Everything You Should Know About Tap Shoes for Women

All tap dancers need the correct pair of tap shoes to deliver their best performances. However, choosing the right shoes can be confusing with such wide varieties available. One of the essential elements in womens tap shoes is plates, but there are several other factors that you need to consider during the purchase. You get tap shoes in different materials, plate sizes, fastenings, and heel heights.

Following is a compilation of things that can help you learn about tap shoes before your purchase.

What are the various types of tap shoes?

Tap shoes are designed according to the needs, material preferences, and foot sizes of the dancers. The styles include Oxford, Mary Jane, boots, and character heels that feature different shoe elements and materials. The common types of shoe soles and fastenings you get are listed below.


Full-sole tap shoe

These shoes consist of continuous base material on the shoes’ underside, which provides the right amount of ankle and foot support for the dancers.

Split sole tap shoe

Split-sole tap shoes don’t have continuous material on the base’s underside, which adds to greater flexibility in movement.



Slip-on tap shoes require the dancers to slide the shoes without needing to adjust the shoe’s pressure and take time to tie laces.


Lace-up tap shoes meet the requirements of dancers with varying levels of skills. This fasting enables the dancers to loosen and tighten tap shoes based on foot width and preference.

Buckle tap

Buckle tap fastenings are common in Mary Jane style, and they help the dancers move comfortably on the balls of their feet.

What are the types of shoe plates you get?

You can get some womens tap shoes with riveted plates that can’t be adjusted, while you can fine-tune some to go with a specific type of flooring and your preference.

Ideally, tap shoes must have fitted heel and toe plates for the dancers to create different types and qualities of sounds.

How should you select the size of your tap shoes?

The tap shoes you buy must fit you snugly for tap precision, shock absorption, and producing good quality sound. It is best to pick tap shoes that feel tight as they mold to the feet with continuous wear.

While the tap shoes need to be firm, they shouldn’t be too tight. It is not a good indicator if your shoes hurt the side of the feet, which could mean the shoe is too narrow. If your toes overlap or bend, you should get a bigger size.

Which heel height should you look for in tap shoes?

The choice of your shoes depends on the style of tap dance. Lower heels and weightier shoes are ideal for urban and rhythm tap. For Broadway tap, high heels are preferred.

Low heels tend to place the dancer’s weight further back, while high heels put the weight of the dancer forward.

In which materials are tap shoes available?

Tap shoes are available in different fabrics like canvas, leather, rubber, and synthetic leather.

  • Canvas tap shoes are made of natural fibers and are extremely breathable.
  • Leather shoes provide superior fit and comfort by molding the shape of the feet.
  • Rubber shoes are ideal for practice and have quieter percussion.
  • Synthetic leather is a bit rigid, cheap, and popular with beginners.

You can get tap shoes online or from dance supply shops. If you are buying your first pair, you should consult the salesperson and try them on to know if they fit you comfortably. Also, during fitting, ensure you wear the same tights and socks you will wear while dancing. Tap shoes cost between $40 and $100, and it’s best not to spend too much for your first-ever purchase.

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