Cheer shoes are one of the most important pieces of cheer gear when it comes to ensuring you have a safe and successful season. They keep your feet protected and are designed to optimize your performance, but they’re also one of the most commonly misunderstood and misused cheer items. Make sure you have the facts straight by looking at the top seven cheer shoe myths.
Myth #1: You can use any athletic shoe for cheerleading.
Cheer shoes aren’t just necessary for style and comfort. They’re also crucial for safety and performance. Cheerleaders need to wear shoes specifically designed for the demands of their sport. Cheer shoes have a lot of features regular shoes don’t.
Myth #2: Any cheer shoe will work.
If you’re a competitive squad, you can’t get a sideline cheer shoe and expect it to perform well indoors. You also shouldn’t be surprised if you get a mesh shoe and it doesn’t last very long cheering on the football sidelines. Leather shoes work well outdoors, but mesh shoes are best for indoors. This can cause headaches for your team when you order a great cheer shoe and are surprised when it doesn’t hold up outdoors. They weren’t made to hold up outdoors! Wear them indoors, and you’ll probably love them. Similarly, the Chasse® Platinum is a great sideline shoe for gyms, fields, and tracks, but if you’re exclusively a competition team, a lighter shoe like the GK Spotlight will get you better results on the mat.
Myth #3: As long as you’re on the right surface, you can do anything in your cheer shoes.
Wearing the right shoes on the right surface is vital, but even if you’re on the right surface, certain activities will wear down the shoe materials, whether they’re made of rubber, mesh, leather, or synthetic leather. For example, if you drag your toe a lot on the gym floor, the toe area is going to wear down fast even in the best, most durable cheer shoes. Cheerleading involves jumping, tumbling, stunting, and doing gymnastics moves. Cheer shoes are meant to support these movements while being light and flexible. So make sure you use common sense and don’t put your shoes through things they weren’t meant to withstand.
Myth #4: There’s no wrong way to wear your cheer shoes.
You might think it’s as easy as lacing up your shoes, but really there is more to lacing up your shoes than you might think. A common mistake cheerleaders make is tying their shoes too tight. First of all, those lace-locking systems that are a unique feature of cheer shoes aren’t indestructible. They’re made to keep your laces secured and out of your way, but they could break if you pull them as tight as you possibly can. Even more importantly though, pulling your laces as tight as they’ll go is bad for your feet. Shoe comfort and stability come from getting the right shoe size, so don’t get shoes that are too big and then tie them way too tightly as a way to make them fit more securely. Get a shoe that fits well, and then tie them so they’re secure, but not too tight.
Myth #5: You only need one pair of cheer shoes.
Lots of sports require multiple pairs of shoes and different shoes for competitions and practices, and cheerleading is no different. In fact, 34 percent of cheerleaders own two to four pairs. Since cheerleading shoes are made for stunting, tumbling, jumping, and choreography, you will need a different pair of shoes if you’re just hitting the gym for strength training or going outside for a run. Doing these activities in your cheer shoes could lead to discomfort or injury, and it will definitely wear your cheer shoes down faster since they were made for cheering, not distance running or weight lifting. Also, your practice shoes will likely get scuffed and worn as you practice in them each day, so many cheerleaders keep a pair of shoes for practice and a separate pair for competitions or game days. You still want your competition or game day shoes to be broken in so they aren’t too stiff, but you want them to be in peak condition so you can look and perform your best!
Myth #6: A good cheer shoe will last multiple seasons.
For most sports you need a new shoe at least every season, but that’s especially true of cheerleading. This is because a key feature of cheer shoes is their light weight. A lighter shoe is ideal for stunting and tumbling, but this means the cushioning, soles, and sides of the shoes are typically less durable than other athletic shoes that are heavier. The whole point of a good shoe is to use it, so make sure you get a new pair each season so you can get the most out of it!
Myth #7: Your cheer shoes are safe in your bag.
Inside your cheer bag could actually be the worst place for your cheer shoes as they’re subject to water bottle leaks, hair spray and other products, as well as your snacks and other gear they could rub against. But don’t worry, you can still use your bag to transport your shoes, just make sure you get a bag that is made specifically for cheerleaders with a separate shoe compartment. This will keep them safe, clean, and ready to use!