leather used to be. It's not as slick or "wet" looking as PVC, but it does have a nice grip.

Another abbreviation you might see when shopping for pole dancing shoes or boots is PU. PU is short for polyurethane and is a man-made material designed to mimic the look of leather. It has a different texture and is somewhat less shiny than patent.

PVC is another man-made material, often used interchangeably for patent or PU.

Generally speaking, genuine leather boots are going to be more expensive than patent, PU or PVC, which is one way you can determine whether "patent" refers to a man made material or a type of actual leather.  

And just one final note...for the sake of your pole it's wise to stay away from any shoe or boot styles with buckles or other metal objects if you plan to do climbs and spins. Some people just like the look of these and don't necessarily want them for pole dancing, but generally speaking, metal objects on your footwear aren't a great idea when combined with the pole!

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