Despite being created a number of centuries ago, tap dancing is one of the most common styles of dancing, it’s well known for being an excellent hobby to start as a child. That said, finding the right attire for your child can be difficult, we review the best tap shoes for toddlers and children, including for difficult feet shapes such as ‘wide’ or ‘narrow’.
How do Tap Shoes Work?
If you’re sending your child to tap dancing yet you’ve never done it yourself, it’s good to know a little background into the art.
Tap shoes have two metallic plates attached to soles of the shoes, one on the heel and one on the ball of the foot. The plates are attached by screws, which can be adjusted to customise the sound of the ‘tap’.
How Should Tap Shoes Fit a Toddler?
The most important factor when sizing dance shoes on a child is that the shoes are comfortable when they first put them on and walk around. There should be no pinching of skin or squished toes.
But being small isn’t the only concern, it’s tempting to buy two to three sizes bigger as they grow so fast but having too much room at the toes will inhibit their tapping technique and risk injury.
Because they’re still growing, it’s recommended to have about a thumbs room of width between the toes and the end of the shoe, this gives them room to grow without risking a fall.
Size Guide for Children
When ordering online, there is a general rule
For kids under 5 = ‘Toddler’
Between ages 5 – 10 = “Little kid”
For kids aged over 10 = “Big kid” this is the same sizing as women’s sizing
We’re going to start with the best tap shoes for girls, and then look at the best tap shoes for boys (so head to the bottom of the article if you’re shopping for a boy).
Best Tap Shoes for Toddlers
Capezio Toddler/ Little Girl Tap Shoes
These are by far one of the most popular tap shoes for toddlers because Capezio, who are a trusted brand, makes them. They’re 100% synthetic so the black colour is a patent material and the white and caramel are PU leather.
One reason that these are so popular is because the outside of the shoes and soles are flexible with a padded foot bed. This makes them extremely comfortable for your child, especially if they’re new to tap dancing and not used to rigid, heavier shoes.
The shoes are lightweight, breathable and have a very pretty design, all of which making these one of the best tap shoes for girls. These are available in ‘Narrow’ or ‘Wide’ however, the wide size is not particularly wide, if your child has very wide feet, it’s recommended to go up a shoe size.
- Great quality
- Light toe box, firm heel counter
- Rubber non-skid pad on sole to prevent injury
- For very young girls, laces can be a bit difficult
Dance Class Mary Jane
Here we have another pair of lovely Mary-Jane style tap shoes for girls, these are made by Dance Class and come in slightly cheaper than the previous pair. They are still 100% synthetic and available in black patent and caramel with a heel that measures a moderate 1” and a Velcro strap.
For additional comfort, these tap shoes come with a lightly cushion for bed which also has arch support. These shoes are only available in standard sizing meaning they’re not always suitable for children with extra wide or narrow feet. That said, if you purchase a pair that fits, the little girl in your life will find these shoes exceptionally comfortable.
- Soft material
- Velcro strap perfect for toddler tap shoes
- Very little stretch or give in the material
Theatricals Child Tap Shoes
These tap shoes for toddlers are very similar to the pair above, however they’re manufactured by Theatricals; a popular online store for dance gear. Available in either black patent or caramel, they have a hook and loop closure which Velcro, which is great for small children.
The sole is padded for additional comfort and the heel collar also has padding to prevent pinching or blisters. The real difference with these shoes is that they’re also available in ‘narrow’ or ‘wide’ variety.
Unlike other brands the wide and narrow styles on this shoe are actually very accurate, making these one of the best tap shoes for wide feet.
- True to size
- Cheaper price than other tap shoes for children
- Not available in a wide variety of colors
Theatricals TapRite Molded Tap Shoes
Now from the same brand, Theatricals have made another fantastic pair of Mary-Jane style tap shoes, for children. They’re available in black, caramel and white, and feature a thinner strap with buckle.
These do have a slightly larger heel, but for added comfort, they have an Achilles pad and non-skid rubber pad.
- Easy to clean
- Available in White, black and caramel
- Amazing quality for affordable price
- Slightly more difficult buckle
American Ballet Mary Jane
This pair of Mary-Jane tap shoes for children comes with an upper cloth piping and thin strap with hook and look closure. Despite looking like a sophisticated buckle, it is in fact Velcro, making it easy for toddlers to put on.
The inside of the shoe is soft and comfortable and the heel is a moderate ¾” in size.
These shoes are perfect for those with narrow feet, and it is recommended to order usual street shoe size, not dance shoe size.
- Easy wipe clean
- Velcro closure, easy for child’s use
- Good price
- Stiff material when first worn, recommended to wear around the house before class
Bloch Dance Girls Tap Shoes
Our final pair of Mary-Jane tap shoes for girls comes from popular dancewear brand Bloch. These stand out from the rest, in that they’ve got a pretty bow on top of the strap, which can be removed if necessary and is fastened with a buckle. This is great if your dance class has a strict uniform, but your chid wants to have a pretty bow when practicing at home!
Unlike the other tap dancing shoes in our review, these are not available in black, only brown and brown tan. The material is synthetic and the inside of the tap shoes have a cushioned insole for comfort and absorption. It is recommended that you purchase these tap shoes in your childs’ regular street shoe size.
- Street shoe size
- Pretty bow on adjustable strap
- Not available in black
Best Tap Shoes for Toddlers – boys
Joocare Child Lace-up Tap Shoes
First up in our review of best tap shoes for boys, we have a sturdy yet comfortable pair from Joocare.
Joocare are a well-known dance shoe brand that manufactures shoes for ballroom, jazz and tap.
These have a cushioned insole for added comfort and shock absorption and a non-slip balance rubber pad which make them great for beginners. They come with a medium heel at 1” and are fitted with acoustic toe and heel taps.
These are amazing tap shoes for boys given the price, if you’re looking for something a bit more affordable!
- Soft material which is comfortable from first use
- Fits well, recommended to buy ½ size up for boys
- Might be too high of a heel for some children
Theatricals Child Neoprene Insert Tap
These are a unique style of tap shoes for toddlers because they’re Oxford style, without the laces. This makes them perfect for small children because they don’t need to worry about tripping over undone laces!
The arch is covered in a Neoprene fabric, which is great for children with high arches and need a bit more support. They’re available in the classic tap shoe colors, of black and tan.
It’s recommended that your purchase one size up from street size, because of the neoprene they do have a bit of give. But as with many other tap shoes, these run small and narrow.
- Toddlers can put them on/ take them off all by their self
- Supportive Neoprene fabric gives flexibility and comfort
- These run small, it’s recommended to buy a size up from street shoe
Capezio Tic Tap Toe Ballet Shoe
Here we have another great pair of tap shoes for toddlers, these are especially great for boys with wide set feet. The material is 100% synthetic with a full sole and Tele tone toe and heeltaps.
They’re available in black, caramel and brown tan, meaning there’s a colour for whatever you’re requirements. Similar to the pair above, these are also great for families on a budget, without limiting the quality.
These shoes are reasonably narrow, so if your son doesn’t have narrow feet –it’s recommended to buy a size larger and the ‘wide’ style. These shoes are unisex and can also be great tap shoes for little girls.
- Available in a number of different colours
- Great range of sizes and ‘wide’ style
FAQ’s: What are the Best Tap Shoes for Wide Feet?
It’s important to note that tap shoes are notoriously narrow, making it extremely hard to find tap shoes for wide feet. That said, there are styles out there which are better suited and trick of the trade to help find the perfect shoe.
Firstly, when looking at tap shoes for toddlers with wide feet, try to use either laces or Velcro as these can be adjust to give more room for their feet.
Secondly, more supple leather will be more comfortable for your little ones, rather than a rigid fabric that will nip the sides of their feet.
FAQ’s: Are Split Sole Tap Shoes Better than Full Sole Tap Shoes?
It is recommended for beginners and even advanced tap dancers to wear full-soled tap shoes. Firstly, a full sole creates a better sound in terms of clarity and tonality.
Most importantly, you want to ensure your child’s foot is protected when looking at the best tap shoes for toddlers. For this reason it is recommended to purchase full-soled tap shoes that will give their feet and arches some support and reduces the risk of injury.
FAQ’s: Can you Wear Ballet Shoes to Tap Class
This is a really important concern which many parents and dancers wonder.
If your child is going to their first tap lesson, the instructor may allow them to wear ballet shoes for their first lesson.
However, it is very much recommended that they own a pair of taps, so they can learn about sound and perfect the correct technique from the start.
Getting Your Child Started in Tap?
If this is the first time your child will be attending a tap class, it’s important that the shoes fit correctly and feel comfortable as they walk and dance around.
In terms of clothing, a leotard or pair of leggings will be perfect, something comfortable that shoes footwork.
If you’re feeling apprehensive about the first class, there are plenty of online sources of tutorials and videos to get some idea of what a class entails. Here is a great YouTube video teaching some basic steps
That’s it for our review of the best tap shoes for toddlers; hopefully you have found a pair, which appeals to you (or your child).
There really are a load of different styles and brands which can get confusing when you’re buying your first pair of tap shoes but if you know what you’re looking for (mary-Jane, Oxford, Capezio, Bloch etc.) you’re ahead of the game.
Thank you for reading, if you have any questions or comments relating to this article, we’d love to hear from you – Leave us a message below.