Child Tap Shoes

Child wearing red leotard and tap shoes
Follow your child’s dance school guidelines when purchasing tap shoes.

Purchasing child tap shoes may seem easy. Just head off to your local discount store and buy a pair she/he can grow into in order to save money; after all, those lessons are expensive. However, buying these specialty shoes involves a lot more than picking up the best deal around. Consider them an investment in your child's agility, health, and self-confidence.

Guidelines for Buying Child Tap Shoes

When you sign your son or daughter up for tap lessons, you may think the price of the classes are outrageous; you even have to pay for multiple recital costumes as well. But thinking you will save money by getting your shoes for cheap at a discount retailer is a no-no.

Good quality shoes not only keep your child's feet safe and pain-free, but they also eliminate the scratching of dance floors and provide a better all around dancing experience for your child. A proper fit is important, so try to purchase the shoes in person rather than online. However, you can find deals online, so at least have your child try the shoes on in person before ordering the same brand off the internet.

Other guidelines to keep in mind include:

  • Sizing may run differently than street sneakers
  • Shoes that are too big (ones to grow into) may affect the sound and skill of your child's tapping
  • Shoes that are too small may hurt your child's feet and his/her dancing ability
  • Check with instructors regarding color of the shoe (usually black, but tan/nude/white are the standard color options)

If the dance school provides a list of requirements or even specifies a certain shoe, purchase that one. Do not cut corners; your child will most likely not be allowed to participate and you will end up buying two pairs instead of one.

Types of Tap Shoes

A number of different tap shoes are available for your child. The most common kind is a patent leather shoe resembling a simple Mary Jane (for girls) or an Oxford (for boys). These come with the taps all ready attached. Ribbon straps or buckles are used to keep the shoe in place.

Young or beginner's classes may require that your child's dance shoes have elastic on them. This can make changing shoes before and after class easier on the kids. It also helps keep the shoes in place for young dancers. Elastics can be purchased from dance shoe supply stores and then be sewn into the shoe. If your child's dance school does not require this but you wish to do so anyway, be sure to get permission from the teacher.

More advanced students will often get tap shoes that are screw-on, which allow for adjustment of sound. Elevated heels are also an option, but check with the school before purchasing this type. Avoid nails in tap shoes, as they may get snagged and come loose, ruining the dance floor.

Shop for Tap Shoes

Shop for child tap shoes at a local retail store that specializes in dance footwear. This way, you child can try the shoe on for him/herself. The studio where your child takes lessons may require you purchase from a certain store (often one connected to the studio), or offer a discount at a local shop.

Shop online for shoes that you know will fit your child. Retailers to consider include:

Sticking with a name brand, such as Capezio dance shoes, can also assure you of getting a better shoe when ordering online.

Tapping on the Dance Floor Only

The best way to maintain and care for your child's tap shoes is to emphasize that the shoes are to be worn on the dance floor only. Studios often have policies that shoes cannot be worn anywhere but in the studio. This means that the student must have other footwear for coming to and going from class. Dirt, debris, and chemicals from outside can damage the floor; water, chemicals, and other outdoor materials can hurt the shoe as well.

If your child tap dances frequently or has a number of rehearsals and classes, you may go through two pairs of shoes a year.

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Child Tap Shoes