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Best Tap Shoes: From Novice to Expert

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Tap is the type of dance that can be recognized only by the sound, without seeing the performance. But this characteristic sound would be impossible without special footgear.

Choosing footwear might be a very complicated and confusing process, especially for beginners. In addition to picking the right pair that will fit you perfectly, you also need to pay attention to the material, design, and other details.

They are supposed to be not only comfortable and aesthetic but also in line with the dance style. In this article, you will learn how to choose the best tap shoes based on my 10 years experience. I changed a lot of shoes and have my own collection so let’s see it!

7 Best Tap Shoes Reviewed

  1. Bloch Oxfords: Best Classic Bloch Tap Dance Shoes
  2. Bloch Tap-On: Best Women’s Tap Shoes With a Strap
  3. Capezio Flex Master Tap: Best Option for Wide Feet
  4. Capezio Manhattan Xtreme: Best Tap Shoes With Higher Heels
  5. Bloch Tap-Flex: Best Professional Tap Shoes
  6. Bloch Chloé and Maud: Best Beginner Tap Shoes
  7. Miller & Ben: Best Unisex Tap Shoes

Since the beginning of my long career, I’ve tried different styles of dance, including tap. I have a lot of experience in choosing special shoes, although not always positive. To make it easier for you to choose your first model, I have prepared reviews of my favorite shoes.

1. Bloch Oxfords: Best Classic Bloch Tap Dance Shoes

The Bloch brand is one of the most famous in the dance footwear market. Since more than 90 years of its foundation, the manufacturer has proven that it makes the most comfortable shoes in the world.

This model features a classic Oxford design, which everyone associates with elegance and sophistication. The shoe has a leather sole and a triple-stacked heel.

When I tried this pair, I was very impressed by the refined sound thanks to a special steel plate. Even after months of use, these shoes have a flawless appearance, and strong screws guarantee the durability of the metal inserts on the sole. Though this design might seem too simple for some, fans of the classics will appreciate it.

PROS:
  • 100% leather
  • Classic Oxford style
  • Strong heel
  • Durability
CONS:
  • Only two colors are available

2. Bloch Tap-On: Best Women’s Tap Shoes With a Strap

This model is more feminine and has a rounded sock with a thin, elastic strap. The shoes are made of leather, which grants comfort and durability to a dancer. The pair is available in pink and black. The rubber sole provides smoothness of movement without sliding on the floor.

After years of dancing, it is important to me that the footwear does not cause any discomfort, even if the model looks incredibly appealing. This pair has a soft insole that improves cushioning and lightens the load on the foot. The height of the heel, which is 1 inch, is optimal for proper posture while dancing.

PROS:
  • Soft insole
  • Rounded sock
  • Optimal heel height
  • Genuine leather
CONS:
  • Open forepart
  • No lacing

3. Capezio Flex Master Tap: Best Option for Wide Feet

These pumps are made of soft leather that securely fixes the foot but does not cause any pressure. This model comes in separate sizes for people with wide feet. It is designed and created in such a way that the fingers are not pressed together but stay in the anatomically correct position. It is easy to choose the right size because the shoes are equivalent to ordinary outdoor boots.

My feet can profusely sweat because I spend a lot of time rehearsing dance moves. Fortunately, this model has a microfiber substrate that absorbs excess moisture. Thanks to the installed TeleTone taps, a deep, resonant sound is created during the dance.

PROS:
  • Soft padding ensures comfort
  • Special insole for cushioning
  • Resonant sound
  • Microfiber substrate
  • Suitable for wide feet
CONS:
  • Simple design
  • Low heel

4. Capezio Manhattan Xtreme: Best Tap Shoes With Higher Heels

This model has a slightly higher heel compared to others. Its design is reminiscent of the appearance of ordinary high-heeled shoes. They are made of 100% genuine leather. The spring steel deck creates an incredibly loud, resonating sound. The insole has quality foam cushioning which eliminates the ankle tension.

I often wear this pair during performances when I want to make an unforgettable impression. This model allows you to use it not only for tap dancing but also for other styles at your discretion. Even though the heel is slightly higher compared to the standard footgear, thanks to its non-slip heel counter, you will not lose your balance or slip.

PROS:
  • Ideal for stage performances
  • Non-slippery sole
  • Soft backing
  • Elastic strap
CONS:
  • Narrow sock

5. Bloch Tap-Flex: Best Professional Tap Shoes

This model has a slip-on split sole, which is often preferred by professional dancers. Such a sole gives your foot more space for creativity and flexibility of movements. The heel has a strong counter, so even intense taps on the floor will not damage it. The shoes are entirely made of leather and have an elastic instep.

The biggest advantage for me is that they don’t have laces, which significantly reduces the time for putting them on, especially when you need to quickly change before the performance. Cashmere lining also matters to me since it reduces the pressure on the foot and eliminates excess moisture. It is designed with a notched collar that provides comfort for the Achilles tendon.

PROS:
  • Split sole
  • Notched collar
  • Cashmere lining
  • Affordable price
CONS:
  • It might seem unusual for beginners
  • Can crumple

6. Bloch Chloé and Maud: Best Beginner Tap Shoes

This pair features an aesthetic design with a combination of white and black colors. The shoes have a classic Oxford style with a durable rubber sole, which is ideal for beginners. The material is elastic, which helps maintain the foot’s healthy condition and reduces the chances of injury.

I usually prefer this model for rehearsals because it has a solid and stable heel. I also like its cute design and the decorative heart on the front. With the help of laces, you can adjust the level of tightness and relieve foot pressure as needed. A fairly thick layer of metal provides a unique ringing sound.

PROS:
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Sonorous sound
  • Rubber sole
  • Genuine leather
CONS:
  • Low heel
  • You need to go up a size or half

7. Miller & Ben: Best Unisex Tap Shoes

The shoes have a classic Oxford style combined with black, glossy handmade leather. The heel is made of pressed wood, which creates a wonderful bass tone in combination with metal. This model is perfectly suitable for both women and men because of its unisex design.

I was impressed by the strength of its seams and the sound depth. This model has managed to please me for a long time. The thick, solid heel gives reliable support and provides good balance even during challenging and fast movements. The sole is quite stiff, but it helps to control the foot better. However, the softback improves cushioning.

PROS:
  • Strong heel
  • Stylish design
  • Handmade leather
  • Complete control of the foot
  • Bass sound
CONS:
  • A little pricey

What Are Tap Shoes?

Black Bloch Women's Jason Samuels Smith

It’s no secret that a dancer needs to use special footwear. One of the most well-known examples is pointe shoes for ballerinas. The sound of tap footgear can’t be confused with anything else. This footwear is specifically developed for tap dancing.

They’re often made of leather or a comparable material, with a small yet sturdy heel. The metal plates affixed to the sole are what set them apart from other shoe types. A dancer can tap on the floor and create varied beats with this sole, which makes this model mistaken for distinct musical instruments.

Types of Tap Shoes

The modern market flourishes with an abundance of tap shoe types such as:

  • Mary Jane shoes;
  • Full sole flat Oxfords;
  • Split sole flat Oxfords;
  • Character heels.

Flat options with a modest heel and laces are more common. They’re made for male and female dancers alike. The Oxford design is the most well-known among them. You can also find tap boots with an ankle strap and a higher heel, which are typically used for performances. Female dancers wear them the most.

Bloch Dance Women's Tap-Flex Shoe

There are also variants with full and split soles. The first type is usually chosen for children and beginners. The second one is needed to control the flexibility of the foot and is preferred by more professional dancers.

How to Choose Right Tap Dance Shoes?

When choosing the right shoes, there are many different criteria to consider. In particular, you have to pay attention to the material, size, type of sole, and heel.

Step 1: Choose the material

Tap dance shoes are typically manufactured of black leather, but they can also come in white, pink, or nude colors. This footwear is made of leather alternatives, making them more cost-effective. Leather shoes are more durable and comfy, but a good alternative that is properly constructed isn’t inferior to genuine leather.

Step 2: Pick triple stacked heel

Dancers usually choose low heels for dancing. However, the Cuban heel is also popular, especially for performances. The triple-stacked heel is more durable and produces a better sound, but the price is corresponding.

Step 3: Consider the sole

Most soles are made of rubber and have metal plates attached to them. There are different types of fasteners, using screws, adhesives, or soundboards. Fixation with glue might be cheaper, but the sound quality will be slightly worse.

Step 4: Opt for a suitable size

Note that “size” refers not only to the length of the foot but also to its width. For dance shoes, it’s important that they fit snugly on the foot and that there is no extra space. That’s why you need to measure your feet carefully. Otherwise, the pair will fall off and interfere with your dance.

What Are the Best Tap Dancing Shoes?

Since there is no one-size-fits-all recipe for happiness, there are no shoes that are perfect for all dancers. The key to choosing is the right size, style, and height of the heel. Focus on the models you wear in everyday life. If you are accustomed to leather goods, then your feet will be most comfortable in these tap shoes. Don’t forget about the design. Nothing improves your self-confidence like well-suited shoes.

Where to Buy Tap Dance Shoes?

It depends on your preferences. Some people like to go shopping and try on every pair they come across, but it takes a lot of time and energy. So it’s a good idea to order your shoes online. However, there are many scammers, so make sure you choose a reliable and legit site.

The main thing when buying a new pair online is to choose the right size. Note that dance footgear doesn’t always match the size scale of regular footwear. When buying online, you need to carefully read the reviews of people who have already purchased a particular item.

FAQ About Tap Dancing Shoes

Capezio Women Manhattan Xtreme Tap Shoe

If you are still hesitant and cannot choose the model that best suits your needs, you might have some questions left unanswered. I hope my replies will dispel the last doubts.

What is the best tap shoe brand?

It’s impossible to name a single brand that completely suits everyone. You need to take into account your foot peculiarities and the model of shoes. The most popular brands are Bloch and Capezio.

What are tap shoes made of?

They are made of different fabrics, most often, genuine or synthetic leather or canvas. Rubber can also be used for the sole. A metal deck ensures resonant sound. The best option for tap heels is a steel plate.

What tap shoes do professionals wear?

Most often, professional dancers choose the Oxford style for rhythm-step and funk dances, and especially popular are men’s tap shoes. However, many theaters require boots with a slightly higher heel. The Cuban heel is the most suitable for this.

What shoes are good for tap dancing?

The best footwear fits your feet perfectly without causing any discomfort. You should pay attention to the materials, as some artificial fabrics can rub the toes and heels. It’s also essential to check the quality of the metal because the sound during the dance directly depends on it.

Dance With Comfort and Pleasure

Dancing is the best combination of pleasant and useful types of activity. Your clothes and shoes should be appropriate. Otherwise, you run the risk of injury or other unpleasant consequences. To choose the best tap footwear, you need to determine your dancing level.

Flat shoes with a small but strong heel are a great choice for a beginner. Options with higher heels and straps are ideal for more confident dancers to demonstrate their skills.

Which pair do you prefer: with a full or split sole? Do you like the design with a strap, or are you a fan of classics?

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