Our Brands of Distinction
Known as the professional's choice for Ballroom and Latin American dance footwear, International Dance Shoes, are world renowned manufacturers of carefully hand-crafted dance shoes and are one of the last remaining British dance shoe manufacturers which still manufacture all of their shoes in England. As the Canadian agents for over 25 years, we can attest to their committment to producing dance shoes that ensure a perfect freedom of movement in order to maximise individual's performance. Performance is combined with exceptional comfort, and the health and saftey of the dancers feet are preserved.
Established in 1980, International Dance Shoes adheres to their tradition of hand-crafted excellence, whist still evolving by developing new products with new technologies and design innovations - all in the latest eye catching fashion!
Worn by today’s leading amateur and professional dancers, they are regarded as the one of the finest in the field of dance footwear manufacture. International's dance shoes have appeared on many television series, movies, and theatrical productions including the BBC's popular 'Strictly Come Dancing' (Britain's version of 'Dancing with the Stars', and also starring two of the same judges that are on the U.S. series).
Freed of London was founded by cobbler Frederick Freed in 1929 and initially specialized in ballet pointe shoes. After their pointe shoes were considered some of the best in the industry and favoured by prima ballerinas they expanded into other forms of dance including jazz, tap, character, and of course ballroom & latin.
As Dance Plus grew and served more dancers and more feet, we looked for a complementary line of shoes that would cater to dancers whose needs were not being met by International's range, like dancers who needed low heels, more padding, space for bunions and orthotics, more stability, etc. We wanted to make sure we could serve all Canadian dancers - even those with special needs, and DanceSteps from another well-established British company called Equity Shoes, which was established in 1890. The line became popular with our customers, and the Mens line became especially popular with social dancers (as opposed to competitors), as it offers incredible construction, support, and comfort, in a style that many men feel more closely resembles a man's dress shoe, than most men's competition styles.
Unfortunately, despite a one hundred year legacy, Equity Dance Shoes ceased operations in the mid-2000's. We were crushed - everyone deserves to dance in comfort! Thankfully Freed of London stepped in and purchased the rights and the lasts to continue the production of these shoes. They also recognized the need for this superior line of shoes, and have maintained the construction, and commitment to quality, as well as most of the original designs. DanceSteps, now by Freed of London continue to be made by hand in the UK.
The above two brands have made up the majority of our stock for over 30 years, complementing each other well by serving the needs of different dancers. So you can see that not many brands pass our extremely high standards, at least until now. Introducing Merlet of France, our new dance shoe line made in France. This line caters to the budget conscious social dancer without compromising our high standards of construction, comfort, materials, or design.
The history of Merlet started in 1974 in Limoges, France, when shoemaker Roger James Merlet made his first pair of pointe shoes for the wife of a friend, who was a principal ballet dancer. From this meeting, the passion for ballet was born. Slowly, the reputation of Merlet grew and spread over the region. Roger James Merlet made ballet slippers for some of the most famous dancers of the seventies including Yvette Chauviré. In 1978, Merlet hired a young apprentice named Pierre Lassenne, sparking a creative collaboration that led to several innovations in pointe shoes which were ultimately adopted by their competitors.
In 1997, with its “savoir faire” and many years of experience, Pierre Lassenne, who took the reigns of the company 5 years prior, decided to develop ballroom shoes. The first one of many is the “EVA” style which is still in the collection today. A design refresh of the styles in 2011, led to further success of their ballroom line which received accolades and a has led to a deserved reputation as a dance shoe crafter throughout Europe. We are pleased to offer our customers such finely crafted styles made from exceptional quality materials.