Where can I buy tap dance shoes? There are quite a few places. Locally on-island the best place is Centre Stage, a small shop located on the Parade Just along from Steve Wellumn's photo studio. The staff are extremely helpful and offer a great service. If you prefer to go online and shop, you can go to Dancia International who offer a mail order service. Other sites include Move Dancewear, and various others. Do a search on google.co.uk for tap shoes and see how many sites come up! What is the difference between a jazz tap shoe and a regular tap shoe? A jazz tap shoe is very flexible and has no shank in the centre for support. It's a bit like a soft Jazz shoe with taps on it. A Jazz Tap Shoe doesn't offer as much support for the foot as the strength is removed in order to provide greater flexibility. For Noisy Feet classes you do not need Jazz Tap Shoes. What should I look for when purchasing tap shoes? Comfort first - they have to fit well as you will be spending a lot of time in them. Ideally you also want a good sound, however it is not always possible or practical to actually 'try them out' before you buy. You want a good leather shoe - it helps your foot breath and the leather actually helps the sound. Just like a drum skin, the fabric the shoe is made from will help the sound resonate. Heels for the ladies? Not necessarily so - nowadays many shoes are 'unisex' and lots of ladies prefer the lower 'mens' style shoe. Lace up shoes are preferable as the more enclosed the foot is, the more support is gained - and you want to have between 4 and 5 pairs of eyelets to allow a good fit. Price - shoes do vary and you should decide your budget before making any purchase.
What sort of taps should I buy? A lot of tap dance shoes these days come with the taps already applied. However a good cobbler will be able to apply them for you, for a small fee or the shop you purchased them from may offer the service. The alternative is to apply them yourself -see below for details. Never use nails - always screws.
Can I make do with ordinary shoes? If you are a beginner, it is advisable to try out the class first, before you buy any tap shoes. You will need to wear a good leather shoe with a leather sole - not a rubber sole. Once you are happy with the class you can then find a suitable pair of shoes. What are taps made from? Come to class and find out...
Can you recommend a brand of taps? I have used different brands of taps and shoes over the years and everyone has a different favourite. The best thing to do is try one type and see if you like the sound they generate. You can always change your taps, if you don't like the sound (as long as your taps are screwed in and don't use rivets)
How do I put taps on my own shoes? If you would like to put taps on shoes yourself, it is quite a simple process. 1. First of all, you need to make sure that the taps are the correct size for your shoes, they shouldn't overlap at the edges or stick out from the front or side of the shoe. 2. If you have 'fibre boards' with your taps which are usually black and very thin, you can throw them away, as you won't need them. 3. If the tap is a little bit narrower than you shoe don't worry, you can simply choose to align the tap to the left edge or the right edge, depending on where you need it to be. If you perform wings you would want the tap aligned to the outside; if you perform clicks you would want the tap aligned to the inside edge of the shoe. 4. Once you have lined up the tap, using a sharp tool, make a mark through the holes in the tap onto the sole of the shoe. 5. Then remove the tap and make the holes slightly larger, in preparation for them to receive a screw. 6. Then put the tap back on the shoe and start to put your first screw in. 7. After a few turns of the screwdriver, put the next screw in and repeat the process until all the screws are lightly in place. 8. Then go round them in turn tightening them a little bit each, until you are happy that they are all tight enough. 9. Repeat the whole process for heel taps. 10. Don't forget that taps can become loose so it is very important that you check your taps every time you put them on!
Why do some taps on shoes sound jingly? Some taps have a loose central piece that makes an additional sound. Some people choose to loosen their taps specifically, to give extra sound. However there is a down side as once you start loosening taps, you place additional pressure on the screw threads; the screws can come out - causing major damage to your dance floor.
How do I look after my tap shoes? Like any regular good shoe, a proper wax polish every now and then is always beneficial. The taps should also never be worn outside as they are very soft.
What is a tap shoe made of? A tap shoe is primarily a lace up shoe with a leather upper, leather sole and leather lining. The heel ideally should also be layers of leather. Leather heels are hard to come by as most shoes simply use wood and then fake the stacked look. Why leather? The more shock absorption the better and leather gives a nice resonance for the performer.