If ever there was a unique dance that required a truly unique shoe, it’s clogging. Clogging shoes are, in a lot of ways what makes clogging clogging, so choosing the right pair of clogging shoes is one of the most important steps you’ll take in learning your dance.
In this article we’re looking at what makes a great pair of clogging shoes and then taking a look at the top 5 clogging shoes available in 2013.
What Is a Good Clogging Shoe?
In theory, any shoe with a strong enough sole can be adapted into a clogging shoe with the fixing of taps. However, clogging shoes have special characteristics engineered specifically to suit this style of dance.
Clogging Shoes Have a Double Tap
Unlike single tapped tap shoes, the unique percussion of the clogging dance comes from the double taps on the soles of the shoes. Typically, clogging shoes have two taps on the toe and two on the heel.
Some shoes come with clogging taps already attached, although many are designed to have separately bought taps attached. Taps are either nailed on or glued in place, and your choice of which will depend on the type of tap you’re buying and the type of shoe you’re wanting to fit it to.
There are a number of different types of clogging taps available, each suiting a different dance style as well as dance floor surface.
Buck Taps are hard taps made with a flange, an extra piece of metal to protect the toe during buck steps.
Bell Taps are strong but lightweight taps with a rounded toe and produces a crisp metallic sound. They are easy wearing on studio floors, but are not suitable for dancing on rough surfaces such as concrete.
Liberty Bell taps are light steel round toe taps without holes in the floor plate. Like the Bell Tap, the Liberty tap is easy on the dance floor.
Clogging Shoes Need Sturdy Construction
There is a lot of heavy and often aggressive footwork involved in clogging so your clogging shoes need to be built tough. From the under sole to the upper, clogging shoes need to be built with hard wearing material, preferably with reinforced stitching. Leather uppers are preferable for clogging shoes.
Clogging Shoes Need A Hard Sole
The soles of your clogging shoes are going to take quite the beating and need to be strong enough to face up to the challenge. The sole also needs to be strong enough to anchor your taps, especially if you’re opting for nail on taps. Most modern clogging shoes are made with a heavy duty rubber or leather soles, though some are made from wood.
A split sole is also important as this allows for flexibility in the foot movement, but perhaps more importantly, it facilitates the different striking patterns between the heel and the toe during the dance.
Some clogging shoes are also designed with soundboards built into the sole to help amplify the percussive sounds of the taps.
Clogging Shoes Need A Heavy Based Heel
A heavy based heel is part of a good split sole clogging shoe. Ideally, the clogging shoe heel should be stacked, meaning they should be built of layers of have duty material. A lot of stacked heel clogging shoes are made of hard rubber, though some incorporate wood and others use reinforced leather. The heel should be low and wide.
Clogging Shoes Need A Snug Fit
During your dance, your clogging shoe needs to move as an extension of your foot so a close fit is important. This is not only important for the execution of your dance steps, but also the health and safety of your feet. Most formal clogging shoes will be lace up shoes and whichever lacing system your shoe has, it should close the shoe securely across your forefoot.
If your foot slides inside your shoe, your shoe is too big. However, while you do want a close fit, you’re not going to want to cram your foot inside a too small shoe as this can also be serious injury risk. Remember when fitting shoes, leather uppers will stretch where synthetic materials will more or less stay the same size.
Clogging Shoes Need Good Impact Resistance
A hard rubber or leather sole will provide some level of impact resistance, but you’re also going to look for a clogging shoe with some extra degree of padding and support. Some clogging shoes are also made with a reinforced toe box for toe stands.
The best clogging shoes are lined with shock absorbing fabric cushioning. Preferably, choose a shoe that also incorporates moisture absorbing material into the shoe’s lining to help keep your feet dry, cool and healthy.
Difference Between Men’s and Women’s Clogging Shoes
While clogging taps are the same for men and women, there are a few marginal differences between clogging shoes for men and shoes for women.
Men will typically wear a sturdy Oxford style shoe while women have far more variation in shoe style, and some women also dance in Oxfords.
A man’s clogging shoe may also have a slightly lower heel than a woman’s and also be an all round heavier shoe.
The Top 5 Clogging Shoes Reviewed
Choosing the best clogging shoe for your dance needs does involves a lot of personal preference, matching your dance shoe to your dance style and the unique shape of your foot.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on good clogging shoes, with numerous discount options available. Used clogging shoes are also a good choice for a lot of clogging dancers. Just knowing what to looking for is an important step in choosing the right pair of clogging shoes for your preferences.
Now we’ve covered the basics of good clogging shoes , let’s look at some great examples of Clogging shoes available right now.
These high quality men’s tap shoes from Theatrical can be easily adapted to fit your clogging taps. They’re not only a sharp looking clogging shoe, it’s also built with the sturdiest material, an all leather upper and a compacted hard layer sole with a heavy duty heel.
This is a hand stitched shoe and is available in black have are true to size.
Pros – Durable leather construction and true to size.
Cons – More of a tap shoe than a clogging shoe, but can be used for clogging.
This Oxford style women’s clogging shoe from Dance Class features a synthetic upper with reinforced stitching, and a sturdy yet flexible rubber split sole with a 0.75” stacked heel.
This clogging shoe is also lined with a soft fabric interior to provide additional cushioning as well as moisture control. The padded collar and tongue also ensure a secure fit.
Available in black. This clogging shoe does not come with built in taps.
Pros – cushioned lining
Cons – Synthetic Upper may be prone to cracking after wear.
For clogging shoes for kids, you can’t look past these Little Kid Big Kid clogging shoes from Dance Class. With an all leather upper and a combined leather and rubber sole, and durable stacked heel, these kids’ clogging shoes are built to last. They are also fitted with a tough toe box.
Dance Class has fitted these clogging shoes with a moisture absorbent terry cloth lining as well as a cushioned insole for maximum impact resistance.
Little Kid Big Kids are available for both little and big kids with children’s sizes from toddler and up, and a medium width.
Pros – high quality leather uppers. Built in toe box.
Cons – Taps need to be bought separately
If you’re looking for a cheap pair of clogging shoes, these women’s full soled Oxfords are a worthy consideration. They are made with a durable synthetic upper and hardwearing rubber sole with stacked heel. These shoes are also fully lined to provide optimal comfort.
Available in white, the elongated cut of the shoe is perfect for elegant toe pointing execution.
Pros – Innexpensive
Cons – Synthetic upper not as durable or comfortable as leather shoes
Capezio is one of the leading manufacturers of dance shoes, and this Women’s Xtreme Tap shoe firmly lives up to the brand’s reputation.
Featuring an all leather upper with a durable synthetic sole and hard wearing stacked heel, these Xtreme tap shoes will treat your feet right step after step.
They are lined with a soft polyester cotton moisture controlling fabric that is also treated with anti-microbial agents to ensure your feet stay dry and healthy. They also come with a cushioned insole constructed from durable pigskin and moisture absorbing foam.
These shoes are fitted with Teletone toe and heel taps, though can be easily refitted with your choice of clogging taps. The taps are mounted on a spring steel soundboard for extra percussive resonation, and an additional steel plate between the insole ad the outsole provides that extra bit of security to keep your taps where they should be,
Capezio Xtreme Tap shoes are available in Black, Caramel and Tan. Available in both men’s and women’s sizes that run true to street shoe sizes.
Pros – In built soundboard. Moisture controlling anti-microbial lining.
Cons - Soft toe doesn’t allow for toe stands.
From kids clogging shoes to clogging shoes for men and women’s clogging shoes, the choices are easy when you know what to look for. Whatever clogging style you’re setting your feet to, there’s a pair of clogging shoes out there to suit your rhythms.