Proper dancing shoes can make a big difference while you're learning to dance. When you begin taking lessons, actual dance shoes are not necessary, but you do want to make specific choices about the shoes you wear.
Eventually, as you progress in your lessons, it will benefit you to invest in good dance shoes. Your instructor will be able to tell you when your street shoes begin to interfere with your progress.
There are different shoes for different dance styles: Ballroom, Latin, Salsa, Tango, Swing. If you're learning many different styles of partner dancing and you just want a versatile shoe, a simple Latin or swing shoe will do the trick.
There are many online resources for ballroom dance shoes, but we recommend you purchase your shoes at a local dance shoe store in San Diego. There are so many styles and heel heights to chooses from that it helps to see them in person and try them on. Dance shoes should fit like a glove, and a good shop can help you find the right fit.
We recommend Carmen's Dance Shoes in San Diego. They carry a nice selection and their sales people have always been helpful and knowledgable.
For Swing dance shoes we recommend Aris Allens. They don't have a San Diego location, so you will have to order them online or visit WorldTone Dance in LA. They have great sizing info on their website, and a very reasonable return policy. They have reproduction vintage shoe styles from the 30's and 40's and well as dance sneakers. Their shoes are generally well made and comfortable, and we've had good experiences dealing with the company.
If you are in the LA area, WorldTone Dance has an extensive selection of partner dancing shoes and is a great store. The staff is very helpful.