7 Best Cheer Shoes of 2019: Great for Flyers & Tumbling

Whether you want to admit it or not, cheer is a sport.  It requires a ton of guts, determination, flexibility, stamina, you name it and it’s got it.  On top of that, it’s demanding on the mind because it does take an attention to detail to get the moves and routines right in the correct order.  It’s an event that has a lot of style to it, but it’s not just about pageantry.  It’s got substance and real athleticism, and as such, it needs a certain kind of shoe to help you get the job done.  Cheer shoes aren’t like ordinary shoes, and you should be looking into getting your own cheer shoes if you want to get the most out of your performance.  No matter if you are looking to go to college and cheer or are just having fun, there is something out there for you.  Today, we’ll be taking a look at and breaking down all you need to know, reviewing the most popular cheer shoes out there in 2019, and then answering any followup questions you might have.  Let’s get to it!

Top Cheer Shoes Comparison Chart

ProductMaterialPriceWhere to Buy?
Kaepa Women’s Cheerful ShoeSynthetic$Check Price on Amazon
Nfinity Vengeance Cheer ShoeSynthetic$$$Check Price on Amazon
Chasse Apex Youth Cheerleading ShoesSynthetic$$Check Price on Amazon
Kaepa Stellarlyte Cheer Shoe$$$Check Price on Amazon
Nike Women’s Sideline IV Cheerleading ShoeMesh $$$$Check Price on Amazon
SmartFit Girls’ Sizzle TrackSynthetic$Check Price on Amazon
Nfinity Titan Adult Cheer ShoeWoven Jacquard, Spandex$$$$Check Price on Amazon

Cheer Shoes Buying Guide

Getting What’s Best For You

The first step toward getting the best possible pair of shoes for you is to figure out what it is you need.  The ‘position’ or role in the team that you hold is a very key factor in this.  If you are a base, you might just want to go with something different than what the flyer will have.  Still yet, tumblers might turn to a different option even still, so it’s imperative to know what your role in the team is so that you get the most support and protection out of your shoes.  While most teams do opt to go for the same shoes while performing a routine on the floor, this can still be very useful to you when you are practicing.  A base needs exactly what it sounds like.  They need more support than a flyer would.  It might sound a little opposite at first, but it makes sense because you literally need this person to be strong and sturdy beneath you to support your weight and theirs.  This means a pair of shoes for the base need to be a little bit wider and also have to have excellent grip.  Also, the shoe could and probably should be a little bit more bulky.  Bulky isn’t always ideal with shoes, but in general the heavier a shoe is the more protection it does indeed offer.  For flyers, you need a lower profile shoe.  Something that is lighter and more flexible to allow you to get the job done.  However, there needs to be a certain level of stickiness on the sole of the shoe that makes the base’s job easier.  If and when you find that, you’ll find success.  For tumblers, a shoe that is a little bit more supportive in the ankles might just be the ticket for you.  If you have never had ankle or any other injury problems, you might not care for the additional bulk and rigidity, but for those that are scared of that or have had those issues, that is a good way of moving forward.  So, while it’s hard to differentiate sometimes between the roles, it’s still very much possible to delve through and pick something that will work best for YOU.

How to Make Your Shoes Last Longer

Cheer is a much more demanding sport that meets the eye.  To get the most out of your pair of shoes, which can sometimes lack durability if you are putting them to use very often, you can employ a simple strategy: don’t wear the same pair for comps that you wear for practice.  This might seem like it will be bad on the wallet, but it could actually save you money in the long run because you won’t put all that stress and strain on just one single pair of shoes.  It can save you some soreness, too, at times.  A lot of people have questions regarding this issue.  Do coaches want their cheerleaders to wear the same pair in practice as they do in comps?  In an ideal world, they would.  At least until they get used to them.  But that means they could get dirty and worn out.  So ideally, it would be a good idea to have two or three pairs of the same shoes.  That way you can break them in and rotate them as needed to make them last longer.  Just food for thought.

What Do You Need in a Good Cheer Shoe?

In very general terms, we are going to look at what makes a cheer shoe a cheer shoe.  No matter if you are a base, flyer, or tumbler, you can still get a lot out of these facts here.  A cheer shoe is different than a normal pair of shoes that you will find off the shelf.  In order to be the best thing for you, they need to be flexible and lightweight.  Even if you are a base, you will want those things as well.  You might want or need a little bit more protection, but at the end of the day, you want something that is flexible and offers you good, natural range of motion inside and something that is also light.

Indoor vs Outdoor and Durability

While the competition shoes are going to take up a lot of the article, it’s important to point out that shoes for comps and shoes for normal sidelines cheering are totally different.  As such, you need to make sure that you are using them in the right manner so that you get the most durability from them.  Cheer shoes that are made for cheering at football games are heavier.  They also have more tread to them to give you better grip and traction on the grass.  Indoor competition shoes are not made in this manner.  They do have excellent grip, but it’s not going to be of much use when you are on a wet, slick field.  Using indoor shoes can cause you to get injured if you are put into the wrong situation, so it’s not something to take lightly.  There may be some that claim that they can do both, and it will be up to you to decide if you want to go with them or just get something that suits your specific needs.

In much the same vein, competition shoes are going to be less durable.  That’s just the nature of the beast.  If you are doing competitions, you will know the strain that is put on you and your body.  And your shoes, too.  Shoes made for competitions are especially light to give the flyer and tumblers a chance to move freely and easily.  This is a great thing for the show of it all, but it’s hard on your shoes.  You can’t have it all with shoes, as hard as shoe companies are trying to make it that way.  By having light shoes, you are just having to sacrifice some durability in the process.  It can be hard to find a pair that offers all of it, and sometimes you just won’t.  You’ll have to accept the fact that they just won’t last forever.  But, if you do want to make them last as long as you possibly can, then putting them to use in only the right places is a start.  Don’t wear comp shoes outside, don’t wear them for walking around in, and try and have a couple of different pairs, and you might get a whole lot more use out of them.

Cheer Shoe Terminology

There are a few terms that cheerleading shoes have that normal shoes just don’t have or use.  Because of this, it’s valuable to break them down for you so that you know what they mean and can make a better, more informed decision about them when the time comes.  This will be added to the other shoe terms that you probably already know or can easily figure out, at least.

Finger Grooves.  This is a term that relates to the flyer.  Not all cheer shoes have these, but you might be interested in ones that do.  Finger grooves are designed to allow the base to get better grip on the flyer via the grooves by placing their fingers into strategically placed areas.  Not all cheer shoes have these built into them, but they can be super helpful, and they are well worth mentioning as such.

Lace Locking.  This term talks about how secure the shoes are.  What you want to see in a good cheer shoe is flexibility.  However, this flexibility can’t and doesn’t need to come from the laces being too loose.  Instead, you need shoe laces that are tight and secure enough to not come loose during the routines  Routines include going up and down and also from side to side, so it means not every system will be the same and work in this endeavor.

Slip Lasting.  This is another special term for cheerleading shoes, and it’s about the upper part of the shoe.  A cheer shoe obviously needs to be flexible, and this is what makes that happens.  This refers to the upper being glued to the sole of the shoe.  This makes the shoes more flexible than other types that instead use an alternative method.  This makes your range of motion much more natural and allows for you to do the highly intense moves without being too rigid.

Height of the Ankles

Just like with football, basketball, or any other sport really, cheer also has choices to be made over the height of the ankles.  What you want and need is totally up to you as far as practice goes, but you might be forced into wearing something else in competitions.  Nonetheless, the height of the ankles can determine how much protection you get.  There are two main choices for cheer.  The low top is the traditional choice.  In regards to cheer, you’ll commonly see this referred to as “ankle-length” instead of the low top.  But to keep things nice and succinct and easy to relate to, you can just think of them as low tops.  Low tops are very useful for people that are smaller, quicker, haven’t had a lot of injuries, use great form and technique, and also want the utmost in flexibility and range of motion inside of the shoes.  If you don’t like feeling locked down and get all claustrophobic, then you will want this kind.  The other type is over the ankle.  This type corresponds to what we’d call a mid or high top.  Quite frankly, the high top is decreasing quickly in popularity in all sports.  So most likely you’re going to see a mid top here.  It’s got more ankle protection and lock down of the foot, but it’s not going to be quite as binding as a high top would be.  Still yet, you’re not going to be able to move your feet around quite as much.  If you are a tumbler or flyer, you could really go either way.  There are valid reasons to side with each choice, it’s just dependent on how much risk you are putting yourself in, your confidence in yourself, and your personal preferences.

Sizing

Getting the right size is an essential part of buying any shoe.  Without the right size, you’re not going to get most- if any- of the benefits of the shoe in the first place.  Before we give you a few tips on what to do, here’s something to keep in mind.  Because cheer is such a popular youth sport, it needs to be said that you should never size up so that a child can grow into the shoes.  This is a very bad thing.  And it’s pretty foolish, too.  It can cause injuries and cause them to fall.  It can make the uncomfortable, too, which can decrease their enjoyment of it and eventually lead to them quitting.  It’s foolish a well because so many kids end up outgrowing them anyway by the time the season is over.  So you’ll be forced to buy new shoes anyway.  Might as well buy something that fits right off the bat then!  Here’s a few more tips.

Try to go in store and try them on.  If you do this, you can get a better grasp on what they might feel like.  If this is not possible, or they don’t have the kind or brand of shoes you want to consider, then maybe ask some friends if they have some shoes.  You can try on theirs and see if you like them. Generally speaking, a brand’s size is going to run about the same.  If they are narrow, they are just narrow.  If they are long, they run long.  Getting an idea of how they fit on you can mean you avoid them entirely or go with them.

Ignore your shoe size.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Never mind your own size.  If you wear an 8 in Nikes, you might not be an 8 in anything else.  Then again, you might be.  If you don’t know how Nikes translate to Adidas, then what is the point other than having a number?

When trying on shoes, always make sure to wear the same or comparable pair of socks.  By doing this, you can have an apples to apples comparison and you won’t be let down when you get into actual comps or to practice.  Also, do your best to try on your shoes after exercising.  Cheer places a lot of weight on the legs, and that in turn causes swelling of the ankles and feet.  When you see this happen, your feet actually get bigger.  If you don’t account for this, you could feel good when you start and bad when you are finished because the shoes are too tight.  Keeping a thumb or so between your toes and the ends of the shoes is a good thing and a must-have, but if you don’t take this fact into consideration you’ll end up hurting.

Never forget the width.  Some people are just naturally wide footed.  If this is you, then you need to also check that the width is satisfactory to you.  It’s never any fun to have to stuff your feet into a shoe, and that shouldn’t happen with width or length.  If you do find them to be too narrow, then sizing up might not be the best answer you can come up with.  It’s logical, yes, but if you throw off the length, then you have a problem there.

Find the sweet spot.  You want to have some wiggle room in there, but you don’t want too much.  If you find that your feet are sliding back and forth inside the shoes, then you have too much room.  This can cause you to adjust by changing your walking pattern, which puts further strain on muscles and joints.  This could also cause you to slip and fall or to kick off your shoes altogether.  By the same token, if you have shoes that are too tight, you could end up forming blisters.  These just simply hurt, and you do not want to go through that because you could miss time out on the floor with the team as a result.

Other Things to Look For

There is really just so much information when it comes to cheer shoes that it’s hard to break it all down and explain everything.  Here are some other things you should be looking for and want in a cheer shoe that will pay off in spades down the line.

* Light but not minimal.  There is a movement in the shoe market today where shoes are going toward a very minimalist approach.  This, though, is dangerous for cheer.  While you do want to be free and flexible, you also need support and protection.  Many of the minimalist shoes don’t give that, so be careful to stay away from that.

* Mesh is your friend, mostly.  Mesh is really awesome.  It’s easy to clean, which is a big check mark. It’s also very breathable.  This means you won’t get super sweaty feet and that you can have a release. You won’t be weighed down by all of that excess yuckiness.  Also, mesh leads to flexibility and lightweight, too.  All of these things are very much needed in cheer, whether it’s at a long, hard practice or during a competition.  However one thing to note is that mesh can be less durable than other materials.  Remember you can’t have it all.  Sometimes there is a trade off to be made.  This is one area where you are likely to see that happen.

* Traction is queen.  You need really awesome traction and grip.  This is the case indoors and out.  But you want to avoid thick, rubbery soles.  These will just get you caught up in the ground, and they also will weigh you down, too.  Anything that is bulky is something you will really wanna avoid.

Let’s Review The Top 7 Cheer Shoes of 2019

  1. Kaepa Women’s Cheerful Shoe

Designed with both outdoor and indoor use in mind, the Cheerful from Kaepa is a good all-around cheer shoe that can help you reach your goals while staying within a reasonable budget. Using synthetic leather, they are low profile and sleek in order to give you added flexibility and to decrease the weight, allowing you to pull off a number of aerial acrobatics or just remain grounded comfortably. With lining on the inside, you have even more comfort given to you, increasing the likelihood you’ll love them.  They use EVA in both the midsole and outsole, two key areas, which helps make them light yet supportive enough to prevent injuries.  There is a notch for fingers to be placed in the back and the arch is slightly raised to help you gain control when hitting and pushing off the floor or ground.  They are all white, but they have variable logos that you can choose from.  They do run small, so keep that in mind when ordering!

Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • Mix and match logos
  • Comfy and have helpful additions for teammates

Cons:

  • Runs small
  1. Nfinity Vengeance Cheer Shoe

Nfinity is another massive brand in the world of cheer, and their Vengeance is one of the most sought after shoes out there. These shoes are a little different than most in the genre as they seek to be very tight on the foot to help prevent injuries, making them ideal for flyers. With lots of mesh included, these are very breathable and give you flexibility in that area.  The biggest feature, though, that it brings is that it makes them super light.  These are literally the lightest on the market and maybe the lightest ever.  Also, the mesh let’s you wear a colored sock to stand out, making the white just a nice undertone to have.  These do run about a ½ size small according to the manufacturers, so keep that in mind.  They also are on the expensive side as well, so these might not be the best for a beginner or novice.

Pros:

  • Prevents injuries
  • Very breathable and super light
  • Helps you stand out with your team

Cons:

  • A little pricey for some
  • Runs ½ size too small
  1. Chasse Apex Youth Cheerleading Shoes

If you are looking for a mid-range priced shoe for a youth cheerleader, then this could be just what the doctor ordered. This pair of sleek cheer shoes uses synthetic leather and a textured surface to bring durability and a fairly lightweight to the table. They may not be the lightest out there, but they are still very light and capable for beginners and youth cheerleaders alike.  The laces are ‘bubble’ laces, which are meant to lock in and secure the feet, while the rubber outsole is molded and designed with durability in mind.  These are definitely a step up in that department compared to some cheaper models that can be found.  With panels that allow gripping, these can also be good shoes for the intermediate cheerleader that is learning and going beyond just the basics.

Pros:

  • Nice middle of the line price
  • Very durable shoes
  • Good for intermediate stars

Cons:

  • Not as light as others
  • Does run a little small
  1. Kaepa Stellarlyte Cheer Shoe

Kaepa makes its way back to the list with its Stellarlyte, a great shoe for tumblers. This shoe fits very snugly on the foot, locking you into place, and not forcing you to have to worry if your foot is going to be moving inside while you execute delicate maneuvers. As you break this shoe in, the shoe begins to intelligently form to you, utilizing its ergonomic nature to serve you instead of just the general public.  This makes the insole very comfy and leads to much more satisfaction than ordinary shoes bring.  This is a competition shoe for sure, but it’s only best for indoors, so don’t bring it along to stand on the track for the football game!  It’s super easy to clean and doesn’t get all smelly thanks to anti-microbial lining inside, further giving you reasons to consider this choice.  Add in some flexibility to the mix, and it’s just an awesome shoe for the tumbler!  They do run small and narrow and can come to be a little expensive for some consumers.

Pros:

  • Very flexible
  • Lock down is excellent for tumbling
  • Comfortable and fits you specifically

Cons:

  • Can be pricey for some
  • Runs small and narrow
  1. Nike Women’s Sideline IV Cheerleading Shoe

If you are looking for a good, sturdy shoe for a base, then this is just the one for you, or at least could be. The fourth iteration of the Sideline shoe from Nike, these are super stylish as only Nike could be. You’d expect no less from them.  With a midsole that has a slight drop to them, they are both flexible on the foot and also have great cushioning at the same time thanks to the extra room and give it breeds.  With holes on both sides of the shoe, they are breathable and thus much more durable because there isn’t a ton of mesh being centered on the midfoot, which can get torn easily.  These shoes do have a couple of issues that should be pointed. First, Nikes just run more expensive than most.  Secondly, they are not the most flexible shoes out there by any means.  And because they are best for bases, they are a little bit heavy, so they wouldn’t be the greatest for flyers.

Pros:

  • Very sturdy shoes
  • Great for bases
  • Breathable and durable

Cons:

  • Heavier than most
  • Extremely pricey
  1. SmartFit Girls’ Sizzle Track

If you are on a tight budget and want a good shoe for your youth cheerleader, then the Sizzle from SmartFit could be just the answer you are looking for. Sporting a shoe that is super easy to get on and off (a real bonus for parents), they are also lightweight. Add to the mix that they are non-marking, and it makes them an ideal pick for a lot of different uses such as wearing them around school when they absolutely have to do so.  With a synthetic upper, they are light, flexible, and still sturdy at the same time.  One thing they promise to offer is a lot of wiggle room for the toes, and that’s what these bring to the table, too.  Note that these are track shoes, so they are best for cheering on the sidelines of games.  Not great for competitions or girls that are going to be tumbling or doing aerial moves.  Still yet, they are super comfy and would make a good entry shoe for the cheerleader that is just starting out at the recreational level.

Pros:

  • Extremely affordable price
  • Great for track cheering
  • Comfy and won’t make marks

Cons:

  • Not for flyers and tumblers
  • Durability will lack a little
  1. Nfinity Titan Adult Cheer Shoe

Everything we have seen so far is a low top, but with this offering we finally get something a bit different. The Titan is another great choice from Nfinity and it is designed for the tumbler that wants and needs more protection and support than normal shoes would bring. If you’ve had injuries before or just feel like you need that support, these are just what you are looking for.  With a very tough and durable heel and upper, they will last a long time and make sure your feet and ankles make it across the finish line, too.  The footbed is also really awesome in these shoes, allowing you to push off the mat in a superb way, helping you get a bit higher than you might with others and preventing you from getting quite as tired along the way.  The ‘bubble’ laces are very hard to force to come untied, and you have further reinforcements via a couple of straps across the feet. These shoes are quite expensive and they aren’t going to be good for those looking for an entry point or for those that aren’t tumbling or want more freedom, either!

Pros:

  • Great preventative measure
  • Springy foot bed helps you push off
  • Will not come untied

Cons:

  • Pricey choice
  • Range of motion more limited
  • Not for beginners

Conclusion And Final Cheer Shoes Recommendations

With the internet becoming so awesome for finding shoes and with so many companies claiming a stake in the cheer market, it can be really tough to narrow down and select one shoe.  There are so many to pick, and if you’re like a lot of consumers, it just leads to confusion because you can’t tell what the differences are besides color.  Thankfully, you’ll no longer be having that problem.  Instead of looking at the style and making a decision from there, you’ll now have a firm grasp on the whole picture and will make a much more conscious call on the right footwear.  So, whether you’re doing the flips or catching the ones that do, you’ll be able to look good, feel good, and stay protected while doing so.  Read on for any further questions you might have!

FAQ’s About Cheer Shoes

* Does The Brand Matter?

Yes, the brand does matter, at least as far as cheer goes.  Contrary to what you might think beforehand, the ‘big dogs’ of the market in shoes don’t really reign over the cheer world with an iron fist.  This means that Nike and Adidas have to take a back seat to companies that are pretty specific to cheer.  What you need to know about brands is that some are good for beginners and some are not.  If it’s a good beginner shoe, then it’s probably best for a lack of tumbling and flying.  So, if you’re going to be doing those things, it’s best to avoid, even if they look super cool and they have a good price attached to them.  There are so many brands that it’s not worth pointing out all of them, and each have exceptions that prove the rule, too, so just know that not all are created equal and that you have to find what’s right for you.  Sometimes, that means looking a little deeper and looking past the aesthetics of it all.

* Won’t Tennis or Running Shoes Work?

While you COULD wear any kind of shoe, it’s really not the best idea to do so.  Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should (at least, that’s what Mom said growing up).  In a pinch, those might work, but it’s really not the best idea.  Running shoes are made to go one way: forward.  When you throw in jumping and then moving from one side to the next quickly, they just don’t support you like you’d need.  Tennis shoes are the same way.  What we know of as tennis shoes nowadays are great for lounging and even walking in, but they’d likely be too bulky for cheer and won’t have all of the support that you need.  I’m sure there would be worse options out there, but it’s still not a good idea to try and make your shoes fit your needs.  No shoe is right for every sport or activity, it’s just not the way it works.

* What’s The Best Way To Clean My Shoes?

With so many cheer shoes being white, it can be tough to keep them clean.  The very best way to keep you shoes as clean as possible is to clean them as you go.  This is a skill you can translate to anything, but if you do a little at a time you don’t have a big problem later.  If you notice something on your shoes, take a rag and water and try to wipe them off.  This is the simplest and quickest way.  If you need a deeper cleaning, then make sure to consult the guide that came with your shoes or search online.  Different materials will call for different sorts of things to get them to come clean.  This can help get the most out of your shoes.  By cleaning them incorrectly, you could end up weakening the shoe or ending up with a pair that doesn’t last as long as they could have.

* Is It Worth Paying a Little Bit Extra?

The answer here is usually yes when it comes to cheer shoes.  In some departments, you will not see a noticeable increase in quality when you pay more money, but with cheer you can usually see a good correlation between what you pay and the quality that you get from the shoes.  The cheaper you go, the less durability you will be getting.  That’s just a fact of life.  However, you should keep in mind that how you wear shoes and when is a big factor, too.  If you’re hard on shoes, you’re going to wear them out faster than someone else, no matter how much you paid or what brand it is.  Remember, there are always some duds out there, so even great shoes might not been great for you.

 

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