What to Look For
Cheerleading-specific shoes have features unique to the sport that help with stunting and support the ankles. Cheerleading shoes are typically lightweight and flexible with extra cushioning for jumps and stunts. Kaepa cheerleading shoes like the Hyperflyte have a scalloped arch and a rear finger notch to add stability during stunting, as well as heel and forefoot finger grip pads, according to the manufacturer.
It may seem that cheerleading-specific shoes are not necessary, but cross-trainers or running shoes will not provide the flexibility, durability and ankle support needed during tumbling and stunting. With a range of prices, sport-specific shoes are the best option to reduce the risk of injury and protect the foot and ankle.
Where to Buy
Cheerleading-specific shoes are not always available at regular sporting goods stores, but many websites sell them, including Eastbay and Cheerleading.com. Cheerleading websites typically have a wider variety of shoes from which to choose.
Cheerleading shoes at Eastbay ranged from $30 to $70 in 2010, depending on the brand and style. Older models typically go on sale when the updated styles are released. Sites like Cheerleading.com offer team pricing and packages, making the overall cost less expensive.
The Nike Musique IV cheer shoe is tailored toward dance teams and pom squads, as this shoe does not have any features to aid in stunting. The Nike Musique has midfoot support and enhanced edges for the lateral motions of dance, according to Eastbay. For cheerleaders who do not stunt much, these shoes might be a better option.
CheerZone.com provides buying guides on brands and styles. Are you looking for an entry-level shoe without the added features, or do you want a competition-level shoe that has added support and enhanced flexibility? Is your cheerleader a flyer, involving lots of stunting, or is she a base? Does she dance more, or tumble? These are all factors to keep in mind when examining the features of each style.