A pole dance heel isn’t just a heel, it’s a tool. It’s a sexy, fun, flirty tool, but without it, half of the things we do, especially in exotic, just wouldn’t be the same.
Heels come with a variety of names, whether it’s a stripper heel, platform heel, pole heel, Pleaser, or simply “shoes.” Regardless of the name, how in the world do you use this tool?
If you’re looking at purchasing your first pair, see our guide to choosing your heels to get the best experience. If you’ve already purchased heels, then you’re probably wondering how you get used to it, and why there’s that intimidating lip at the front that just lets you rock forward.
Aren’t shoes supposed to keep you upright, not able to lean forward?
Not pole dance heels.
These a built for comfort even with regular wear every night. They are built to help you get up and down from the floor no matter how much you kip and clack your way across the stage or studio floor, and we’ll show you exactly how.
Real talk for a minute before we dive in:
The first step to learning how to dance in your heels is not posture or how to master your sexy walk, even though those are absolutely a part of the process; it’s learning how you can use your heels to your advantage. It’s getting to know your heels and how to work with the different parts. Once you become friends with your heels and understand that these bad boys are literally created and refined to help you dance on the pole and on the floor, you may find movement comes easier.
Beyond that, so much of floorwork is pointed toes and a tight core. If it’s your first time wearing heels, don’t worry. You won’t feel comfortable overnight, and you’ll probably feel a little clumsy in your first class, but that’s OK. We all do at first, and it melts away into confidence the more comfortable you get in heels. Just remember: point your toes, tighten that core. Tightening your core will also help bring your shoulders and back in line for better posture as you get used to the height.
Let’s Take a Look…
We’ll start from the top of the heel and work down.
Curved Insole and Padded Lining
The curved insole helps keep your toes protected during floorwork, where you might have your foot flipped towards the floor. Examples of this include floorwork examples such as kips, sweeps, toe drags, slides, and rolls. An additional benefit is how it helps keep your toes in place with minimal effort. Overhanging toes are unsightly and are just asking to be stubbed!
The padded lining helps cushion your feet and provide support for long hours of wear and use. It also helps the heels contour to your foot and provide support to the whole leg, helping avoid fatigue. This, along with the arch support the shank provides is why many consider pole dance heels more comfortable than street heels.
The angled heel helps support the back of your foot, which should rest directly above it. This provides optimal balance, and the direct support will help any fatigue or cramps that you might experience with street heels.
Poling in street shoes isn’t just hard on your feet, but also your calves, knees, and hip joints. Pole dance heels are designed to solve problems you would encounter so there’s no long-term discomfort or injury.
Another excellent way the angled heels help you in pole dancing is that it is easy and comfortable to grab onto when you are doing a move focused on flexibility. Where you might not have been able to bend back far enough to grab your feet, the heel gives you several inches more to work with.
Fun fact! The flat part of the heel is called the Breast, and many polers choose to have this colored or glittered for nice peek-a-boo pop of color.
The one-piece shank helps give your foot optimal arch support. It’s probably also the most oddly named. Where street heels may flex and bend with your feet, this hard-plastic piece supports your foot through the movement, helping you get down to the floor and back up from it all in one go.
This shank is the backbone of the heel which allows us to sexy-sumo-squat down to the floor with those gorgeous pointed toes, diamond-legs around and come to a stand – all without touching our toes to the ground.
It’s important to note here – in case you shop outside of Pleaser brand heels – that you always want a one-piece shank, as a two-piece is not only likely to have an unsightly crease, but it will also be more prone to breaking. The last thing you want is your heel breaking under the weight of your foot!
The angled toebox, also sometimes called the platform, is an incredibly beneficial tool that helps us slide backwards, rock down to the floor, and well, do anything. You’ll notice, if you try a few foot-sweeps with your toes pointed, the angle of the toebox works with your toe point to create a seamless line that easily glides across the floor. It’s funny to think that something as simple as the angle makes all our floorwork-lives easier, not to mention a straight toebox would look clunky and boxy.
Now, to avoid confusion, it’s important we note here that, in a typical street shoe, the toebox is the strap that folds over the toes. Pole heels, however, are not typical street shoes, though I’m sure we’ve all thought about what outfits they would work with for a night on the town. The toebox is the raised platform that the front of your foot rests on.
This is a huge part of your heels’ anatomy. The curved outsole allows you to pivot, pirouette, spin, diamond-legs, rock forward, and stand on your tip-toes with ease. If you feel like your pivots are sticky, or you’re always getting hung up in moves without the momentum to glide across the floor like you would without heels, don’t worry! This is the part you want to stand on to get that back. You’re probably using the bottom of the outsole, the large, flat part under the toebox.
Make sure you’re pointing your toes the whole time you’re in heels, and you’ll find it easier to rock slightly onto this curved part of the outsole. It’s a slight adjustment, but it makes all the difference!
SHOW US YOUR HEELS! Tag #PolePedia on Instagram or Facebook and let us see you rock those beauties!