Women’s character shoes are named as such, as many actresses in the theater use them when performing ‘character’. Made by almost all dance brands such as Capezio and Bloch, cartoon shoes are mostly used in theater-type dance and can be used in beginner flamenco classes. These shoes are basically dance shoes (usually with low heels and Mary-Jane or T-strap) with a leather sole. They can come in different colors, but are mostly sold in tan, white or black.
Used in the traditional ‘Flamenco dance’, Flamenco shoes are shoes that seem relatively similar to character shoes. Most shoes have a low heel (under 4 inches), but you can buy them at almost any height. Practical Flamenco shoes are usually tan or black in color and have a buckle Mary-Jane or T-strap. The important difference between character shoes and Flamenco shoes is that Flamenco shoes often have nails at the bottom of the shoe to produce an authentic ‘Spanish sound’.
Can you use Flamenco Shoes as drawing shoes?
The short answer is no. While character shoes can be used as Flamenco shoes for the beginner who has not decided to invest in an expensive Flamenco shoe, Flamenco shoes are not interchangeable for character shoes. It may be possible for a game director to require an actress to wear Flamenco shoes for a particular scene, but it’s not a good idea to try dancing in Flamenco shoes for a flamenco dance class. The nails at the bottom of the soles will be extremely high and possibly harmful to the floor you are dancing on.
Other uses for character shoes
While character shoes are usually used for dance in classes or in theatrical plays, taps can be attached to them for tap dancing. But this is permanent, so do not plan to use a pair of character shoes for both your character shoe and tap dance needs. The taps can usually be attached to your local dance shop. If not, they can recommend a shoemaker who will be able to attach them.
Where to buy them
Character shoes are available at almost any dance store. Flamenco shoes can take a little more detective work to find. You can order Flamenco shoes online or you can ask your local dance shop where they recommend that you buy Flamenco shoes. You can also ask your dance teacher where she recommends that you make your purchase. Many Flamenco products are imported from Spain, so they can run a little more on the expensive side than character shoes. For non-dancers, cartoon shoes and Flamenco shoes may seem interchangeable. While Flamenco dancers can actually wear character shoes at the beginning of the workout, it is important to later invest in a good pair of Flamenco shoes to get the authentic Spanish sound.