tap shoes

Tap Shoes: The Instrument of the Tap Dancer

Tap Shoes: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Pair for Tap Dancing

Tap Shoes: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Pair for Tap Dancing

Tap shoes are an essential element of any tap dancer's attire. These shoes are designed with metal taps attached to the heel and toe of the shoe, creating a unique sound when they hit the floor. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced tap dancer, choosing the right pair of tap shoes is crucial to your success. In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about tap shoes, from choosing the right pair to caring for them to prolong their lifespan.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tap Shoes

Before we dive into the detailed guide, let's start by answering some of the most frequently asked questions about tap shoes:

What Are Tap Shoes?

Tap shoes are a type of shoe used in tap dance, characterized by the metal 'taps' attached to the heel and toe of the shoe. The taps create a distinctive sound when they hit the floor, which is an essential part of tap dance's rhythm. Tap shoes come in a variety of styles, ranging from classic black oxford-style shoes to more modern designs featuring bright colors and patterns.

What Are the Different Types of Tap Shoes?

There are two main types of tap shoes: oxford-style tap shoes and jazz-style tap shoes. Oxford-style tap shoes are the most traditional type and feature a low heel, laces, and a leather sole. Jazz-style tap shoes, on the other hand, have a higher heel and a more flexible sole, allowing for greater freedom of movement. They often have a slip-on design and a more modern appearance than oxford-style tap shoes.

What Should I Look for When Choosing Tap Shoes?

When choosing tap shoes, there are several factors to consider. First and foremost, you need to ensure that the shoes fit properly and are comfortable to wear. Look for shoes that have a good grip, as this will help prevent slipping during performances. You should also consider the type of tap shoe that is best suited for your dance style and skill level.

Choosing the Right Pair of Tap Shoes

Now that we've answered some of the most frequently asked questions about tap shoes let's dive into how to choose the right pair of tap shoes for your needs.

Consider Your Dance Style and Skill Level

Tap shoes come in a variety of styles, each of which is best suited for a particular dance style and skill level. If you're a beginner, you may want to start with a classic oxford-style tap shoe, which is sturdy and provides excellent support. If you're an intermediate or advanced dancer, you may want to consider a more flexible jazz-style tap shoe, which allows for greater freedom of movement and is better suited for intricate footwork.

Choose a Shoe That Fits Properly

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing tap shoes is fit. Ill-fitting shoes can be uncomfortable, cause blisters or injuries, and even affect your performance. Look for shoes that fit snugly but are not too tight. Make sure you try on tap shoes with the type of socks or tights you plan to wear during performances to ensure a proper fit.

Consider the Material and Design

The material and design of tap shoes can have a significant impact on their durability, comfort, and appearance. Look for shoes made from high-quality leather or synthetic materials that are designed to withstand the wear and tear of tap dancing. Consider the design of the shoe, including the color, style, and pattern, to ensure it meets your needs and preferences. Keep in mind that some dance studios or competitions may have specific dress codes for tap shoes.

Taking Care of Your Tap Shoes

Proper care of tap shoes can help prolong their lifespan, prevent damage, and ensure optimal performance. Here are some tips to help you take care of your tap shoes:

Clean Your Shoes Regularly

Tap shoes can accumulate dirt and debris, which can affect their appearance and sound. Wipe down your tap shoes after each use with a soft cloth to remove any dirt or debris. For deeper cleaning, use a leather cleaner or conditioner to maintain the quality of the leather.

Store Your Shoes Properly

Proper storage of tap shoes can help prevent damage and prolong their lifespan. Always store your tap shoes in a dry, cool place away from direct sunlight. Use shoe trees or stuffing to help maintain their shape and prevent them from creasing.

Replace the Taps Regularly

The taps on tap shoes can wear down over time, affecting their sound and performance. It's essential to replace the taps regularly to maintain optimal sound quality. Check your taps regularly for wear and tear and replace them as needed.


We hope that this ultimate guide to tap shoes has helped you understand everything you need to know about choosing and caring for your tap shoes. Remember, choosing the right pair of tap shoes is essential to your success as a tap dancer, so take the time to consider your needs and preferences carefully. With the right pair of tap shoes and proper care, you can enjoy tap dancing for years to come.

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