This week Varsity interviewed UCA All Star Director and shoe expert, Mike Pare. Pare began designing cheer shoes back in 2003 when lighter, more supportive and attractive shoes were needed within the cheer industry. Since this time, Mike has invested over 10 years of designing and developing cheer shoes while frequently traveling to shoe manufacturers to ensure Varsity is offering the best foot wear on the market. Here is his expert advice on finding the best shoe that fits your feet and your cheerleading needs!

Q: What features are most important when selecting a cheer shoe?

A: Ultimately you want to select a shoe based upon these factors:

  • Support- Select a shoe that cinches up and around your foot and maintains a light comfortable fit. 
  • Flexibility- Make sure you select a shoe that works with you such as finding a light durable shoe that you can point your feet easily while jumping.
  • Stability- Make sure your shoe stays laced. Look for shoes with bubble laces that help keep the shoe tied while you are practicing or performing.  Also make sure your foot isn’t moving around in the shoe, it needs to be tight.
  • Durability- If you’re tough on your shoes, you may need a practice pair and a competition pair.  Make sure you unlace your shoes and take them off carefully, do not use your feet to take your shoes off at the heel or sides as this will wear down the support your shoes provide in those areas.  Make sure you pay attention to all the manufacturer recommendations and warranties on shoes.
  • Weight- Each season athletes push the limits of their athletic abilities and the demands of their footwear. Selecting the right pair is key. Light weight doesn’t necessarily mean better. You have to evaluate your ability to select the shoe that is best for you. 

Q: What should an athlete look for in a shoe that’ll benefit them across all fundamentals of cheerleading?

  • A: Tumbling- Find solid arch support and pads for deceleration and acceleration such as Varsity’s Last Pass shoe has. This helps while landing tumbling by dispersing the energy created during landing while executing these skills. These pads inside the shoe liner also help provide ultimate comfort and stability.
  • Stunting- It’s important for fliers to feel secure and bases to feel a flier’s foot while stunting.  Try selecting a shoe that works with each stunt group.  Feel is such a big part of the stunt process.
  • Jumping- A comfortable and light supple shoe will help maximize your height on jumps.  The flexibility of a shoe is vital to help you point your toes during jump execution.

Q: What’s an appropriate fit for a cheer shoe?

  • A: You should leave half a thumb nail for your toes. Athletes do not want their feet moving around in their shoes while they are active.  Cheer shoes also need to be comfortable tight, tight doesn’t mean cutting off your circulation, but tight so that it forms up and around your foot to provide maximum execution of skills.

Q: How often should you replace your cheer shoes?

  • A: Shoes should be replaced every 6-8 months.  If you are hard on your shoes from practicing a lot, you may want to consider two pairs for your season- a practice pair and a competition pair.  Cheerleaders need to understand the environment in which they perform and practice.  If they are always outside, you want to select more of an outdoor shoe, one that has rubber soles vs. a competition shoe with an EVA soft bottom.

If you are looking for a new pair of cheer shoes that will help elevate your stunting, jumping and tumbling to the next level, select one of Varsity’s foot wear from the Varsity Shop!

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