The Capezio K360 is a World renowned theatrical, character or stage shoe but fit it with taps and you get what many professional tap stars regard as the best tap shoe money can buy. Go to musicals in Broadway or the West End and you will see the K360 on the feet of the best dancers.
Whilst the Capezio K360 is the shoe of choice for many tap dancers there are two versions of the shoe: the Brazilian and the American. Essentially the Brazilian and the American are the same shoe but made in different factories, one in Brazil and the other in the US. The two factories apparently use identical equipment and identical materials in the manufacturing process yet there is much snobbery amongst those that wear the American that the Brazilians are not as good as the American, but no good explanation is ever offered to support their claims.
So what are the differences between the Brazilian and the American?
The most immediate difference is in the price, with the Americans only available from US retailers at around $400 and the Brazilians available from Dancemania for only £95 (with international shipping). So it should come as no surprise that pre-professional and professional dancers buy the Brazilians.
On the surface you might reasonably think that the price differential can be wholly attributable to labour costs with Brazilians being paid much less than their fellow American workers, but on closer inspection there are some additional differences between the two shoes:
- Both shoes are hand made but the Brazilian K360 is made on a production line where a different person is responsible for each stage of the shoe’s construction. In the US the American K360 is made by one person, from start to finish, which could conceivably result in a higher quality.
- The lining on the inside of the Brazilian K360 is made from pigskin, which lends a soft, comfortable feeling, especially to dancers who prefer to dance without socks. The American-made K360 uses cow skin for their lining, which, while rougher and more difficult to break in, provides a greater durability.
How can you tell the Brazilian K360 and American K360 apart?
- The signature paisley printing of the K360 can be found covering the entire inside of the American-made version, except for the counter (inside-back) of the shoe, whereas the Brazilian version only has the paisley print on the lining on the bottom of the inside of the shoe.
- By lifting up the tongue of a Brazilian-made K360, you will see the gold embossed words ”MADE IN BRAZIL,” whereas the American version has “HANDCRAFTED BY BALLETMAKERS USA” printed above the counter of the shoe. Plus, if you flip over the Brazilian K360 you will find a shield-like stamp that contains the words “GENUINE LEATHER” inside it, along with “Since 1887″ and your shoe size underneath it. The American K360 has no writing on the out-sole of the shoe.
Where can I buy a pair of Brazilian K360s?
The Brazilian K360s are available here from Dancemania for only £95 plus shipping, which can be international. If you need them for Tap then don’t forget you will need to buy taps separately, also available from Dancemania here.
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