Metal taps for shoes
The 50’s trend towards teenage rebellion took to the extreme when boys attached metal taps to the bottoms of their shoes. No longer the strong, silent rebel, the tap-shoed ruffian brashly advertised his tough image via taps that would scrape and clack against the road or sidewalk, and even in school halls. This noisy style drove parents and teachers crazy, and were soon outlawed in schools.
Boys started attaching metal taps from tap shoes onto their own oxfords, but as the trend grew, other things like bottle caps, pieces of metal, and even pony-size horseshoes were nailed onto the sole of the shoe to produce the clacking sound. The style was most likely borrowed from the young street performers who tap-danced on the sidewalks of urban cities like Harlem. As would happen so many times in the decades to come, teens took the style from the street corner and brought it to suburbia.
Shoe repairmen had a booming business with rebel teens who had true metal taps riveted to their soles. A half-moon clip would be nailed to the front toe tip, and a heavy block to the back heel. Kids who couldn’t afford the taps, or who were late to the trend and couldn’t get taps from the shoe store, often made their own.
The taps weren't just for sound: letting your metal taps drag along the asphalt while riding your bike produced a spark shower to rival New Year’s Day at midnight. But let’s not kid anybody: sparks were cool, but taps were really just another way to cheese off the man in the new hooliganism of the 50’s.
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