As the innovation leader in dance shoes for nearly a century, Bloch understands the importance of a high-quality, durable and beautifully-crafted character shoe.
Whether you are just getting started in the process of choosing your first character shoe or searching for your next performance pair, the Bloch Character Shoe Guide is packed with information to assist you in your search.
From the purpose of character shoes to choosing the most comfortable size, here is our guide to character shoes.
What are Character Shoes?
Character shoes are a sturdy, yet flexible, dance and performance shoe with a formal appearance, worn by both men and women in the dance and performing arts industry.
Men’s character shoes are often an Oxford style shoe designed with a suede or leather sole, leather upper, flat stacked heel and lace-up fastening.
Character shoes for women are often identifiable by the shoe’s resemblance to a heeled dress shoe, with a chunky substantial heel height typically ranging from 1 inch to 3 inches. To ensure stability when performing in a heeled shoe, women’s character shoes require a strong heel counter that cups the heel for increased security.
Women’s character shoes often mimic the look of a Mary Jane style shoe. They come in a variety of ankle strap styles, with the most common being T-straps and single ankle straps with pin hole buckled fastenings. The adjustable ankle straps work to keep the shoe properly fit against the foot and ankle so that the shoe stays in place during various movements, such as leaps, kicks and taps.
Character shoes often come in a neutral colour, such as black or tan, so that the shoe is not distracting when the performer is moving on stage.
What are Character Shoes Used For?
Character shoes are worn by both men and women in a variety of performances and dance styles, such as jazz, musicals, folk, ballroom, tap, ballet, theatre productions, and even stagecraft.
The construction of a character shoe is much sturdier when compared to other dance shoes, which allows performers to stand, sing, dance and move across the stage for long periods of time with ample stability.
What are character dance shoes?
Character dance shoes are specifically designed for performances that include specific dance styles. These shoes are composed of a perfect blend of comfort, firmness and flexibility to ensure the performer can articulate dance moves with proper form while still being able to feel the floor underneath their foot.
Character dance shoes are often made of a full leather sole for durability and a cushioned insole for comfort and shock absorption.
What are character shoes in ballet?
Character shoes for ballet are specifically tailored with increased flexibility to allow dancers to perform ballet movements and execute proper technique.
Character shoes for character dance, which is a subdivision of classical dance, are often designed with a lighter outsole material, such as suede leather, and a canvas upper.
The ankle strap on character shoes for ballet is elastic to allow for more foot and ankle movement. These soft character shoes have the benefit of feeling similar to ballet shoes, except with added support and a low and wide feminine heel.
Tips for buying Character Shoes
When it comes time to decide which character shoe is best for you, there are a few considerations to make to ensure your shoes will provide the quality, appearance and fit that you desire.
It's important to research which kind of materials, heel height, sole, straps and colour character shoes will best suit you, your dance style and your future performances. If you’re not sure which character shoe is best for you, it’s always a good idea to ask your dance teacher or instructor for advice and recommendations!
How should character shoes fit?
Like all dance shoes, character shoes must fit accurately in order to serve the dancer properly. Character shoes should feel snug on the foot without compromising comfort.
If the shoe is hurting the side of your feet, that is a good indicator that the shoe is too narrow. If toes are bending, curling or overlapping when a character shoe is worn, that indicates the dancer needs to try a bigger size. If there is extra material in the shoe, especially near the toes, then the shoes may be too large.
The ankle strap on a character shoe should hold the shoe onto your foot securely. It should not dig into the top of the foot or ankle uncomfortably or prevent you from pointing and flexing. If there is no further room on the fastening to loosen or tighten the strap to your comfort, it may be worth exploring different styles, sizes or ankle strap options.
When choosing a pair of Bloch character shoes, please refer to the fit advice on the product pages for each shoe. For more information on sizing and conversion charts, visit our BLOCH UK size guide. We strongly recommend visiting a local retailer with knowledge of Bloch character shoe.
Where to buy character shoes
With so many options, it can sometimes feel overwhelming when deciding where to purchase a character shoe. However, taking the time to conduct research into the different retailers and dance shoe brands should be the first step before diving into a purchase.
It’s important to purchase character shoes from a trustworthy and established dance shoe brand that understands the industry and the different needs of dancers and performers alike. This will ensure that the shoe you buy will be made of high-quality materials and excellent construction. Afterall, if you’re investing in a new pair of character shoes, you’ll want a pair that can stand the test of time!
For example, Bloch shoes are perfectly designed to provide the correct fit for any age and proficiency level. Our full range of character and social dance shoes are built with a balanced shank strength to provide a harmonious compromise between heel stability and foot flexibility. With a complete collection of character shoes, we aim to create confidence, comfort and beautiful lines for any dancer.
How much are character shoes?
The best character shoes are going to be the ones that leave you feeling comfortable, confident and courageous when you step onto the dance floor. That’s why here at Bloch, we strive to equip dancers with the absolute best selection of character shoes at a variety of price points—all made with premium materials and artisanal construction.
Our selection of adult character shoes ranges in price from £27 to £85.50, ensuring you can find the exceptional product you need at the price you want.
About BLOCH Character Shoes
Bloch character shoes can be found on the feet of professionals in the performing arts industry across the globe. Bloch provides superior craftsmanship in dance shoes—perfect for students, teachers and professionals.
We lead the way as the ultimate dancewear destination. Our materials combine combined with revolutionary technology to meet the demands of any modern dancer.
Bloch offers a wide selection of character shoes for both men and women in a variety of materials, colours, heel heights and fastenings. Browse Bloch character shoes to find the perfect pair today.
Have additional questions about dance shoes? Explore our blog, The Pointe, for different dance shoe guides and more.