Pole Dancing Shoes: Sandals vs. Boots Comparison

Pole Dancing Shoes: Sandals vs. Boots Comparison

Feeling lost in the massive selection of pole dancing footwear? Not sure if open-toe sandals, closed-toe boots, or a hybrid of the two will best serve your practice? A well-informed shoe purchase can seriously impact our performance, appearance, and safety on and off of the pole. I’m here to help you find the right shoe for your training and goals in this ultimate breakdown of pole dancing sandals vs. boots.

If you are a beginner, I invite you to check out my separate post dedicated to purchasing your first pair of pole dancing shoes.

Pole Dancing Shoes: Appearance

pole dancing shoes appearance

What is most obvious is what is most visible!

Sandals offer a lighter and more traditional look, being our only option back in the day. On the flip side, boots give a bolder, heavier aesthetic and really make a statement. Boots gained popularity in recent years thanks to trends set by famous exotic pole dancers.

A suede finish on your footwear gives your dancing a sportier vibe, while leather or PVC material introduces a more hardcore image. Without changing the choreography or outfit, the same dancer can achieve an entirely different visual with just the replacement of her sandals with boots.

My personal favorite is the gorgeous, open-toe suede boot because I find it to embody the best of both sandals and boots.

Performance

Pole dancing sandals and boots affect our performance abilities in different ways. Sandals are comparatively lightweight, making it easier to pull off tricks involving lifting and maintain a nice arch for a prolonged period of time.

Boots entail more weight to hold and lift up in every maneuver. Furthermore, an extra hundred grams can really impact your ability to keep your toes pointed for the duration of your performance.

One detail that is often overlooked is that boots can get really hot, especially in summertime. The breathability of the material making up our pole dancing shoes is worth consideration, as nobody wants to end a session with a swimming pool of sweat in their heels.

Pointe Work & Arch

pole dancing shoes exotic dance academy

Pointe and arch ability are important factors in pole dancing, particularly in the Russian exotic style.

Sandals allow the creation of a truly beautiful arch thanks to the exposure of the foot. Boots have a predefined shape on the top of the shoe, and no matter how many years of ballet experience you might have, showcasing a pointe or arch is simply not possible.

Again, I find open-toe boots to be that happy medium. The shoe shape is still fixed, yet I am able to point my toes a bit more than in classic boots.

Sliding Toes

A common setback with pole dancing sandals is the toes sliding out of the shoes, especially for narrow feet. You may even want to consider custom-designed sandals fitted to your feet.

Brands like Pleaser offer sandals with clear, wide straps that give a tighter grip. Patent leather sandals have a larger opening with narrower straps and are more suitable for wider feet.

Keep in mind that as sandals get worn over time, the straps will stretch and loosen, making the toes more prone to slide out.

Closed-toe boots with predefined shapes will help avoid toe injury and ruined pedicures, but again, at the sacrifice of the arch and those nice lines, we strive for.

Pole Dancing Shoes Protection

pole footwear comparison

The higher exposure and decreased ankle support of sandals make them not recommendable for technical drops and kicks, but great for muscle strengthening in the ankles.

The full protection provided by boots can translate into better mental preparation for tackling more advanced moves.

On and Off the Pole Features

  • Sandals are versatile and provide extra grip for both pole tricks and floor practice.
  • Boots are more complicated. Laces can get in the way and are best kept hidden behind the tongue of the shoe. The metal eyelets (loops where the laces are threaded through) may scratch your pole.
  • Then there is shoe finish to consider. A suede finish means absolutely zero grip on the pole. This material is ideal for dance moves and less helpful for climbing and tricks.
  • PVC and patent leather provide awesome grip. These are great for tricks, but can be problematic if they start grabbing onto your flooring as well.

Durability & Cost

Sandals have a shorter lifespan that often ends with broken straps. Boots are made with more material and thus last longer. As boots go through wear and tear, they can still be used for training, no matter how unflattering they get. 

Sandals are generally cheaper than boots… unless we treat ourselves to a little custom fit and design 😉


Pole Dancing Shoes: Sandals vs. Boots Final Breakdown

pole footwear protection
  • Sandals – Light and easy, lower cost, versatile for all pole styles.
  • Boots – High protection in the toes and ankles, ideal for advanced tricks.
  • Open-toe boots – The best of all worlds and my personal go-to.

So what’s it gonna be, sandals or boots? Let’s be honest – if we’ve read this far, we’re probably obsessed and buying all of the above. But hey, at least now we know when to use which pair.

The next step is learning how to protect pole dancing shoes to save our new babies from scratches and make them last!


Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. Injuries of all types can occur when participating in exercise, physical fitness and training programs. By performing any fitness exercises, you are performing them at your own risk. Exotic Dance Academy will not be responsible or liable for any injury, loss, damages or harm any person sustain as a result of the fitness program, online fitness videos, or information shared on the website. Pole dancing is not suitable for those who have or are suffering from any physical ailment such as back, neck, muscular injuries or other related medical problems. Pole dancing is also not suitable for pregnant women and those under age 18. This content, information, videos, audio and training manuals offered and made available on this website are for informational purposes only. Use this information at your own risk.

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