Choosing The Right Figure Shoes
So, what’s the skinny on the figure shoes? How high do they need to be? What should they look like? Should they have a platform? Can they have a design?
It can seem like a tough thing to do – choosing the shoes you’re going to wear on stage. But in reality, it’s not. It’s really pretty simple and unfortunately, there really isn’t too much variety in what looks good and what’s appropriate.
What should I buy?
Your shoes should be clear. Not silver, not black, not gold etc. The reason for the clear shoe is that it gives the illusion of an elongated leg. When you wear a shoe with color, such as a black one, the leg stops very dramatically and it becomes apparent that the shoe is there. With the clear shoe, you don’t draw the judges’ eyes somewhere they shouldn’t be…like on those gold shoes!
The heel should be a minimum of 5” high. Anything under 5” just will not have the same affect for your legs. Here’s something you can do to see what the 5” heel will do for your calves alone.
Stand on your flat feet. Look at your calves. Now, raise your heel about half way up. See the calf flex a little bit? Now stand up on your tip-toes and imitate a 5 inch or more heel under your foot. Look at how tight your calf gets.
The higher you can wear your heel, the better your leg will look. And this isn’t something that is especially important just for short women. It’s just as important for all you tall girls out there, too. I am 5’9” tall and I wear 5 inches on stage and believe it or not, I am still looking at 6” heels for next season. I want anything that is going to lengthen my body and make me stand out in the presence of the other competitors and in front of the judges.
The style of the shoe chosen is at your discretion. Some women feel more comfortable with a strap at the top of their foot, some women like just a slide on shoe. But whatever you get, make sure you can walk comfortably and naturally in them. Which leads me to the next topic.
Practice, Practice, Practice
You CANNOT practice enough with your shoes before you get on stage. I can’t stress this enough. Before you even begin working on your posing with your shoes, just walk in them. Walk on a hard surface, not the carpet*. The stage is not carpeted. Walk in front of somebody who will give you honest critical advice. Trust me, if you walk like a duck in your shoes, you’ll want to know that you walk like a duck. That just means that you’ll have to practice even more.
* Employing the use of a carpet is a great technique for practicing your pivots and turns. The carpeting makes it more difficult to turn. If you can learn to pivot smoothly on carpeting then turning and pivoting on a hard surface will become effortless.
(Good thing you bought your shoes 4 months from the show, right?)
Practice swinging your arms naturally, hold your head high, suck in your stomach. There should be a natural rhythm to your walk. You may also want to order a second pair of shoes, since if you’re practicing enough, you’ll wear the first pair out. I have two pair of shoes, one I practice in and one I wear on stage. Oh yeah, and make sure you break in the ones you’re going to wear on stage before you get on stage. The last thing you want is to be bothered by blisters the day of the show. Plus, that second pair of shoes can come in handy the day of the show. Imagine how you’d feel if your heel breaks right before you go on stage….
Oh that’s right, you have a spare pair! Seriously though, it is so important to be comfortable with your shoes before you get on stage. Even if you wear heels every day, you probably don’t wear 5” heels. They’re very different than 3” inch heels, which are pretty standard in every day life.
Here are some quick tips to remember when you buy your shoes:
• Buy clear – they can have some rhinestone design, but don’t go too overboard
• 5” heel – purchase at least a 5” heel, it elongates your leg and gives you a
better presence on stage
• Buy ½ size smaller – generally this is the rule of thumb for buying your shoes.
When your heel gets so high, it pushes your toes to the tip of your shoe and
leaves an unattractive space at your heel. When you buy a half size smaller than
you usually wear, that eliminates the space at the heel.
• Avoid platforms – they just make you look clunky and awkward on stage.
Here are some sites for you to consider when you’re looking for your shoes: