I bought the Capezio Manhattan character shoes last year for a dance-heavy role in West Side Story. My goals were: a heel height that wouldn’t make my legs look weird, a comfortable fit, and a strap design that I liked. The Manhattans ended up being a great choice, and I’ll be happy to wear them in another production.
To be honest, I bought the Manhattan character shoes out of necessity rather than choice; I needed a new pair, and the style I really wanted (the Bloch Chord T-Strap with 3-inch heels) was sold out in my size absolutely everywhere.
I was also drawn in by the 2.5-inch heel. I sprained my right ankle pretty severely a few years ago, and it hasn’t felt quite right since — so I’ve been nervous to dance in taller heels. As with all of the Capezio character shoes I’ve owned, the Manhattan heel feels sturdy and stable. The shoe was just tall enough to look appropriate for a Shark (1.5-inch heels look far too youthful), and I felt completely confident in them, both in terms of aesthetics and stability.
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Do the Capezio Manhattan character shoes fit true to size?
I wear an 8 in street shoes, but reviews said to size up 1/2 size, so I bought an 8.5 W and it fits perfectly. I probably didn’t technically need the wide width — the shoes gape a tiny bit around the instep — but I really love that they’re not tight at all on the toes. (I hate having pinched toes.) If I bought another pair, I think I would order a 9 regular width and an 8.5 W just to compare the fit.
How comfortable are the Manhattan character shoes?
So comfortable! I didn’t experience any pinching or rubbing, even on the first day. The heels are wide enough that I could come down from a lift or a leap without fear. As a “singer who moves well” and not a trained dancer, that made a big difference for me!
While some Capezio character shoes have a little cutout in the back of the heel, the Manhattans don’t — but it wasn’t an issue at all. I didn’t notice any rubbing on my heel. Plus, I think the traditional back shape is more flattering for your legs.
How did the Manhattan shoes hold up?
West Side Story is a beast of a dance show, and the Capezio Manhattans held up pretty well. The toes wore faster than I expected — the choreography had some dramatic foot/toe drags, but not so much that I’d expect this level of wear on my character shoes. It’s not visible from the audience, so it’s not a huge deal. The sides got some scuffing, but that’s to be expected with tan shoes and such intense staging. Again, nothing that’s going to make a big aesthetic difference from far away.
One thing that surprised me was the amount of fraying on the strap and lip of the character shoes. Some fraying is normal, but compare the Capezio Manhattan to a pair of my Bloch tap shoes (which I wore extensively during a dance-heavy production of Crazy For You). The lip of the Bloch (right photo, below) shows significantly less fraying. Not a deal-breaker, but I do wonder how those straps will hold up in the long run, or if I’ll have to trim off the little threads.
What were the cons of the Capezio Manhattan character shoes?
This is kind of a weird one — I thought the character shoe straps were strange. I fasten them on the last hole, and the fit is comfortable, but if they stretch out, I’ll have to add more holes. As it is, the buckle is coming up pretty far on my foot, so it might look strange to tighten them more. (That may be due to the fact that the shoes are wide-width, though.)
Also, I think the shape of the instep is odd; the outside is really beautifully shaped, but the inside edge is kind of unappealing. I don’t think it’s noticeable unless you’re actively staring at it.
Capezio Manhattan Character Shoes: Overall Review
Overall, I think these are pretty, comfortable character shoes! I felt great in them, and I would definitely buy them again. Check current price of the Capezio Manhattan character shoes on Amazon