The first question that I am always asked by new students is, “What kind of tap dance shoes should I get?” Given that this is the season when many students are taking tap classes for the first time, I thought this short list of tips might be helpful and timely.
The names that most new students run across are Bloch Tap Shoes & Capezio Tap Shoes. Lucky for you, I remember when these names meant nothing to me as well! Let’s move beyond the names, and get to the advice.
Your 1st Pair of Tap Dance Shoes Should Fit Snugly
Comfort is the most important consideration when purchasing tap shoes. If the shoe doesn’t fit properly, the style and sound quality really will not matter. A tap dance shoe should be snug. There is no need to have extra space in a tap shoe unless you are still growing or have a medical condition. Over time, and with frequent use (and practice), the leather in the shoes will stretch some…this means that if you start with a shoe that’s too big, you are likely to eventually crack a mirror or some poor audience member’s head with it!
The Style of the Tap Dance Shoe is Up To You
Quality tap shoes tend to last a long time and you don’t want to be married to something that you can’t stand to look at. Ladies this means, that if you really want heels – get ’em, if it doesn’t matter to you – don’t get ’em. Sorry guys, most male tap dance shoes don’t have high heels.
Heels (not that I wear them) can be a little more difficult to balance on and will require you to be a little more “up on your toes” while dancing. If you are willing to put in the extra work, go for it. Otherwise, stick with the flat shoes.
In general, I recommend a firm, leather character tap shoe with a “box” toe (supports the toes) and a firm sole (supports the foot).
You Should Spend As Much As Possible On Tap Dance Shoes…Not!
I knew that would get your attention. Tap dance shoes can be very expensive but there are many reasons not to spend a lot of money on them.
Here are a few:
– You are a beginner. Very expensive shoes are not going to change that. Did the Michael Jordan basketball shoes make you play like Michael Jordan?
– If you later decide that tap dancing is not for you, do you really want to be out $150? FYI…The resale market on tap shoes is not very generous.
– You probably don’t yet know what you like in a tap dance shoe. After tap dancing for a while, you will be more knowledgeable about your personal preferences and what’s important to you.
A good price for your first pair is anywhere between $30 – $70, though, this is not a hard and fast rule. The most popular brands, as mentioned above, are Capezio tap shoes, Bloch tap shoes, & Leo’s.
Please note that the taps are sometimes not included with the shoes and cost an additional $20. You may also have to pay a few bucks to get them attached at a local shoe repair shop.
I hope that you found this brief guide to buying tap shoes to be helpful!