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What Tap Shoes Should Your Students Wear?

Published on April 3rd 2019 by Hillary-Marie

Today we are talking tap shoes, from the tiniest of tap dancers to professionals.

When I was growing up, the progression of tap shoes was: (1:47)

  • Black Tie Patent Leather Tap Shoes (ages 3-5)
  • Buckle-Style Dolly Tap Shoes (ages 5-7)
  • 1.5” Heel Tap Shoes (ages 7-10)
  • 2.25” Heel Tap Shoes (ages 10-13)
  • Black Split Sole Tap Shoes (YIKES) for the Advanced Dancers

For my students now, I recommend: (3:45)

  • Black Tie Patent Leather Tap Shoes for those under age 7, because tap shoes are expensive and we don’t want to deter anyone from beginning tap class because of the price of the shoes. Check out my very first Podcast, Episode 001: How to Grow Your Tap Program, on how to soften the buy-in price for hesitant newbies. 
  • Black Single Sole Oxford Tap Shoes for those over age 7.

Brand Recommendations: (5:30)

I do not recommend any certain brand or model of tap shoe. As long as they are Black Single Sole Oxford Tap Shoes, they look exactly the same from the stage, no matter who makes them. Some studios choose to require a specific brand because they sell those shoes out of their boutique. If you are choosing to sell those shoes yourself, try to keep your retail price in range for your students, and also make sure the quality of the product is solid. You endorsed it by selling them or making them a required purchase for your students.

Where to Purchase Tap Shoes? (7:55)

Your local dance boutique will often offer a discount if you talk to them. It is important that we support small businesses. Don’t forget that YOU are a small businesses (studio owners, artists, contractors…). It is also nice for the parents for you to extend a discount on the price of a rather expensive shoe.

When to recommend a professional tap shoe? (9:20)

  • When the dancers’ feet have stopped growing (around age 12 for girls, a little older for boys)
  • If the family is financially able, even if the child is a little younger
  • When the student has expressed a desire to intensely studied tap dance. In this case, it is important to invest in the proper instrument (for adults and children). This has less to do with level as it does with desire. 

How about the colors? (11:07)

I do not require my dancers to wear all black tap shoes. Individuality is something that I love to embrace and their funky colors of tap shoes do not bother me at all! 

Which professional shoe do I usually recommend? (12:00)

Matteo GS1 Created by Matt at Dancing Fair in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

I Want To Hear From You!

Which shoes do you recommend for your students? Which shoes did you grow up wearing?

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