Flamenco shoes are an important part of flamenco in fact the sound of the flamenco dancer’s foot tapping and stomping is enhanced by special flamenco shoes.
Flamenco shoes are an important part of not only flamenco dancing but also the flamenco costume and music. The sound of the flamenco dancer’s foot tapping and stomping is enhanced by special flamenco shoes and is an integral part of the rhythm. Wearing the right flamenco shoes and flamenco dress is considered to be a vital part of the quality of the performance.
Flamenco shoes are specially designed for flamenco dancers who perform a specific dance that accompanies flamenco music. The term “flamenco shoes” generally refers to the female flamenco dancer’s shoes because in most case the male flamenco performer wears boots. These special flamenco shoes are particularly important because they are used as percussive instruments that accompany the music. This is because the flamenco shoes have special nails in the heels and toes that enhance the sound of the movements.
Flamenco is a Spanish art form that fuses music, singing and dance, all done in a specific style. In fact, the styles are so specific to flamenco that they can be described with their own terms: “toque” refers to flamenco guitar playing, “cante” refers to flamenco singing and “baile” is the term used for the special flamenco dance style.
Flamenco performances are common during religious festivals, celebrations, ceremonies and rituals. Flamenco shows have long delighted both Spaniards and foreigners alike and continue to be a major tourist attraction in Spain. In fact, in November of 2010 UNESCO declared flamenco in Spain as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
For those just starting to learn how to dance Flamenco, it is probably not necessary to buy flamenco shoes yet. Since most flamenco shoes are high-heeled, a sturdy pair of jazz or ballroom dance shoes should be adequate for beginners. As you advance with flamenco dancing, you will eventually need to purchase a good pair of flamenco shoes because the sound produced by them is vital as the shoes tap the flamenco rhythm and this requires training and a specific technique.
A traditional flamenco shoe is often red or black and matches the beautiful flamenco dress of the dancer. The heel of the shoe can vary in length but often measure between one and three inches (2.5-7 cm). Flamenco pumps also generally feature a strap or ties that cross the foot and lace up above the ankle designed to keep the shoe securely in place. Depending on your flamenco outfit, you can decide which color and type of flamenco shoes are best.
Flamenco shoes can be purchased worldwide, although most serious dancers prefer to order them from traditional Spanish shoe makers who can produce handmade and customized shoes. The cost is not excessive for an authentic pair of Spanish flamenco shoes. Proper shoes can make all the difference in the world to a dedicated flamenco dancer who knows that the rigors of flamenco foot stamping can be difficult on the feet.
In order to choose the best flamenco shoe, it is important to take some things into consideration: color, material (leather, suede, synthetic), heel type (standard, carrete, cubano), heel size, buckle versus straps and whether or not you want the nails pre-installed (they are often sold without nails to practice). Additionally, the quality of flamenco shoes vary based on experience levels: amateur or training flamenco shoes, semi-professional flamenco shoes, professional flamenco shoes and elite flamenco shoes, for the accomplished flamenco dancer.
Some Famous Spanish Flamenco Shoe Makers
- Ainhoa: Angel Blanco’s small shop is located in Madrid and produces 100% artisan flamenco shoes and boots for all levels.
- Menkes: This prestigious flamenco brand uses modern technology while maintaining the traditional and artisan concept of flamenco shoe making. They guarantee their flamenco shoes for 50 years.
- Roberto Garrudo: Robert Garrudo produces high quality artisan flamenco shoes and pride themselves on their high level of quality service. The shoes are made from top quality materials with attention to detail and are comfortable and flexible.
- Buleria Sabates: This Spanish shoe company located in Alicante is specialized in originally designed women’s flamenco shoes. Their shoes are handmade with top of the line materials.
- Gallardo: This brand is completely made by hand in the traditional way. It is a well recognized brand known for its excellent quality and comfort, used by many flamenco artists and dance companies. Gallardo can also customize your flamenco shoes.