Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by UKDancer, Jul 29, 2011.
Does anyone have any experience of Arris Allen's tango shoes for men?
No, but I've been dancing in a pair of cap toe dress shoes that look very similar to the Aris Allen Wide Black Captoe, and probably have a very similar construction. That would be the one without the "cuban" heel.
I occasionally dance in a pair of Bleyer black & white swing shoes. The sole composition is very similar to leather in 'feel', but I'd like a slightly built up heel - hence the interest in the Arris Allens. I have Latin shoes, with a Cuban heel, but the (very light and flexible) suede soles don't fee quite right, and they 'look' obviously like Latin shoes too ...
Not for men, but I've heard only raves and praise for their women's shoes.
Tango shoes vs Ballroom/latin shoes
I have questions & intended to start a thread about Men's Tango Shoes, but I'll piggyback on this one.
I wear regular shoes, leather soles & relatively supple uppers, to practicas & milongas (older more beat up ones to practicas & outdoor milongas). I dance about 2 - 5 days per week. I'm wondering if I should get Tango shoes. I want to compare regular shoes/dance shoes/tango shoes.
1) What are the benefits of having Dance Shoes?
2) Are the differences between Tango Shoes & Ballroom/Latin shoes significant?
Only a few of the Argentine guys who are regular dancers around here wear Dance Shoes, so this brings me to the next question
3) Do men in Argentina bring shoes to change into at milongas, and if so are they specially constructed Tango Shoes?
For me the main reason for dance shoes is that they (usually) don't have a welt. A lot of womens dance shoes are barely-there strappy, and not having a welt makes sandwiches and other moves where there is foot-on-foot contact softer and much more forgiving if the technique and timing is off. Basically if women wear open toed shoes i think it is polite to have a softer shoe myself. Else it doesn't make all that much difference.
I wear a regular street shoe to dance. They are a light weight, Florsheim, slip on shoe with a leather sole. Nothing special. I don't think wearing a special dance shoe would improve my dancing at all.
The only benefit I see is looks, and the ability to get them custom made (again mostly about the looks).
To be honest, I sometimes wear mens dress shoes, rather than "Dance" shoes.
The composition of the sole is important. Many street shoes have man-made soles which do not provide the right amount of grip/slip for dancing, and often the sole is quite thick and inflexible. It is also common that it is wider than the shoe's upper, having a lip, which can easily catch on your partner's shoes, or just prevent your feet from ever really coming together.
Ballroom/Latin shoes will nearly always have a suede leather sole, and the 'feel' of it is different from smooth leather (most people's preference for tango, I think). The soles are often very thin, and the whole shoe very light, and most tango dancers seem to prefer something a little more substantial. A ballroom shoe will usually have a low heel of about 1", whereas a Latin shoe will have a Cuban heel of at least 1 1/2". The same variation can be found in tango shoes, but there is a 'tradition' (I think) to wear a built up heel, although many don't. The usual justification for a higher heel is that it pitches the balance more forward (just as it does for the ladies in their much higher heels).
My experience of people learning to dance is that they rarely buy any special shoes for dancing for a while, and later, they do. This is perhaps, for the 'look' rather than for the sake their developing skill being held back for want of more suitable footwear, but different issues apply to ladies, anyway.
Well, I'm a follower but can give you the breakdown my boyfriend has given me on his shoes as to the benefits of dance shoes.
He has worn the Aris Allens before for tango. I think the cap toe bothers him a little after dancing a awhile in them but otherwise he thought they were ok for tango dancing if a little heavy. I think maybe his first pair he liked better but said the second pair didn't fit the same.
He also has some suede bottom practice shoes from SoDanca as well as two pairs of "real" tango shoes. One from Jorge Nel and the other Flabella.
His take on the difference between them was that the practice shoes were sort of good all around shoes. They are "accomodating" for balance and technique if you're having a bad day and you can't feel the floor as much, but they are fairly stable for basic dancing.
His tango shoes, on the other hand, he said are much more "responsive" and you have to be more "responsible" for your technique but you can feel the floor really well in them. In other words, if you are having a bad dance day, and your technique isn't completely set yet, they aren't the best choice for the day.
The Jorge Nel's have a regular 1" heel and the Flabellas a slightly built up one that he does say forces him to keep his weight forward and (attempt to) practice good technique. The Jorge Nel's are very lightweight and the Flabellas a bit heavier.
The Jorge Nel's are a leather sole and the Flabellas are what I call a cromo sole, which the Argentine's seem to use fairly often and is a very very dense version of suede that is somewhere in texture between the softer chamois style dance suede on many ballroom shoes and a raw leather sole (like Aris Allen uses). I quite like it. It responds well to multiple floor conditions.
YMMV, but I think an actual pair of tango shoes wouldn't be a bad thing.
Very often I use to ask tango dancers, where have you bought your dance shoes. And as often I get the answer: Istanbul. So does anyone here in this forum know the name of that particular shoe maker?
thanks for the responses. I did not know that there was a part on a shoe called a welt so I found the description here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welt_(shoe)
I learned not to wear shoes with a welt in my early tango days after I did a sandwich & the lady complained. Seems most of my shoes that have a large welt are made in the UK, those that don't are either Italian or Florsheims (made in China).
I have a discount card so I went to Worldtone in NYC to check out their selection. I prefer leather bottoms (so i can wear them in the street). The only leather soled shoes they had were Arris Allen's. I thought they were too stiff, the saleslady said I could get the more pliable suede soles & have a shoemaker change to a leather sole. Is that practical?
I also went to Capezio. I thought their leather soled shoes were also stiffer than the regular shoes that I usually dance in, as well as running a little smaller. Do these shoes need a break in period to get more comfortable?
I see you are in NYC. Have you checked to see if Felina has any men's shoes in at the moment? I think she may sometimes get them....
Most leather that gets applied at a shoemaker's (at least in my area) would be too thick and stiff to apply to a dance shoe and you'd be back to square one. There was one shoe repair place that used to carry thinner leather and a friend used to have it put on her shoes, but they stopped carrying it and just use the regular thicker leather now for repairs and I'm guessing you'd be in the same boat up there.
Also, most festivals have shoe vendors, and so you may also check when the next festival you can get to in your area is and see what they have available for men.
Except that you want to wear them on the street, I'd just say find a cheaper pair of suede bottoms that look nice for now and just don't clean the bottoms except for dust removal if lightweight flex is what you want. The suede will pack down nicely, just brush the dust off but don't bring the nap up.
Yeah... suede soles become smooth soles pretty quickly. Especially if you get them wet.
I have a couple of leather-soled shoes, and yes, they are really stiff when you first get them and yes, you need to break them in. I have a pair of Danshuz that took about a couple of weeks of breaking in (1-2 hours 3-4 times a week) and now they are as soft as butter (both the upper and the sole). The other pair was a dance store brand (Kinney dancewear), and that one took a really long time to break in (several months). They are pretty comfortable now, but not as soft as the Danshuz.
The tendancy to buy thinsoled trainers and adapting the soles and maybe heels for dancing, is becoming more common in the milongas I attend.
Is there a way to speed up the break in process other than by wearing them? I'm thinking of the ways you break in a new baseball glove without just using it on the ballfield.
My local dance supply/shoe store has a machine that does it. Basically it evenly stretches out the leather a little and softens it a bit.
Ney Melo said he had his shoes made by Husan Usta in Istanbul
Why aren't ballroom shoes particularly popular amongst Tango dancers (men)?
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