No matter how strenuous or laid back you’re practicing cheer, it’s crucial that you always wear appropriate shoes. Even if you’re practicing some basic moves in your backyard, wearing the right cheer shoes, instead of regular tennis shoes, can make all the difference in how you jump, flip, and land. There are dozens of styles, brands, and fits of shoes. While it would be impossible to talk about all of them and how they differ from one another, we can address what makes a shoe a good cheer shoe and why. The Color As we all know, cheer shoes, above everything else, must entirely be white. Most athletic or tennis shoes don’t come in all white – they either have accent colors or a colored sole or shoe laces. For cheerleading, shoes must be perfectly white – not beige, not white with a thin colored line. The Fabric When it comes to cheer shoes, you want them to be easy to clean since they’re all white. Most cheer shoes are made from synthetic leather instead of real leather. With synthetic leather, you can wipe clean with water and a towel. Any spot will rub off and you won’t ruin the material. Some shoes feature sateen or mesh, which provide your feet more breathability – always a plus when you’re training hard in hot weather. Sateen and mesh can also be easily spot-cleaned. The Weight and Size In order to maintain durability, many athletic or tennis shoes are heavier or bulky. But when you’re flying or stunting, you need a lightweight and sleek shoe. Cheer shoes account for that and are designed to be lighter weight and low profile. Some shoes, like the Chasse Core, are extremely light and conform to your foot so you don’t even feel like you’re wearing shoes. Those types of shoes are ideal, especially for tumblers and flyers. Hand Grips You won’t find a tennis shoe anywhere that has handgrips, but some cheer shoes do, like the Chasse Pulse. As a flyer, wearing cheer shoes with a handgrip on the outsole can help the base maintain a better grip on holding the flyer up (which also benefits the flyer). Cushioning You shouldn’t just look for shoes that have basic cushioning. Instead, you should focus on shoes that have extra cushioning along the bottom of the sole, like the Kaepa Elevate or Chasse Flip III, which can absorb shock upon landing. A Rubber Sole It’s crucial that the bottom of your shoe has a rubber sole, especially if you’re cheering competitively indoors on a mat or wood floor. Many cheer shoes, like the Nike Compete, have a non-marking rubber sole, meaning it won’t leave any skid marks if slid or dragged on the flooring. The last thing you want to do is ruin the flooring while cheering. Another benefit of rubber, particularly on the toe and heel pod, is that it grips better on the floor. This means you won’t have to worry about slipping or sliding. Remember, cheer shoes aren’t just necessary for style and comfort, they’re also crucial for safety and performance. Many cheerleaders stock up on several pairs of cheer shoes, leaving some at home and some in their locker so they can always easily change. For maximum support and power, you’ll need to upgrade your shoes on a regular basis. Make sure to get a replacement pair before the heel, toe, or sole wears out. How many cheer shoes do you own? Do you have a favorite brand or style?