Clogging taps produce a distinctive sound for this high-spirited folk dance based on percussive footwork. Stamps, slides, toe bounces, toe stands and more make up a typical routine, and these steps call on a specialized tap.
A traditional tap dancing shoe has a single tap, or metal plate, attached to the heel and toe of the shoe. The metal creates sound when it strikes a hard surface. Clogging taps are actually constructed of two taps. One is attached to the shoe, and the other is loosely attached to the first tap. They are also called jingle taps, articulated taps, or hinged taps. This creates a unique effect, as the taps produce sound by both hitting the dance surface and the second tap. Like general taps, clogging taps are attached to both the toe and heel of a shoe.
STEVENS Stompers bills itself as the maker of "the original steel clogging taps." These taps come in two varieties, buck and regular. The buck tap includes a flange that covers the toe of the shoe for increased sound opportunities.
While popular, STEVENS' designs are not the only options available. The Liberty Bell is another steel two-piece tap with a flange. While they were not created specifically for clogging, staccato taps are also constructed of two connected taps for the heel and toe, although these taps are only doubled for a middle portion covering about three-quarters of the base tap's surface, and the second piece is connected with one screw in the middle of the tap. Leo's Advanced Jingle features a brass button in the middle of the tap to create the jingle, and Leo's Stereo is a basic two-piece tap, both in aluminum. Some feel that steel produces a better tap sound and is more durable than aluminum, but it's really a matter of personal preference.
The most popular shoes for clogging include the following designs:
- The Mr. Stomper is a basic oxford. It is available in white or black.
- Ms. Stomper is the women's version of the oxford shoe. It is also sold in white or black.
- Kid Stomper is the children's version of the shoe, again in white or black.
- The Scoop for women is a dressier strapped shoe with a wooden heel. It is also recommended as suitable for square dancing and is only available in white.
- The Free Spirit is one of the newest clogging shoe designs available. It has a flexible arch that makes performing toe stands much easier. It is sold in white or black.
Before purchasing a pair of shoes, make sure you understand whether it also includes taps or if you will have to install your own.
Buying Clogging Taps
The following are a few of the available sources for shoes and taps:
- At STEVENS Stompers, you can purchase their signature taps, as well as shoes, performance clothing, music, and videos. On the lighter side of things, you can find gifts, such as the tap belt buckle.
- In addition to selling the usual array of shoes and taps, ClogOn.com also features a small selection of used clogging shoes. Browse the offerings for a great deal, or sell your own to make back a bit of your initial investment. Due to the nature of the secondhand market, the selection is constantly changing, and if you find a great deal, you may lose your chance if you hesitate in purchasing it.
- Focusing on clogging, square dancing, line dancing, round dancing and contra dancing, Perry's Place Records and Supplies sells all of the essential shoes and taps.
In order to give your best in any dance form, you must have the right equipment. If you're interested in clogging, these two-piece taps are a must-have.