Tap shoes require care and maintenance to keep them performing at their best. They get put through a lot with sweaty feet, jumping, spinning, stomping, and even toe stands, so they might not last as long as a regular pair of shoes. However, here are some tips to keep them in tip-tap shape for as long as possible:

Keep the material clean

Inspect your shoes on a regular basis and look for wear and tear such as any build-up of dirt or debris that can damage the shoes long term. The best way to keep your shoes clean is to wipe them down with a soft damp cloth to remove any dust and dirt. You can also use leather cleaners and as with most leather shoes, it’s a good idea to polish them every few months to make sure that they look great and last as long as possible.

Keep your tap shoes dry

Tap shoes are made of leather, so it is advisable to keep them away from water, including condensation from your water bottle, because damp leather stretches easily, causing the fit of the shoes to be affected. In case you get them wet, dry them as soon as possible. Obviously, sweat is unavoidable so it’s crucial to let your shoes dry out before putting them into your dance bag so they don’t lose their shape after only a few wears.  You could even use a wooden shoe tree to help maintain your tap shoe’s shape, whilst also absorbing any excess moisture that could damage the shoe.

Keep your shoes odor-free

The other problem sweat can cause is stinky shoes! Airing them out will help with this issue too, but you can also remove foot odor from your shoes by using protective insoles or the baking soda method: Sprinkle baking soda in your shoes and let them sit overnight before shaking them out and wiping clean with a cloth before you wear them again.


Check the taps and soles regularly

Check the bottoms of your shoes weekly at least. Investigate the taps for loose screws and dirt, you can use a screwdriver to tighten the screws and you also need to check the nails and replace them if needed.  After a while, your taps can become excessively scuffed, distorted, or even break. To avoid this for as long as possible and to make sure you have the crispest sound possible, keep the taps clean by removing dirt and debris with an old toothbrush and keep the taps tightly screwed in to avoid dirt getting into them and wearing away at the screws.

Inspecting the soles includes looking under the ball of the foot where there’s the most grip and the biggest chance of wearing away of the sole. You should also make sure that the sole isn’t splitting away from the upper shoe which happens most often around the big toe area with frequent use. Your heels can also start wearing down unevenly which can affect your balance. Checking the rubber soles/heels for any areas of thinning or coming loose means you can take the shoes to a local shoe repair store to repair/replace heels/rubber soles, without having to replace the whole shoe.

It also goes without saying that you shouldn’t wear your tap shoes outside. Not only will this definitely cause damage to the soles and taps, but any wet weather could also cause the leather to stretch and lose its shape.