The growing popularity of hip hop can, at times, seem like an unstoppable freight train with no end in sight. From its humble beginnings on the streets of American cities to the multi-billion dollar industry that inspires millions of people and spawned countless sub-cultures that it has since become, hip hop is an undeniable force in our culture.
Couple the never-ending popularity of hip hop with the bottomless pool of creativity that the Internet has unleashed, and you have a perfect storm of hip hop being used as an outlet for millions of people. And, in the year 2020, with so many of us confined to our homes due to the coronavirus pandemic, those creative juices have been flowing a little more than normal.
Of course, hip hop doesn’t just come in the form of music—dancing has been a big part of the culture since the beginning, and that hasn’t changed today. But hip hop dancing is not the tango—it places a special kind of stress on your body—your feet in particular—and on the shoes that you wear, which is why we’ve put together this list of our best shoes for dancing hip hop.
What to Look for in a Hip Hop Dancing Shoe
There is a great deal of variation within hip hop, and that extends to hip hop dancing, also. Unfortunately, this means there are a lot of different strengths to look for in a pair of hip hop dancing shoes depending on what specifically you are planning to do. There are some things that are universally desirable when hunting down the best shoes for dancing hip hop.
Hip hip dancing is often a fast-paced, energetic style of dance, and so you don’t want heavy footwear that will leave you fatigued after a short time dancing. Flexibility is another attribute to be on the lookout for—rigid, clunky boots may be ideal for an industrial work environment or a hike through rough terrain, but they are not exactly conducive to fluid, agile movement. On the subject of hiking, one area where hip hop dancing shoes don’t need to excel is in long term comfort. A hiking shoe needs to keep your feet comfortable over the course of long treks, but a hip hop dancing shoe will be used in much shorter bursts, making long-term comfort—and even general walking comfort—less important in the overall design. Features such as cushioned insoles and breathable linings can be sacrificed for added flexibility.
The final aspect we consider a must-have in the best shoes for dancing hip hop is a distinctive appearance. Granted, the function will usually take priority over appearance in something like footwear, but when you are buying shoes specifically to dance in, you want them to look good. Having a distinctive appearance can come in many forms, from the colors used on the shoe to the design of the shoe itself, so there is plenty of scope for a shoe to pass this particular criterion.
Now, let’s get into our best shoes for dancing hip hop in 2020!
Top 10 Best Shoes for Dancing Hip Hop in 2020
1. Capezio Women’s DS24 Rockit Dance Sneaker
When it comes to dancing shoes, Capezio has an undeniable pedigree, and that experience shows in the DS24 Rocket Dance Sneaker. Built from a combination of synthetic mesh and suede, the DS24 achieves an excellent combination of flexibility and strength that should see you through even the most complicated of dance moves without falling apart after only a few outings.
It features a split sole design with built-in flex points for added flexibility without losing the protection of a durable outsole. The front half of the split sole features a “spin spot,” as well as a flat, boxed toe that is ideal for toe stands. The split sole design also allows for a perforated arch, which, along with the mesh sections of the upper, increases the breathability of the shoe immensely, keeping your feet cool and fresh no matter how hard you are pushing yourself.
The padded tongue, collar, and sports lace system will ensure your dance sneakers stay securely and comfortably on your feet. Appearance-wise, the DS24 is not the most outrageously designed dance sneaker out there, but it has a distinctive look that, in black, will go with just about any outfit.
2. Nike Men’s Air Force 1 Low Sneaker
Nike’s contribution to our list of best shoes for dancing hip hop in 2020 is, in appearance at least, a pair of sneakers that will be perfectly at home in a hip hop setting. The traditional chunky-soled, the crisply designed sneaker draws its inspiration from the kinds of shoes that hip hop artists have favored for years—some of which Nike themselves have been responsible for.
The thick outsole and cushioned midsole make for a comfortable experience and should serve to take a lot of the joint-stress out of those more impactful landings. The upper of the shoe is made from quality leather, which should stand up to plenty of scuffing and abrasion. You also have plenty of styles to choose from, from crisp, clean white to understated black, and even some heavily vintage golds and reds.
3. BLOCH Women’s Boost Mesh Sneaker Dance Shoe
Moving back towards the dedicated dance shoe end of the spectrum, the Bloch women’s Boost Mesh Sneaker is another split-sole shoe that is designed with dancing at the forefront of its purpose in life. Despite the split-sole design, you will not be lacking for arch support with this shoe. The front half of the sole features a spin spot, and there is an air cushion incorporated for additional comfort.
The upper of the shoe is mostly made from mesh, which makes it a highly breathable shoe. Couple that with the odor and mildew resistant sock liner, and you have a recipe for some very fresh feet as you dance the night away. The overall shoe is lightweight and comfortable, and the tread is non-marking, so you should get the best of all worlds from this offering. There are only two options as far as style goes, but both the black and pink offerings are a class act.
4. Adidas Originals Men’s Superstar Sneaker
Adidas brings us another traditional sneaker with their Superstar offering, which is what you’d expect from their Originals line of footwear. These shoes feature a flat outsole rather than a split-sole design, which may make them less flexible when it comes to dancing, but it does mean they can do double-duty as an everyday sneaker.
One of the more distinctive features of the Superstar is the rubber shell toe, which adds durability to one of the more punished areas of dancing shoes—the toe box. In addition, the herringbone tread pattern offers excellent traction, while the lacing does a great job of keeping the sneakers on your feet and offering a little room for adjustment in the fit.
The Adidas Originals Superstar Sneaker is available in a range of different designs, though they are all essentially different variations in black and white. There is a high-top option for anyone looking for a little extra ankle support, though it should be noted that this will reduce your freedom of movement when dancing.
5. Adult Split-Sole Sneaker T8000 (Women)
The T8000 sneakers are another split-sole offering, this time from Theatricals. The upper is made from a combination of breathable mesh and durable leather, so you get the best of both worlds in terms of breathability and flexibility combined with strength.
The split sole offers decent arch support and comfort thanks to the thick midsole sections, while a spin spot on the front section of the sole should make those complicated spinning dance moves that little bit easier. As is usually the case with this kind of shoe, the T8000 is a very lightweight dancing shoe, and you will find additional comfort in the form of a padded collar and cushioned insole. There is also Achilles support, making this an excellent option for people who are struggling with arthritis or tendonitis around the ankle area.
If you opt for the T8000, you will be limited to the one design as there are no other options. That being said, black is a universally stylish color, and this sneaker should go great with any outfit.
6. Urban Groove Hip-Hop Dance Sneaker High-Top Canvas Unisex
Urban Groove brings us a traditional high top design with their hip hop dance sneaker, and this fashionable design will look as good in your general wardrobe as it does on the dance mat. Being a high top with a flat sole, these sneakers are a very stable platform for you to execute your moves.
The upper section is made from canvas, allowing for quite a lot of flexibility. At the same time, the interior features a breathable cotton lining that should keep your feet feeling fresh even when you’re working up a sweat. Naturally, this sneaker is very lightweight, which should help prevent your feet from feeling fatigued. Now, if we’re being honest, there are better shoes on this list if you are looking for a pure dance shoe. But if you need something that can double up as casual footwear when you’re not dancing, this is a hard shoe to beat. You can get the Dance Sneaker in red, white, or black.
7. Sansha Salsette 1 Jazz Sneaker
The Sansha Salsette 1 Jazz Sneaker may have “jazz” in the name, but this is a versatile dancing shoe that is just as well suited to hip hop as it is to other styles of dance. It features a split sole design underneath a mesh and suede upper, offering great flexibility all around. Like most sneakers of this style, the cuff is not particularly high, which makes for more freedom of movement at the expense of less ankle support.
Compared to other split sole sneakers, this shoe has quite a low heel, which suits hip hop dancing nicely, and the cushioned insoles offer a reasonable degree of protection for your feet to make up for their being less sole to cushion you. The mesh fabric used is breathable and quick-drying, so your feet should be kept feeling fresh, no matter how hard you are working in them. There are a few different color schemes to choose from, with each one being the same basic design with a different color of mesh.
8. Reebok Women’s Guresu 1.0 Running Shoe
Don’t let the name fool you; Reebok’s Guresu 1.0 may be a running shoe, but it also makes for an excellent hip hop dancing shoe. Being a running shoe, comfort is particularly important, which means Reebok has gone all out to ensure that the midsole and insole cushion your feet exceptionally well.
The neoprene upper section is very breathable and flexible, with the high cuff offering additional ankle support. As you might expect from a running shoe, the Guresu is very lightweight and offers excellent traction. There is plenty of room for your toes, though some smaller-footed dancers may find these shoes a bit too spacious. You can get the Reebok Women’s Guresu running shoe in a variety of different colors, so you’ll have no problem finding a pair to go with your outfit. And, of course, you can always use them for running in between dance sessions.
9. Women’s Mesh Jazz Shoes Lady Girls Modern Split-Sole Dance Sneakers
If you are looking for a split sole shoe with a slightly more formal look, this option may be just the thing. Though the shoe incorporates all of the features you would hope for from a split sole dance shoe, the overall aesthetic is more like a high platform office shoe. At least, when you get them in black.
The upper section of the shoe is made from breathable mesh, while the interior is lined with moisture-absorbing cotton. The sneaker is lightweight and features a thick, springy heel that should make energetic dance routines feel like a light stroll. You can get this sneaker in four different colors; black, white, red, and pink.
10. Pastry POP Tart Grid Adult Sneaker
These sneakers are designed with dancers in mind. They feature a combination upper that melds breathable and durable materials to form a shoe that is both strong enough to take the stress of dancing but also light enough to keep your feet feeling fresh.
The outsole is non-marking, which should save you being glared at by whoever is in charge of keeping the dancefloor clean, and there is a spin pad to make spinning easy without losing overall traction.
The footbed is made of memory foam for additional comfort, and the high cuff is padded to provide extra ankle support without being uncomfortable.
There are a few different styles to choose from, though truth be told, they consist of white and a few different shades of black. That being said, each one looks very stylish, even if they are all very similar.