Pole Dancing Shoes
Do You Really Need Them?

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Back when Your Pole Pal was teaching regularly, most new students would ask "the pole dancing shoes question" when they first signed up for a class. Of course, it was usually disguised as something like this:

"Uh....and what should I wear to class?"

It's a pretty innocent sounding question, but it didn't take long to understand what kind of information they were after.

What they really meant was, "Are you going to make me wear skimpy clothes and 6 inch heels?"

black and silver platform pole shoe

The answer was always the same (pointing to the usual comfy fitness wear that was standard in these classes):

"Wear whatever you're comfortable in, and just bare feet please."

Now that's not to say that YOU shouldn't wear platform heels to YOUR class, but there are a few things to take into consideration when deciding whether shoes are necessary, or even appropriate, for your pole dancing class.

Things To Consider

1 - What type of class are you taking?

Firstly, what type of classes are you signing up for, ie what's the style of the teacher or the studio?

If the primary focus is on pole fitness, it's likely you'll be working out in bare feet. On the other hand, a class or a studio that leans more toward the exotic dance side of things may well encourage platform shoes in class.

2 - Are you comfortable in heels?

Secondly, how do you feel about wearing high heel shoes in general? If your typical footwear consists mainly of comfort shoes, then even a 2" heel is probably going to take some getting used to.

But if you're the kind of person who loves high heels and wears them frequently, it's not so much of a stretch to graduate to pole dancing shoes which typically start at 4" of heel plus a platform of at least 2".

3 - How's your health?

And finally, consider any health or structural issues you may need to take into account. Are your feet, knees and hips healthy? Or do you suffer from bunions, plantar fasciitis, stiffness from an old soccer injury, or other issues that may make wearing heels uncomfortable or unsafe?

A question recently came in from a site visitor who was wondering if it was safe for her to wear the 6" heels that were required in her pole dancing class. You can read her question, Your Pole Pal's response, and the input of others on this page: Are 6" heels really necessary in my pole class?

What's Wrong With Wearing Pole Dancing Shoes?

Absolutely nothing! Rest assured that Your Pole Pal is NOT trying to ruin your excuse for buying a pair of sexy platform shoes.

She's just trying to be a pal by helping you figure out if a pair of pole dancing shoes is something you're going to need.

After all, aside from your own dance pole and crash mat, this is likely to be one of the most expensive accessories you'll invest in.

Ultimately your personal style and reasons for getting into pole dancing will determine whether pole dancing shoes are a must have item or "nice to have but not a necessity."

The Arguments For Bare Feet

Although everyone is different, most people come to pole dancing classes looking primarily for a fun way to get fit.

While for some, playing dress up is definitely part of the fun, for others, it's the moves that do it for them and they couldn't care less whether they're showing off their PVC or their pedicure in class.

That said, bare feet are almost always preferred or even required in fitness-oriented classes.

pole dancing in bare feet

Why? Mainly for safety. With the focus being more on a workout (like this cardio pole class) rather than learning and practicing specific moves and techniques under close supervision, fitness classes simply aren't designed to be done safely in heels or platforms.

Even in a technique class where you are learning specific moves with supervision and input from your instructor, opting for bare feet is definitely safer and more secure when you're just starting out, both for you and for the other students in the class. Your Pole Pal has heard stories of pole dancing shoes flying across the room and of heels causing some nasty scratches because the wearer isn't used to the extra height or weight - OUCH!

Plus, it's much less expensive if you don't have to invest in a pair of platform shoes at the outset. After all, until you're sure you're going to stick with your pole dancing classes, you might prefer not want to spend money on shoes that you may not wear again.

The Arguments For Shoes

"Shoe malfunctions" aside, many students often reach a point where they're ready to start exploring the other aspects of this dance form, namely the "delicious fitness" that comes with getting to know your sensual side.

Pulling out a pair of sexy pole dance shoes at this point, along with a few other choice costume items, can be a great way to get in touch with your personal "yum factor."

hot pink platform pole dance shoe

Remember when you were a kid and loved to play dress up? Well, this isn't much different, except you're a bigger person now!

You're challenging societal definitions of "good" and "bad" by experimenting with how you look, feel and move. And that's a good thing, especially if you're on a journey towards increased confidence and self-esteem.

Your Pole Pal is all for THAT! 

But there are also a couple of other very practical reasons for wearing pole dancing shoes.

Depending on the type of shoe and the material, shoes can help you with climbs because the material they're made of can help with grip. Stay away from real leather - which is very slippery - and opt instead for PU (polyurethane) or what's commonly called "patent" nowadays. While patent leather originally referred to a type of leather coated with a high gloss finish, in the world of shoes today, it often refers to a synthetic leather that's actually quite grippy.

Some people also feel that shoes help to provide a counter-balance, making it easier to get into, and stay in, certain poses because of the extra weight they provide.

So, Heels Or No Heels?

That's a question you'll have to decide for yourself based on why you're taking up pole dancing: purely for fitness, purely for the sexy factor, or somewhere in between.

If you do opt to wear pole dancing shoes in class, some excellent advice is to look for a good quality pair of shoes that you know will stay on your feet and that won't throw a heel when you kick up into an inversion.

Although a sale tag may seem appealing, buying something that's cheaply made, such as a costume shoe, can end up costing you down the road. A poor fit, parts that come off, or a heel that gives out can make your dance experience uncomfortable, or even downright dangerous.

Ultimately, the decision on whether or not to wear shoes rests with you. After all, just because a teacher suggests or invites you to wear pole dancing shoes, doesn't mean you must do as she says. After all, you're a grown up and can make your own decisions...right?

I Want Shoes!

If you've decided that pole dancing shoes are for you, here's some more helpful information:

If you're ready to graduate from bare feet to your first pair of pole shoes, you may want to read these tips to help you choose the right kind of pole shoes, learn an unusual trick to help you get a great fit, plus more great tips and tricks to help you get along with your new pole shoes.

Check out these top online sources for pole dance shoes, brought to you by Your Pole Pal.

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