Shoes for a Beginner West Coast Swing Class

Austin Westie Academy
5 min readJun 18, 2023

When taking your first several west coast swing classes, the focus is more on getting to meet some new friends in class and learning some basics. The shoes you wear are less important. No need to buy new shoes just to get started. Chances are, something already in your closet will work just fine.

If you end up getting hooked on west coast swing like we did and want to continue dancing regularly, then you can certainly purchase some dance-specific shoes. We’ll highlight some options for that as well!

Granted, trends change and new shoes come on the market over time. This article was put together in Summer 2023, so exact options available may change, but this will give you a good general idea of what to look for in a shoe that you can dance west coast swing in.

Shoes you probably already have in your closet that can work for beginner classes:

✅ Tennis Shoes

✅ Any flat-soled flexible shoe (e.g. Toms and other similar shoes)

Shoes that don’t work best for west coast swing classes:

❌ High heels/Stilettos — Stick with something you are comfortable standing and moving in!

❌ Flip flops/slides — Make sure to wear shoes with a back, otherwise your feet might slip out in the middle of a move!

❌ Cowboy boots — Stiffer and heavier than is ideal for west coast swing. But if country dancing was a style you did before trying out west coast and you are comfortable dancing in cowboy boots, they can definitely work for your initial classes! If you do wear them, pick your leather-soled boots over your rubber bottoms.

Shoes you can purchase specifically for class if you get bit by the dancing bug and continue with west coast swing:

We start with these options because we feel they are the most cost-effective (jazz/ballet shoes or materials to suede you own shoes can be purchased for $10–30) and/or versatile (dance sneakers can easily be worn on the street and on the dance floor).

The most common materials on the soles of shoes for west coast swing are suede or leather (or other low-friction material). Generally, you want the sole to be flexible rather than stiff. If you’re uncertain which option to choose or looking for additional options that will work best for your feet, ask your local instructor, organizer, or friend you meet at a social dance!

For longer term dancing, the reason these may be preferable over regular tennis shoes is that they are designed for more flexibility through your feet and to make spinning easier (takes the torque off your knees).

✔️ Jazz shoes

✔️ Ballet shoes

✔️ Dance sneakers — Common brands are Ultimate, Bloch, Pastry, Taygra, Fuego, & Aris Allen.

Top to bottom, then left to right: Pastry, Bloch, Fuego split sole, Aris Allen, Fuego low top, Taygra Corrida, Ultimate Hybrid

✔️ Add suede to the bottom of a pair of shoes you already own — You can purchase sheets of suede with adhesive already in place (e.g. Soles2Dance brand, or plain suede plus industrial strength adhesive to make your own.

Take home: Find some shoes that are comfy, secure on your feet, and somewhat flexible to get started! The exact style of shoe doesn’t matter.

If you end up loving west coast swing (like we do) and it becomes a regular hobby, there are a TON MORE options beyond what we touched on here you can explore to find what suits your feet and your style best. Booties, heels, flats, high top/low top sneakers, etc. If you dip your toes into west coast swing competitions or performances, shoes with a 1/2 inch to 1 & 1/2 inch block heel are common.

Scroll down to find links to stores & websites you can browse for additional options. And if you have questions along the way, we’re happy to help out.

~Austin Westie Academy

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Shopping Links:

⭐️ Austin local brick & mortar: Movin’ Easy Dancewear (

⭐️ Austin local brick & mortar: Dancer’s Den (

⭐️ One option for ballet shoes: Bloch Performa (

⭐️ One option for canvas jazz shoes — Low top:

⭐️ One option for canvas jazz shoes — High top:

⭐️ Dance Connection online store:

⭐️ Bloch dance sneaker:

⭐️ Pastry dance sneaker:

⭐️ Fuego sneaker low top:

⭐️ Fuego sneaker split sole:

⭐️ Taygra dance sneakers: (Most common styles currently are Corrida, Corridalta, and Danca)

⭐️ Aris Allen, Women’s:

⭐️ Aris Allen, Men’s:

⭐️ Ultimate Hybrid dance sneaker:

⭐️ Very Fine dance sneakers:

⭐️ Sway’d Shoes:

⭐️ Jordan & Tatiana (JT Swing) shoes:

⭐️ Marine Lauren shoes:

⭐️ Shoes by Stephane:

⭐️ Riviera’s:



Austin Westie Academy

West coast swing group classes & social dancing in Austin, TX. Come dance with us every Thursday! Welcoming, inclusive, & safe environment to be creative in.