Tango Argentino > Difference between shoes?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by dancinrina, Jul 10, 2008.

  1. dancinrina

    dancinrina New Member

    I'm sure this was probably asked before but as I am too lazy to go through all the threads - here it is:

    What, really, is the functional difference between ballroom shoes (latin or standard) and tango shoes? (heel(form and height), shape, open/closed toe, etc)
  2. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    AT shoes are pretty and sexy?? ;)

    There are no absolutes, but...

    Standard shoes are court shoes, no? Minor variations in heel height, heel shape, shape of toe box, strap or not, predominantly satin uppers, always suede soles...but still they're pumps, any way you look at it. Latin sandals are, AFAIK, all variations on strappy sandals. Again, some variations in terms of heel height and shape, shape of the toe, number of straps, ankle strap v. instep wrap v. t-bar, yada yada. Toes are meant to hang over the edge, is my understanding. Flexibility is considered a good thing, for toe pointing, I believe.

    Tango shoes are usually leather soled. The "why" of this varies--tradition, speed of pivoting, ability to dance on a variety of surfaces, ability to be used as street shoes. As a result, they're stiffer than latin shoes (but I find them more flexible, after wearing them for a while, than court shoes).

    Styles run the gamut. There are traditional ones which look very retro, with wingtip patterns and closed toes. There are latin-y looking ones with strappy vamps. There are sandal-style ones. Heel cages vary--cut back, pointed, strappy, blah blah blah. Arches are usually fully or partially exposed. Open toe or peep toe styles are popular. Toes should not be hanging over the edge at all--they should be pretty well protected.

    Heels tend to be pretty high--3" to 4" is pretty standard--and are often stiletto or pencil heels. Lower, cuban heels are also around, but they're less common IME. This is functional, in that AT is often danced with the weight pretty forward (anywhere from centered somewhere between instep and ball, to outright leaning on partner), and having the heel does help to keep that weight forward.

    I find my tango shoes to be way way way more comfy than my ballroom sandals (social style), or my court shoes. Infinitely more comfy than my court shoes. They're super lightweight and made for walking.

    Oh, and did I mention that they're sexy? Either retro black/red or black/white, or any of the more flashy colors...a lot of emphasis is placed on footwork in AT, and sexy shoes show that off. and, after a while, people tend to become assimilated and start liking sexy shoes even when they've previously displayed absolutely no girlie tendencies whatsoever...not that that's happened to anyone I know... *whistling innocently*

    The best thing I can tell you is to Google Darcos tango shoes, NeoTango, or Comme il Faut. Take a look, and the differences will be obvious.
  3. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    not much I could add to that...I think that pretty well puts all those threads we discussed in a nutshell....

    On tango shoe assimilation....geee....I just don't know how that could happen....I wear Burk style shoes all the time, couldn't care less about sexy shoes for walking around in...but take me to a milonga and I haul about 4 pairs of low (2") and high heel (anything over 2.5" for me) shoes with me so I have a good selection. It's a running joke around our house.

    Ballroom shoes pretty much are also supposed to be "in the background", as my understanding- so many people who compete are wearing flesh tones, too draw attention to leg and body, not feet...but in Tango, as Peaches says, the upper bodies are often glued together and so the remaining area to emphasize is the feet- and feet are very emphasized.
  4. Taniquel

    Taniquel New Member

    Ah... Sexy shoes... I was addicted BEFORE I started tango. Now every day is a struggle (since, obviously, there's a limit to what a woman can buy!)!
  5. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    Ayyeee! Can the credit cards take the strain? :p

    well -the extra good news for the original poster and everyone else of us is that Tango shoes, while looking stylish...are so much more flexible and comfortable than street shoes...that's another reason I don't buy sexy "street" shoes anymore...why should I torture my feet in stiff, uncomfortable shoes with straps that cut and bind?
  6. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Amen! Street shoes, by comparison, are so stiff and heavy! I buy my CiF's with an eye to being able to wear them as dress shoes, or cocktail-dress-shoes, or evening-gown-shoes.

    I've resolved that in the future if/when I need to buy a pair of shoes for some dress-up event, I'll just spend the extra money and buy a pair of CiF's. I'd rather spend $180 and get a pair of shoes I'll wear until they give out, than $50 on a cheap pair that will be killing my feet before the end of the night.

    I have taken to recommending this option to others, as well. So has DH, for that matter.
  7. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    Peaches pretty much covered the technical functional description.

    For aesthetics, go to these links for visual reference:

    Ballroom/Latin: Supadance, women's sandals: Examples of what BR competitors/dancers wear

    Argentine Tango shoes: Darcostango, women's sandals: Examples of what Tangueras would wear at a milonga
  8. MaggieB

    MaggieB New Member

    Oh my god! Spoken like a TRUE tango shoe addict!
    I LOVE IT!

  9. dancinrina

    dancinrina New Member

    Hmmm.... makes sense, sort of. Now I really do feel blasphemous for wearing my latin shoes to AT. But I really can't afford tango shoes right now..... crud. lol
  10. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    no need to...they'll work just fine for a bit. I think you'll wear them out pretty fast though.

    You might look for bargains on eBay. I always think it's better to try a brand you are interested if you can find them for a deal in eBay before you go dropping over $100 on a pair of shoes.

    YOu'll find all sorts of stuff out there- Comme Il Faut gets listed fairly regularly, Neotango almost never (mine are too comfy so I can see why), Artesanal on rare occasion, Tara tango shoes show up with some regularity (there's a size 7.5 of them up right now on eBay), plus some other brands like Suipacha 256 and Traspie and Jorge Nel (Forever Dance Shoes) now and again.
  11. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    I just remembered one other point I read somewhere that jives with what I think too...

    Latin shoes tend to be worn quite tight(EEK!)...

    Conversely- what I have found (and seemingly others too) is I like my Tango shoes comfy, not binding (made that mistake on my first pair of Tango shoes- got them a half size too small...) but not loose either (you've got a little more play in this area with the peep toe varieties than in the sandal styles, must be why I don't like sandal style).

    What I go by now is....if you put them on the first time and they feel comfortable and good, that's how they should feel...I've only had one pair that I bought (and kept) that felt better after I "broke it in". My favorites are the ones that felt comfortable from the first try on because something with a leather sole that is too tight or binds or pinches is going to really hurt when you dance in them.
  12. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Good point. I've had the exact same experience--only one pair has ever needed to be broken in, and it was extremely minor. All of the others have felt good from the get-go. Now, when I put my shoes on, they actually feel a bit loose at first. After I've been dancing, and my feet swell a bit, they fit the way they should.

    I'm surprised you have trouble with the single-band sandals. I didn't think they'd be comfortable, but was encouraged to try on a pair. Well, I'd been drooling over them anyway, but wasn't going to let myself consider them, because I thought thought they'd bee too uncomfortable. Mine feel wonderful.
  13. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    I just haven't found a pair that suited me. Wait!- my first pair was a band sandal, and except that I got them a little too small, that pair actually was comfortable...maybe it's becasue they had a soft front and all the ones I have tried after that have been a little stiff like heavy brocade or patent or metallic leather - very stiff. I like suede or velvet near my toes...it shapes itself to them much easier and "gives" around them nicely.
    All my peep toe shoes are suede or velvet on the toes.
  14. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Come to think of it, all my shoes so far have been suede except my band sandals, which are patent (the ones in my avatar). I've found that I don't care for canvas ones. Although I'm drooling over the shoe soon to be released by Tara Shoes--perfect for summer, with jeans. OMG, I think I'm in love.

    h t t p : / / w w w .22tangoshoes.com/product_info.php?cPath=50&products_id=148

    (remove spaces)
  15. dancinrina

    dancinrina New Member

    Two things: 1. I love your shoes.... absolutely amazing.
    2. I love you for quoting Terry Pratchette.... yes, I just noticed because I am that scatterbrained... lol.
  16. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Thank you! Which ones? lol.

  17. dancinrina

    dancinrina New Member

    The ones in the picture. Or are those not yours? lol
  18. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    I saw that one coming up. It so cute! But the heel is just too high, even with a platform. I sometimes think I am about the only person who is not fond of Tara shoes. I may try another pair if I could pick one up cheap in my size, but I'm definitely not ready to blow $225 on a pair and a promise for flexibilty in a platform. Only my Aris Allen's have delivered on that.
  19. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    As a general rule they don't do much for me at all. Too boring, for the most part. But that one and the two different polka-dotted ones I L.O.V.E.

    Thing is, I'm interested in those purely as street shoes. I can't see dancing in a shoe with a platform (how do you feel the floor?), and they just seem way too heavy and clunky for dancing. But as street shoes??? I would wear them out as street shoes--they'd go with everything for me.
  20. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    Some people love platforms on their tango shoes, and that's their cushioning. I prefer deep padding (like double padding). I can still get flexibility and have the comfort element as well. Neotango does a good compromise. Their soles are pretty flexible (even when new) and they have a little more padding than CiF. Now if they could just solve the problem that almost all the 6.5cm heel shoes they have are either black or red....

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