How do you dance in heels

6 Tips to Help You Dance in Heels Longer – Yami Dance Shoes

Dancing in heels is painful - especially if you’re not used to wearing heels in the first place! But if you want to become a better dancer, you have to train yourself to dance in heels comfortably. The thing is, not everyone is like Beyoncé who seems to be born wearing heels while dancing, there will be foot pain! 

Why Wearing Heels Hurts

One of the reasons why high heels are so painful to wear is the way these shoes shift the body weight to the balls of your feet. The shift puts more pressure on the forefoot and the pain is heightened on the pad of the feet because of peak impact every single time you take a step. 

Add the fact that the shape of the shoes themselves constrict the toes. Most high heel shoes have a narrow shape and when you wear the shoes, the foot is pinched forward because of the shift in body weight. 


Wearing high heels does not affect the feet alone. It also affects the ankles, legs, spine, and hips. Wearing high heels makes the ankles and legs unstable, akin to standing on your tippy-toes. This puts a strain on the ankle and calf muscles. It also stiffens the Achilles’ heel that connects to the calf muscles. The height also weakens the arches. To dance in high heels, the ankles and legs must remain stable to maintain balance. 

The pressure causes the bones in the foot to mold into the shoe despite the narrow space, causing pain and eventually, bone distortion of the toes (bunions, hammertoe, osteoarthritis in the feet, etc.) 

Your posture is also affected when you wear high heels. High heels push the body forward. As a way to correct its balance, the body pushes the chest and lower back forward, hips are pushed back. This posture gives you a lovely silhouette but it's unnatural so the spine is misaligned, causing undue stress to the lower back and muscles.

How to Dance in Heels Longer without Pain

Thankfully, there are ways to ease foot pain from dancing in high heels! To save your feet from forefoot pain, try these tips:

Choose Your Shoes Wisely

There is a reason why dance shoes were created, these shoes are designed specifically for dancers. Unlike ordinary heels, dance shoes like Latin dance shoes are meant to make dancing less stressful (and painful!) to the feet. The design and components are meant to optimize freedom of movement without the pain. 

For example, the dances shoes could be customized to fit wide or narrow feet for more comfortable wear. The materials are flexible to minimize constriction and boost movement. The soles are crafted from suede or microfiber so you can execute your routine without the pain!

A great example of this would be our very own Yami Shoes. Each pair boasts of steady heels, sturdy heel cups, a mid-level shoe shank, arch support, and of course, built-in cushions. All these components are designed to help you dance in heels for hours without pain. The inner soles are crafted from hypoallergenic microfiber to minimize odors. On top of that, we use flexible yet durable materials like vegan leather, flock, and PU for the dancing shoes.

These materials are not only animal-friendly, they’re also more comfortable to wear than leather material and low maintenance to boot! Vegan leather, for example, may be thinner than genuine leather but it’s just as resistant to cracking and tearing. No babying required to make a pair of Yami heels last. And unlike genuine leather, vegan leather is thinner, more flexible, it allows total freedom of movement. 

Different shoe designs have their own pros and cons. Ultimately, you want a pair of dance shoes that you are most comfortable (and confident) in wearing regardless of the heel height. Choosing high heels that are made specifically for dancing will definitely make a world of difference on your feet compared to regular heels.

Heel Height: Start Low

Being used to wearing high heels does not come naturally, you have to train yourself to walk - and eventually dance - in high heels. Wearing heels, in the beginning, is painful because every inch adds about 25% of your body weight to the balls of your feet.

If say, you are wearing a pair of 3-inch dancing shoes, 75% of your body weight is added to the balls of your feet! The forefoot takes the brunt of the added bodyweight with every step.

Unfortunately, there is no real way of speeding up the process when it comes to wearing and dancing in heels comfortably. You have to build muscle strength and flexibility in the feet, ankles, and legs gradually so you can dance in heels without pain. 

Wearing low-heeled dance shoes is a great start if you’re new to dancing and/or you’re not used to dancing in heels. Once you’ve become accustomed to dancing at this heel height, you can increase the height to half an inch to a full inch. Increase the heel height until you’ve become comfortable wearing your desired dancing heels.  

Go for the Extra Padding

Dance shoes with built-in padding like Yami dance shoes are perfect for dancing for long hours because of the extra cushion. Because high heels shift the body weight to the pads of the feet, the forefoot becomes strained and painful. The built-in cushions help spread the bodyweight evenly. The extra padding also absorbs peak impact so every step doesn’t feel like fire on the feet.  Also, the insoles are made of hypoallergenic microfiber so the shoes do not develop bad odors despite the hours you spend dancing in your Yami heels.

If your Latin dance shoes do not come with built-in cushions, we suggest investing in high-quality padded insoles. These are inserts that attach to the bottom of the shoe’s footbed to minimize peak impact and optimize comfort. However, the constant movement could cause the inserts to detach from the shoe bed, something to think about when looking for the perfect pair of Latin dance shoes.

Check Your Foot Shape

Comfort is important when choosing any kind of shoes. You want a pair of Latin dance shoes that are designed perfectly for your foot shape. Before investing in a pair of dance shoes, check your foot shape. Do you have a narrow or wide heel? Do you have high or low arches? Are your toes thin and long or short? All these factors will come into play when it comes to the wear of the dance shoes.  

Here at Yami, Shoes, we have dance shoes for narrow, normal, and wide feet. We’re also happy to answer questions related to your foot shape so you’ll get the best shoe style that suits your foot shape.

Be Mindful of Every Step You Take

One of the reasons why dancing in heels is painful is that not a lot of people are mindful of how they walk in heels. The feet hurt in heels because the weight is concentrated in a small area of the foot. Now add the heel height into the equation. When you walk, the added weight crushes the forefoot, leading to muscle pain and gradually, bone distortions. 

Simply put, the way the foot falls on the ground with each step affects the pads of the feet as well as the arches or the inner sides of the feet. 

So be extra careful on how you use your feet, think of your high heels as extensions of the legs. Be sure that your weight is not resting solely on the forefoot, it should be distributed on the ball of the feet. When taking a step, push from one step to the other using the inside edge of the feet. 

Strengthen Problem Areas

You have to flex and strengthen the foot, leg, and back muscles so that dancing in heels becomes exponentially easier. Think of the way you use your feet, what areas are the most painful? 

If the arches and forefoot hurt the most, which is almost always the case, you have to perform point and flex exercises to warm up and strengthen these areas. If your leg muscles are killing you after dancing in heels for a few hours, add calf raises to your fitness repertoire. At the end of the calf raise set, stand on one foot, or raise one knee for a few seconds to build strength and improve your balance.

If your foot and heel feel excruciating after a few hours in heels, try these simple yet effective feet and heel exercises:

5 Feet and Heel Exercises 

Plantar Stretch: This simple foot exercise minimizes muscle tightness in the feet and calves, relieving pain.

Lean with your hands flat against a wall. Straighten the knee of the affected leg while bending the other knee forward. Keep both feet flat on the ground by extending the leg. There should be a stretching sensation as you straighten your legs, hold for ten seconds then repeat. 

Rolling Stretch: The best solution for painful arches! 

Just place your foam foot roller on the floor or any type of round object you have on hand - golf ball, tennis ball, etc. 

Sit on a chair then roll the ball around under the arch of your feet. Press the feet as you roll the ball around to massage the arches and loosen the stiff muscles. Do this for 2 minutes before switching to the other foot.

Marble Pickup: A great exercise that will flex and stretch tired, stiff foot muscles. 

Gather several marbles or pebbles, a bowl, and get a chair. Sit on the chair, scatter the marbles or pebbles on the floor. Start picking up the marbles or pebbles by curling your toes and place these in the bowl. Repeat on the other foot. 

Heel Raises

This is a simple yet effective stretch that strengthens the calf muscles. Perfect if your legs and arches are always in pain after dancing in heels.

Stand against a chair, resting your hands on the back of the chair. Push yourself up by lifting your heels off the floor. Hold this position then slowly lower yourself down. 

Foot Flexes

This gentle stretch relieves tension in the calves. You can either use an elastic stretch band or a towel for this foot exercise.

If you're using an elastic stretch band, sit on the floor. If you're using a towel, sit on a chair.  Place the elastic band or folded towel under the arch of the foot. Hold on to the ends of the towel or elastic band and gently pull towards you. You should feel the calf muscles stretching. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds then repeat 5 times on each foot.

The way you stand, walk, and dance is changed the minute you wear dancing heels. Yes, dancing in heels takes a while to get used to but practice makes perfect! Of course, it pays to invest in high-quality heels that are made for dancing, like Yami shoes. Our dance shoes are guaranteed comfortable, so comfortable you could dance in them 4 times longer than other heels.

How To Dance Confidently In Heels

There’s a massive difference between being able to move in heels, and being able to slay in heels.

Knowing how to work your body, carry yourself with confidence, and connect with your audience is absolutely vital if you wanna perform Heels choreography like a pro.

Unfortunately – these things aren’t always taught in traditional Heels classes!

So, in this guide, I’m gonna give you all the tips and techniques you’ll need to learn the sexy Heels routines you’ve seen online or simply kill it at the club. 

1. What to wear for Heels dance – basic outfit ideas

Since Heels choreography is all about the shoes, let’s get dressed from bottom to top!

For your heels, choose a bootie with a shorter heel – preferably something that laces up the foot.

As a beginner dancer, comfort will be key to the learning process, so consider lace-up booties your go-to shoe.

They mold nicely to the foot and shouldn’t give you room to slide around.

Watch this video for more tips on shoe choices:

Next, the fit!

When you’re dancing in Heels, you usually want to look sexy to some extent, but again, comfort is key.

Skirts and dresses can work, but if you’re worried about flashing, throw on a pair of bike shorts underneath.

Otherwise, pants, cute little shorts, or leggings are great.

If your knees are exposed, consider wearing knee pads so that you can slide around on the floor comfortably.

If you have a full chest, be sure to wear a top that won’t lead to wardrobe malfunctions (body tape can also be your friend).

Lastly, hair!

Heels is a unique dance style in that it involves a lot of hair choreography.  

It’s common that you’ll be tossing your head around a lot in Heels class, so you’re welcome to wear your hair down to give your movement more drama.

But, if you’re totally new to Heels and you’re not confident with your routine, practice with your hair in a ponytail so you don’t have to worry about hair in your face just yet.

2. Important steps to take before you dance in heels

Before you even lace up those booties, you need to set yourself up for total success.

You should always stretch before a class or performance so that you can avoid injury and feel more loose and relaxed in general.

For Heels, you should obviously focus on stretching your toes, ankles, calves, and thighs – but don’t skimp out on the rest of your body!

Stretch your neck, back, shoulders and stomach muscles too.

You also want to strengthen your lower body and core before you start attempting those sexy routines you’ve probably seen on YouTube.

A great way to build up the muscles in your legs is to take some beginner Ballet or Barre classes!

The stronger your legs are, the less stress you’ll put on your ankles.

3. Posture & balance

When you wear heels, your center of gravity is pushed forward, making it hard to balance your body and maintain good posture.

To counteract this effect, it’ll be important to roll your shoulders back and keep your chest up the entire time you’re dancing. 

You’re also going to find that certain ways of standing are repeatedly used in Heels routines as a way of centering your body and balance.

Ever notice how great Heels dancers’ bodies seem to create an “s” shaped curve from head-to-toe when they’re both moving and standing still?

This all comes from a “Bevel” – aka the 1st position of Heels dance.

When you stand in a Bevel, you place all your weight on one base foot, and the other foot points at your base ankle.

To do it, squeeze your thigh muscles and ensure there are no gaps between your legs!

This will keep you securely balanced and strong.

Practice this Bevel stance in the mirror before you go to your first Heels class.

You’ll be returning to it a lot, so locking this posture into your muscle memory will make you feel a lot more confident when you eventually dance in front of others.

You can also learn more about posture, balancing, and beveling by clicking here.

4. Four poses to practice

Whether you’re on the dance floor or learning beginner Heels choreography, consider poses your best friend.

When you pause to pose, you not only give your audience something delicious to take in, you also give yourself a hot second to think about your next move/center your balance.

Here are a few go-to Heels poses to try:

  1. Looking over the shoulder – Stand with your feet apart, but pointed in one direction. Your back should be facing the audience. Place one hand on the small of your back. Then, look over your shoulder at the audience. Be sure to keep your shoulders down, not up by your ears!
  2. Big “S” – Remember that curvy shape we talked about? Here’s how to serve it. Stand with your feet apart, pointed forward. Push one hip out to the side. If your left hip is out, put your right arm straight up in the air (or vice versa). Take your other arm up and behind your head to grab the elbow of your straight arm. Allow your torso to lean slightly away from the outwardly pointed hip.
  3. That thing right there – Similarly to the Big “S”, you’re gonna stand with your feet apart, pointing in one direction, and lean one hip to the side. On whichever side your hip is popped out, you’re gonna take your arm straight out to the side and point at the floor with your index finger, as if there’s something beside you on the ground that you’re pointing at. The other hand should rest on your hip.
  4. Sideways glance – Stand sideways with one foot out in front of the other. Focus your weight entirely on the back foot and point the front foot so only your toes touch the floor. Place both hands on your hips and turn your head to look at your audience.

Wanna see more poses in action?

This posing tutorial will give you some ideas to practice!

5. Moving fast & slow

Now that you’ve mastered a few ways of standing still, I wanna teach you how to move with confidence.

In Heels class, you’ll often be prompted to move very slowly.

These slow movements will be important for giving your audience something to connect with – like when you’re listening to a great song and the singer slows down at the bridge.

When you want to move slowly, imagine that you’re doing each move in a pool of thick liquid, like syrup.

You want to pretend that there’s resistance on all of your limbs that’s forcing you to move in slow motion.

When you wanna move fast, focus on energy and momentum.

Don’t sit back on the actual heel of your shoe at any point. 

As you go from step to step, push off the ball of your back foot to make it to your next move.

When you’re dancing quickly, you can also use your arms to help you stay stable.

Allow them to stay relaxed and loose when you’re walking on the dance floor so that they can swing naturally!

6. How to connect with your audience

The best Heels choreographers often spend more time perfecting their performance skills than coming up with crazy moves.

This is because Heels dance is all about seducing the person watching.

HOWEVER – a lot of people think being sexy/seductive means you have to be serious.

It’s actually the opposite. 

If you ask most people what they want to see in the bedroom, it’s enthusiasm, joy, and comfort.

So that’s exactly what you wanna bring to your Heels performance!

Approach dancing in heels as a fun, playful experience where you get the opportunity to express yourself – not a challenge to be conquered.

This sense of enthusiasm will read on your face and body when you’re dancing, and that’s how you become that person that nobody can stop watching.

Once you’ve got your mindset in the right place, you can focus on the story you’re telling as you dance.

When you’re learning a Heels routine, think of it like you’re practicing a poem or script that you plan to recite on stage.

If you simply try to memorize the words one-by-one, you won’t remember the overall text when it’s time to perform it. 

Plus, your recitation will sound robotic and “rehearsed.”

Instead, you want to read through your script for comprehension.

You need to grasp what the story is saying as a whole so that when you recite the text, it won’t matter if you know it word for word.

Instead of remembering the singular words, you can focus your attention on changing the sound of your voice at certain moments, pausing for emphasis, and making eye contact as you speak.

Learn a dance the same way!

Listen to the lyrics and the sounds of the instruments, and figure out what the story is saying, not just what the singular moves should look like.

Then, when you dance, you can focus on executing your Heels choreography in a way that feels powerfully emotional – not robotic.

Hope these tips helped you on your Heels dance journey!

If you’d like to learn more techniques with step-by-step guidance, you should check out the Beginner Heels program on STEEZY Studio. 

That’s where we’ll walk you through everything from body rolls to floorwork exercises to super sexy turns.

Heeled jig - Paper Elephant Literature Club

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Inspired by "Exhibit" of Leningrad and "Streets" of BothTwo :)
I'm considering options for a motive to sing it to :)


In other people's doorways,
In purple dreams
I'm dancing for a hundred
On high heels

On the borders with idleness
At sharp corners
I'm dancing under a potion Big heels

You tell me: "Take it off!"
But I know - in my dreams
You dance with me
In high heels

You say: "You will fall!" "
With tears, through fear
And behind me - over the roofs -
With high heels.

heels, songs

"I like that I stand out." Men dance in heels on Russian TV

  • Anastasia Anisimova
  • for BBC

Photo credit, Instagram Igor Kotov

The appearance of men in heels in a dance show on Russian television surprised not only the audience, but also professional judges. At the same time, in the West, fashion in traditionally female dance directions today is largely set by men in heels.

Anton Lushichev came to the audition for the TV project "Dancing on TNT" in high heels. Upon entering the stage, he immediately aroused surprise not only among the audience, but also among the judges, most of whom are professional choreographers:

- Streep?

- Yes

- Come on?!

The dance direction called strip or strip plastic, so often chosen for listening by those who want to take part in the TNT project, has become something familiar in four seasons. But not in the case when this style is performed by a man.

"I like that I stand out"

At the audition, Anton had to not only dance, but also answer questions that were never asked to the female contestants who came to the show with the same style:

- Why did you choose this style? Why do you like him?

- I like that the strip can be different. I like that I'm in heels. I like that I stand out.

After the dance, the judges began to discuss not so much the performance of the dancer as the appropriateness of the man choosing this direction. At the same time, all the judges noted that Anton danced perfectly.

"You came in high heels and danced very well. It's cool. But I want to see a man even dancing. It's uncomfortable for me to look at such a performance in a man's guise," said TV presenter Olga Buzova, who sat on the jury.

  • Dancing without music? The story of the deaf dancer Andrey Dragunov
  • "I can't afford to do bad things": the story of a girl who became a ballerina at the age of 30 high heels in Russia is difficult: "When I just started dancing, when I just bought myself heels and went to my first St. Petersburg championship, half of the people in the hall simply did not understand what was happening. And the reaction was very negative. Now they began to treat me softer, but initially it was trash. You walk down the hallway and everyone is looking at you with huge eyes."

    Universal dancer

    Anton is not the only man who came to audition for the dance project in heels.

    Igor Kotov's performance also surprised the judges, while all the jury members admitted that he also danced the strip choreography perfectly, performing difficult tricks and acrobatic elements.

    Skip the Podcast and continue reading.


    What was that?

    We quickly, simply and clearly explain what happened, why it's important and what's next.


    The End of the Story Podcast

    If for Anton dancing in high heels is a provocation, an opportunity to stand out and make himself known, for Igor it is a skill that will make him a versatile dancer.

    "I started dancing classically as a child, then I switched to modern choreography, hip-hop, jazz-funk. I am a versatile dancer, I also dance the strip. Initially, the strip was created for girls. And there is an absolutely erroneous opinion that this is about how to spin on poles and undress, although this is not at all the same. It is the same style of dance as hip-hop. Only it has its own characteristics. A real dancer must dance both female choreography and male choreography. There is nothing wrong with me in I don’t see it,” Igor said in a TV show.

    Igor, like Anton, admits that in Russia dancers in high heels have to face discrimination: "We have very few boys who dance the strip. Not everyone dares to do it. Those who succumb to social pressure immediately quit this style".

    Strip for everyone

    In Russia, strip plastic performed by men causes mixed feelings even among those choreographers who are engaged in this direction.

    Anastasia Yurasova, the founder of the Frame Up Strip style, told the BBC Russian Service: "How do I feel about guys dancing the strip in heels? Personally, I don't really like it. And I think that every man should be a man. I am not in favor of this."

    At the same time, she noted that there are dancers who deserve to dance in heels: "If we are talking about dancers like Igor and Anton, then for me they do not look like a woman. Despite the fact that they wear heels, they have masculine energy and what they do does not look vulgar. They have a chic performance technique, "says Anastasia Yurasova.

    In her opinion, the audience in Russia is not ready to accept a male dancer in heels.

    Social media reacted differently to men wearing heels. Among the many negative reviews, there were those who supported the dancers and wrote: "Strip for everyone." Moreover, many users wondered why a woman who dances male style well in Russia will always receive public approval, when a man with a style that is traditionally considered feminine will most often be ridiculed.

    Image copyright Twitter

    Better than a woman performing?

    A man dancing in heels is hardly surprising among choreographers in the US and Europe.

    "Today this is really one of the trends in dance culture. We see more and more men among students and teachers of dance styles that used to be considered female," says Tamara Kramer, director of the Studio 68 dance school in London.

    Male dancers in the West not only dance in high heels, they create it.

    One of the most famous dancers in this direction is the American Zhonte.

    "When he first appeared, it was a real explosion in dancing. Everyone asked - God, who is it, how does he do it, everyone wanted to copy him and still want to," says Kramer.

    According to her, Zhonte's solo performances in high heels are an inspiration for dancers and dancers all over the world.

    After graduating from ballet school in Oregon and working as a dancer for Janet Jackson, Jonté began collaborating with the stars as a choreographer. He directed Beyoncé's The Beyonce Experience tour and many of Beyoncé's music videos, including her hit Freakum Dress video.

    Another famous dancer in high heels is the Frenchman Janis Marshall.

    In 2014 he was a finalist in the television competition Britain's Got Talent. "Janis became a prominent figure in dance back in 2010, but his participation in this TV project opened up heeled dancers to a wide audience in the UK and changed the perception of them in many ways - they began to be taken seriously, dancers in heels," - says British choreographer Richard Marcel.

    "That was ten times better than any woman on this stage today. Fantastic!" - the judges told him after his first performance at the competition.

    In 2015 Janis choreographed for Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas. According to viewers, it was perhaps the sexiest performance on the show in its history.

    "To say that a man cannot dance in heels is to discriminate against dancers.

    Learn more