Words of Cheer - The Right Shoes

A good pair of shoes can take you places. 

As the sport of cheerleading has evolved, so has the gear. Photos from cheerleading archives in the 1960s show the cheerleading girls wearing their everyday saddle shoes. When cheerleading entered the realm of televised professional sport, some squads adopted high-heeled boots, a la Dallas Cheerleaders.  Heeled fashion boots do not allow for tumbling or stunting so if you see a “cheer” team wearing boots, it is actually a Pom Squad, or a Dance Team.

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Cheerleading does not require specialized footwear other than basic running shoes with a bendable sole. Most cheer teams commit to the color white for competitions. Serious cheerleaders will probably get the sport-specific cheerleading shoes by Nike, Varsity or Nfinity.

What makes a white running shoe a cheerleading shoe? Imagine a court shoe blended with a ballet slipper – that would be a cheer shoe. The sole of the shoe is as minimal as it can be to provide support, but also allow for small hands to hold the feet of the tops. Cheerleading shoes are super-light; many brands will bring kitchen scales to sales events to compare weights of shoes. 

But, the shoes also need to be sturdy enough to handle changes in terrain. Any cheer team might be practicing or performing in a school gym, outdoor football field or on a sprung floor at a cheerleading competition.

After decades of ballet-slipper meets court shoe styles, a new trend in cheerleading footwear is high-tops, usually with two Velcro straps at the ankle. The small-scale shoe sole remains, but the high-top style has become popular even in colors other than white! 

What ever you do in life – you gotta have the right pair of shoes!



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