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What are the different types of dance floors ?

What are the different types of dance floors ? When buying a pair of dance shoes, it is important to choose the most appropriate soles dance shoes that goes with a specific type of dance floor. Let’s go through each type of dance floor and explain what dance shoes you can and you cannot wear on each of them!

types of dance floors for dancers

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Dance floors are the heart and soul of any dance performance or event, setting the stage for rhythm, movement, and artistic expression.

They provide the canvas upon which dancers paint their stories, and they’re not confined to a single setting or occasion.

Whether it’s a grand ballroom hosting a formal waltz, a lively nightclub pulsating to the beat of salsa, an amazing wedding night with a first dance, or a cozy living room where friends come together to groove, dance floors serve as the magical space where movement transforms into art.

In this article, we’ll explore the diverse types of dance floors and their suitability for various occasions, ensuring the perfect synergy between the type of sole dance shoes and surfaces for each dance style. Let’s dive in!

The different types of dance floors

There is 6 main type of dance floors and we listed them bellow.

  • Hardwood Dance Floor
  • Plywood Dance Floor
  • Marley dance floors (also called Vinyl dance floors)
  • Concrete dance floors
  • Sprung dance floors (also called Carpeted dance floors)
  • Practice mats

Hardwood dance floors

Hardwood dance floors for dancers

Hardwood dance floors, typically made from oak or maple, offer a smooth, resilient surface that’s favored in various dance styles such as tap dancing. The wood’s natural shock-absorption properties reduce strain on dancers’ joints, making it a popular choice for ballet, tap, and contemporary dance. 

To maximize the experience on a hardwood dance floor, suede-soled shoes are often recommended. Suede soles enable dancers to achieve smooth gliding and pivoting, allowing for precise and graceful movements. The friction between suede soles and hardwood floors strikes a balance, offering adequate grip for stability and control while facilitating fluid transitions. This combination of hardwood floors and suede-soled shoes creates a harmonious dance experience.

What dance shoes can I use on Hardwood dance floor & our personal recommendations

Dance Shoes Allowed on hardwood: Suede soles dance shoes, Leather sole dance shoes, Smooth leather sole dance shoes, rubber soles dance shoes, tap dance shoes, jazz dance shoes, ballet dance shoes, swing dance shoes.

Our recommendation: Use suede soles dance shoes. They are made to be used on hardwood dance floor specifically and thy are designed to provide the best dance experience using suede soles shoes.

Our recommendation bis: If you are afraid to dance in heels and damage your dance heels, we highly recommend buying heel protector for dance shoes.

Heels protectors are also called heel stoppers. Read more about stoppers for heels.

In my personal dance experience with over 17 years of latin dancing and ballroom dancing, hardwood, plywood and sprung dance floors are the best to dance on with proper suede sole dance shoes. The balance between grip and friction present tthe best ratio. I can execute many spins and make my dance partner dance smoothly combining them both.

This is also my favourite dance floor to dance on. I do love to slide a lot (instead of constantly stepping), and any of the hardwooddance floors, plywood dance floor, sprung dance floors or polished concrete dance floors allow me to do so.

Plywood dance floors

plywood sheets dance floors

Plywood dance floors are typically constructed from layers of wood veneer bonded together, offering a solid and durable surface. However, they are not as strong as hardwood dance floors.

Plywood dance floors can not be used for tap dancing. The plywood will not resistant enough.

They are favored for their versatility and portability. These dance floors are commonly used for various dance styles, from ballet to latin dancing and more, making them ideal for dance studios, theaters, and even outdoor events.

Plywood dance floors can be easily assembled and disassembled, which makes them an excellent choice for temporary setups, such as weddings, parties, and events. Their stability and smooth surface provide dancers with a consistent and safe platform for practicing their moves and showcasing their skills. These dance floors are an affordable and practical solution for any occasion that calls for dancing and require a temporary flooring solution.

What dance shoes can I use on Plywood dance floor & our personal recommendations

Dance Shoes Allowed on Plywood: Suede soles dance shoes, Leather sole dance shoes, Smooth leather sole dance shoes, rubber soles dance shoes, jazz dance shoes, ballet dance shoes, swing dance shoes.

Our recommendation regarding Plywood dance floors: Use suede soles dance shoes. They are made to be used on hardwood dance floor specifically and thy are designed to provide the best dance experience using suede soles shoes.

Dance shoes that are not allowed: Tap Dance shoes. The metallic frame will damage the floor and leave marks. 

Our recommendation bis: If you are a dance studio owner and need to protect your dance floor, ask your dance students to bring heel protectors.

Read more about what are heel stoppers.

I used to have a dance studio before and I built the dance floor. I used different layers of plywood floors, and it was great. However, you can feel that it is not as solid as a proper hardwood floor. Note that the plywood was a marine-grade plywood. So a lot more solid than most plywood.

All of my students used suede soles dance shoes and everyone loved it. I did add a lacker on top of the plywood to give a shinny and extra sliding effect.

Is Plywood a hardwood dance floor ?

Plywood is not typically considered a hardwood dance floor. Hardwood dance floors are usually made from solid hardwoods like oak or maple, which offer specific qualities desired by dancers, including shock absorption and a smooth, consistent surface. Plywood may be used as a subfloor material in some cases, but it would not provide the same characteristics as a true hardwood dance floor. Plywood is often used for temporary or budget-friendly dance floors, but it lacks the ideal properties that hardwood provides for dancers.

Marley dance floors (also called vinyl dance floors)

Dance floor Marley

Marley, a type of vinyl flooring, is a popular choice for dance floors. It’s valued for its smooth, non-marking surface that allows dancers to glide with ease and express their movements. Marley is also slip-resistant, providing a secure footing for dancers, which is crucial for preventing accidents and ensuring safety during performances and practice. The combination of these features makes Marley an ideal choice for dance studios, theaters, and other venues where dance is performed.

What dance shoes can I use on Marley dance floor & our personal recommendations

Dance Shoes Allowed on Marley dance floors: Suede soles dance shoes, Leather sole dance shoes, Smooth leather sole dance shoes, rubber soles dance shoes, jazz dance shoes, ballet dance shoes, swing dance shoes.

Our recommendation regarding Marley & Vinyl dance floors: Use suede soles dance shoes. They offer the perfect grip for  ballet dancers, pointe dancers, jazz dancers and even barefoot dancers.

Dance shoes that are not allowed: Tap Dance shoes. The metallic frame will damage the floor and leave marks. 

Be aware that there is different quality of Marley dance floors. Newest technologies have been reinforcing Marley dance floors and made it ok to use Tap Shoes. However, most of the Marley dance floors are not designed for that first purpose. So make sure to ask your dance studio first!

Concrete dance floors

polished concrete dance floor

Concrete dance floors come in two primary forms: polished and non-polished.

Polished Concrete dance floors

Polished concrete dance floors offer a smooth, reflective surface ideal for various dance styles. They provide excellent stability and are easy to maintain.

Non-polished concrete dance floors

In contrast, non-polished concrete floors tend to be rougher and less suitable for dance due to their uneven texture. When choosing dance shoes for concrete floors, it’s essential to prioritize cushioning and support to reduce impact and ensure your comfort and safety.

Due to higher risk of injuries on the knees, concrete is not the favourite options for dance schools to host a dance class and dancers to dance on.

What dance shoes can I use on Concrete dance floor & our personal recommendations

Dance Shoes Allowed on Polished Concrete: Suede soles dance shoes, Leather sole dance shoes, Smooth leather sole dance shoes, rubber soles dance shoes, jazz dance shoes, ballet dance shoes, swing dance shoes.

Dance Shoes Allowed on non-polished Concrete: Rubber soles or smooth leather sole dance shoes.

Our recommendation: Always use shoe heel stoppers on concrete to protect your dance shoes.

I personally love to use dance sneakers on any types of concrete dance floors. The rubber sole is made to resist to the damaged caused by a harder and tougher surface, while still providing support and help me spin easily.

Buy dance sneakers.

Sprung dance floors (or carpenter dance floors)

sprung dance floor for dancing

Sprung dance floors are a critical component of dance studios and performance spaces, designed to provide shock absorption and cushioning to protect dancers’ joints and enhance their performance. These floors are typically constructed with multiple layers, including a resilient subfloor, cushioning materials like foam or rubber, and a top layer, often made of hardwood or vinyl. The key feature of a sprung floor is its ability to absorb the impact generated by dance movements, reducing the strain on dancers’ bodies and preventing injuries. This type of dance floor is essential for various dance styles, from ballet and contemporary to tap and hip-hop, ensuring a safe and comfortable surface for dancers to express their artistry and skill.

What dance shoes can I use on Sprung dance floor & our personal recommendations

Dance Shoes Allowed on Sprung dance floor: Same as any hardwood dance floors, Plywood dance floors or vinyl dance floors, depending on what is used on the top layer.

Practice mats

practice dance mats

Practice mats for dancers are versatile and essential tools in the world of dance. These mats provide a safe and comfortable surface for dancers to rehearse and perfect their moves, making them ideal for practice sessions at home or in the studio. They are typically constructed with materials that offer cushioning and support to reduce the impact on joints, ensuring that dancers can practice their routines for extended periods without discomfort or the risk of injury. These mats often feature non-slip surfaces to prevent accidental slips and provide stability, and they come in various sizes to accommodate different dance styles and individual practice needs. Whether you’re perfecting your pirouettes or working on intricate footwork, practice mats are valuable aids for dancers of all levels.

What dance shoes can I use on Hardwood dance floor & our personal recommendations

Dance Shoes Allowed on practice mats dance floor: Suede soles dance shoes, ballet shoes, jazz shoes, pointe shoes.

Do you dance barefoot on practice mats?

No, practice mats are generally not meant to be used for dancing barefoot. While some dancers may choose to practice without shoes, practice mats are typically used with appropriate dance shoes to mimic the conditions of a dance floor. The cushioning and support of the mat can help reduce the impact on joints and provide a comfortable surface for dancers, especially when practicing intricate footwork or routines. However, the choice of footwear can vary depending on the dancer’s preference and the specific dance style they are practicing.

Read more about dancing barefoot

What shoes do you sell at Latin Dance shoes Australia to wear on those different type of dance floors?

At Latin Dance Shoes Australia, you can customise the type of sole for any dance shoe and dance boots.

Simply select when purchasing a dance footwear one of the following attribute listed bellow.

  • Suede soles for Hardoow dance floor, plywood dance floor, Marley dance floors and sprung dance floor.
  • Rubber soles, leather soles and PU leather soles for any of the above plus Concrete dance floors.

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types of dance floors for dancers

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Dance Teacher at Latin Dance Shoes Australia | Website | + posts

Dance teacher, music passionate and Latin dancers aficionado!
Founder of Latin Dance Shoes Australia