If you’re not familiar with the dance world, the type of floor you dance on may not seem like an important issue. However, the impact of floors on dance injuries is highly important. According to Gary Wright, a National Australian Champion in Cycling and also a Flooring Technician for West Australian Ballet, the lack of absorption from the floor, combined with bad repetitive technique can lead to lots of injuries to your muscles, ligament and bones, leading to chronic pain and stress fractures.
On the Ballet Blog the expert talks about three elements that make a good floor: the underlying surface, the covering and the maintenance of the surface. For a more in depth explanation you can watch the interview with Gary here.
After we found out what a good floor looks like, let’s have a look at the worst of them all: concrete. It is tough, it does not absorb shock and it turns the dancing experience into a more difficult one. Your joints will have to suffer from this the most, so if you absolutely have to dance on a concrete floor you need to make sure you are best equipped to do so. The shoes will make a huge difference to your routine.
Reebok comes with a very good option if you plan in dancing on concrete. The Floatride Energy 2 model will protect your feet and joints with the innovative Floatride Energy Foam that is padding the foot bed. It provides a very comfortable cushioning, more efficiently than the standard EVA sole, without adding weight to the shoe, keeping it lightweight (272 g). The model is also flexible making it easy to dance in, as it fit the foot like a sock.
The mesh upper is also very lightweight and allows your feet to breathe while keeping them dry. They are designed for long distance running, so they are responsive on tough surfaces such as concrete, which will help you during your routine.
The model is available in four combinations of colours you can choose from. My favourite one for women is the True Grey, White and Vivid Orange combination, while my favourite model for men is the Humble Blue, Fluid blue and Black one. The size ranges from 7 to 13 (US). They are designed neutral pronation, with a high arch.
Yet another model wearing Reebok’s signature is the CrossFit Nano 8.0 trainers. With over 1400 reviews on Amazon and a score of 4.6 out of 5, they did convince me to give them a try on concrete. Reebok has been working on this shoe, testing and redesigning it since 2010. CrossFit Nano 8.0 is a version that was born with the input of the CrossFit community and the dancers’ community can definitely benefit from it.
The Flexweave technology used on the upper is very breathable, keeping your feet dry during training. This technology weaves fibres into a figure-8 which makes it durable, yet flexible.
The forefoot flex grooves also contribute to the flexibility of the shoe that will let you perform any move you want. The low-cut design adds to mobility too.
The toe area is protected thanks to the Toe Tection design, so now’s the time for those Michael Jackson toe stands.
The model weighs 10 oz and it features a 4 mm drop. They are available in sizes ranging from 6.5 to 14 and in a very wide colour scheme. If your size is out of stock, you can sign-up for a notification e-mail and they will let you know when they are available again.
#3: New Balance 997H
Coming straight from the ‘90s, these unisex shoes are made for the people who stayed cool through the decades. They seem to come straight out of an R n B music video, so be prepared to feel extra pumped when you put them on. I honestly first chose them because of the nostalgic design. Then, they proved to be very functional when faced with one of my nightmares: the concrete floor.
They are a very agile model, featuring a thick EVA foamy midsole that cushions every move you make. You’re walking (dancing) on clouds. They are very sturdy, so they will take your outdoor training just fine. The upper is made of a combination of mesh, suede and synthetic leather. The GCEVA construction gives them an update compared to their predecessors that came out in 1991.
The colour scheme has so much to offer, so give yourself time to choose. You’ll have to pick out from combinations such as Castlerock with Peony or White with Laser Blue. They are available in sizes ranging from 8 to 14, standard width.
With over 75 years of experience in manufacturing American footwear, New Balance has another option for dancers who need to perform on concrete floors. The 574 Core iconic style features an ENCAP midsole technology that will support your feet and joints, while keeping the shoe lightweight and easy to dance in.
The EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate) offers the main protection against the hard concrete floor, making the midsole foamy, cushioning every step you take. The outsole is made of rubber, so it has good grip and it makes it more difficult for you to slip during pivots.
The upper is made of a combination of suede and breathable mesh that will keep your feet dry. In case you hate sweaty feet like I do, this model has you covered. They are available in sizes ranging from 5 to 12(US) with standard and wide models. You can choose from lots of colours such as Grey and White, Navy, Burgundy or Black. If none of those satisfy your wishes, you get the chance to customize your own New Balance 574 Core model. You can choose your favourite colour, materials and signature details.
Here comes the most hardcore model on my list. If dancing on concrete is not just an exception to the rule for you and you actually have to do it on a regular basis, you may want to take look at the Asics Gel Kayano 25. They have models for both men and women, so you and your dance partner will be protected against concrete’s evil ways. That’s right! I really hate concrete floors.
Among runners’ favourites, this model is designed using the GEL KAYANO 25 technology that guarantees a comfortable training session. The FLYTEFOAM system uses organic super fibres that provides a great energy return and resists compression, so you can jump on them as much as you wish. They’ll take it. Another innovative technology called FLUIDRIDE allows the midsole to gently cushion your feet while reinforcing the natural trajectory of your movements, going hand in hand with another signature system, the GEL technology, which reduces the impact with the floor, absorbing the shock, thus taking care of your joints.
The materials are seamless, protecting your feet from injuries on different high pressure points. The shoes fit like a sock thanks to the internal elastic sleeve that surrounds your foot. The upper is knitted and inspired by the traditional Japanese kimono. They also benefit from the I.G.S (Impact Guidance System) technology. The HEEL CLUTCHING SYSTEM is also part of what makes these shoes a superior choice and it refers to the exoskeletal heel counter that offers supreme support.
The GEL-Kayano 25 is design for over-pronators, for low or flat foot arches. Their size ranges from 6 to 16, but if your size is out of stock you simply sign up for a notification e-mail and they’ll let you know when it is available again. You can choose from 11 colours and combinations, but I personally prefer the Cherry Tomato and Black one for ladies.
No matter which shoes you will choose, you need to be prepared when attempting to dance on a concrete floor. Never neglect the impact it can have on your joints and tackle it with great care and responsibility.
Stay safe, my fellow dancers, and if you wish share with us the craziest places (and surfaces) you had to dance on. I’ll start...I had to dance in a cobble stone cellar for a Halloween party in Transylvania. Yes, Dracula was there too.
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