The musical theater offers a wide array of shows, from Mary Poppins to An American in Paris to Shuffle Along, all of which require unique shoes to animate their characters. An aspiring performer will have to invest in the premium quality character, jazz, and tap shoes for rehearsals and auditions.
The right character shoe makes a great performer.
The right character shoe is comfortable, versatile, and will provide the perfect amount of flexibility to do choreographic combinations over and over again. It also provides maximum support, especially on long performance or rehearsal days, and ensures actors and dancers audition with confidence.
Finding a high-quality and reasonably priced character shoe can be a serious challenge, — especially when you’re working with a limited budget or buying your first pair. Sounds familiar? Don’t stress, and we’ve done the work for you!
Each of these shoes is reliable, super comfortable, well- designed, and built to last through various theater productions. Most importantly, they’re an excellent value and deliver a good bang for your buck.
Did you get somewhere to be in the next few minutes? Skip to our top recommendation, which is Capezio 550 Junior Footlight shoe for its unmatched comfort, durability, and quality.
Looking to make a big entrance with confidence? Here are the best character shoes that professional actors swear by.
Best Character Shoes
1. Capezio 550 Junior Footlight
The Jr. Footlight has long been one of the top-selling character shoes due to its unmatched durability and quality.
The Flexible, durable and Lightweight Jr. Footlight features a soft and supple upper with clean, elegant lines and a supportive “arch cookie” for more enhanced comfort.
The Achilles notch prevents the firmly attached heel from digging-in when you point.
The Jr. Footlight also features a smooth folded edge top line, a Slim buckle closure, and a slightly thinner ankle strap, which provides a custom fitting and eliminates the worry of the shoe slipping off during an intense performance.
These updates improve the comfort, look, and functionality of the shoe without sacrificing history. The insole also has more padding and a matching sock-lining.
Thanks to a Non-slip heel counter, comfort and control are better.
This character shoe also features a leather sole and a shapely, a non-slip mid-cut heel that’s just the right height. You can even attach taps on its stitched leather sole. It also comes in 3 widths so as to accommodate all foot shapes.
Great for any performance, whether for the stage, jazz, tap, and high-kick routines.
- Very easy to break in.
- Features a non-slip, leather wrapped heel and top lift that provides stability.
- Moisture Absorbing so you can use it for long hours of rehearsals without feeling uncomfortable and wet.
- Foam padded footbed ensures extra comfort.
- Slim buckle closure to avoid slipping off during intense performances.
- Perfect for any performance, whether taps can be attached on its stitched leather sole.
- Sizes run a bit small so consider ordering a half size up.
- Not the best strap.
The Jr. Footlight is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a quality, comfortable character, tap or even ballroom shoe. It comes in only two colors (nude and black ) and is designed to ensure maximum comfort.
2. Capezio Women’s Manhattan Character Shoe
Capezio Manhattan Character Shoe is made for stage-worthy performances and is a must-have for any performer.
It features a non slip heel with a leather top lift that creates balance and enables a greater strike zone.
The foam-cushioned insole and Soft microfiber lining ensure extra comfort. You’ll never have to sacrifice style for comfort in the Capezio Manhattan Character Shoe.
The versatile shoe features a smooth leather upper/sole for superior durability and for turning ease. It also features a classic MaryJane silhouette with an adjustable buckle for quick fastening.
However, the taps are not included, and the strap may be extremely long – you may need to go see a cobbler to add a few more holes and adjust the strap’s length.
Overall, The Capezio Manhattan Character Shoe is a quality product.
- Very stylish – much cuter than most pairs in its category.
- A non-slip heel that creates balance and enables good traction.
- Not the best heels.
- Sizes run narrow.
- The strap may be extremely long – you may need to go see a cobbler.
Whether you are looking for shoes for character, theatrical, and tap performance, the Capezio Manhattan Character Shoe should be your go-to product. It delivers exceptional performance, yet it is affordable.
3. Bloch Dance Women’s Split Flex Character Shoe
The Bloch Dance SplitFlex is a cleanly cut and cute character shoe.
In a T-strap silhouette, The Splitflex has a shorter shank with elasticized panel underfoot to enhance your pointe. The Cushioned insole and internal stabilizer reinforce the heel without compromising flexibility.
This versatile shoe offers the dancer an extended line and full articulation of movement and also ensures that the dancer feels supported and secure. An internal shank stabilizer reinforces the heel without compromising the flexibility of the shoe.
The Splitflex T-Strap character shoe features Premium quality leather upper and lining with a 2.5″ contoured heel.
The Suede outsole enables turning and sliding while also providing good traction.
A beautiful character shoe can be used for Ballroom, Cabaret, and stage performances.
- T-strap silhouette which enhances your pointe and provides additional stability.
- A cushioned insole that ensures comfort and shock absorption.
- Soft leather upper and sole provides comfort and extra durability.
- Classic design for students as well as professionals.
- Suede forefoot outsole allows Optimum slip and grip.
- Internal stabilizer which Reinforces heel without compromising flexibility.
- Short shank with elasticized panel underfoot Enables full articulation of movement with an aesthetic line.
- Not the best heels.
- Not the best T-straps.
The Bloch Dance Women’s Split Flex is a good choice for a serious dancer who just wants to pamper their feet or for a professional who dances 3 hours or more a day.
4. STELLE 1.5” Character Dance Shoes for Womens Girls
The STELLE 1.5″ Character Dance Shoe is made of premium quality, imitation leather upper with a scored leather sole that encourages secure stepping.
It features a soft, breathable lining that ensures comfort and breathability and an adjustable ankle strap with pin buckle for quick adjustments and a perfect fit.
It also features and an improved heel lift that makes them comfortable to wear and easy to perform in. The traction is excellent, and the cut out notch ensures better movement and fit.
The small layer of memory foam in the bottom of this shoe makes performing so much more comfortable and bearable, especially for long performance days.
The versatile STELLE Character Shoe is perfect for acting, dancing, ballroom dance class, school musical, and theater play. It also matches casual jeans, work outfits, skirts or dresses, and requires zero time to break in.
It is also true to size, so consider ordering your street shoe size.
- Genuine imitation leather upper and sole that encourages secure stepping.
- Soft breathable lining that ensures comfort and breathability.
- Adjustable ankle strap with a pin buckle for quick adjustments and perfect fit.
- Improved heel lift attachment makes it easy to perform in.
- Versatile and can be used for dancing, acting, and daily work.
- True to size.
- Not the best heels.
- Straps may be hard to fasten for some.
If you’re a beginner and in need of a light practice shoe with the perfect heels to enhance your performance, the Stelle character shoe is designed with the dancer in mind and maybe the perfect pair for you.
5. Bloch Dance Women’s Broadway Lo Character Shoe
The 1.5-inch heel Bloch Broadway Lo is the perfect beginner character shoe and provides excellent quality for less.
The Broadway Lo also features a classic Mary Jane ankle strap with an auto-lock buckle that uses elastic tension to keep the strap in place and allows you to adjust the fit quickly. This feature is the true genius of the Broadway Lo – it’s super convenient and a lifesaver when making quick changes.
In this character, the shoe is a super plush lining that cushions your feet and keeps them comfortable during long rehearsals.
When it comes to style, the Broadway Lo dance character shoe is right on point. The subtle curve on top of the shoe is specifically designed to make your legs seem longer. They come in black and tan.
- The leather sole ensures a more secure landing.
- Fine grid leather sole suitable for various dance surfaces.
- Strong heels with reinforced shanks, gives optimum stability.
- Plush cushioned lining ensures extra support and comfort.
- Classic ankle strap with auto-lock buckle for quick fit adjustments.
- Sizes Run small. Consider ordering a full size up from the street shoe.
If you need to make some quick changes and to add a flattering look to your performance, the Bloch Broadway LO may be the right pair for you.
6. Theatricals Adult 2″ T-Strap Character Shoes T3300
The Theatricals Adult 2″ T-Strap Character Shoe ensures peerless performance.
It is made with genuine leather upper and sole for turning ease and for a more secure stepping. The soft, breathable lining ensures maximum comfort and breathability. It also features an adjustable pin buckle for quick adjustability and for a perfect fit. They are superb, suit incredibly perfectly.
Fantastic in shape and really inexpensive when compared to other brands but function just as effectively. You will experience no hard time breaking them in. However, make sure to buy your street size, and you need to be fine.
These shoes are excellent for tap or stage; nonetheless, they are quite versatile.
For the price, primarily, The Theatricals Character Shoe is an incredible product.
- Classic T-strap design delivers a custom fit.
- Genuine leather upper and sole that encourages secure stepping and allows for turning ease.
- Features a soft, breathable lining that ensures comfort and breathability.
- An adjustable pin buckle for easy adjustability.
- Not the most durable – starts to peel out after several performances.
The Theatricals Character Shoe is ideal for dance a student who probably wants to leave a mark on the dance floor. Its numerous features will enhance your performance.
7. So Danca Adult 1.5″ Character Shoes CH50
The So Danca Character shoes are a true classic and have become an international favorite for some good reasons, their stylish designs, and quality craftsmanship.
Built with superior quality vegan leather and an upper cushioned lining for ultimate comfort and style.
It features a breathable PU upper that ensures breathability, a Single strap, and a leather sole for a more secure stepping.
So Danca CH-50 1.5″ Heel Character shoe features a leather sole, 1.5-inch heel buckle strap, a breathable PU upper.
This character shoe looks great, feels great, and is perfect for dance or theater productions!
Not true to size. Consider ordering the same as street shoe size or half size up for comfort.
- Adjustable strap ensures a snug fit.
- The leather sole ensures good traction.
- Comfortable cushioned lining. gives dancers hours of comfort.
- Not true to size. Order half a size larger.
- Requires breaking in.
- Not the best heels, starts to wear out after several performances.
The So Danca Character shoes will keep you tapping your feet all day and night. It will provide superior comfort, a snug fit, and will keep your feet steady during your performance.
What to Look Before Buying Character Shoes
It’s safe to say that underneath every theater dancer or actress is a great pair of character shoes.
A lot of factors go into choosing the perfect character shoes, but the most important is the heel height. Ultimately, you will need to figure out how to exude confidence and rock every step—from leaps to high kicks.
Get Acquainted with Your Show
The popular character shoe heel height is 2 1/2 inches, and for many dancers, it is an ideal height because it strikes a balance between allowing you to relevé and yet elongating your line. Your foot will be in a high relevé position when wearing a 3-inch heel, and it can be hard to relevé further unless you’re a strong dancer.
But you should consider the choreography of the show. If the choreography is doing leaps and turns, you could wear 2 1/2-inch heels, but if it’s just walking and a kick line, then you could wear 3 inches.
You get the point, right? Know your show.
Know thyself- How good is your Technique
You may want to go for that high 3-inch heel— when working on a show where a standard character shoe is appropriate, the height can help your legs look longer. But another 1/2-inch isn’t always a good thing.
Most dancers prefer character heels with flexible arches. Professionals lookout for soft-soled character shoes that allow them to land jumps properly and point their feet easily.
If you’re dancing with a heavy costume or wearing a 20-pound headpiece, you want enough support from your shoes. This could be a good reason to use hard-soled shoes.
Higher and higher heels are trending now, but the higher you go, the higher the risk of rolling an ankle. Ensure you have the strength and technique necessary to stay safe IF you must wear the 3-inch heels.
Finding Your Style
Style is basically based on individual taste.
Some women prefer the more traditional single-strap to the sophistication of a cross-strap or T-strap while some don’t. Mary Jane designs are elegant and usually have higher heels; however, Open styles make the leg look longer—and adds a dramatic appearance to your movement.
Also, some things like design, color, sleek design, seamless construction, lines, and overall weight and shape of the shoes were considered when evaluating style.
While no performer wants to an uncomfortable shoe, they also don’t want their comfortable shoe to look ugly.
A well-built character shoe made of high-quality material will endure the schedule of a performer; however, to increase the life of your character shoe, you must take good care of them.
Here’s how; Always keep them dry. And don’t wear them on the street. Leather soles are meant for the studio or stage only.
You don’t want a shoe that you’re going to have to think about while dancing; you need to be able to focus on your choreography. Comfort fosters confidence, especially during auditions. Properly fitted, comfortable character shoes will get you further than an extra 1/2-inch ever will.
It is really frustrating to spend money on a poor quality character shoe that will not last, let alone meet your demands. That is why we bring you the above top 7 best character shoe reviews. Products listed here have been properly assessed to make sure that they deliver the much-needed results.