Clogging Shoes vs Tap Shoes: Are They The Same?

Here come a clogging shoes vs tap shoes comparison that you’re in dire need of, so the seemingly identicality between them will no longer confuse you. Are they the same? Can their names be used for one another?

What Is A Clogging Shoe?

clogging shoes

Clogging shoes are split-soled. You will mostly find them with two variations nowadays.

The simpler version includes a buck tap – a piece of metal attached to the tip of your shoe – if the dancers need to be on their toes and still create these distinctive sounds.

In a different version, clogging shoes will have 4 taps – 2 on the heels and 2 on the feet’s front.

What Is A Tap Shoe?

best tap dance shoes for beginners & professional dancer

A tap shoe is made to fit the movements of a tap dancer. The most common material used in tap shoes is leather. Beneath the ball of the feet and the heel, there is a tap with 3 holes. Through these holes, you will put three screws to attach the plate to each area firmly.

When the dancer starts performing, the metal will tap against the floor. Therefore, it’s called a tap shoe.

Furthermore, the tapping movements might gradually loosen the screws, so it’s important to give your shoes a checkup after a certain period or before a big occasion.

Differences Between Clogging Shoes Vs Tap Shoes

Despite the initial similarities, the difference between Clogs vs Tap shoes exists in various ways.

Old clogging shoes come with no compulsory metal taps, but when they have taps, they will go for four in total. The heel and the toe each have a tap, and another jingle tap attached to them.

Meanwhile, tap shoes only have two, and they both are adjustable.

Clogging shoes Tap shoes
Metal tap Not compulsory 2 adjustable metal taps
Material More choices: canvas, leather, … Leather
Color White, black, tan Neutral & elegant colors
Comfort Cushion & pads to absorb shock Rigid platform to create percussive sounds
Style Various styles for all levels Must use the right tap shoes

Clogging shoe vs Tap shoe Materials

Clogging dancers have more choices with their shoes even in the materials. Beginners typically go for canvas upper and install the taps by themselves, while professionals wouldn’t hesitate to invest in a pair of leather shoes.

The shoes for tap dancing, however, often require quality soles. This sole is single-layered for amateurs and multi-layered for professionals. Skilled dancers have no difficulty dancing on wooden soles, yet newbies should stick to leather or plastic.

Clogging shoe vs Tap shoe Colors

White, black, and tan are the most commonly seen colors for clogging shoes. Depending on the themes, the performers can paint their shoes with different colors and patterns. As a matter of fact, white shoes might be more eye-catching, though the maintenance for them is remarkably higher.

On the other hand, tap shoes tend to have neutral and elegant colors. They can also adorn embellishments for a more ornate and detailed look.

Clogging shoe vs Tap shoe Comfort

As cloggers dance flat-footed, cushions and pads are very necessary. Your shoes have to be flexible and comfy, so you shouldn’t be shy to add pads for more support and shock absorption. Especially when the dance floor is slippery, non-skid pads with duct tape or hairspray will come in handy.

Considered a musician aside from a dancer, tap performers use the speed and the power of their steps to create percussive sounds. Hence they need a rigid platform such as linoleum and wood to perform, and the professionals are most confident if they dance on a wooden sole while their feet are perfectly embraced with fine leather.

Clogging shoe vs Tap shoe Style

If you are new to clogging, you can wear sneakers with flat soles and self-installed taps. For toddlers, plastic Mary Jane tap shoes with clogging taps will be good enough. Intermediate learners can advance to Oxford shoes or professional split-soled shoes.

For tapping, you need the right shoes with metal taps screwed and attached to the soles. The differentiation between the heels and the soles is larger in professional tap shoes.

Overview Of Clogging Dance And Tap Dance

Clogging isn’t the same as tap dancing. For certain reasons, the names are interchangeable, yet they are different in styles, techniques, and performances.

Clogging Dance

Clogging is an old dancing style from Irelan, which truly evolved and thrived late in the 1980s when brought mainstream by Gregory Hines.

In a clogging performance, there will be a group of dancers executing clogging-signature moves on a song’s downbeat. Different from tap dance with pressure barely involved, clogging consists of flat-footed techniques and several jumps, which create sound and more stress on their feet.

The original clogging shoes didn’t have metal taps. Some dancers enjoy a buck tap on the tip of their toes, so they can produce metallic noises.

Tap Dance

Tap dance is much younger than clogging dance, even though it has a signature elegant and classic vibe. Its origin was European urban art, further developed in New York City.

Tap dancers often perform solo on stage and dance to music (specifically melodies rather than beats). Unlike popular beliefs, they do not entirely rely on their heels. For accurate moves, tap dancers have to reduce the pressure on their feet as much as possible.

The uniqueness of tap dance lies in the sounds made by the metal taps. There are screws keeping the parts of the shoe in one piece, and you can adjust them according to your preference.

Check more: 10 Best Tap Dance Movies To Get Your Shoes Tapping


1. Can you use tap shoes for clogging?

Clogging shoes don’t come with strict policies. A lot of cloggers can dance on different types of shoes such as Oxford or Mary Jane, and old clogger shoes didn’t initially have metal taps. Therefore, tap shoes are more than all right for clogging.

2. Can you use clogging shoes for tapping?

As we have previously mentioned, tap dance is more intricate with distinctive moves, and metal taps are mandatory. Making and changing the sounds is an essential part of tapping, hence the dance will be incomplete and false without the jingle taps.

3. Where to buy clogging shoes?

You can purchase high-quality shoes from the best brands like Capezio, Aris Allen, Nike, Puma, and many more.

For a beginner, sneakers with flat soles and installed taps would be the best choice, for they are not necessarily expensive. You can see for yourself if you want to continue learning and invest in something more professional like Oxford-styled dance shoes.

Cloggers at advanced levels often choose split soles for their shoes. It accommodates and provides better dynamics for their steps.


Clogging shoes vs tap shoes might appear familiar, yet now it will be hard for you to miss out on the noticeable difference between them. It’s always best to purchase the right shoes that you need for practice and performance, so you can achieve success and safety.

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