Choosing Tap Shoes

There are loads of different tap shoes available in different colours, styles and fabrics. They're characterised by metal plates attached the sole and heel of the shoe called "taps". These are what make that unmistakable tapping sound when the tap dancer performs. This article gives you a few good tips to choose the best tap shoes for you.

Toe Taps and Heel Taps
The rhythmic tapping sound that epitomises tap dancing is made by the taps which are attached to the soles of the shoe. The most popular type of taps are Teletone taps. These are attached to the shoe with screws and have a sounding board which means the taps can be adjusted in order to tweak the sound that the tap shoe makes. This is particularly important for experienced dancers who want to make sure that the tapping sound they make is appropriate for the dance they are performing. While you can ask a local cobbler to fit these, it will take just a few minutes to attach them yourself with a screwdriver.

If you're just starting out then you may choose to purchase a pair of cheap tap shoes with taps which are pre-attached using rivets. Whilst rivets are not quite as strong as screws, they offer a cheaper alternative for beginners who are just starting out and not sure whether they are going to enjoy tap dancing. Unlike Teletone taps, you will need a cobbler to fit riveted taps if they are not already attached.

The Sole of Your Tap Shoe
The soles of your tap shoes need to offer plenty of support throughout your performance and should therefore be relatively firm. If you're just starting out then it is recommended to learn in a pair of shoes with either a low heel, Cuban heel or even with no heel at all as this makes learning to tap dance easier and much more enjoyable. Once you become more experienced, you may then try performing in a pair of heeled shoes.

Just like ballet shoes, a tap shoe may also have a split sole or a full sole. A full sole covers the whole of the foot from the toe to the heel, whereas a split sole has a break in the middle. This allows for added flexibility of the dancer's foot which is often a useful feature for more experienced dancers.

When it comes to the heel of your shoe, a solid heel will produce a nicer quality sound than a hollow heel. Solid heels also enable the tap to achieve a much stronger hold to the shoe which means it will stay in place for longer and is less likely to become dislodged as can sometimes happen with hollow heels.

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