A reader asked: Can I pole dance barefoot?
The answer to this is an absolute "Yes!" and more than that, I would recommend that a beginner start learning barefoot rather than in heels for many reasons.
Biofeedback. Allowing our skin to be in contact with the pole will give us the quickest biofeedback on what our body is doing, how our weight is being held or suspended, ect. When you are wearing plastic over your skin, your mind doesn't get the same message and learns from wearing the shoes - or whatever else you have on your feet that is touching the pole.
Grip. Your skin will sometimes naturally have a 'grippiness' to it that shoes might not. You can always apply a grip product or spray to your skin - the tops and sides of your feet.
No back problems. Wearing heels of any sort creates a nice little pretty arch in the back - lifts the chest, makes our buns stick out a little better - but also creates a spot of stress on our lower back and throws the natural balance of our body off. You are already trying to learn to get your body into unnaturally-balanced positions on the pole as it is, you don't need any further complication of being off-balance by heels when you are first learning.
Fundamentals. You really need to get the basics of pole down first before moving on, this includes learning how to climb, sit, pull yourself up and invert without the aid or intrusion of other things - namely heels or cheating boots (as I call them!). When you get the fundamentals down well, you can start experimenting with heels, boots, leg warmers - they are loads of fun too - I am a HUGE stripper heel fan, but I do most of my training and most of my early learning without them.
Pointed Toes. You definitely learn how to dance in a demi-pointe as well as learn to prettily point your toes when you have to go barefoot. When you do try heels, you will have no problem naturally pointing the toes.
Vinyl shiny heels and boots are awesome - I own several pairs and love how they feel and look and how they help on the pole - but do I always use them? No.
I feel that when you have your basics down: spins, climbing, inverting, sitting - and can do these with ease in bare feet, then start learning them with heels. It will feel different at first but you're body will be much more better equipped with muscle memory to get into the holds/moves/tricks that you are attempting.
Before you do, check out my help on learning to dance in stripper heels here.
And there is nothing like a smoothly executed sexy pole dance in 8" spike-heeled platforms. Nothing.