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Kathie Walling, Editor of Tap Dancing Resources
Kathie Walling, Editor
Tap Dancing Resources
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Best Tap Shoes for Beginners

Article with recommendations and tips about the best tap shoes for a beginning tap dancer to purchase.

The best tap shoe for beginners is an oxford style shoe, with a lace-up closure, low heels, a firm, solid sole, and taps attached with three screws. If you can afford them, buy leather shoes rather than shoes made of synthetic materials. In my opinion, this is the best tap shoe style for any level of tap dancer who does not need, or have a strong desire, for a different style shoe.

Why An Oxford Style Shoe?
Oxford style shoes are recommended for beginners because they have a lace-up closure. Shoes with laces provide better lateral foot support then other tap shoe styles such as mary janes and slip-ons. Laces will also allow each dancer to get a perfect fit, because the laces can be tighted or loosened to hug the foot perfectly.

Why Low Heels?
Balancing as your weight shifts from side to side and front to back is one of the most important skills for a beginning tap dancer to master. A high heel will make balancing more difficult. Lower heel tap shoes also produce a stronger, richer sound because high heel shoes have small rear taps. High heel tap shoes are known as character shoes and they are most suitable for experienced tap dancers performing Broadway style tap on stage.

Why a Solid Sole?
Most tap shoes on the market have hard, solid sole, but a few models have what is known as a "split sole". In a split sole tap shoe, the area between the two taps is made of flexible material. Tap shoes with a firm, solid sole are best for most tap dancers because they provide a better sound and better support. Split sole tap shoes make it easy for tap dancers to point their toes like jazz dancers but that ability is not needed for most tap dancing steps, combinations, and routines.

Why Three Screws Per Tap?
The first pair of tap shoes I ever owned had taps that were each attached with only one screw. I quickly found out why three screws per tap are better. When a tap is attached at only one point, it can rotate around its screw or nail, causing it to loosen. I had to re-tighten my taps every two or three lessons to prevent them from falling off. Eventually the rotation of my taps around their attachment point started stripping the screws. When taps are attached at two or more points, they cannot rotate around the screw or nail. The best tap shoes will usually have taps attached with three screws. In no case should you ever buy tap shoes with taps that are glued on.

Why Leather?
Real leather shoes will usually conform to the shape of your foot more readily then synthetic leather. Leather shoes will also usually last longer, making them a better economic choice in most cases.

Tap Shoe Buying Guide

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