Most of us love to buy shoes, including dance shoes. However, we often make our choices based on individual preference, comfort and budget, and perhaps don’t always consider whether our choice of style/shape is the most flattering for our legs and feet. We are very savvy these days about how to choose the right style/shape clothing to suit our figures, but perhaps not so clever when it comes to buying shoes.

Let’s face it – most of us seek longer, leaner looking legs. Many women who feel self conscious about their legs don’t realise that part of the problem might be the choices they make when buying their shoes. The wrong style/shape of shoes, just like the wrong choice when it comes to clothing, can accentuate the flaws, shorten and widen the leg and contribute to less than luscious pins! Keeping in mind a few Golden Rules when buying shoes can really help you make the best of your legs and create a look you’re happy with!


1. Choose shoes the same colour as your legs or tights

Your legs will look best if you choose shoes the szame colour as your skin-tone (if you dance with bare legs) or your tights. This creates a long line for the eye that isn’t broken by contrasting colours. It visually tricks the eye into not realising where the legs end and the shoes begin. That’s why flesh/nude-coloured shoes are so popular with professional dancers – they give you a lovely long line to your legs.

I can hear many of you shouting for the safety of a nice pair of basic, black shoes! Black shoes certainly offer a practical choice for club dancers as they minimise the appearance of any dirty marks, however, unless you already have model-like, long legs, they’re best only worn with black tights, as with bare legs they will look heavy and will shorten the leg. One exception might be trying something like Samantha in Black/Flesh which is a black shoe which doesn’t break the leg line.

2. Avoid strappy styles, especially ankle straps

Strappy shoes are not a good choice for anyone with less than model-perfect legs (and feet). The wider and darker the straps, the harder they are to wear. The straps interrupt the vertical line of the leg, making the leg look shorter, the ankle wider, and the calf more noticeable.

Straps that fall not only across the instep, but wrap around the ankles or creep up the leg are a definite no-no. They will draw attention to your legs, shorten and widen them. So, unless you have long legs, always give them a miss.

Whilst some kind of strap across the front of the shoe is always necessary in a dance shoe, the lower the strap the longer the leg will look and, having the strap the same colour as the leg, won’t break the leg line.

Ideal for the long legged only

3. Choose streamlined, monochrome designs

Shoes with streamlined fronts and in a single colour will tend to make your leg look longer and slimmer. Remember that anything that interrupts the line of the eye down to the floor will cut off length. This includes any large embellishments such as bows, gems, feathers etc, especially those worn higher up the shoe or round the ankle. Try instead to create a sleek line and adopt a ‘less is more’ philosophy.

Don’t forget to consider the rear view of the shoe too. Again, go for a streamlined design with the same colour heel and upper to create a long, vertical line.

If your legs are particularly heavy, avoid ultra-delicate shoes, as the contrast in proportion can actually make your legs look heavier. Your best bets are styles that are neither too delicate nor too clunky, but rather are in balance with the general shape and size of your leg.

4. Choose low cut or V-shaped vamps and pointed toes

Go for low cut shoes or V-Shaped vamps (the vamp sits across the front of the shoe). Again, this will lengthen the line of the leg. Pointed toes will also elongate the leg by carrying your eye for longer down to the floor; rounded toes will always make your legs look shorter.

5. Choose a high heel, of course!

It goes without saying that wearing a heel is going to give you more height and the appearance of longer legs. High heels also have other benefits: they change the angle of the foot with respect to the lower leg, which improves the appearance of the calf; they change your posture, requiring a more upright carriage and altering the gait in a seductive fashion; and, they make the foot appear smaller and the arches of the feet higher and better defined. All-in-all, high heels are sexy!

However, it’s often a trade-off between looking gorgeous and actually being able to maintain your balance! If you’re not used to heels, start with a low heel and creep upwards over time! Flared heel shapes are great for giving you some height, yet offering a bit more stability than a stiletto. If you have slightly wider legs than average flared heels also help to create a more balanced overall look than wearing a slim heel.

  • Cristina in Tan (coming soon!)
  • Sexy, stiletto heel shape!
  • Flared heel shape

A Note about Wide Feet

Wide feet? Strappy shoes should be avoided as they encourage your eye to travel across the foot instead of up and down it. It’s also not an attractive look when fleshy bits bulge out in-between straps! The more straps and the narrower the straps, the more difficult wear they become. T-bars have the opposite effect and will slim down the feet as your eye is carried upwards. Also, shoes with some coverage down one or both sides of the feet will narrow the appearance of your feet.