People ask me this question all the time. Luckily, these days it is much easier to find flamenco shoes in the U.S. than it was even 5 years ago. Although I have not tried all of the brands that are out there, I know of several options that seem to suit every level of dancer from the professional to the beginner at a wide range of price points. If you haven’t checked recently, the currency conversion of the dollar to euro is terrible. Know that if you buy flamenco shoes from Spain they will be pricey.
Since I am in California, my knowledge of where to buy is based on that fact, if you know of any other places than what I list please feel free to share that information here. Yes, we can buy anything with a credit card and a click. This blog is meant to point out places in the U.S. where one can physically try on the shoes that they are going to purchase.
My first pair of flamenco shoes were made for my feet by a shoemaker named Gonzalo Duran and even though he has passed his family still operates the small family business Duran’s Shoes out of East Los Angeles. Make an appointment, have your feet measured for a perfect fit, choose the color of suede or leather and have your shoes in usually less than 2 weeks all for under $100.
One can go through the exact same process at some shoemakers in Spain but you will have to wait usually longer than a month for the shoes at almost triple the price. If you are a complete diehard flamenco dedicated to practicing, taking classes AND have the cash I say DO IT. Well made flamenco shoes from Spain will last for many years, are light weight and usually have incredible sound. You can buy them already made from a few different places like Menkes in NYC. Call and ask if they have your size, the store gets regular shipments from Spain and the shop manager is extremely helpful. She will even email you pictures of the styles/colors she has available in your size. Visit www.flamencoshoes.com for Gallardo, Gladis and Coral, the owner is also very helpful and is located on Catalina Island, CA. Madrid based Senovilla Shoes are completely hand made with rosewood heels and are now available for sale at Trilogy Guitars in Marina Del Rey, CA. Call and make an appointment. These shoes are top of the line…be prepared for the, ehem, investment. Also, check out a very informative blog by Edie about the process of making these shoes.
Dance shoe and aparell company Sansha now makes flamenco shoes for men and women in suede and leather that are sold at selected dance shops around the U.S. I was very curious about these shoes particularly because they seemed to be affordable (under $50 U.S) and looked “real”. What I mean is that they have a wide, rounded toe box and a shorter, thick, sturdy heel and did not look like a character shoe. I bought and tested a pair of the Sevilla style in size 10 for my 7.5-8 size and they were above my expectations. They had a decent sound, were comfortable, light weight, with nails and a strong heel, perfect for a student.
If these options are still not within your budget I suggest purchasing character shoes or tap shoes (without taps) with a rounded toe and low, sturdy heels. Unlike a real flamenco shoe, they will not have a clear, crisp sound but they are good for class and home practice.