Men’s Jazz Shoes vs. Tap Shoes: What’s the Difference?


When it comes to dance footwear, there are a variety of styles to choose from, each designed for specific dance styles. Two popular options are mens jazz shoes and tap shoes. Although they may look similar, critical differences make them better suited for different dance forms. This article will explore the features of these boots and how they differ.

Jazz Shoes

This footwear is a dance shoe commonly used for jazz and contemporary dance styles. They are designed to provide maximum flexibility and range of motion, essential for executing the intricate footwork and fluid movements in these styles. They are soft leather or canvas, with a split sole for better foot articulation.

The design incorporates a small heel, which helps to create a better line and improve balance. The heel is usually no more than an inch in height and is made of a soft rubber material that provides traction and grip on the dance floor. The cushioned insole is also essential, as it offers comfort and support during long hours of practice and performance.

Tap Shoes

They are designed for tap dance. They have a hard metal plate attached to the shoe’s sole, which creates a distinct sound when tapped against the floor. They are usually made of aluminium or steel and can be adjusted to produce different tones and rhythms.

The upper part of the footwear is typically made of leather or synthetic materials and can be lace-up or slip-on. They also have a small heel, similar to jazz shoes, but it is usually made of more rigid material to create a more defined sound.

Differences in Sound

The sound produced by the shoes is an essential component of tap dance. They create a distinct rhythm and percussive sound by striking the metal against the floor. This sound is achieved by using hard metal plates on the shoe’s sole. The taps are usually made of aluminium or steel and can be adjusted to create different sounds and rhythms. They are also durable and withstand the repeated impact of being struck against the floor.

In contrast, jazz dancing shoes are not designed to create a distinct sound. This dance form is characterized by its fluid movements and improvisational style, and the footwear is designed to allow for maximum flexibility and range of motion. The sole is soft leather or canvas, with a split sole for better foot articulation. The heel is also small and made of soft rubber, providing traction and grip on the dance floor but not producing a distinct sound.

Choosing the Right Shoe

Selecting the right dance shoe is crucial to ensure maximum performance and comfort. As discussed earlier, jazz shoes are ideal for jazz and contemporary dance styles, while tap shoes are essential for tap dance. Other factors to remember when choosing the right shoe are experience level and personal preference.

For beginners, start with an essential pair of dance footwear and gradually upgrade as you progress. For experienced dancers, finding shoes that cater to your specific needs and style is vital. For example, some have a higher heel or a different style of tap that may be better suited for advanced dancers.

Although mens jazz shoes and tap shoes may appear alike, they serve different purposes. The design of each shoe incorporates features that support the specific dance style, such as a small heel, cushioned insole, and metal taps. Choosing the right shoe for the dance style is crucial, as it can affect the quality of the performance.