You hear the words pole dancing and you automatically think about sky high platform heels. But do you need to wear heels for pole dancing? The short answer is no you don’t, but lets look at the answer in a little more detail.
When I started pole dancing over ten years ago, we went to class and everyone was wearing pole dancing shoes, it was part of the attraction. A fun fitness class where you got to wear heels.
Fast forward a few years and pole fitness pioneers were trying to remove the stigma attached to the alternative form of exercise and also prevent students getting twisted ankles and the like. So bare feet or trainers became a thing.
Speed forward a few more years to present day, trainers are frowned upon because you can’t point your toes and move your feet to walk en pointe. But they now run courses in how to wear heels for pole fitness. Heels tend to be worn for specialised sexy pole choreograph classes.
Bare Feet & Pole Dancing
If you are going to your first or even your hundredth pole class, bare feet are a great way to pole dance. You can feel the floor and the pole. It makes learning new pole moves easier to learn and practice. You don’t have to worry about balancing or landing from your invert without twisting an ankle. Pole dancing is a great work out, adding a pair of platform heels into the mix just makes the workout harder. Think of them as a pair of lightweight ankle weights.
Heels and Pole Dancing
If you’re planning a competition, show, pole photoshoot or thinking about going to pole choreography classes then you are probably thinking about investing in a pair of heels.
Heels can help you get the glam factor, feel sexy, get a better grip on the pole or embrace a new challenge in the choreo class. There are some amazing shoes and boots available online some top brands such as Pleaser, Hella Heels, Ellie shoes and a couple of others.
The Benefits of Wearing Heels For Pole Dancing
Wearing heels for pole dancing and fitness has many benefits. Firstly, the wearer feels and looks super sexy boosting confidence. Heels elongate legs, improve posture, extend lines and add flair to a routine.
Many brands have come and gone but those that have stood the test of time have been specially designed and constructed to make dancing easier. They have angled heels to keep the wearer’s weight distributed and provide support. To prevent the heel snapping of they have a one-piece shank.
To help with rocking forward and spinning the front sole of the shoe or boot is angled. Padding under the inner sole provides lasting comfort for the balls of the foot.
Pole dancing heels made from PVC or patent leather add grip, so it is easier to climb and stand on the pole. Ankle, calf or even thigh high boots will improve the grip as there is obviously more fabric than on a sandal.
Sandals and shoes have less grip than you would get if you wore bare feet so they are a great option for floor work. Boots are great for on the pole because they might stick to the floor when you are trying to do sexy floor moves.
If you want to make your inversions a little more challenging, shoes and boots are a great way to train. The extra weight at the end of the feet is like a pair of ankle weights. Once you try inverting without them it will be sooo easy.
Shoes and boots in addition to making inversions easier, they add momentum to spins. They also balance out a layout. Your head is heavier than your feet so the platform heels help to counterbalance the head.
The more popular brands of heels are lightweight, but may still take a little bit of adjustment to the extra weight but your tricks will be soo much better.
Choosing the Right Pole Dancing Shoes
If you went running you would invest in a pair of specialised trainers. Just like running you need specialised shoes for pole dancing. You don’t want to just pick up a pair of 3 inch heels with no platform as they would not look right and also they wouldn’t last. Shoes made for pole fitness have been designed and made to stand the workout they will get. Dancing, climbing and floorwork requires special shoes. You can’t just wear any heels when pole dancing.
The leading brands of pole dancing shoes have a one piece base so that the heel doesn’t just snap off. They have been built so that they provide extra support. The footbox and insole have clean lines so that they don’t get caught on the pole or floor.
Heels for pole come in a range of heights starting at 6 inches. If you are buying your first pair opt for 6 inches. Once you are comfortable in these work your way up to 9 or ten inches.
Shoes or boots? Beginners are probably best buying platform sandals. They are the cheapest option. If you like wearing pole dancing heels you can buy bigger heels and / or progress to boots.
When it comes to performing spins, twists and inversions make sure the shoes have straps otherwise you might find that your heels fly off of your foot.
Pleaser’s delight 608 are a good place to start. They are some of Pleaser’s best sellers. A clear platform is combined with clear straps which give the illusion of being barefoot with the added benefits of wearing heels. A 6 inch heel and 1-3/4″ platform make the legs look longer.
The most popular brand of heels around the world are Pleaser. They have been around for a long time, have a great reputation with pole dancers. Pole fitness addicts and professionals alike wear them.
Pleasers have stood the test of time. They are well made and there are some amazing designs. Go to styles include the Flamingo and Adore ranges.
Ellie Shoes have been around for some time now, they are quite popular in the USA but are difficult to get a hold of out side of the Americas.
Hella Heels have become very popular in the UK, Europe and Australia. This brand are well made, designed for pole dancers. There are some pretty super designs. The brand have even added a resoling guarantee – if the sole falls off they will pay for them to be repaired at the local cobblers.
Some other smaller retailers are beginning to pop up and I think over the next year or so we will see more brands popping up.
We like to recommend Pleaser and Hella heels as they’re both rather popular and trustworthy. Both brands have been designed for pole dancers who will be on their feet for hours.
Breaking In Your New Heels
Despite being very high, heels for pole dancers are very comfortable. However, you need to break them in first. Don;t make the mistake of being so excited that they have arrived that you run straight to class and wear them for an hour. It’s best to wear them for short amounts fo time around the house and steadily increase the amount of time you wear them for. As you waer them they will gentry stretch and mold to your feet.
If you want them to mold to your feet you can warm up the heels using a hairdryer on a cool setting. Once they are warm, NOT hot pop your feet in them and let them cool down. They will mould around your feet.
Once you take them to class start with pole walks, pirouettes and floor work. At first you might find that they feel heavy. You will soon adjust to the extra weight on your feet.
Once you are comfortable walking in pole shoes you can start practising your pole moves.
How To Walk in Them?
As the heel height increases you might find walking in platform high heels gets a little harder. That’s why it’s suggested beginners start with 6 inch heels and work your way up to 8 or even 9 inch heels.
Here are a few tips to help you walk with ease.
- Take smaller steps. Small, slow steps, making sure not to bend your knees any more than you normally would will make your walk around the pole stable.
- Walk from heel to toe. Aim to walk as normally as possible in your high heels.
- Improve your posture. Wearing platform heels shifts your centre of gravity, and your lower back arches in order to compensate if you don’t maintain excellent posture.
- Hold on to that pole. If you feel a little unsteady don’t forget you have a pole to hold on to.
Sophie Green has been pole dancing and aerial arts at home and in studios around the world for over 13 years. She’s taken a number of instructor courses in pole and aerial. Plus attended a course on rigging. She takes part in lots of exercise.