Whether you’re a cheerleader yourself, or are trying to find shoes for someone you know, navigating all the options of cheer shoes can be difficult. Newcomers and experts both can have a difficult time finding the best cheer shoes. Which features should you look for? Why are cheer shoes different than regular sneakers? What do all those terms, like EVA, bubble laces, and breathable mesh mean?
Simply put, cheer shoes are athletic shoes that were made specifically for cheerleaders to wear, either while they’re performing, or as they’re practicing. Most cheer shoes are white and will be easy to clean, so you don’t have to work hard to keep them white. They should fit very tightly around your foot, as well as mold to your foot and provide support in the heel and arch. Many types of cheer shoes come with mesh along the upper part, so your foot can breathe and the sweat you produce as you’re working hard can escape.
Top Cheer Shoe Comparison Chart
|1. Kaepa Stellarlyte Cheer Shoe||Kaepa||$$$|
|2. Nfinity Rival Cheer Shoe||Nfinity||$$$$|
|3. Nfinity Vengeance Cheer Shoe||Nfinity||$$|
|4. Kaepa Women’s TouchUp Cheer Shoe||Kaepa||$$|
|5. NIKE Women’s Cheer Sideline IV Cheerleading Shoes||NIKE||$$$|
|6. Adidas Performance Women’s Triple Cheer Shoe||Adidas||$$$|
|7. Nfinity Adult Evolution Cheer Shoes ||Nfinity||$$$|
|8. Danzcue Cheer Shoe ||Danzcue||$$$|
|9. Chasse Women’s Proflex Cheerleading Shoes||Chasse||$$$$|
|10. DADAWEN Women’s Cheerleading Shoes||DADAWEN||$$$|
Cheer Shoes Buying Guide
Certain features are also unique to cheer shoes. For example, a cheer shoe will have finger grips built into the rubber outside of the bottom. This is so bases can hold on more easily as they lift their teammates up and into the air. Regular sneakers won’t have this– and typical athletic shoes won’t make this action as easy as cheer shoes do.
Cheer shoes will also be made from synthetic leather, which makes them very easy to clean. Since cheer shoes need to be clean and white, which is very difficult to upkeep both indoors and out, keeping them as white as possible is a concern that cheer shoe companies have taken into consideration.
Overall, it’s very important that you purchase shoes that were made specifically for your sport, and for the type of performances you’ll be doing. There are many things to consider as you’re browsing the best cheer shoes. This breaks down why cheer shoes are so important, which features you should take into consideration, the special aspects to cheer shoes specifically, and which ones are among the best on the market right now.
Why Do You Need Cheer Shoes Rather Than Regular Sneakers?
One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to cheer shoes is that they believe cheerleaders wear typical sneakers that are just white and that can be worn on both indoor and outdoor surfaces. However, cheerleaders need to wear shoes that are specifically made for their sport and to help them with their unique performances; their shoes can’t be just for comfort and style, they are also crucial for safety and expertise. If cheerleaders tried to perform advanced stunts and tumbling as they wore regular sneakers, they could suffer serious injuries.
Comfort and Padding
Since cheerleaders are constantly tumbling, moving, and jumping, many cheer shoes use EVA cushioning, which uses lightweight technology to absorb shock from all the movements. Cheerleaders also spend the entire time standing, so they need comfort and support to last all day long.
Most cheer shoes weigh in between 4 ounces and 8, and companies are working on making them even lighter. The reason they’re so light is so they’re not cumbersome for performances, and so cheerleaders can jump as high as possible. Typical sneakers tend to be much heavier and bulkier.
As with any athlete, cheerleader’s feet tend to swell and heat up as they practice and perform complicated routines. This can lead to discomfort and pain. In order to prevent this, many cheer shoes are created with mesh material along the upper part so the foot can breathe. This increases comfort throughout both competition and practice.
Bases need to be able to hold on to the flyer’s feet, so the bottom of most cheer shoes are inlined with finger grips to allow for easy placement. Typically, standard tennis shoes don’t have this.
Leather that’s synthetic will be easy to clean, as it’s important for cheerleaders to look neat and pristine. White is tough to keep clean, but this type of leather makes it a lot easier to to maintain.
Smooth Rubber Sole
The sole will be smooth so there’s no uncomfortable rubbing against the base’s chest or hands as they hold flyers up for stunts. Rubber also has a better grip, so cheerleaders don’t worry about sliding or slipping, especially for competitive or indoor cheering, and it won’t leave behind any skid marks.
As with typical sneakers, it’s recommended that you get new cheer shoes on a regular basis for maximum power and support. The heel, toe, and sole tend to wear down, so many cheerleaders even buy several at once to make sure they’ll have shoes for the entire season.
What Should You Look For In Cheer Shoes?
As you’re shopping cheer shoes, there are certain features you should keep an eye out for that extend beyond the fact that they’re not simple sneakers. Since cheerleader’s shoes aren’t just for looks and they’re part of the equipment they need for their performances, it’s very important to have the proper shoes. Features to look for include:
Comfort & Fit
The comfort of the shoes you’re wearing can have a hand in how you perform. It’s imperative that you select cheer shoes that have good cushioning. You should also look for something that’s lightweight and flexible, so it doesn’t impede your jumping.
A shoe that doesn’t quite fit right is a recipe for injury. The shoe should feel snug around your heel with a firm grip, but there should also be extra room for your toes to move freely. It’s very important that you try a shoe on before you make a purchase. Not only will a great fit prevent injuries, it’ll also improve performance.
Depending on your team or coach, there may be requirements as to the style of the shoe, so make sure what you’re getting meets these standards. If aesthetic look is important, also look for a shoe that you think is cute or low profile.
Special Cheer Features
If you’re performing stunts and flips, you’ll need a different athletic shoe than you’d need for dance routines. Overall, you need a shoe that’s lightweight, offers comfort and cushioning, has finger grips, and has shock absorption, as well as breathability.
The cheer shoe should also be very durable, and able to last you a while as you perform and practice. It’s very important to pick a shoe that matches your cheering activities, and quality brands of shoes will provide styles that were made specifically for stunting and tumbling, and adapted for different expertise levels, from beginners to advanced.
Keep in mind that just as with any other shoes, you’ll get what you pay for, because the price typically correlates with quality. Cheaper shoes may fit in your short term budget, but will cost you more over time, as you’ll need to keep replacing them since they’re not as durable. Once you’ve settled on your budget, try to aim for the highest level of quality available. Cheaper shoes also tend to be less comfortable and supportive.
Cheerleading definitely engages your whole body, but it particularly places tremendous pressure on your ankles and feet. This is why it’s so important to wear a quality shoe that was made for your sport and designed to help your performance.
Cheer Shoe Terminology & Unique Features
Every year, there are more cheer shoes available for purchase, and while it’s great to have options, this also can become overwhelming. Some of the terminology with these specific shoes can be especially confusing. This gives you a better idea of what all those words mean.
stands for Ethylene Vinyl Acetate, and it is a synthetic compound that’s often used in outsoles. It provides cushioning for the foot and is easily shaped by pressure and heat, which means that it’ll help your cheer shoe fit to your foot much better than typical sneakers.
This merely indicates the sole of the shoe. Typically it can be removed, and it is contoured to provide insulation and comfort. This term indicates the top front of a shoe, the part that covers the area between the ankle and the toes. This is the cushioned part of the shoe, and what the foot rests on. The outside part of the shoe that’s along the bottom and what touches the ground. This term indicates the part of the shoe that’s located between where the foot sits and the bottom. It’s a cushioned layer that’s usually made from foam and rubber, in order to provide shock absorption.
This is a strip in the sole that provides added support.
Athletic shoes are board-lasted. This means that it has stiff fiberboard in it to provide stability. Good cheer shoes, however, are slip-lasted, which means that they’re made without a support board, and the upper shoe layer is instead glued to the sole. This will make the shoe a lot more flexible overall and provides a wide range of motion, which is essential for cheerleaders.
Bubble Lace Locking System
This is just the design on the outer part of the shoe to use to tie the laces, which makes sure the shoelaces are secure and tight to lead to ideal movement.
Other Things to Consider for Cheer Shoes
Beyond all this, there’s more to consider as you’re shopping for cheer shoes. An important aspect is your position on the squad–are you a flyer, base, or spotter? Do you focus more on choreography, or tumbling? Do you need shoes for competitions, or for the sideline?
If you do a lot of sideline cheering and your team doesn’t do much tumbling, you can go with a heavier cheer shoe, which will have more durability and will last longer. If you need a competition shoe, a lightweight aspect will be your main priority, because you’ll only be wearing those shoes on the mat. In this case you can get a shoe that isn’t as durable, but is more low profile.
If you’re a base or a spotter, grip is a key shoe feature. Your feet need to be firmly glued to the floor when you’re spotting or basing flyers as you perform group stunts, so you need a shoe that won’t slip around. Look for a shoe that has superior foot traction.
For flyers, search for shoes that have great hand grips; these will help your bases hold you up. Slip-lasting is another essential feature, as this will make sure you can have a lot of flexibility and can perform a wide range of foot motions. Slip-lasting is key for tumblers as well.
Best Cheer Shoe Reviews
Now that you understand all the terminology behind cheer shoes, why they’re different than regular sneakers or athletic shoes, and which features to look for, check out the top ten cheer shoes that are available on Amazon.
Kaepa Stellarlyte Cheer Shoe
These cheer shoes use a secure-fit system to adjust to your specific arch height for better fit, stability, and comfort. The EVA outsole is specifically formulated for tumbling and stunting on specialized spring floors and mat surfaces, and the heel notch was designed to improve stunt control. They also contain antimicrobial lining for comfort, while the waterproof Scotchguard coating keeps the mesh clean.
This shoe was made for flexibility and is ultralight so it doesn’t interfere with performance. Leather mesh and webbing provide comfort and ventilation. The extreme absorption polymer compound heel inset also absorbs impact, and improves cushioning for your feet. Molded chrome metallic Kaepa logos are included.
- Prevents heel pain or soreness
- Great shoe for wide feet
- Comfortable yet stylish
- Sizing may be difficult to judge online
- Sometimes will break after several months of use
- Lace loops break very easily
- Rubber on front of the shoe may break off
Nfinity Rival Cheer Shoe
The Nfinity Rival adult shoe is a perfect shoe for tumbling and stunting. It’s made with a two-piece outsole construction and 100% synthetic leather upper. A comfort thickness insole provides great comfort and support. This shoe provides the perfect shape for a secure stunting grip, and also has the extra spring that’s needed for high flying tumbling.
- Comfortable and sturdy
- Great support for tumbling
- Very lightweight
- Feels as if there’s no shoe at all
- Are sold in small sizes that are not true to real size; be aware and order a size up
- Not compatible with outdoor use
- Very thick heel
- Narrow width
Nfinity Vengeance Cheer Shoe
At 3.9 ounces, the Nfinity Vengeance cheer shoe is one of the lightest, most comfortable cheer shoes available. It is designed to give you a better fit, without sacrificing weight or performance. The upper part of the shoe has see-through, open mesh so you can customize your look by wearing colored socks. The bottom part of the shoe has both outsole grace EVA, and pylon pads, to ensure durability.
The Vengeance also features comfort fit cushions in the heels to that the shoe is as cozy as possible. Its cutting-edge look is complete with signature bubble laces and helps you be ready to take your vengeance.
- Very lightweight
- Right amount of grip without being sticky
- Exceptionally light and flexible
- Runs about ½ size smaller than standard street shoes; it’s recommended to order a size up
- Fits very tight
- Sole tends to peel away relatively quickly once in use
- Rubber tends to separate due to little glue
Kaepa Women’s TouchUp Cheer Shoe
Up your cheer game with the Kaepa TouchUp cheer shoe. This is a low-profile, lightweight shoe that has a secure fit so it adjusts to your arch height, giving you a stable platform to tumble. It also features Touch Technology, which helps to create a sensory connection between bases and flyers so you can perform your stunts as smoothly as possible.
- Lightweight and great for flyers
- Holds up through washings
- Cleans very easily
- Generally fit as expected
- Great for tumbling and kicks
- Tongue is mint green, so the shoe is not completely white
- May run a size small for some people
- Not great for wide feet
NIKE Women’s Cheer Sideline IV Cheerleading Shoes
NIKE Women’s cheer shoes help you be ready for game day. The mesh upper part has skin overlay for durability, and synthetic leather wraps the midfoot and feel for a comforting fit that conforms to your individual foot. The drop-in midsole provides even more cushioning and flexibility for your foot, while the outsole is designed to optimize grip. Perforations on the lateral sides of the midfoot allow for breathability. Overall, this shoe is designed to help you achieve your best performance, whether you’re tumbling, a base, or a flyer.
- Less bulky than regular cheer shoes
- Very comfortable
- Great style
- Run small
- Tend to fit tight
- Too stiff for tumbling
Adidas Performance Women’s Triple Cheer Shoe
Adidas’s triple cheer shoe for women have synthetic leather overlays for stability and a rubber sole, as well as a sandwich mesh upper for maximum breathability. A synthetic overlay provides support and stability, and they’re designed to flex with your natural movement. Built with ADIPRENE+ in the forefoot to absorb impact, they also maintain propulsion and efficiency. Its rubber outsole with flex grooves support your natural movement, no matter what activity you’re performing.
This shoe will help you achieve explosive moves and cushioned landings, all while you look stylish. The aesthetic of the shoe was designed to blend in and help you keep a low profile. It also provides all the comfort you need to be able to nail your routine. Breathable mesh ensures that your feet stay dry and sweat-free.
- Very comfortable
- Great fit
- Supportive and cushioned for maximum performance
- Low profile
- ADIPRENE+ midsole
- Run narrow and small; recommended to order up a size, especially for those with wider feet
- Easy slip on may compromise stability
Nfinity Adult Evolution Cheer Shoes
Nfinity’s Evolution is a high-performance competition shoe that’s designed to provide superior support and flexibility while you perform elite stunts. At just 6.5 ounces, they’re ultra lightweight and the form fitting design ensures that you’re walking and performing with ease. There are also rubber outsole pods that are strategically located to improve durability in high wear areas of the shoe, without compromising performance.
These cheer shoes were designed specifically for athletes and to meet any athlete’s needs on a spring floor. Bubble laces provide an additional secure fit, and upper mesh provides breathability. The insole was designed to match the natural contours of the foot so there’s superior arch support, comfort, and enhanced cushioning. With AnkleLoc Technology, the heel fit and ankle fit have been enhanced to protect against injury and to ensure a natural fit.
- Recommended for bases
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Great for indoor competition
- Great for tumbling because the bottom is not flat
- Trouble with the lace loops
- Are a bit heavier than many other brands
- Easily become dirty due to the mesh
- Shiny fabric tends to yellow
- Thread tends to come loose
Danzcue Cheer Shoe
Danzcue’s Cheer Shoe gives ultra lightweight performance as an edge sideline performance shoe. It features durability and flexibility, from the inside out. There are also rubber outsole pods that are strategically located, in order to improve the shoe’s durability without compromising performance. This shoe is great for competitions and cheer performances.
- Long lasting
- Great for tumbling
- Perfect for both cheer and dance
- An excess of padding on the inside may make the shoe too thick
- Tend to run small
- Not aesthetically appealing
Chasse Women’s Proflex Cheerleading Shoes
Chasse provides an All-Star cheer shoe that’s ultra lightweight at only 5.4 oz. With synthetic leather and a stitched-in foot bed that allows natural movement, these shoes will look and feel great on your feet. They also have a competition-grade, flexible, shock-attenuating EVA Phyon-tec outsole. A durable bubble-lace system, rubber toe, and heel pod all provide a great grip, so you can be worry-free as you perform tumbles.
Chasse’s cheer shoe is also made with nylon mesh for maximum breathability. Its look was designed to be low-profile, so the focus will be on you and your performance and not on your shoes. They’re also lightweight ant not chunky or heavy.
- Great for sideline cheering
- Great for both bases and flyers
- Very similar to more expensive flyer sneakers
- Run small
- Not completely supportive
- Tight; not ideal for those with wide feet
DADAWEN Women’s Cheerleading Shoes
DADAWEN’s shoes are high performance cheerleading shoes that were designed with athletes in mind. With features that provide breathability and comfort, this shoe is a sure fit for both cheer practices and cheer performances. They’re light, soft, and comfortable with a secure fit that adjusts to your unique arch height. Synthetic leather wraps around the shoe, from the rubber sole to the breathable upper mesh. An integrated lacing system lends to flexibility and allows your foot to bend naturally. The inside is made from cotton for comfort and moisture absorption, while the outsole is made from competition-grade blown EVA phyon-tec material.
A low profile design makes these shoes great for wear, and the leather is easy to clean. The build allows you to move without restriction, and it’s engineered to give you enhanced flexibility for tumbling. Light materials provide superior comfort, flexibility, and durability.
- Great grip; skid resistant
- Very durable material
- Comfortable cushion support
- Cute style
- May be more suitable for dancing than cheering, depending
- People tend to get a size different than the one they specified during their order
- Not recommended for people who don’t have a high arch
Conclusion and Final Cheer Shoe Recommendations
Whether you’re looking for a cheer shoe or casual shoe for your son or daughter, or are on the hunt for ones for yourself, the best cheer shoe is within reach. Navigating all of the terms for cheerleading shoes, and understanding why they’re a much better fit than regular sneakers, are among the first steps you should take on your journey to find the best cheer shoes. You need a shoe that will offer you the most comfort and support possible, while also being easy to clean, having finger grips, and valuing breathability. All together, these features are part of a great athletic shoe.
Whether you’re flying, tumbling, performing stunts, or dancing, the ten shoes above are among the top choices available, and they’re all on Amazon. Each shoe has its pros and cons, so you should consider them carefully, and make sure that they match with what your teammates want or with what your coach requires. Also take personal preference into account. While the big-name brands are tempting, there are many options out there that offer just as much comfort, stability, or style, if not more.
One of the most important things to understand as you’re considering types of cheer shoes to purchase is that most cheerleaders buy more than one pair for a season. There are several reasons for this– since they’re athletic shoes and you will be performing, dancing, jumping, and running in them, they will wear down easily. Many cheer shoes tend to fall apart after a few months. Cheerleaders also often keep one pair for practice, and one for competition or performances, so that way they can make sure their shoes are perfectly white and ready for the big day. Since you’ll probably end up needing to buy several pairs, this is a good opportunity for you to try out several different kinds or brands, if you’d like to. It may also factor in to the price or into your considerations.
After you learn all you can about cheer shoes and consider the options, you’ll be on your way to finding your best cheer shoe yet, and can keep up with your great performances.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cheerleading Shoes
Why do cheer shoes tend to run small?
As you’re shopping online especially, you will see that the biggest complaint against cheer shoe companies, or shoes specifically, is that the size is very small. Some companies even recommend in the “About” section of the product that you should buy a size up, and give an explanation.
Cheer shoes are small because they need to fit tightly around your foot. Since they’re used in competitions and performances, it’s imperative that they’re tight enough to never fall off– so they’re made small as safeguard against this. If you’re aware of this feature, you can just buy a size or two larger than you normally would, and save yourself from the headache of returning a shoe that’s too small for you.
What are the best features to look for in a cheer shoe?
Typically, the best cheer shoes will be very lightweight and will not weigh you down as you perform. They will have breathability, ensuring that your foot doesn’t get too hot and sweaty. They’ll also have lots of support and cushioning. When you try on a cheer shoe, it should fit your foot perfectly, even a little bit snugly. Try running around in it or even performing a stunt in it; it should stay on and aid your performance. If you usually do stunts on your cheerleading team, make sure the shoe helps you as you land, so you don’t injure yourself. If you’re afraid that the shoe doesn’t prevent injury or provide enough cushioning and support as you’re trying it out, don’t buy it.
What does it mean when it says the cheer shoe contains EVA material?
EVA stands for Ethylene Vinyl Acetate. This is a synthetic compound that’s used in the outsole of your shoe, and it helps to provide cushioning. It’s easily shaped by heat and pressure, so it’ll help mold your shoe to your foot. Regular sneakers do not have this, so sneakers will not form to your foot as well.
What’s the difference between cheer shoes and regular athletic shoes? Won’t typical sneakers be good enough?
Cheer shoes were made specifically for cheering. They will be very lightweight, yet give your foot the support and cushion it needs so you can run, jump, and perform in them. They are extremely flexible, so you’ll be able to move in them as needed.
Regular shoes just aren’t made to withstand many of the things cheer shoes can do. Cheer shoes will also have certain special features sneakers just don’t come with, such as finger grips, synthetic leather, and smooth rubber soles. Finger grips allow bases to hold on to the foot of flyers very easily, and the smooth rubber soles prevents injury as a foot is pressed against arms or chests during stunts. If you wear normal sneakers for cheer stunts, you could hurt somebody. Cheer shoes are also typically made of synthetic leather, so that they’re very easy to clean and stay white and immaculate for performance day.
Does the kind of cheer shoe matter?
Yes. Certain activities will wear down your shoe in different ways. You should consider your position within your team, such as whether you’re a base, tumbler, or flyer. If you need to complete a lot of tumbling and stunting, the type of shoe you consider purchasing should be different. Also take into consideration what kind of surface you will be on; competition cheering that takes place indoors and on mats will have a different effect on shoes than outdoor cheering. Do you cheer for the football team? The basketball team? Both? This has an impact.
Does the price matter? Is there a difference between expensive and cheap cheer shoes?
As with any product, there is a difference. You get what you buy with cheer shoes; cheaper ones may fall apart more easily or not last as long. There are many cheap cheer shoes, however, that are very durable and will do the job for the season. There’s no negative reason to buying cheaper shoes, as long as you understand that it may cost you even more money in the long run than simply purchasing a shoe that’s on the higher end of your budget, as you may end up purchasing three or four pairs throughout the season. It’s your choice–to get a good, quality shoe for more, or get several shoes for less.
Is there any wrong way to wear cheer shoes?
You might think that wearing cheer shoes is as easy as slipping them on and tightening the laces, however, there’s more to wearing cheer shoes than you might think. A common mistake to wear cheer shoes the wrong way is to tie them too tightly.
Lace-locking systems are a unique feature of cheer shoes, and they were made specifically to keep your laces secure and out of the way. However, they will break if you pull them as tightly as you possibly can. Pulling them so tight will also have a bad effect on your feet. Stability and comfort stem from getting the right shoe size and wearing them correctly, so pay attention as you’re purchasing and make sure you are not wearing them carelessly.
Do I need to buy more than one pair for practice and events?
Many sports require multiple pairs of shoes, and different shoes depending on whether it’s competition or practice; cheerleading isn’t any different. Did you know that one third of cheerleaders have two to four pairs of cheer shoes? One of the biggest reasons for this is that cheer shoes typically are required to be immaculate and clean–and as you can imagine, they get dirty very easily.
If there’s not time to wash them between practices or performances, or to even give them a quick clean, many cheerleaders simply switch them out really quickly. Beyond having an extra pair on hand for performances, many cheerleaders purchase multiple cheer shoes at the beginning of each season. Since they’re athletic shoes and you will be jumping, tumbling, stunting, and performing choreography, your cheer shoes will be under a lot of stress and will suffer a lot of wear and tear, to the point where most shoes begin to fall apart after a few months.
Having a couple on hand to switch out will extend how long you have them– and will save you if a pair falls apart in the middle of a competition. In addition, your practice shoes will get dirty and scuffed, so many cheerleaders have one pair of shoes for practice and one pair for game day or competition, so you can continue to perform and look your best.