Best Tap Shoes Reviewed for Performance
Since its invention in the 1800s, tap dance has represented an impressive fusion of various cultural dance styles, proof that people from diverse backgrounds can use their differences to create something wonderful together–not to mention it’s just entertaining. Although its popularity has waned in the last few decades, tap dancing is still a fantastic activity for children and adults who love moving to catchy rhythms. Additionally, tap dancing has been proven to be excellent exercise–not only for the body, but for the mind. Improving your strength, flexibility, and cognitive abilities while having fun? That’s the way to live!
Depending on your proficiency, artistic preferences, and how frequently you dance, there are several factors that you should keep in mind when choosing the right tap shoes. Something that can endure constant movement is obviously a must no matter what else is important to you. Also, the sound of the taps and the way that they’re attached to the shoe are equally vital considerations. Although buying tap shoes doesn’t have to break your bank account, you should still decide what you’re willing to invest in order to get a quality product.
- Theatricals Lace-Up
- includes sound board
- Bloch Tap-Flex
- Shockwave tap plates
- Capezio N625 Tyette
- Firm heel counter
To help you figure out what you want, take a look at the list of the ten best options for tap dancers in any stage of development.
10 Best Tap Shoes
1. Theatricals Lace-Up T9500
Made to endure through all the physical stress required to tap capably, the leather used to create this shoe is tough and yet flexible enough for you to perform all kinds of tricks without wearing down easily.
Laces Give Control
Depending on the strain of your activity (and your personal preferences, of course), you can keep your shoes as tight or as loose as you want with the laces.
Cost and Value
Compared to many other kinds of tap shoes you could buy, these are priced quite reasonably--another reason why beginners might find them especially appealing because you can start learning the art without breaking the bank.
Durable and flexible leather
Laces allow some choice with their fit
The sizes run a bit small, so you must be careful about choosing one
The scent of the leather may be off-putting at first
2. Capezio N625 Tyette
You get all the functionality of a quality tap shoe--especially great taps and strong structure--without sacrificing aesthetic. Nothing better than knowing that you can look good while you do what you need to do.
The inside of the shoe is made of foam, which ensures optimal support for your foot, no matter how hard you’re dancing.
Cost and Value
It comes with a fairly wide price range, but at its cheapest, it’s very affordable for a tap shoe. Even if you must buy it at a more expensive price, it would be a worthwhile expense.
They look as great as they feel
Easy to clean
The same design comes in multiple colors
Very sturdy build
Like the previous shoe, this one runs small, so it may difficult to find the right size for you
Even if you order the right size, some may find that them to be a little snug
3. Bloch Tap-Flex
They don’t just help you create fantastic rhythms and perform neat tricks; they can also soften the impact of your feet on the floor so that it doesn’t hurt you.
Extra Heel Support
In addition to the benefits of the taps, the heel part of the shoe has a notch that keeps your Achilles tendon intact.
Cost and Value
They’re a bit on the spendier side for tap shoes, but honestly, since they look so sharp and focus so much on the health of your feet, they would be worth every penny.
Keeps your foot dry and comfortable
Heel notch helps Achilles tendon
Very professional appearance
May have an unpleasant smell at first
4. Capezio CG17 Fluid
Known for its absorption capabilities, the microfiber in the sole ensures that your foot stays dry--so don’t be afraid to work up a sweat.
A board shank in the sole is the secret to the shoe’s ability to balance flexibility with sturdiness. While it provides the firmness that your foot needs, it doesn’t keep you from moving the way you want.
Cost and Value
The price range varies widely for this shoe, and it will likely be more expensive than you might prefer. Still, its benefits outweigh its bad points.
Laces to control tightness
Inner sole is lined with microfiber
Board shank lets you dance easily with support
Great tone in the taps
Some find the shoe to be a bit too narrow or snug, even if they get the right size
It could take a while to break them in
5. Neoprene Insert T9100
Those are the ingredients that make this shoe so great. The elastic makes sure that it stretches enough to get your foot inside and then shrinks around it to get a great fit, able to accommodate many widths. The leather keeps it strong and sturdy. A winning combination.
Great for High Arches
The comfortable sole and elastic structure also help anyone with high arches focus more on their technique than any pain that might normally plague their foot.
Cost and Value
Considering how durable and beneficial they are, the cost really makes them a steal. You can’t go wrong with at least trying it.
Elastic and leather are fused to create a flexible, sturdy shoe
Sole is made for high arches and wide feet
They maintain a very nice appearance while remaining easy to don and remove
Great for beginners or seasoned and experienced dancers
You will definitely need to order larger sizes than usual to get the best one for you
Since it’s not a split-sole tap, the sound isn’t as strong
6. Bloch Tap On
Thanks to its cushy insole and shock-absorbing structure, the potential for tension shaking up your lower legs is greatly decreased. Dance away without worrying about damaging any body parts that allow you the pleasure of dancing in the first place.
Strap is Cute and Functional
Although the strap is mostly responsible for giving the shoe a dash of coyish character, it has another purpose. Since it’s adjustable, you can use it to make the shoe as tight or loose as you would like--another feature that helps you avoid unnecessary pain.
Cost and Value
This shoe is a bit more expensive than you may want to spend on a tap shoe, but not by much. Since it’s built to please both the eyes and the foot, that could explain why it commands a higher price than some.
Strap lets you choose the fit
Very soft insole
Built to absorb shock, saving you from injury
The sizes may run very small, so be careful about what you order
7. Capezio CG16 Flex Master
Since foot sweat can cause all sorts of problems--a sense of unpleasantness at best and some kinds of fungus at worst--staying dry should be a priority. Thanks to the shoe’s absorbent microfiber lining, you can rest (or dance) easy.
Designed for a Great Experience
With an insole that absorbs shock--relieving your foot and ankle from stress that can bring about injury--and a padded collar with folded edges, this shoe can be trusted to help you make only fond memories of dancing.
Cost and Value
The price range for this shoe may run a little high, but it’s not unreasonable for a shoe that has so much to offer.
Taps with a notably deep sound
Microfiber lining absorbs inconvenient moisture and sweat
Folded edges and padding around collar assure that your ankle will not have to chafe against any rough materials
Might not be the best choice for people with flat feet
Despite claiming that the shoe is measured in standard street size, you may still need to buy bigger ones than usual to find something that fits
8. Capezio CG09 Premiere
Most of us probably love the idea of sleeping in a foamy bed, but you can’t do that while you’re dancing, so this shoe gives you the next best thing--a foamy foot bed for the sole. It will be hard to hurt yourself when tension is so significantly reduced by this incredibly soft interior. Combined with the microfiber lining, your foot will be perfectly fine.
Strong and Secure
Knowing all the tricky moves you have to pull, this shoe was designed to keep your foot safe. This is particularly true with regard to your toes, which are protected by a toe box that can certainly take a beating.
Cost and Value
With such an enormous gap between its highest and lowest possible prices, it’s hard to say how affordable this shoe would be if you have a small budget. If it works with your wallet, though, it could be an excellent investment.
Ultra cushy foam bed for the insole
Microfiber lining to suck up offending moisture
Toe box is notable for its hardiness
Higher heels help make the sound of the taps even more fun and interesting
Works well for wide feet
You will need to order a size or two larger to find the right one for you
Taps may fall off easily
9. Bloch Tap-Flex Slip-On
The lining is made out of kashmir, which performs a fabulous job of eliminating any moisture that may pool in the shoe and keeping your foot nice and dry. It’s also wonderfully comfortable for a foot that will be constantly striking a hard floor.
The Achilles Heel Shall Not Be Your Weakness
The notch in the back helps your heel endure all the tiresome work of dancing without risking the wellbeing of your Achilles tendon. That’s great news for anyone whose tendons can be rather sensitive.
Cost and Value
Though certainly not the cheapest tap shoe, it makes up for its price with its quality, fulfilling the big promises it makes.
Slip-on feature makes it easy to put them on and take them off without making dancing awkward
Keeps pressure off the Achilles tendon
Kashmir lining keeps insole dry
Taps are shock-absorbent
Those with wide feet may have difficulty donning it
The toe box may leave too much room for some people’s tastes
10. Bloch Jazz
Holding onto the taps is a soundboard that allows you to create stunning resonances as your foot strikes the floor. If you’re involved in competitions or high-end shows, this is the kind of sound that can set you apart from the rest.
Soft and Flexible
This is another characteristic that is imperative for anyone who is serious about tap dancing. Your shoe needs to be comfortable enough to not distract you from what you’re doing and also flexible enough to keep up with you. The leather and rubber materials that comprise this shoe fit that bill.
Cost and Value
It’s not the most expensive shoe out there, but it’s certainly not the cheapest, either. Still, for its notable quality, the price is just right.
Rubber and leather make it easy to dance in the shoe and stay comfortable
Strong toe boxv
Laces help you control the fit
Taps and soundboard combine to make amazing sounds
You will need to order a bigger size to get the right one
Some may find it too narrow
In tap dancing, the only ingredient that’s equally important as skill is the quality of the shoes. You want shoes that can endure all of the stress of great dancing and survive intact. You want shoes that promote foot health by supporting your arches, ankles, and tendons, and also by absorbing shock and moisture. You want shoes that look professional and attractive so that when people look to see the source of all the awesome sounds, they don’t grimace. You want shoes that are as committed to working hard and having fun as you are.
From this list of shoes, you should be able to find a pair that suits all of your needs and then some. Pick a pair, any pair, and then dance the days and nights away.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Tap Shoes
The overall build and design
You’re more likely to find oxfords when looking for tap shoes. The Oxford design is the most common, but you can find other styles as well. More important, look at the specific components of the design. For instance, the stitches on the leather cut upper will indicate whether the shoe will have more flex or more durability. More stitches will give a stronger hold but really cuts back on the flexibility of the upper. This is known to be a point of concern particular to tap dancers. Another component that is equally important but also hinders the flexibility is a toe cage like build. This extra material on the toe box helps prevent strain caused by the constant tapping of the toes on the ground as done in tap dancing.
The last component that makes up the upper build is what’s known as the topline. This portion is the rim line of the shoe. Some will have a lower topline, while others an elevated line. A lower line enables greater flexibility in the ankle region while an elevated line means much better ankle stability. You may also see the back of the topline cut out slightly to compensate for the Achilles tendon. Also included occasionally in tap shoes is top line padding. Consider all these features and you almost ready to pick a perfect pair of tap shoes for yourself.
Standard, Double or Thick Soles
Double soled tap shoes tap much louder because of the added weight. With twice the thickness, the sole is also much more durable. You can go with leather or plastic soles, or if you know what you’re doing, adding layers to the sole can be done by yourself, to get the perfect thickness and weight. Screws have even been known to be used to fix the tap onto shoes with very thick soles to prevent constant loosening.
Versatility in using Leather
Despite several materials being used regularly in tap shoes, leather has to be the most practical to be the build of your tap shoe. Leather caught on specifically becuase it is strong and fold up to a lot of use-and-abuse. Typically, the leather will be cow skin, which is also naturally water resistant. Another leather type commonly used is goat skin which performs close to cowhide. Some of the highest grade tap shoes can be found in goat skin leather.
It is advised to go with the hardest rubber you can get your tap shoe in. The stiff leather will take longer to break in, but will last much longer than soft leather. Patent leather is also widely used as it creates a shine like no other type of leather that is appealing to some tap dancers.
Material Used in the Taps
If these are your first tap shoes, and you aren’t yet familiar with taps, they are the component of a tap dancing shoe that sits under the forefoot. It makes contact with the ground and is what’s responsible for the pronounced tap you get with these shoes. Leather was the first material used for the taps, but it was found metal worked much better and tapped louder without as much force. You may also find wood taps, but we do recommend going with metal. The best metal will be lightweight aluminum. Make sure to not get cheap steel knockoffs as they will be much heavier and typically flimsy.
Because tap dancing takes it’s toll on the feet, having a supportive and comfortable sole will do wonders for keeping your feet from injury. Becuase the soles are generally thick and supportive in tap shoes, a solution needed to be made for their lack of flexibility. To fix this, split soles are now incorporated to allow flex in the area between the spit, giving the best of both worlds. Insoles play a large part in overall structural comfortability. A firmly structured shoe will be stable but lack the cushioning needed to be on your feet for extended periods of time. This is why a cushioned insole is critical. Custom orthotics can also be utilized for specialized or additional comfort.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can orthotics and custom inserts be used for tap shoes?
Absolutely. Orthotics are encouraged for those who regularly deal with foot aches. Sometimes the original insert is padded enough, but if extra cushioning is needed we do recommend looking into custom inserts. Superfeet makes very good and effective insoles. Check them out (here).
Q: What tap shoes do professionals wear?
There isn’t a type of tap shoe made specifically for professionals but there are a few brands in particular that scream professional. These brands are Blotch, Capezio Miller & Ben, and So Danca. Wear any of these brands and you can be confident you are among the professionals, as far as your footwear is concerned, at least.
Q: What tap shoes are best for beginners?
For beginners, it would be a wise choice to not go with something super expensive. The highest quality shoes isn’t a priority. Because you will not need any professional aspects some of the more expensive shoes offer, purchasing a low-end pair to use for practicing purposes would be smart. On cheaper shoes, the materials used would be PVC and PU plastics. Remember, young feet will grow fast. If the shoes are for a young kid, consider how much money would be spent on replacements every time they outgrow a shoe.
Q: What are oxford tap shoes?
Oxford is a style of shoe that has a particular lace structure and an upper made of leather, generally used for dress or formal wear. Oxford tap shoes are just tap shoes made to resemble the design of the usual oxford. The look is valid as the style pairs well with the elegance of modern tap dancing.
Q: Will tap shoes stretch over time?
Leather will in fact stretch, so if yor tap shoes are made of a thin leather upper, you may experience a small amount of stretching. Don’t expect to see anything major in regards to size. The leather will stretch but only to a small degree.