Check Out the 5 Best Nike Sneakers for Dance

Buying Guide

Show off your footwork and style in these classic Nike shoes.

Last updated: 24 May 2023
5 min read
Check Out the 5 Best Nike Sneakers for Dance

From music to movement, apparel and accessories and, of course, footwear, every aspect of dance can be a form of self-expression. For certain styles of dance—like hip-hop—a pair of sneakers completes the look, while also providing lightweight support and cushioning for the dancer wearing them.

When choosing a pair of dance sneakers, consider design details that will express your style and support the way you move. For example, maybe you like the look of a chunky sole or maybe a lighter, thinner outsole helps you feel closer to the ground. Meanwhile, uppers made from mesh or woven fabrics tend to feel more flexible, while leather uppers provide durability for dancers who scuff up their kicks.

Below, learn more about the best Nike sneakers for dance and hear directly from dancers who wear them.

The Best Nike Sneakers for Dance

1. For a Staple in Hip-Hop Style: Nike Air Force 1

What started as a basketball shoe in 1982 quickly became a streetwear staple. By the early 2000s, the Air Force 1 earned its place as the must-have hip-hop sneaker, gaining popularity among rappers and artists globally.

Today, artists and dancers continue to sport the AF-1, which stands out for its chunky sole. With the underfoot pattern, the shoes help dancers glide through movements, while providing traction on the ground. For maximum ankle mobility, opt for a low-top AF-1.

(Related: 6 Hip-Hop Dance Outfits That Celebrate Music and Movement)

Check Out the 5 Best Nike Sneakers for Dance

A crisp and timeless colourway, white AF-1s pop on a dark dance floor.

2. For an Iconic Shoe Coveted by Skaters: Nike Dunks

Like AF-1s, Nike Dunks started as a basketball shoe. First released in 1985, the silhouette won over skateboarders by the late '90s with a design revamp. By the early 2000s, the shoes were re-engineered by Nike SB, adding fat tongues, extra padding to the insole and durability to match the impact of the sport.

Now, they're worn by dancers, too. A low-top silhouette offers flexibility for movements and underfoot cushioning keeps feet comfortable.

"I like to be stylish but more important is comfort", said Nike Athlete and Olympic breakdancer hopeful Anna "B-Girl Stefani" Ponomarenko. "For me, it's really important for my shoes to be light and cushioned".

Whether you opt for the classic, neutral colourways or prefer splashy colours and patterns, Nike Dunks span the spectrum of eye-catching designs.

3. For a Floating-on-Air Sensation: Nike Air Max

The Nike Air Max has been through dozens of iterations over the three decades since its debut but one of the most recent silhouettes—the Nike Air Max Pulse—draws inspiration from the underground London music scene.

A durable, textile-wrapped midsole and vacuum-sealed accents create a sporty, versatile design. Plush Nike Air cushioning in the heel delivers a bouncy sensation with each step, mirroring the frenetic energy of underground venue vibes.

For India Sardjoe, Nike Athlete and 2022 world champion breakdancer, the Air Max is just about the only shoe she's worn for dance.

"I've danced with the Nike Air Max 90 shoes since I was young", Sardjoe said. "I've worn many pairs over the years. The shoe has grown with me from the start to now".

Sardjoe said she loves dancing in the Air Max because of its lightweight feel.

4. For Feeling Grounded: Nike Blazer

Sporting a sneaker with a thin sole can help dancers feel connected to the floor and foster crisp accuracy for movements. That's especially true for Ana "B-Girl Furia" Ortega, Nike Athlete and member of Spain's Olympic breakdance team.

"For me, the most important thing about the shoe is the sole", Ortega said. "It can't be too big and the cushioning can't be too much. A lighter sole helps me be in contact with the floor".

Ortega prefers to dance in a low-top shoe. "It allows me much more mobility to perform my movements", she said.

Another benefit of the Blazer: tight laces. A snug lacing system leaves little room for rubbing or sliding inside the shoe as you move. Plus, a rubber overlay on the toe tip provides durability while toe dragging or dancing on the tips of your feet.

5. For a Sporty, Lightweight Look: Nike Air Huarache

Some dancers may prefer the grip, agility and lightweight feel of a running-inspired shoe as they dance—especially if their dance style includes jumps and quick movements. The Nike Air Huarache is all that and more, boasting plenty of cushion underfoot and a supportive heel cage.

The unique look of the Huarache was inspired by the fit of a water-ski boot and the functionality of the South American sandal it's named after. Stretchy fabric on the upper and a heel clip at the back hug the foot and keep it secure. Airy mesh ensures this shoe remains breathable as dance routines warm you up.

(Related: The Top 9 Nike Gift Ideas for Dancers)

Words by Jessica Murri

Originally published: 10 May 2023

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