When shopping for tap shoes to get ready for tap dancing classes, it can be a challenge to find the right pair for you. It can take some time and testing before purchasing the perfect shoe. Here we provide you with a guide to tap shoes that will help you understand what to look for in the perfect shoe.
The Tap Shoe Heel
To obtain the best performance you’ll need to have a decent heel to get the appropriate sound quality you desire. In regards to materials, thick leather heels produce a much bigger and deeper tone.
The height of the heel will also impact the sound, weight, and durability of the shoe. A heel can be built-up, commonly to double or triple thickness, resulting in a much louder and heavier sound than the standard size. A thicker sole will however, will be heavier and reduce the flexibility in the performance. So just remember that the higher the heel, the more pressure that you will exert on the front of your foot, which can result in chronic foot pain if proper technique is not followed.
The size and shape of the tap will influence the tone and sound produced. Taps are made from various materials with aluminum being the most common because of its lightweight and affordability. The size of the tap also impacts the sound and manageability, where a small tap allows flexibility.
The Toe Box
The toe box is the reinforced area that houses the toes. If you plan to use the tip of the toe often and forcefully then a reinforced toe box would be better than soft leather.
The topline of the shoe is the edge that runs around the top entrance of the shoe. For more stability in your dancing you should opt to get a higher topline. Lower toplines however can be preferred when aiming for more flexibility. The padding on the topline is also important because it can prevent the chaffing of your ankle while performing, something no dancer wants.
Tap shoes now come in a wide range of materials: leather, Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), Polyurethane (PU), denim, fabric, and even hemp. Leather is by far the most commonly used and durable material. Cowhide may be the most popular but there are other leather varieties that you may prefer, such as suede.
When choosing a leather brand, hard leather will be more durable than soft leather but it will also require a decent amount of time to break them in. If you are just starting out you might want to consider the PVC and PU shoes as these types are much more inexpensive and durable.
As you can see there are various types and styles of tap shoes to choose from, but as long as you have an idea of the type of shoe and dancing technique you would like to engage in, your local tap shoe store staff will be able to guide you in your purchase.