There are few sights as uplifting than watching youngsters taking to the performance floor. Seeing children grow into the grace and dignity of ballroom and Latin dancing is rewarding and knowing that children are engaging in healthy exercise is important.
However, have you ever wondered that something like dancing might put growing bodies at risk? Quality ballroom and Latin dancing shoes are a crucial element of keeping children safe. Here’s a quick guide to getting it right!
Children have very different feet to adults. During the first eighteen years of life, the body undergoes a process that medics call ‘ossification’. To you and me, that means that the bones gradually get harder and the muscles stronger. The feet are one of the main areas where ossification happens. If you’ve ever looked at a baby’s foot or hand and noticed dimples instead of knuckles, what you’re seeing is soft, flexible bone. Over time, that will harden.
For the bones to harden into the correct shape, the muscles need to develop properly. This gradual development means that children’s feet need careful protection so that the natural progress can unfold. Shoes need to be strong, supportive, and supple.
The Role Of Shoes
Archaeologists have found evidence of shoes existing at least 4,000 years ago. Despite this, shoes are a distinctly modern phenomenon. Until the 1800s, they were little more than protection against the ground. Waltz on a couple of centuries, and shoes are recognised as playing an important ergonomic role in shaping the developing foot. Arch and heel supports ensure that muscle and bone tone neatly.
For children who dance, this can raise a real challenge. Dancing puts unusual pressure on the feet, which can lead to stress, injury, and interrupted growth. Properly designed professional dance shoes nurture the feet so that they grow safely. With heel supports to enhance stability, padding, and support of the arch, little feet are not put under any strain.
Watch The Size
Everyone knows that children go through shoes at lightning pace. Research suggests that children’s feet grow by up to half a size every four months! Boys are normally one size larger and wider than their sisters would be at the same age. A microfiber lining will help to prevent slipping, whilst supple materials hold the foot securely.
Start Off On The Right Foot
Like any sport, dancing requires investment. For any young athlete, it can be a challenge to know where to focus the financial attention. Dancing is similar to any other sport in that shoes are the number one priority. Substandard footwear raises the real risk of long-term injury, especially during the developmental years prior to the age of eighteen. Decent shoes are therefore not so much an investment as a simple, logical necessity.
Check with your manufacturer about special beginners and children’s ranges. Always ask about any specific requirements that your child has, and pass on any information that their teacher has suggested. Dance shoe specialists are dancers themselves, so have a deep understanding of the nuances of children’s dance shoes.
Shoes Worthy Of The New Generation Of Dancers
With the popularity of shows such as Strictly, ballroom and Latin dancing has seen a flourishing of new talent. This has led to a concerning rise in the number of cheap, poorly designed shoes on the market.
When it comes to children’s shoes, be firm with your manufacturer, and never settle for less than the best. Badly fitting shoes can have life-long repercussions, so make sure that you focus on quality design. Start your children off with superlative shoes, and they have a long dancing future ahead.
For more information about high-quality children’s dancing shoes, give Ray Rose a call or send us an email. Our designers and experts can advise on the best shoes to protect the feet of the future.