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Any ideas about obtaining character shoes?


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As usual, an SI is asking for character shoes, but what to do for a guy that wears size 12s? Does he just wear jazz shoes with hard soles? He has had major problems with Sever's in the past and still has bouts of heel pain. I'd like to get the best shoe possible, but want to spend the least amount of money I can. Any ideas???

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My DS has used black dress shoes with a heel as close to a Cuban heel as possible. Would jazz shoes have a hard enough heel for character? You know, to make that distinctive sharp sound? Just wondering. Or, you can bite the bullet and order a pair? I know you are in the US, but The Shoe Room at National Ballet School in Toronto carries a good line of character shoes for boys - cost is around $90.00 CAD (I think). They can fit from a foot outline and ship usually within a few days.

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We had problems finding character shoes under $100, a price we thought too high for 8 weeks of character (once a week). The recommendation we received was tap shoes - without the taps obviously. They worked fine and were closer to $50. They look like men's dress shoes but are fairly flexible. We got DS a pair through one of the dance catalogs. He's going to an SI this summer that requires "split-soled character shoes." When we called to find out where to possibly find them, we were told that meant they'd wear the split-sole jazz shoe for character as well as jazz. Perhaps that would work for your DS, too? It's worth a call.

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Thanks, guys! Tap shoes without the taps could be the answer. He could put a cushioned insole or heel cup in them, and that might also prevent any potential problems. I'll get on it. If he doesn't get any use out of them I'll be a bit peeved, but that's nothing new. :unsure:

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Also, you can try this link- $30

Capezio 440 Patent leather


They are patent leather which means he would need some vaseline once in awhile to make them not sticky on the patent part, but they are "official" character shoes.


Cheetah-I'm going to look around- something in my pea brain is thinking that there does actually exist a 'split-sole character shoe' for WOMEN. Is it possible that the character shoe list was directed for women?? I may be wrong but the nature of character dance is usually best done in a hard-soled shoe, unless the teacher is not working on that particular type of character work.


I have to go teach right now but I'll come back later & let you know what else I find.


Also, Discount Dance has character shoes (same as street shoe sizing) for $68

Discount Dance Character Shoes for Men


Zappos for $79

ZAPPOS- Capezio Men's Character Shoes


Sansha- no prices but call the NY store. They do have larger sizes.

Sansha Men's character shoes

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Clara76 - thanks for input on "split-sole character shoes." I actually called the school and asked since it was listed under the men's requirements. The requirements for girls were different. They said they meant to say that the shoes for jazz would be used for character. Still seems odd, but perhaps they knew that they would be doing so little character that they didn't want the boys to invest in character shoes. I think we've decided to send his "real" character shoes as well as splitsole jazz shoes, just to be safe. The ones he has are like the Capezios you linked to but they're not patent - and I think they're Balera. They're described as being standard mens oxfords but can be fitted with taps. I was impressed that they never put blisters on his feet.


Werkl - I think we also tried searching under ballroom dancing to look for shoes.

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I'm so glad you checked! Normally, you would need the support of a standard 'character' shoe if you were doing character. They must be doing something slightly different that doesn't require the support, but sounds prudent to include his regular character shoes just in case!



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  • 5 months later...

Thanks to all of you who helped me figure out what my young son's uniform needs were for his RAD classes. (All this "boy" stuff is so new to me!) Now I've moved on to questions about character shoes. I know what girls'/women's character shoes are, but I'm not really sure what constitutes a boy's "character shoe" :D -- much less where to buy them! (He's wearing a 1.5 in Freed topspin ballet slippers, if that narrows it down.)


His teacher says he doesn't need to worry about them till closer to exam time (and I'm sure that's true!), but all of the girls in the class have their shoes and character skirts already, and ds would really like his own.


Thanks again! :P

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Ask your school/studio exactly what they want. We'v found that the requirements differ a lot. My DS had character shoes last year with about a 1 inch heel. We bought them on-line. They are actually tap shoes with no taps attached. Some schools require different heel heights. This summer DS needed "split sole character shoes." After searching endlessly (yes - they actually make "real" men's split-sole character shoes but we couldn't find them at the time) they finally said they meant just the split sole jazz shoes. So that's what he's using now. Not sure why, but it's what they want them to wear. Once you find out exactly what he needs, we can probably point you in a better direction! If your experience is like ours, it'll probably be to a catolog or on-line store. No place in our area actually stocked them.

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Boy's character shoes are canvas lace-ups and look quite different from girls from the top, though of course the soles are similar. I think we used to get ours from Katz. They don't really have a heel though they are a bit more built up at the back. My son used to try on a girl's pair from the same manufacturer to get the right size, and then order them. Hope this helps.

Edited by stitcher
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  • 3 months later...

I'm thinking of buying some tap shoes for DS1 and asking my handy DH to remove the taps. The shoes I'm looking at don't appear to have screw in taps.


I know DH could drill out the fasteners, but would they still work for character shoes?


Here's the shoe I'm considering. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002UUC4M/ref=no...4M&linkCode=asn

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This one is better, and doesn't require the extra labor. It should work just as well.




There's something about that $20 price tag on the pair you chose that makes me wonder whether if you took the toe taps off, the toe might start coming apart.

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The Capezio 445 is a much better choice for character. Bloch also has one called the 300MS I believe, (check me on the number as I'm going from memory), that has either a suede or leather sole.


Definitely don't use the tapster- plastic sole and will fall apart if taps are removed.


I'm also a bit perplexed as to why the teacher may be suggesting that he wait to get these shoes. They are quite different from ballet flats and require a bit of breaking in, or he will be unable to articulate his feet properly.


Make sure that they have a snug fit as they have leather uppers and will stretch out a bit.

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Capezio also makes a dedicated character oxford, but it's well over $100, and IMO, not worth the expenditure. I've had two experiences over the years where I was putting them on, and the heel has come away in my hand. Not good on handling lateral stress. Thank God it didn't happen onstage. These midrange shoes do the job. The cheap ones don't. Thanks, Clara, I thought that's what would happen!

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We almost bought those Capezio character shoes - what wonderful, soft leather! For about 8 classes, it wasn't worth it, though. DS did the tap oxford thing - Balera I think. Worked great. The heels tended to be stiff, though, so blisters were a problem. He wore thick black socks to help aid against it.

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