Character shoes are a must for every theater actress or dancer, but when you’re buying your first pair or working with a limited budget, it can be difficult to justify the high price tag. If that sounds familiar, don’t stress — it’s completely possible to get great character shoes on Amazon without breaking the bank! Several popular dance shoe brands make fantastic, affordable character shoes for less.
Finding reasonably priced character shoes that are also high-quality can be a serious challenge, however — especially if you’re not sure what to look for. There are plenty of super-cheap character shoes on the market, but many of them are ill-fitting or prone to breaking.
So, we’ve done the work for you!
Each of these character shoes on Amazon are reliable, well-constructed, and designed to last through multiple musical theater productions. They’re an excellent value, and they deliver a huge bang for your buck. Most importantly, they’re super comfortable (and super cute), so you can make your big entrance with confidence.
Looking for taller character shoes? Check out our favorite 3-inch character shoes.
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Perfect for beginners and people who prefer a low heel
First time in character shoes? Not comfortable in heels? The Capezio 550 Junior Footlight, a character shoe you can find on Amazon, is the perfect choice. The 1.5-inch heel is low and extremely sturdy, so you can feel confident as you walk or dance. Plus, it has just enough height to flatter your legs.
When it comes to comfort, the Junior Footlight is hard to beat. The cushioned arch supports your feet, which is so important during a long dance rehearsal. Don’t worry about blisters — a little notch on the back prevents the shoe from digging into your heel.
The Junior Footlight is one of the most affordable character shoes on Amazon, and offers a huge value for the price. The uppers look just like leather — but at a fraction of the cost. For a community theater or university actor, these dance shoes should easily last through several years of musical theater productions.
The Junior Footlight tends to run small, so it’s a good idea to order a full size larger than your street shoes. This character shoe is available on Amazon in black, tan, and caramel.
Vintage look and a mid-height heel
The Capezio Jr. Footlight T-Strap character shoe is similar to the standard Junior Footlight, but with two major differences: a higher heel and a different strap configuration.
The most obvious feature of this Capezio dance shoe is the T-strap, which has a vintage look. Many dancers prefer the T-strap because it’s universally flattering — it makes your legs look longer and more shapely, and it looks stunning with period costumes from the 1940s. The strap also provides extra support if you’re doing complicated choreography.
The Capezio Jr. Footlight T-Strap character shoe is available on Amazon in black and caramel (which is essentially nude).
Bear in mind that while these character shoes are sold as 2.5-inch heels, the actual heel height is closer to to 2 inches. Like most Capezio character shoes on Amazon, the heel is sturdy and supportive, and the shoe is comfortable to dance in right out of the box.
If your feet are wider, or if you prefer a little bit of wiggle room, it’s a good idea to order this Capezio model on Amazon one-half size larger than your street shoe. For very wide feet, go up a full size.
Great for quick changes and a flattering look
Most of Bloch’s dance shoes are on the higher end of the price spectrum — the Bloch Broadway Lo is a great chance to get the company’s excellent quality for less. Like the Capezio Jr. Footlight, the Broadway Lo has a 1.5-inch heel and a classic Mary Jane ankle strap.
The true genius of the Broadway Lo is its auto-lock buckle. This super-convenient buckle uses elastic tension to keep the strap in place without a pin, so you can adjust the fit quickly (a lifesaver during quick changes!).
Inside these character shoes, a super plush lining cushions your feet, keeping them comfortable during long rehearsals.
When it comes to aesthetics, the Broadway Lo dance shoe is right on point. The top of the shoe features a subtle curve that’s specifically designed to make your legs look longer. They come in black and tan.
Important note: These character shoes run extremely small. If you’re ordering on Amazon and you can’t try them on, order two full sizes up from your street shoes, and add an extra half size if your feet are wider. (One of the TheaterLove team members wears an 8 in street shoes, and ordered a size 9; a 10 would have been a better choice.)