Tapping is a dance that requires consistency and a stable flow of energy. You need all the strength in your body to tap your feet into a musical rhythm. This is why you need nothing but the best tap shoes you can find – those that will not only support and protect your feet but also boost your confidence during your performance.
In this article, I will provide you with the ultimate guide to buying the best tap shoes. Moreover, we will go through the list of the 5 best picks in 2023. Keep reading!
Types of Tap Shoes
There are two main types of tap shoes for both ladies and gentlemen. These are:
- Low heel
- High heel
The low heel tap shoes are some of the most recommended for beginners, even though some professional tap dancers also love how they feel and still rock them whenever.
They are very easy to dance in; you can practice any step you wish wearing them. They are recommended for beginners because they offer a great deal of stability.
However, you will eventually outgrow them along the line and want an upgrade. This is where the high heel tap shoes come in. Nonetheless, professional tappers still use low-heel, like the oxford tap shoes – which I will review later.
The high heel tap shoes are what professional tap dancers use. Although they come in different designs, they are mainly in the form of split-sole! Tap shoes with heels are perfect for performers who intend to make notable tones loud enough for their audience.
It might surprise you to know that high-heel shoes tend to offer more stability when compared to low-heel shoes. Therefore, making some moves or dance styles easier to perform by wearing them instead of low heel shoes.
It is important to note that low-heel shoes are most recommended for beginners and people with joint problems because they expose you to less risk while tapping in them, unlike heeled tap shoes that expose you to more risks, like twisting your ankle when you dance in them.
This is why high heel tap shoes are recommended for professionals. I believe you must know how to balance your legwork not to encounter any injury while tapping in them.
Key Characteristics of the Best Tap Shoes
Whether low-heel or high-heel tap shoes, there are specific characteristics you need to consider when getting a pair. In this part of the article, I will outline them for you to understand better and know what to look for when buying the best tap shoes.
- Toe and heel plates
- Weight and flexibility
- Arch support
- Sizing and fitting
Toe and Heel Plates
Depending on how much sound you wish to make, toe and heel plates are very important and can determine the volume of sound you make while tapping. Some tappers do not like tap shoes with toe and heel plates – but that doesn’t change the fact that they play an essential role and are highly recommended for professional tappers.
Toe and heel plates allow you to tone the sound you make while tapping, which is fantastic if you ask me. Some tap shoes come with toe and heel plates, while some do not. Nonetheless, note that you can fix and remove them whenever you feel like it.
Weight and Flexibility
Another important characteristic – although dependent on preferences – is the weight and flexibility of the tap shoes you use for tapping.
Heavy tap shoes make the most noise. In other words, more sound. The weight of your shoes also determines how you move and what kind of steps you repeat repeatedly. Heavy tap shoes are alright and good to go for someone dedicated to tapping, no matter the steps.
However, for someone just starting, heavy ones might run you out in no time – not to mention the probability of them pulling off when you dance. It all falls back to preferences, nonetheless.
Also, the flexibility of your shoes is a feature you must look for; it is non-negotiable, as stiff tap shoes will leave you with blisters!
Not tapping in a tap shoe with arch support is a significant risk with all the pressure poured down on your feet. The Bloch and Capezio tap shoes offer good and recommendable arch support.
It is mandatory – health-wise – that your tap shoes have good arch support. Keep an eye out!
Sizing and Fitting
Best tap shoes should fit you well. Whether you get a buckled tap shoe or a laced-up tap shoe, consider the size of the tap shoe and also how it fits.
You don’t want a tap shoe that is too tight – you will end up with sores and blisters, which will hinder you from tapping for some time. You equally do not want a tap shoe that fits loose – you will have them pulling off from your foot just when the tapping gets intense.
A good tap shoe for exclusive performance should not feel too tight or loose. This way, you will have all the control over your moves.
Of all the characteristics reviewed here, one of the most natural is the value for money. Everyone wants to spend money on a product that will last long, so they don’t have to worry about getting another pair soon. You should get quality tap shoes that will last long.
Luckily, I have a list of high-quality and durable tap shoes, which I can’t wait to share with you!
Other Features to Consider When Buying the Best Tap Shoes
Although the characteristics mentioned above should be your ultimate guide when selecting professional tap shoes, you don’t want to own shoes that do not feature some of these as well!
- Material type
- Sole type
Deciding to use your tap shoes for other activities aside from dancing is not an odd move – as long as you use the right ones.
Most tap shoes out there cannot be used for any casual activity except dancing which, to some, is not cost-effective. If you don’t have much money, going for versatile shoes is a wise step, and oxfords are the best options for you compared to others in the market.
However, some of tap shoes mentioned in this article can be also used for clogging. We have already covered this topic on our website so feel free to check it out. Also, you can find our article about the difference between clogging shoes and tap shoes in our Beginner Tips section of the website.
Even though most tap shoes in the market today are made with 2nd-grade leather to make them affordable, some are made with grade 1 leather and are pretty expensive. If you have the means, you can go for shoes made with quality materials – you will have more assurance of longevity with them.
There are two main types of soles that tap shoes are made with: split soles and full soles. Regardless of the kind of sole your shoes come with, the material the sole is made with should be your greatest concern.
The standard sole shoes are made of leather. However, since there are a lot of fake tap shoes in the market, pay attention to what you purchase so as not to end up with shoes with full rubber or wooden soles.
Please note: some professional tap shoes carry a suffix of half rubber soles for additional stability. However, the soles are not entirely made with rubber but rather leather.
Our 5 Picks of the Best Tap Shoes in 2023
Miller and Ben
The Miller and Ben tap shoes offer great support and produce beautiful sounds when you tap in them. They are made with leather upper – their soles are made with a combination of wood and compressed leather, which also plays a great part in toning the sound you make while dancing.
These black tap shoes feature a triple-layer front for effortless tapping. If you intend to keep it professional, then these are for you. They are designed for both males and females. Most of these shoes come in unisex models. You cannot run out of options with these in your wardrobe.
Pros – great sound makers.
Cons – these will give you blisters if they are too tight.
Bloch tap shoes are equally competitive like Miller and Ben. Take a look at these Bloch shoes that feature a lace-up closure and a low heel compared to some of the shoes out there. They are made with 100% leather; they also carry leather soles. Remember that shoes with leather soles are the most recommended.
These black tap shoes are perfect for beginners in the world of tapping. They are flexible and weigh less compared to Miller and Ben, making it easy for anyone practicing to master a few steps before going to the professional level.
Pros – they are extremely light.
Cons – these don’t come with a reinforced toe box. Therefore, you do not get toe protection.
Capezio tap shoes are some of the most recommended for tappers with wide feet. Even though these are made with leather as well as others, the designers have a way they make these Capezio shoes stretch a bit to sit perfectly, even for tappers with wide feet.
The flexibility of this tap shoe is on another level. Although it doesn’t carry much design like some tap shoes on this list, this is one of the most recommended for both beginners and professional tappers.
Pros – the shoes come with moisture-absorbing micro-fiber lining.
Cons – might offer significant discomfort due to the method of construction.
Jason Samuel Smith
These are highly versatile shoes. Aside from being one of the best tap shoes for men, the Jason Samuel Smith can pass as office shoes. They are designed to offer a casual expression even though they are tap shoes.
The craftsmanship displayed on this pair of black shoes is truly remarkable. It is well-cushioned and comes with excellent arch support. Plus, they are not expensive at all!
Pros – extremely durable and offer great arch support.
Cons – they run small with time.
Linodes Slip On
Another of the most recommended shoes is the Linodes slip-on tap shoes. It is because they are very easy to put on and pull off at any time. They do not have the compressing grip that tap shoes with shoe laces or buckles have, making them perfect for beginners and children.
They are not expensive and come with good arch support, which is quite surprising regarding how they look from the outside. I guess looks can deceive!
Pros – extremely lightweight and supportive.
Cons – might pull off during intense tapping.
Are tap shoes expensive?
They are not generally expensive. Some are made with cheap materials to make them affordable for everyone. However, certain brands manufacture pretty expensive tap shoes. It all falls back on the money you are willing to spend.
How long do tap shoes last?
When looked after properly, they will last more than a year, regardless of the material. However, if you use your tap shoes for tapping every day, you might get them worn out in no time. And if that is the case, then you are looking at having them in good shape for less than a year!
What is the most recommended brand?
Miller and Ben tap shoe manufacturing brand is the most recommended, alongside Bloch and Capezio. The thing about selecting a brand all depends on your personal experience with the brand’s products.
The answer to this question results from the reviews left by tappers who wear individual brands. This does not downgrade any brand. You can try out different brands of tap shoes and see which one connects with you!
Do tap shoes use regular-size charts?
Yes, they use the regular size charts like every other shoe. However, if you want a snug fit, you should consider getting a half-size smaller; likewise, if you want a loose fit, you should consider getting a half-size bigger.
Are there tap shoes for children?
Yes, there are tap shoes for children too, which are very affordable. Your child will love them as they grow together. If your kid has just started attending tap classes, you should check out these.
Regardless of the knowledge you had or didn’t have on tapping, if you follow the guide in this article in selecting your best tap shoes, then you will discover that tapping has been made easy for you.
The shoes on this list were carefully selected, and all carry the characteristics good shoes should have. They are durable, all from top-rated brands, and above all, they are considerably priced, which makes them affordable for everyone.
Getting the best tap shoes from the list above means you have chosen a better experience than what you used to have, and I promise you won’t regret it.