Pole Dancing Shoes: Your Questions Answered

Are you a pole dancer looking to buy her first pair of pole dancing heels? Or a non-poler (a.k.a. a muggle) wondering why in the hell we all wear heels? You’re in luck: this post will hopefully answer all your questions.

Pole Dance Shoes Are Stripper Shoes

The pole dance industry, which has seen many past strippers open studios and create a new form of culture inspired by strippers and the strip club, owes a lot to sex workers. Pole dance shoes are one of those characteristics that wouldn’t have been there without strippers – so it’s important to acknowledge that when we’re talking about pole dance shoes, we’re really talking about stripper shoes, now made ‘mainstream’ by the pole industry’s wide adoption of them and by celebrities wearing them.

Read more about this in my Q&A with the East London Strippers Collective.

Why Do Pole Dancers Wear Heels?

Now that we’ve established where the shoes you see pole dancers wear come from, let’s talk about why pole dancers wear stripper shoes.

1) Because we fucking want to. I have heard people say they feel “forced” to wear heels to do pole and I hope they change their minds soon, cause pole for me is about freedom, and about being you, so if you wanna wear sneakers, ballet shoes, no shoes, unicorn slippers, be my guest. Just don’t wear Crocs cause I’m pretty sure that’s a crime against fashion everywhere.

2) Pole dancers wear heels because they can actually add flare to a dance routine. They make your tricks look harder – try split dropping in heels, it’s as hard as it looks – and they help you add more accents and quirks to a performance. Heel bangs are a nice touch to many dance routines. Also, heels protect your feet when you drop, or need to balance. 

3) Heels make your legs look great, and they turn you into the equivalent of a pole dancing Xena. If you don’t believe me, think that there is a huge difference between me in heels and me without heels. When I’m wearing heels, I can pretend I’m a badass, towering glamazon…

Without heels, well… this picture speaks for itself.

Back in Sardinia people say I’m tall. In London, I’m basically Tyrion Lannister – or maybe I’ve just surrounded myself with beautifully tall friends. 

Where Can I Buy Pole Dance Shoes?

Brand-wise, Pleaser Shoes are the absolute leaders in the market. If you hear “Pleasers”, you should think: classic stripper shoes, worn by dancers and sex workers. A lot of brands that have subsequently decided to make pole shoes own their designs and inspiration to Pleasers – and therefore to strippers.

Pleasers can be found all over the Internet, from Amazon to Ebay. I got my red 9 Inch Infinity Pleasers (in the UK) from Footwear Fetish, who were kind enough to gift me this gorgeous pair of boots.

My Pleaser Infinity heels

I found these guys responsive and professional. They have all types of shoes, including vegan ones if you’re so inclined. My shoes arrived on the same week as my order and the customer service was very attentive. I’d recommend checking pole forums to see if there are brands you should avoid.

Disclaimer: There are a variety of sites you can use to order Pleasers of course – like Pole Junkie, wearifudare and Poledancingshoes etc. For this post (Dated Jan 2019), I’ve worked with Footwear Fetish.

I’ve Never Danced In Heels. What Should I Buy If I’m A Beginner? 

I’d recommend starting with 6” inch (about 15 cm) heels. When you’ll feel more confident you can go up to 10” – I’m currently dancing in 9” (23 cm), so I’m getting there.

Shoes or Boots? 

I started with clear 6” ankle strap Pleasers and almost immediately sold them. Maybe I’ve got sweaty feet, but I found that the clear shoe made my toes slip out immediately! Plus, they lasted very little because no matter how much I washed them, the clear bits of the shoes would never look as good as new. So I’d say I’m a boots girl.

Boots support your ankles a lot more especially if you’re looking to do more advanced tricks or if you’re walking a lot in your routine. They also cover your toes for drops and heel bangs. 

However, depending on their length (ankle, knee or thigh high) they can look real glam but be a ball ache when you’re sliding down the pole – making that awks latexy slidey sound. Not fun if you’re doing more than floorwork. 

Shoes can sometimes look fab. I really love some of mine, like these below, and they are definitely cheaper than boots, which can be pricey (e.g. above £80 as opposed to some shoes costing £60 or less):

But I Can’t Even Walk in Heels!

Don’t worry – neither could I before I bought them. Not properly. But one of the great things about pole is that some of your teachers will tell you and show you how to walk in heels.

One of my teachers, the amazing Josh Taylor, once told us he did a workshop with strippers who said they learnt how to walk in heels by doing the house chores in them. So that’s what I did. To these days, when I buy higher heels than I’m used to, I cook and clean in them to get used to them. It helps, and now I can walk, twerk, death and split drop in them. Plus, pole heels are lighter and better balanced than normal heels thanks to their platform, so you’ll find yourself not wanting to walk in other heels ever again.

I’m A Boy (or identify as a boy). Should I Bother With Heels?

Depends on your style! Whatever you’ve got down there (or whatever you identify as) shouldn’t determine whether you wear heels or not. The majority of male pole dancers I’ve seen dancing in heels can give me a lesson or two on how to be fab in them. All the same, I’ve seen beautiful pole routines performed by female dancers without heels.

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Snippet of my guest show at the 2017/2018 @misspoledanceaustralia South Aus heat! What a night! Kudos to the beautiful competitors who danced their asses off, and congrats to the winners. Thanks to @carliehunter from the @thepoleboutique for having me, and to @chillirox , @bje_73 , @jeddajjordan , @justinemclucas and @simoneiwood for a great weekend ❤️ #pole #poledance #malepoledancer #maledancer #muse #hysteria #meninheels #idanceforme #idancetobefree #mpd #mpdsa @poledancenation @poledancersofinstagram @pole_boys @floorfuckery @cleosrocknpole #gay #gayguy #gaydancer @gaysydneyaustralia @gayadelaide @pleasershoes @heelsnthrills @meninheels #bluephoenix @bluephoenixpoleandfitness #legsfordays #thickthighs

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If you’re more into dramatic/contemporary pole, heels are not commonly used for those routines. If your routines are sexier, more out there, then you might want to try heels. Try dancing by yourself or doing an Insta search to see who inspires you, what music you like dancing to, and then try and match your look/outfit to that. The videos above are just some recommendations by amazing dancers – two of whom taught me a few times. I’m a lucky gal.

Essentially, for me pole styles shouldn’t be about identifying with any or a particular gender, but about how you like to dance!

So Should You Get Some Pole Heels?

HELL YES. I’d say you can never go wrong by buying a pair of pole dance heels – unless you have to choose between pole shoes and food, of course. Cause food is always more important.

But anyway, I always recommend trying a pair. If you don’t like them, you don’t need to buy them anymore and if you like them… welcome to the Shoe Addict Club.

FYI: this post was strictly about pole dancing shoes, but if you want to know more about pole dance in general, read my post about that here.


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