A commonly asked question in the PoleSphere Advice Hotline is “What pole shoes should I buy?”. Well, I’m so glad you asked because I have created this detailed go-to guide just for you!
There’s many things to consider when buying a pair of pole shoes. Firstly, what heel height is right? This will depend on factors such as how long you have been pole dancing, what experience you have had wearing heels and what you will be wearing them for i.e. pole class, photoshoots or a competition. If it is your first time ever wearing heels, I would recommend starting small at a 5 or 6-inch heel and working your way up to a 7 or 8-inch if that is your goal. 8-inches are super popular now in the Exotic Pole scene. 9-inches and above should (technically) only be used for photoshoots but I have seen some of the pros dance in them! Be warned though, it is basically like balancing on stilts. My preference is a 7-inch heel. I think they are the most versatile and comfortable for dancing in, they’re not too heavy when you’re doing tricks, they make your legs look super long and they feel sturdy when wearing them on stage.
The next thing to decide is what style shoe to get. There’s so many more styles these days than when I first started pole. 10 years ago you had the choice between clear 6-inch platform sandals by Pleaser or a 3-inch sneaker boot. See pic for reference 🙈
Nowadays there are endless designs of Pleasers and other brands such as Hella Heels and The Highest Heel. There are clear strap platforms, PVC strap platforms, jelly platforms, ankle boots, knee high boots, thigh high boots, open toe boots, …the list goes on.
Let’s break down the most commonly seen styles across the pole community; the clear platform and the ankle boots. Both have their benefits so it really does come down to personal preference.
Clear platform sandals are lightweight and come in hundreds of different colours so it’s easy to match them to your favourite pole outfit or a costume. Being sandals, they are breathable so a great option for wearing for long periods of time. One thing to note for people with wider feet at the front (that’s me 🙋🏻♀️) is the toe strap can feel tight around the front of the foot, especially with the PVC finish, so you may have to size up to allow for this. If you are struggling with tightness around the toe, here is a useful hack that works for stretching out the clear plastic toe strap!
TIP : Use a hairdryer to heat the plastic toe strap of the shoe for about 30 seconds each shoe. Wait until they are cool enough to touch and put on your foot. This softens the plastic so that it can mould to your foot easier. Please note that this only works on the clear plastic design and not the PVC finish.
Ankle boots have risen in popularity over the past 5 years along with the growing popularity of the Russian Exotic style. The main benefit for the boots is that they give you toe protection so they are great for hardstyle choreography that involves things like Drop Splits, Heel Bangs and Kips. They can also be a stylish way to shield the ankles and tops of your feet from pain associated with moves such as Remi Sit or climbing. If you opt for a patent finish they may also assist with grip for climbing! The downside for boots is that they are not breathable so when worn for longer periods, they can get hot. They can also squash your toes a bit over time. As far as sizing goes, many people tend to get a size up in the boots to allow for socks and foot swelling (due to heat). However, it’s important to note that if you already size up in Pleaser sandals you may not need to size up in the boots. For example, I wear an Australian size 6.5 in most non-pole shoes and heels but since Pleaser don’t make half sizes, I wear a size 7 in Pleaser sandals and in the boots.
Hopefully this guide has helped you choose the perfect shoes! So, what are you waiting for? Time to stick your feet in some pole shoes and get on the pole!