Capezio Ballroom Dance Shoes

Some expert dancers consider Capezio Ballroom Dance Shoes to be the world’s best brand. While this statement might be considered an exaggeration by some people, it is true that dance icons such as Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire hoofed their way across movie sets in Capezio ballroom dance shoes.
For the younger set, you might be more familiar with Mick Jagger, Justin Timberlake, or Madonna, who have also danced in Capezios.

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that “Dancing With the Stars” contestants joined this illustrious group as well.

What’s So Special About Capezio Ballroom Dance Shoes?

For the past 130 years, Capezio ballroom dance shoes have been the brand of choice for many dancers. They are engineered to provide maximum support for dancers’ feet, while at the same time being soft and flexible to allow for a variety of difficult dance moves and foot positions.

History of Capezio Ballroom Dance Shoes


Salvatore Capezio did not want to follow in his father’s footsteps in the construction business, so he trained as a cobbler in his native Italy. In 1887, as a 17-year-old immigrant, he opened a shoe repair shop near the New York Metropolitain Opera House, where he planned to provide shoe repair services for the performers at the Met. At this time, he had no idea that his small cobbler shop would evolve into a manufacturer of ballroom dance shoes.

His business grew steadily. After initially repairing the Met performer’s shoes, Capezio had an experience that changed the course of his business.

When the renowned tenor, Jean de Reszke, requested Salvatore to make him a pair of shoes in an emergency, Capezio began to design and build shoes that provided both strength to support the foot and the delicate construction that dancers required. This resulted in his cobbler’s shop being transformed into a shoe making business, and the Capezio Ballroom Dance Shoe brand was born.

In 1910 when the famous ballerina Anna Pavlova was touring the United States, she was having difficulty with her dancing because her feet were very weak, with high arches that were causing her pain. Capezio designed ballet shoes for her that solved her problem. Anna was so excited about this that she had Capezio make shoes for her entire dance company.

Anna Pavlova’s enthusiasm for Capezio’s work propelled him to success as a shoemaker. His dance shoes were soon available for sale at Neiman Marcus and Lord & Taylor in New York City.

In addition to ballroom dance shoes, Capezio is known for dance shoes of all kinds, including character, ballet, lyrical, pointe, tap, modern, and jazz. The brand is now designing and building shoes for athletes as well.

Salvatore Capezio died in 1940, but his legacy of innovative technology, exquisite design and style, and quality construction lives on.

Ladies Capezio Ballroom Dance Shoes

There are several styles of Capezio ladies ballroom dance shoes, which are usually worn by social dancers, who dance for their own pleasure. I will show you examples of each type.


“Rosa” is a social dance sandal with a 2.5 inch flared heel. It is available in either camel or black. The foot is supported by several straps across the toe, and the shoe is held on by a crisscrossing ankle strap. It has a cushioned insole and, like all good dance shoes, a suede sole to provide adequate slide without slipping.
Customers on Capezio’s website, Capezio.com, have rated these shoes with four stars. They have commented that these shoes are very comfortable, fit perfectly, and look wonderful. However, other dancers have commented that the heel is too high, and that the shoe sizes run too narrow for their feet. Some customers exchanged their shoes for a wider size, and were then very pleased.

Eva” is another social dance shoe model that has also been rated four stars by customers on Capezio’s website. It features a two-inch heel that is easier to dance in than the “Rosa” with its 2.5 inch heel. The toe and sides of this shoe are open, and it is held in place by a strap that crosses in an “X” around the ankle. This shoe is available in black leather or camel-colored satin. Satisfied customers stated that they are very comfortable, look great, and fit well, and are great shoes for beginners. The only negative comment I was able to find was that the shoes run narrower than street shoe sizes.

The “Jaime” is a Ballroom Shoe with a two-inch heel. It is available in black satin. The toe is closed on this model, and it is held in place by a strap that crosses over the ankle. This shoe was rated 5 stars by Capezio’s customers. They stated that the shoes are beautiful and comfortable and that they fit well and provide excellent support for their feet.

Capezio Character Shoes

Dancers performing on stage often wear Capezio character shoes. Ladies’ character shoes have a closed toe, a two or two and a half inch heel, and an ankle strap. Some of them have a T-strap that runs from the toe of the shoe to the middle of the ankle strap to provide additional support. Character shoes are made to be flexible so the dancer can feel the floor while dancing. They are available in either camel or black. Capezio customers rated the character shoe with two-inch heel with 4.5 stars. Width did not seem to be as much of an issue with character shoes as it did with ladies’ ballroom shoes.

Men’s Capezio Character Shoes are an oxford style matte black leather shoe that is worn on stage by performers. The inside of the heel is padded for comfort, and, as in all good ballroom dance shoes, the sole is suede. Customers on Capezio’s website have rated this shoe with four stars. They have commented that it is a good looking shoe that is durable and fits well. One man even said that he will not wear anything else. Width did not seem to be as much of a problem with the men’s character shoes. I was surprised to learn that men’s Capezio character shoes are worn by both men and women organists.

Men’s Capezio Ballroom Dance Shoes

The “Men’s Standard” ballroom dance shoe is made of black matte leather and has a one-inch heel and suede sole. If you are a beginning ballroom dancer, this is the shoe for you. It is reasonably priced, flexible, and provides good support for your feet and ankles. The “Men’s Standard” was rated four stars by Capezio website customers.

The “Ben” ballroom model is made of soft black calf skin. It is designed with a square toe to provide greater toe room and  comfort. The heel is one-inch in height, and the soles are suede. Capezio website customers rated this shoe with four stars.

Latin Capezio Ballroom Dance Shoes

The Men’s Capezio Latin Dance Shoe is made of black matte or patent leather and has a one-and-a-half-inch Cuban heel. It has a cushioned insole to provide comfort and suede patches on the sole and heel. This is a five-star rated shoe.

How Much Do Capezio Ballroom Dance Shoes Cost?

Capezio Ballroom Dance Shoes are moderately priced. Prices vary, depending on where they are purchased. Generally, women’s Capezio Ballroom Dance Shoes range in price between $80 and $125 and men’s styles run from $70 to $125 when purchased from Capezio.com.

Where Can I Buy Capezio Ballroom Dance Shoes?

You can purchase your Capezio Ballroom Dance Shoes from a variety of sellers. They are available from Capezio.com, eBay.com, and Amazon.com as well as high end department stores, such as Neiman Marcus and Sax Fifth Avenue.

Conclusion:

Capezio ballroom dance shoes are a good quality shoe at a moderate price, and are favored by many dancers.

 

  1. Hello Carol,

    It is amazing t understand something new every day.
    I didn’t have the slightest idea that such huge number of dance shoes exist.
    The Capezio ballroom dance shoes look like an excellent choice for that activity.
    I also think that the price is reasonable given the quality.
    I am sure that many aspiring dancers would appreciate them!

    • Thanks for your comments, Asen. I’m happy to know that you learned something new today. I agree that Capezio ballroom dancing shoes are a very good price for the quality. I dance in Capezios. Carol

  2. Hi Carol,
    thank you for the great information. My daughter is dancing and knowing Capezio Ballroom Dance Shoes.
    She wanted to buy shoes but she did not know where. She got good information here. Thanks for the post. Very useful.
    Best regards

  3. Thanks for sharing this Carol! This made me want to dance 🙂 I always wonder how they dance so well considering they’re wearing 2.5 inch shoes. This explains it since I now know that they’re wearing comfortable shoes. I’m glad Capezio Ballroom is there to provide such shoes!! This is such good information to have!

  4. Thanks for your comments, Esther. I really enjoy knowing that my website is making people want to dance! That’s the goal of my site…to share information on how much fun dancing is, how to learn, and what you’ll need. Check back later for posts on how to learn to dance and where to go to dance once you learn how.

  5. Hi Carol and thanks for the information. This looks like a great shoe! Would they have something a little more casual? We attend many “country” dances with fox trots and waltzes, and polkas (my favourite). Finding the right casual shoe for this type of dancing is so hard.
    Thanks again,
    Suzanne

    • Hello, Suzanne. Thanks for your comments. Capezio “character” shoes, which come with a 2 inch heel and have a closed toe and ankle strap are less formal and are very comfortable to dance in for all kinds of dances. That’s what I dance in. Very Fine Dancesport makes a dance boot that works well for country dances, but they are more expensive than the character shoes. Another option would be the Capezio tap dancing shoe that you could order without the taps. That would be just a plain leather closed toe shoe with about a one inch heel. I will do some research for you and post more information at a later date. Carol

    • Hi, Suzanne. I’ve been doing some research, and found that the Capezio Jr. Footlight Character shoe, which is a closed toe shoe with a wide (chunky) one and a half inch heel and a strap around the ankle is pretty basic and more casual. It comes in either black or camel. There are also several styles of dance sneakers that come in a variety of colors that you might like. You can see a picture of some of them on my post “The Best Ballroom Dance Shoes — What to Look For”. I also found that Evenin’ Star makes dance boots that some people like to wear when they go country dancing. I’m going to be writing a post on those in the near future. Carol

  6. Hi Carol,

    Really interesting site here. I am a dance teacher that focuses mainly on Ballet, Modern and Hip Hop, but I do have a couple of wedding couples who are learning to dance at the moment.

    It would be great if you could leave some links for smarter ballroom shoes that maybe a bride could wear that could double up for a first dance on her wedding day.

    • Hi, Michel. Thanks for your kind remarks. I would love to provide you with links, but will need more information for my research. Did I understand you correctly that you want links for shoes that they can wear for their lessons and practice sessions and then wear the same shoes for their first dance? What is the price range? Do they want sandals or pumps? What height of heel? Do they have any foot problems that require special consideration? Do they plan to continue dancing after the wedding? Do they have any special requests? Bling or no bling? Once I know the answers to these questions, I can give you better information and provide the links. Carol

  7. Hi Carol,
    What a great article about Capezio it’s been a really interesting read. As an ex professional dancer and being privileged to work on the stage from the age of 16 – 33 yrs, as ballroom shoes go I would vote this the best every time. They are comfortable and stylish and add elegance to any era or costume.

    • Thanks you, Alison. It is so nice to have a professional dancer’s opinion. My personal experience dancing in Capezios began when I was performing in the chorus of “Hello Dolly” at our local Hart Theatre. After I discovered how comfortable they are to wear and dance in, I now wear them whenever I go dancing.
      Carol

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