We've compiled a long list of shoe vendors that we have either purchased from ourselves or that have been recommended by other dancers.
Acemarks (men's only)
Allen Edmonds (men's only)
Aris Allen (suede sole)
Bait (women's only)
Balboa Zin (women's only)
Bed Stu (men's only)
Bloch (women's only, character shoes)
Bounce (women's only)
Charlie Stone (women's only)
Chelsea Crew (women's only)
Groovy Fox (women's only)
Hep Cats (women's only)
John Fluevog (men's only)
JuliaBo Shoes (women's only)
Miz Mooz (women's only)
Rocket Originals (women's only)
Rosinante Swing Shoes (suede sole)
Royal Vintage (women's only)
Slide and Swing (women's only)
SolSmile (women's only)
Stacy Adams (men's only)
SuAli Swing Shoes (women's only)
Swingz (Begona Cervera) Lindy Shoes
Swivells (women's only)
Tranky Shoes (women's only)
Very Fine Shoes
Starting with a canvas shoe is great. Most of these shoes have rubber soles, however, so be prepared to wear them for a
while before they become perfectly slippery. We have confirmed: you can hasten the process by skateboarding in them.
You can also attach a felt or chrome leather (suede) bottom to the sole if you so desire.
(We haven't tested this method yet, so attempt at your own risk. Or go to a professional. We would probably suggest the latter.)
Rubber soles may never be as slippery as leather and suede bottoms, though, so if you're
willing to invest in them, those shoes provide a smoother dancing experience.
Be aware of what kind of sole you're purchasing.
The links included above are not a comprehensive list, nor are they listed in any particular order of preference.
Note that women's heels are sometimes preferred for Balboa dancing, but are by no means a requirement.
Please note that tennis shoes or other athletic shoe styles are highly recommended when doing aerials.
Attempting aerials in heels would likely be catastrophic to you and your partner.
Perfunctory disclaimer: Neither our club nor UCLA are affiliated with any of the brands listed above.
We absolve ourselves of any responsibility in the event that you buy these shoes and find them unsatisfactory.
And we do not receive royalties or recognition from posting this; we've just had a lot of members and friends, new and old, ask about what shoes to buy.
If you recommend any other shoe brands, please email us!
Sources: Facebook Post from Nov 16, 2018; Leah Phillips's master list of shoe vendors; Kristen's extensive shoe research;
recommendations from other swing websites and fellow dancers