Since its advent in the 1800s, tap has been a dance about elegance, exercise, and entertainment. Tap dancing has become so popular due to the fact that it has taken various cultural influences and blended them together, helping to create one unique style of dance. Today, we are going to be taking a look at the footwear of tap: tap dancing shoes. Whether you are an adult or a kid, there is just no way around it: you gotta have tap dancing shoe if you are going to tap dance! Without them, you are just dancing and won’t have that sweet sound. In today’s guide, we’ll be taking a look at the ins and outs of tap dance shoes as well as reviewing some of the top pairs currently available on the market. By putting it all in one place, you’ll be much better served to make the best decision. Alright, let’s get on with it now!
Top Tap Shoes Comparison Chart
|Product||Type||Material||Price||Where to Buy?|
|1. Bloch Dance Girls Annie Tyette Tap Shoes||Mary Jane||Synthetic||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|2. Capezio Little Kid/Big Kid 3800 Mary Jane Tap Shoes||Mary Jane||Man Made||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|3. Dance Class T100 Flexible Toddler Tap Shoes||Mary Jane||Synthetic||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|4. Dance Class Maryjane Tap Shoes||Mary Jane||Leather||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|5. Capezio Women’s CG17 Fluid Shoes||Oxford||Synthetic||$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|6. Bloch Dance Girls Merry Jane Tap Shoes||Mary Jane||Synthetic||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|7. BeiBestCoat Black Tap Dancing Shoes||Oxford||Synthetic||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|8. Danshuz Toddler Black Strap Tap Shoes||Mary Jane||Man Made||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
Tap Shoes Buying Guide
Playing Your Own Instrument
Believe it or not, some tap dancers have gone as far as to make a claim that they are indeed musicians due to their level of skill and just the way that they feel about their craft. While this may be taken out of context and over the top by some people, it does just go to show that there are plenty of interpretations on it. Either way, you could never make such a claim if the sound wasn’t a big part of it. Therefore, you can’t tap without tap shoes. Like it or not, that’s just a fact of life. If you want to play music with your feet, you can only really do so with tap shoes, so that’s why you need them, first and foremost!
Fun for Everyone
While most people will conjure up thoughts of young children when they think about tap dancing, as tends to be the norm, that does not mean that older folks can’t tap dance. In fact, it’s quite common to see an adult doing so. It could be a number of things motivating you. Perhaps your child is going to be learning how to tap dance, or you want to motivate them to do so by buying a pair for you to use on your own. Maybe you want to recapture the days of old by purchasing a pair and then seeing if you can throw it back to a bygone era. Or maybe you are just looking for a good, new way of getting some exercise in. Regardless, tap dancing does not have to be confined to young people. Furthermore, it doesn’t have to be something ultra serious, either. It can be done for fun, for fitness, or for competition. It’s just what you choose it to be, like so many dances, sports, and activities out there!
Durability vs Flexibility
Now is the time where we start to get into the weeds a little bit. This issue is an interesting one. In an ideal world, you would want both durability and flexibility in one package. At least we know that we would like that, very much so. However, with tap dancing shoes it’s difficult to find both readily. It is possible, of course, but you do typically have to make trade offs. The truth of the matter is that the stitching of the shoes will determine how durable and how flexible they are. Shoes that are made with more stitches in the upper are going to be stiffer and sturdier, thus lasting longer. However, those two words don’t exactly amount to a lot of flexibility, so you lose out there. This, though, might not be a big deal to you if you are a beginner, or if you are just a novice that’s not hugely specific and picky on the way their shoes feel. For newbies, a stiff choice might not be all that bad, and in fact, it could be preferable because you get additional support over the more flexible, ‘light’ selections out there. That being said, if you are more advanced, you are going to need to work your way into more and more flexibility, so you will want a less hardcore stitched pair of shoes. Sometimes, you’ll be needing to use the full flexion of the foot to pull off moves and produce the perfect sounds, therefore you’ll want to steer clear of ultra stiff choices.
Types of Tap Shoes
You might not realize it, but there are actually a few different types of shoes that you can find available for purchase in the realm of tap shoes. One of those, the most common, in fact, is going to be that of the Oxford. The Oxford design is one that dates back a very long time and it’s just the traditional look. It’s a pair of nice shoes with plates on the bottom, basically. There are not too many frills as far as they go. While this type is the most popular, there are still others out there that you can go with. Another common choice is that of the Mary Jane. This type has the look of a ‘flat,’ to them, helping them to be a bit more stylish than the Oxford is considered to be to many people. Both of them can get the job done, so it’s just a matter of which you like best and are most comfortable with. You also can find choices that come with heels built into them, so there is more than one thing to choose from, contrary to what you may have once thought!
Beginners vs Advanced
We have touched on some concepts above that relate to beginners and to advanced dancers already, but we will go into more detail here about what kinds of shoes to look for each party. For beginners, one of the best things to look for is to make sure that you are not spending a ton of money. If you’re new to tap dancing, you may be unsure if you will stick with it. There is no reason to waste a load of cash by going with a product that costs a lot of money only to see them end up sitting around collecting dust later on. You can make sure that this doesn’t happen by finding a relatively low priced pair. This way, you can work your way up the ladder until you reach a higher level and then you can upgrade. If you don’t end up moving on, you’ll be able to be relatively happy in the fact that you didn’t spend a ton of money. This is also the case with younger people. They, even if they are a bit quicker at picking it up than most, are going to have their feet grow quite rapidly. Since that takes place, you’ll very much be needing to replace them soon, negating the point of buying a pair that costs a ton. For advanced dancers, you might want to take a step up. The quality of the sound will be better, and you will have more freedom. It might cost you a little bit more, but in the end you will be much happier and will feel like you are progressing well through your lessons.
We mentioned earlier about how you can find designs out there that have a heel to them, and while that is true, it’s also worth pointing out that all tap shoes have a heel to them. That’s what is going to be making a good portion of the noise, after all. In the old days, this area was exclusively made out of wood. However, that has changed with modern times, with materials such as plastic, synthetics, leathers, and other blends coming to the forefront. If you are looking to go the inexpensive route, then the best way to go is with a heel that is made out of plastic or synthetics. These materials won’t produce the same sound as a leather heel can make, but they are much less expensive and thus would make an excellent choice for anyone that is young, just starting, or might not stick with it for very long at all.
Another thing to keep in mind is the height of the heel. This is what we were referring to earlier about heels possibly being included. The main thing as far as this is concerned is making sure that you find a height that is comfortable to you. This can not be dictated by someone else, so you will have to determine what you like. If the heel is too high, then you will be risking discomfort in the toe areas. This is what causes conditions to form for many women that wear high heels, so the best way to avoid this is to pick something that you can tolerate. Trying on shoes either before you purchase or right after they have shipped to you is the best way to ensure you’ll be able to stand them. Never be afraid to take a pass and look for something else. It’s really important that you find comfort, or you will not have fun at all!
We can’t go without talking about the fit and size of tap shoes today. If we did, we would really be letting you down in a very big way. Fit is essential in all shoe types, and this type of footwear is absolutely no different in that regard. First and foremost, the key thing to do is make sure that you have a good, snug, secure fit. You don’t want anything that is too constraining to you, but you also do not want to pick something that is loose, either. You will have a lot of off putting noises being made if your shoes are too large, since they will not contact the ground evenly at all. You also, for obvious reasons, do not want a pair that are much too small, either. Shoes that are too small, regardless of the purpose of the shoes, are very likely to create blisters or other health conditions as a result of wearing them. As a general rule of thumb to keep in mind, you should never assume a pair of shoes that hurt will feel better after breaking them in. While we know that not all shoes will feel brilliantly on you right away, you also need to keep in mind that it’s difficult for them to magically become comfortable over night. They might just not be for your feet.
There are a couple of more points that you should take a look at before deciding if the fit is right for you with tap shoes. One of them is going to be the toe box. The toe box, as you most likely can surmise, if the part of the shoes that houses the toes. This is a massive spot for determining how well- or poorly- the shoes will feel beneath you. One aspect to look at is the width of it. Some of us are going to find ourselves having very narrow feet, while others will have wide ones. If you have a wide foot, it’s harder to find footwear, often, since you feel like you are constantly being forced to compromise on size on way or another. But by the same token, having a narrow foot can also be annoying if it’s sliding around, too. The length is vital to you, but the width has to be a match as well. Without both, you are up a creek without a paddle, as the old saying goes. Lastly, look for the shoes to have a ‘toe cage’ to them. If they do have this kind of build, then they will be less flexible. However, this can be a positive for younger dancers and newbies since it makes sure to help reduce the amount of pain felt in the muscles of the foot, of which will definitely not be used to this sort of work for a while.
Split Sole vs Whole Sole
One thing to consider is how the soles of the shoes are. Split soles are going to be best for more advanced and intermediate users due to the fact that they do require a whole lot of foot strength. This type is best, for this group, because they offer more flexibility and allow you to exert more control. On the other hand, the whole sole method will offer more solidity and a nice level of support for new wearers. They are heavier as well, but that won’t hurt too much as you begin to learn your new hobby.
Tap Shoe Plates
The plates that made up tap dancing shoes are an integral part of the entire puzzle. Without the taps, after all, it’s not really tap dancing, is it? The first thing we should point out is that tap shoes come with two taps- one in the toes and one in the heels. This allows a diversity in movement and lets you make different sounds. Next up is whether the plates are already placed onto the shoes or if they have to be attached. Most of the time, you will see plates arrive intact and on the shoes. You can simply put them on and go from there. However, they may not come with the plates attached, meaning there is work to be done to get them ready to be worn. Pre-fixed tap shoes are best, for obvious reasons, for new practitioners because they are secure and don’t take a lot of fuss. Nobody wants to buy something for their four-year old only to find out that they will have to instantly take them away so they can be fixed properly. These also have a nice sound to them, too, so that will not be a letdown. As far as non-attached plates go, the toe plates are typically going to come pre fitted, but it will be the heel plates that have to have some work done to them. With that said, there are occasions where both will need work to be done to them. Heel plates can either take the shape of a horseshoe or they can be shaped like a normal tap shoe plate, so that is open ended. For tips on how to make sure that your plates are installed properly, you can do a Google search or look through YouTube to find out how to do it the right way to get the longest lifespan and quality possible.
One of the things that you can be thankful for with tap shoes is that the price you pay is not going to be all that drastically high. Tap shoes are at a very reasonable price in most cases, even those that come from well-trusted brands. It’s for these reasons that we would suggest going with a brand that has made a name for itself in the industry. That way, you will know that you are getting a decent amount of quality while still achieving a good price at the same time.
The Top Eight Tap Shoes of 2019 Reviews
Bloch Dance Girls Annie Tyette Tap Shoes
First up on our list of reviews today is going to be an option for the toddlers and the smaller kids. From anywhere between one to eight, these shoes will do an awesome job at introducing them into the world of tap. Thanks to a synthetic upper, they are going to be flexible yet durable enough to last a year or so. On top of that, they just look super duper nice, too. They are in a Mary Jane look, though with a bit of a raised heel, which is a bit different from the approach the Oxfords use. This should appeal to the young ladies all the more. With a soft lining of cashmere and an insole that is padded, they will keep dry and be plenty comfy as your young dancer learns her way around. The fastening system is made easy with elastics and a snap design, which is essential for anyone with youngsters to help cut down time getting ready and troubles in that arena.
- Easy to fasten
- Very fashionable look
- Durable, flexible, and comfy
Capezio Little Kid/Big Kid 3800 Mary Jane Tap Shoes
Up next is another Mary Jane style with a bit of raised heel, though this offering is going to have more color choices than the previous one did. Like the last one, this one is best for kids ranging from one to eight. With an insole that is made out of foam, shocks are absorbed well to help make the long hours of standing much more manageable than before. With a strap across the top, these are about as easy as it comes to getting them fastened, and they might even save a parent from even having to bother with it, such is the ease. Made from synthetic materials, you get a nice blend of durability and flexibility out of them, particularly in the toe areas, which will help them stick with a bit better than you might have anticipated. A big positive is that they have made these to be wider than most out there. One possible negative is that they can be pricey in certain sizes, so keep that in mind.
- Plenty of width
- Super easy to adjust and fasten
- Excellent shock absorption
Dance Class T100 Flexible Toddler Tap Shoes
Following on is yet another selection for the youngsters, with this pair of tappers for the toddlers. These shoes are made, as the title suggests, with the idea of flexibility being central to the cause. With a 100% synthetic makeup, they are able to achieve that, though they are also able to be tough and last a while due to that as well. The black color is also quite nice and shiny, too, and even if they do look a bit plain, that sparkle is sure to catch someone’s eye in a very big way. With a removable ribbon up top, you can place it there for shows and remove it for practice, making sure to emphasize what you want them to. One of the things you may notice in relation to the two others above is that the heel is not nearly as pronounced with these. That can be viewed as a positive for you, since you will not have to deal with it being in the way. So, if that’s uncomfortable for your child, this might be the way for you to turn to.
- Puts emphasis on flexibility
- Sparkles and shines
- Not as much of a heel
Dance Class Maryjane Tap Shoes
Yet again, we come to something for the youngsters and toddler out there in these Mary Jane tap shoes. These shoes come in at a manageable price and come in a nice, sleek caramel color that doesn’t sparkle but will still stand out. With the taps already attached and a simple strap across the top, there isn’t much to slow you down in terms of getting them on and off. The heels are also not pronounced, either, which is going to help alleviate a lot of pains and aches in the feet that could arise from that sort of setup. Thanks to the use of synthetic, they are capable of flexing well but also will give you a good degree of durability as well, both of which are necessary for the learners among us. Lastly, they run very true to size, helping you concentrate on other things rather than worry about the size being correct!
- Runs very much on size
- No heels to cause pains
- Flexes but not also lasts well
Capezio Women’s CG17 Fluid Shoes
Finally, we come upon a choice for the women in the fold here via these Capezio shoes, which also happen to be the first example of the Oxford design style. These tap shoes have laces as well, so that’s a divergence. Obviously, that’s only possible since you do have a lady in them, rather than a child, of which that would be a nightmare to handle. The platform you sit in is fairly low, allowing freedom of the ankles, all the while the inside is laced with microfiber lining to keep it nice, dry, and soft to the touch. The upper is made out of PU to help them last longer while still remaining flexible for movement of the toes. The heel is a ‘stacked’ one, though it’s not way up in the air. Some might not like this as much as others, but it’s hardly an extreme example of a pair of shoes. The outsole even has a light ‘shank’ that further increases flexibility while retaining stability.
- Stable and flexible
- Lots of freedom of movement
- Tons of ability to adjust
Bloch Dance Girls Merry Jane Tap Shoes
Back to the normal grind of the youngsters here with the Bloch Merry Jane tap shoes. They do have a slightly different name, but that’s on purpose due to the way that these look compared to some of the others. These synthetic shoes are made to promote an ability to move the toes around while still giving them some durability and stability at the same time. With an elastic strap located on the instep, a lot of tension is released, allowing a problem spot to go without a hiccup so that your toddler can get back on the floor and not have that bothering them. Thanks to a cushioned insole that is made with lining that is very supportive, these shoes are very comfy and offer impressive shock absorption properties. They even have a non-slip pad placed inside to make double sure the feet won’t be sliding around and producing all sorts of issues. One thing to keep in mind is that you will need to size up larger, so that is something to take a closer look at.
- Won’t hurt in the fore foot
- Cushioned and shock absorbent
- Won’t slip
- Runs a little small
BeiBestCoat Black Tap Dancing Shoes
Next up is a bit of an underdog here, but it’s one that makes the list due to a number of reasons. One of those is the sheer number of sizes available, making it possible for mother and daughter to wear the same pair of shoes. On top of that, though, these offer a lot more, including an additional steel plate between the insole and outsole to ensure you of having your taps secured. Unlike many others as well on the list, these do have leather to them, so that is going to have a couple of challenges along with it. There may be a bit of a smell at first and they may need some stretching time. With that said, they will last a while and will be plenty supportive, while also being able to move fairly well, too. Wide feet are not the best with these, mind you, so you’ll need to take a glance at the size charts before going all in on them.
- Tons of sizes
- Reinforced steel plating
- Very durable materials
- Not very wide
- Takes some time to stretch out
Danshuz Toddler Black Strap Tap Shoes
Closing out our list today is this offering from Danshuz, which is going to be an excellent choice for toddlers due to the tremendous looks and value they bring. The shiny black look is sure to be eye catching, while the price will leave any parent happy with their purchase. By using a blend of man made (synthetic) materials, these stretch out well and will also be fairly durable, though that’s going to depend ultimately on how quickly they grow, after all! The hook and loop fastener makes it easy to get them on and off, reducing the amount of fuss you will have to deal with. It also gives a more secure fit and makes sure they don’t come flying off at a whim’s notice. They are going to run a little small, so you will need to order up a bit. Make sure to consult the sizing chart before ordering just to be sure. Also, be aware that the Velcro is a letdown for some, as it’s not the best quality. That may be a downer for you.
- Easy on and off
- Very appealing looks
- Great value
- Runs small
- Velcro not the best ever
Conclusion And Final Tap Shoes Recommendations
Finding information in the internet age on niche topics can be a very tough thing to do. It seems like it would be an easy endeavor, but it actually can be almost impossible because of the plethora of information that is available. With so many resources, it can be downright confusing to cut through it all and make a good purchasing decision. That’s why we have taken the approach we have today. We have given you a buying guide and some reviews on tap shoes, all in one place, so that you can either get a jump start on what to look for or so that you can click and buy right away. So, what are you waiting for then?
FAQ’s About Tap Shoes
Can I Pair My Tap Shoes With Orthotics Or Inserts?
The answer here is a big ‘yes.’ You certainly can do so. Just make sure that you have enough clearance to do so. Sometimes, you may not have as much room as you will need for the full insert to fit. Obviously, if that’s the case, you will need to take a look at something else entirely! But the majority of the time, you will be good to go, as you should have the room to put shoe inserts in.
Do I Need Heels For Tap?
The answer here is mostly going to be up to you. While some people like to tap dance in heels, others find it to be very off putting and difficult to do. It can be painful, especially to the toes, so it’s not always the ideal choice for you to go with. It also depends upon the style of dress you and your partner are wearing, too. If you are going with a formal look, it may be a necessity to wear them. It really just depends!
How Do I Make Them Last Longer?
Durability is determined by a lot of things, such as the materials used, the quality of them and the construction, and also the way that you take care of them. The brand also can play a role, but the part you should concentrate on is what you can do with them. Keeping them maintained and cleaned is a massive part of making them last a long time. Wearing them well is also important. If you are rough on them by wearing them beyond practice times, or you just don’t maintenance them by checking the taps every so often, then you’ll not have a long lasting pair. Of course, everything gets worn out eventually, so even the best, most well-maintained pairs will lose their usefulness after a while and will need to be put to pasture.