Tango Argentino > Suede or leather soles?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by New in NY, Nov 11, 2010.

  1. New in NY

    New in NY New Member

    Reading the shoe maintenance thread got me thinking: Do you prefer leather or suede soles and why?
    I usually wear suede soles, unless attending an outdoor milonga or if I don't want to have to change my shoes when I get to the venue.
  2. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Leather, although it's more a factor of liking the shoe and the sole being an afterthought. The shoes I like (CiFs) have leather soles. I haven't really found any shoes with suede soles that I like the look of.

    Although I also like the flexibility of being able to wear leather-soled shoes as street/dress shoes, which I do quite frequently. If I'm dropping >$200 on a pair of shoes, I don't like being restricted in what I can or cannot do with them. CiFs are some of the most comfortable, most wearable dress shoes I have ever found...so I wear them a lot. To weddings, at work, whenever I dress up. The only thing I have to replace more often is the heel tips, which are worth the use I get out of them.
  3. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    Have you seen the latest post by tangocynic , Peaches? ;)
  4. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Nope. Perhaps I'll go check it out.
  5. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I try to carry a pair of each to any milonga or practica, especially if I don't know the floor surface. There are some places I go that are like skating on ice, and other places that are like dancing on a big post-it. It can be tricky coordinating both types of shoes to go with my outfit, so if I'm really not sure what conditions will be, I dress so that almost any shoe will go with my dress. I also like having two different heel heights available.

    My favorite pair of shoes is a suede sole pair of ballroom shoes from Very Fine, but if the floor is at all sticky, they cause me trouble. In fact, the woman in the world famous performer/teachers here recently doing workshops wore those exact shoes for their demo. So much for having to have expensive "tango" shoes to do tango properly!

    Unfortunately, all my pairs of leather soled shoes also have the highest heels, so finding myself at a place with an ultra slick floor means I would not only have no grip, but be wearing my most difficult-to-dance-in shoes.

    Guess I need more shoes to cover these conditions.


    That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it!
  6. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    IMHE: Honestly, in tango, it doesn't matter.
  7. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    I have both and don't think it matter much- use what's best for you for the floor conditions. But I don't wear my nice (expensive) leather soles on bad floors (because my feet are very hard to fit and it took 3 years to locate the 4 pairs I do have so I don't want to scar them with grit from bad floors). If you have both and some are suede, just don't clean them too much. Brush the grit off, but don't bring up the nap unless you actually want to. Then they pack down nicely and act more like leather without the scarring problems of hard leather if you are on a bad floor.
  8. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I think it matters more for the follower. I've never cared when I was leading what the soles on my shoes were. I only care about whether or not the shoe has a high heel.

    As a follower I care about:
    Heel height
    Coordinating with my outfit.

    Not necessarily in that order....
  9. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I have the opposite view for my shoes... I scuff up my smooth leather so I've got a little bit of traction and I save my best suede soles for conditions where I need the full nap and I try to not let them get too packed down.

    Granted, I dance apilado frequently and also dance with some fairly "energetic" leaders so keeping my feet from sliding out from under me can be an issue on the highly polished tile floors. Adjustments in my technique has helped with my need for "sticky" shoes, but the problem isn't totally coming from me.. :cool:
  10. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    That's always a consideration, especially as a follower.

    I haven't danced in a while on any floors that I thought were too slippery for my leather bottoms...but I'm also wearing Greta Flora now and the bottoms in theirs aren't the highly polished bottoms of some brands, but I think it's what is called "raw leather". It seems finished but not polished/painted (whatever they do to make it shiny) if that makes sense so it's the very tiniest bit of a reminder of suede. My Aris Allen practice shoes have a similar bottom and I've always liked the feel- best of both worlds for me.

    I dance a lot of apilado too, and my main consideration is heel height/placement and how they make me feel in balance...sole type doesn't factor in too much, just if the sole is flexible enough.
  11. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Re: suede or leather

    Hi New iNY, leather and suede are no opposites ! But dancers often discuss whether to take chrome- or vegetable-tanned leather soles. If you treat chrome-tanned soles well, they are the better choice.
  12. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    My Darcos were quite polished and shiny when new. I had to take a wire brush and gouge a crosshatch of scratches on them one night when I was asked to do a demo at a dance on a slick tile floor. It was the first time I'd ventured out in them and felt since it was a ballroom/latin dance not a milonga, I'd be safe while I broke them in. Suddenly my partner and I are asked to do demo and he dances milonguero with a lot of apilado!

    I'd love to get some AA practice shoes... their beige suede swing shoe with a moderate heel is on my wish list.

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