heels for tango dancing

#1
Hi

Im 5'9 weigh 130 looking for advise on tango foot ware. Currently dance in 1.5 inch heels. Do I need to learn to dance in tango heels (the skinny kind over 2 inches) I'm tall as you know.
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#2
No. You do not need to wear high heels to dance tango properly. In fact, I see far more women whose technique is thrown OFF by trying to dance in heels that are too high for them, than I do women whose technique is poor because their heels are too low.

Keep in mind that you will be walking forward in the high heels as well. For many, walking forward in high heels is more difficult than walking backward. It depends on how highly arched your feet are.

I think most followers do dance better in at least a 1" heel than in flats (unless they have very flexible achilles tendons). Often the women I see dancing in flats are dancing with their heels raised throughout the dance. That typically doesn't work out very well.

But you don't need anything higher than 1.5 if you aren't comfortable in them. The fit of the shoe and the sole surface are more important than having high heels.
 

Mladenac

Well-Known Member
#3
Now we know how tall you are and now it's nice to know how long you have been dancing.
Since you posted this question I would say not so long.
Even with this lower shoes you need to learn how to adapt to various leaders' height during the dance.

Some followers start to wear high heels too early and then those heels are extra challenge they need to deal with.
I hope you have some good followers' teacher in your community, so she can guide you about the heels.

As a leader what is most important is that you don't change your hight during dancing, which happens if you change low and high heels.
And you find perfect position with high heels, but it's different to maintain it with lower heels since you don't have height mark.

It's not the problem that you can't dance in lower heels, but you might face the problem that when you go to international events
you might not be called for dancing only because you don't have "proper" shoes.
As a leader I get different feeling when dancing with woman with the shoes or without it.
And high heels demands certain technique that you can learn over time as much as a lot of stuff in life.

Oh, to comment you height. You are not too tall to wear high heels, you'll be only 1 - 1.5 inch taller with the usual tango shoes.
But your posture and your technique will be different because you need to adapt to those conditions, not over night. ;)

And later when they master dancing in the usual tango shoes followers know how to be on the same height during the dance.

PS. I am 6'2 and your height with the shoes is perfect for me. :)
 
#4
Hi

Im 5'9 weigh 130 looking for advise on tango foot ware. Currently dance in 1.5 inch heels. Do I need to learn to dance in tango heels (the skinny kind over 2 inches) I'm tall as you know.
My advise is to dance in the shoes you are most comfortable in and can keep your balance - you may want a pair of fancy tango shoes for the special occasions when you want to be at your tango best outfit.

... if only you were near me I come from a land of short women -- you are the correct size tango dancer for me - tall and skinny aaaahhhh
 
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#5
I am 5'11 and I wear 3-4 inch heels. My advice is to continue to wear the shoes you are comfortable dancing in when you go out and practice in 3" until you feel comfortable. It will take some time if you are not accustomed to wearing heels. But it is nice to be able to dance in a higher heel.
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#6
As a leader what is most important is that you don't change your hight during dancing, which happens if you change low and high heels.
And you find perfect position with high heels, but it's different to maintain it with lower heels since you don't have height mark.
I don't quite understand this comment so I'm going to assume that when you say "change low and high heels", you are talking about rising up and down as she dances, NOT changing shoes during the tanda.

The body and foot usually try to set the "height mark" for the follower's movement and that is how the follower should decide what heels work best. From my experience and observation of others, I think that many women try to force the "height mark" of their strongest and most stable foot position to be higher than it is.

Flats however are usually also not stable because of the tendency people have to never get their heel down.

It's not the problem that you can't dance in lower heels, but you might face the problem that when you go to international events you might not be called for dancing only because you don't have "proper" shoes.
As many of us followers have ranted about in other threads. Really, leaders who choose on that basis need to learn how to watch a follower dance in order to decide if she's any good. Footwear is really NOT a reliable indicator. MANY beginners go out and buy the "proper" footwear and dance badly in their shoes.

In fact, I'm pretty sure that leaders who evaluate based on heel height are not themselves very good or experienced dancers or they'd know what to look for in movement, not in sitting waiting to dance. Followers certainly don't decide who might be a good leader by watching them sit and talk to other leaders! I doubt you'll find any reputable teacher who tells student leaders "If you are in an unfamiliar milonga and need to figure out who the best followers are, go for the ones with the highest heels".

If a leader doesn't want to dance with me because I'm not wearing 4" stilettos, then he's probably not someone I'd want to dance with anyway.

As a leader I get different feeling when dancing with woman with the shoes or without it.
And high heels demands certain technique that you can learn over time as much as a lot of stuff in life.
Yes. Practicing does make the heels easier, as does foot strengthening.

But you can't "learn" to alter the skeletal structure of your foot. Some people's feet are just not conducive to really high heels. The height and flexibility of the arch play a huge role.
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#7
Wonder woman, my suggestion is to get someone to sit or lie on the floor and watch you dance around without shoes and without putting your heel down. Do some molinete's, ocho cortados, and front ochos. Walk backwards and do some back ochos. All with your heel off the floor.

Your foot will automatically assume the angle that is the most comfortable for you to maintain. The person watching can help you get an idea of how high that is, or, after doing it a few minutes, you can just stand there at the height that felt good and the other person can measure how high your heel is off the floor.

If you find that in your 1.5" heels, you are often dancing without putting your heel down, then you can wear them for this exercise to see how much higher you are lifting your heels.

That's the height I suggest you use for now. You want your foot at the angle that you naturally default to when doing the movement. If you exercise to strengthen your feet, ankles, and legs, you may be able to increase that height.

Others may disagree, but you shouldn't rely on your shoes to make you use proper technique, posture or axis. Your body does that. You want shoes that don't interfere with it.
 

Mladenac

Well-Known Member
#8
I don't quite understand this comment so I'm going to assume that when you say "change low and high heels", you are talking about rising up and down as she dances, NOT changing shoes during the tanda.

The body and foot usually try to set the "height mark" for the follower's movement and that is how the follower should decide what heels work best. From my experience and observation of others, I think that many women try to force the "height mark" of their strongest and most stable foot position to be higher than it is.

Flats however are usually also not stable because of the tendency people have to never get their heel down.
You got my point. Some girls in my community go with practice shoes and some other apparel that is not made for dancing tango which are flat.
So they tend to change the height during dancing since they don't have the usual height mark

As many of us followers have ranted about in other threads. Really, leaders who choose on that basis need to learn how to watch a follower dance in order to decide if she's any good. Footwear is really NOT a reliable indicator. MANY beginners go out and buy the "proper" footwear and dance badly in their shoes.

In fact, I'm pretty sure that leaders who evaluate based on heel height are not themselves very good or experienced dancers or they'd know what to look for in movement, not in sitting waiting to dance. Followers certainly don't decide who might be a good leader by watching them sit and talk to other leaders! I doubt you'll find any reputable teacher who tells student leaders "If you are in an unfamiliar milonga and need to figure out who the best followers are, go for the ones with the highest heels".

If a leader doesn't want to dance with me because I'm not wearing 4" stilettos, then he's probably not someone I'd want to dance with anyway.
There are many reasons why somebody will call for the dance and won't. I believe there was a thread about it.
I have experience that I saw a follower who was dancing nicely but I didn't enjoy with. It's hard to know until you try it.

Well my teacher commented once how women stand in their heels, and later I realized what she meant.
It was a good comment how to recognize good follower. There are many other factor, but heels and posture can tell a lot.
Well, I can add to that that look how somebody dances does not correlate how it is to dance with him/her.

AFAIK tango shoes are not 4" stilettos, a little bit shorter ;)

In international events leaders have bigger choice, and are selective.
For local events since I know followers I don't care about shoes, on the international events I might.

Yes. Practicing does make the heels easier, as does foot strengthening.

But you can't "learn" to alter the skeletal structure of your foot. Some people's feet are just not conducive to really high heels. The height and flexibility of the arch play a huge role.
I am not familiar so much with skeletal structure of the foot. OP didn't mention she has that problem.
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#10
There are many reasons why somebody will call for the dance and won't. I believe there was a thread about it.
Yes, but your statement that I was responding to was that she wouldn't get as many dances because she didn't have the "proper" footwear ("proper" being defined by heel height). Whether or not YOU choose based on that wasn't my point. It was that a leader who DOES choose based primarily on heel height of the follower's shoes probably doesn't know enough about tango to make an informed decision using some other means and therefore may not be one of the milongas best leaders.

Your point about getting dances might have encouraged the OP to get heels that were higher than she needed (or should) wear, and I was trying to re-assure her that anyone who won't dance with her because they don't think her shoes "measure up" isn't worth worrying about!

I have experience that I saw a follower who was dancing nicely but I didn't enjoy with. It's hard to know until you try it.
True.. the same happens for followers watching leaders. But "dancing nicely" is not the only thing to be looking at. The style of connection, embrace and posture are important to the compatibility you will have with a partner. The way they seem to be interpreting the music also.

You might get fooled by watching someone, but you can't know anything by just looking at what shoes she is wearing when she is sitting at the table. (assuming that the shoes are not completely inappropriate for dancing, like rubber soled sneakers or flip flops)

Well my teacher commented once how women stand in their heels, and later I realized what she meant.
It was a good comment how to recognize good follower. There are many other factor, but heels and posture can tell a lot.
Posture yes. How the person stands in their shoes or walks across the room, yes. The actual height of the heels, not so much. Maybe you are getting good dances from women wearing high heels and you think that is the proof. But you don't know whether you are missing great dances from followers wearing lower heels if you are passing them by.

What exactly did your teacher say about how women stand in their heels?

Well, I can add to that that look how somebody dances does not correlate how it is to dance with him/her.
I have found that as I learned what to look for, it correlates pretty well. This past weekend, I was with another follower at a milonga neither of us had been to. Pretty much every leader I danced with, danced and felt like I expected them to after watching them. She kept getting surprised except by the one leader who was obviously one of the top leaders of the community.

AFAIK tango shoes are not 4" stilettos, a little bit shorter ;)
There are many 9 & 10 CM heels out there, although thankfully that trend is changing. 8-8.5cm seems to be the default these days for biggest selection, but even that is too high for some people. I prefer a 6.5 - 7.5cm heel. I cannot take stable forward steps in heels higher than 8cm and even then I want to hack 1/4" off them to walk forward better. As long as I am walking backwards, it's not a big deal, but for some reason, people do a lot of forward ochos around here. If you can't get your toes anywhere near the floor until you're already almost over your foot, then the heels are too high. That's especially dangerous in heels that are very slim, because you're teetering on a tiny point as you move over your heel and onto the rest of your foot.

I am not familiar so much with skeletal structure of the foot. OP didn't mention she has that problem.
She asked if she had to wear high heels. I was pointing out one of the reasons why some people shouldn't be wearing really high heels.
 
#11
You don't have to. But you might find higher heels more comfortable at some point as your technique progresses.

As for ladies wearing lower heel at risk of not being asked to dance: nowadays Facebook is full of photos from festivals and other international tango events. Going through them you will notice quite a few women wearing low heels or no heels at all. They are on the dance floor and looking happy and content. :)
 

Mladenac

Well-Known Member
#12
Yes, but your statement that I was responding to was that she wouldn't get as many dances because she didn't have the "proper" footwear ("proper" being defined by heel height). Whether or not YOU choose based on that wasn't my point. It was that a leader who DOES choose based primarily on heel height of the follower's shoes probably doesn't know enough about tango to make an informed decision using some other means and therefore may not be one of the milongas best leaders.
I said about international events. I know a lady who doesn't dance with men who don't have shirts. ;)

Your point about getting dances might have encouraged the OP to get heels that were higher than she needed (or should) wear, and I was trying to re-assure her that anyone who won't dance with her because they don't think her shoes "measure up" isn't worth worrying about!
For some thing it's best to ask teachers in the community. And I don't think she is too tall for the "heels".
There are many reasons why I someone ask or don't ask for the dance during milonga.
It's not all about followers, sometimes it's about me, or sometimes about them that I notice that evening.
Or the energy of the evening is not the right, so I keep safe.
If not in the mood for certain people I'd rather don't dance with them than spoiling dancing relationship.
It happened to me, so I am more sensitive about that. Over time I started to dance with again.
Sometimes we get certain things too personally, but it all belongs to tango life experience.

True.. the same happens for followers watching leaders. But "dancing nicely" is not the only thing to be looking at. The style of connection, embrace and posture are important to the compatibility you will have with a partner. The way they seem to be interpreting the music also.

You might get fooled by watching someone, but you can't know anything by just looking at what shoes she is wearing when she is sitting at the table. (assuming that the shoes are not completely inappropriate for dancing, like rubber soled sneakers or flip flops)

Yes, but your statement that I was responding to was that she wouldn't get as many dances because she didn't have the "proper" footwear ("proper" being defined by heel height). Whether or not YOU choose based on that wasn't my point. It was that a leader who DOES choose based primarily on heel height of the follower's shoes probably doesn't know enough about tango to make an informed decision using some other means and therefore may not be one of the milongas best leaders.
I said about international events. I know a lady who doesn't dance with men who don't have shirts. ;)

Posture yes. How the person stands in their shoes or walks across the room, yes. The actual height of the heels, not so much. Maybe you are getting good dances from women wearing high heels and you think that is the proof. But you don't know whether you are missing great dances from followers wearing lower heels if you are passing them by.

What exactly did your teacher say about how women stand in their heels?
I also watch some other signs in the followers. How she get along with others, if she shows how she listen the music while waiting for the dance. ;)
If there is not so formal event, practica or afternoon milonga on marathon I would lower my requirements.
Also I am sensitive about dress material, because I am touching it for cca 10 minutes.

My teacher said about feet position while standing (slight V position), and how that was transformed to the posture.
Later I realized how that feet position is important in dancing also.
I have found that as I learned what to look for, it correlates pretty well. This past weekend, I was with another follower at a milonga neither of us had been to. Pretty much every leader I danced with, danced and felt like I expected them to after watching them. She kept getting surprised except by the one leader who was obviously one of the top leaders of the community.
It seems that you learned to recognize leaders, your friend needs to learn that. I hope that she got pleasant surprises also.

She asked if she had to wear high heels. I was pointing out one of the reasons why some people shouldn't be wearing really high heels.
In tango you don't have to do anything.
Certain events define certain rules, or people dancing there create their own rules.
She didn't ask with such strong implication for high heels.[/QUOTE]
 

sixela

Well-Known Member
#14
Think T-shirts, or even this:



That man clearly isn't to be danced with (not only does he lack a shirt, he also misses the obligatory Tango Look of Existential Ernst).

Despite her smile, that poor hapless follower doesn't know what's good for her.
 

sixela

Well-Known Member
#15
Later I realized how that feet position is important in dancing also.
[Tongue firmly planted in cheek...]

Don't forget to take pictures and to use this essential analysis tool:


Don't trust your instincts to tell you who's a nice dancer!
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#16
Think T-shirts, or even this:



That man clearly isn't to be danced with (not only does he lack a shirt, he also misses the obligatory Tango Look of Existential Ernst).

Despite her smile, that poor hapless follower doesn't know what's good for her.
OK, I learned something new today. Apparently not everyone considers a T-shirt to be a type of shirt.
 

sixela

Well-Known Member
#17
Exactly. In British English, a (long-sleeved) shirt always has a collar (the jury's stil out on Nehru collars), sleeves with cuffs and a vertical opening with buttons; in the US, it's sometimes called a "dress shirt".

Anything less "simply won't do". Women who like "men in shirts" obviously also object to the short-sleeved shirt.
 
#18
In the US, it's sometimes called a "dress shirt".
Yes. Or a "button-down". There is indeed a US/UK divergence on this matter.

Hence the notice posted in some public buildings in dubious parts of town in the US: "Shirt and shoes required". In this instance, a T-shirt is fine (so is a polo-shirt for that matter), it just means don't show up topless. Or "shirtless" as Americans often say :)
 

sixela

Well-Known Member
#19
Ah -- interesting. I had always assumed I needed a proper shirt in those buildings ;-). But then, in most of Europe you wouldn't even begin to contemplate entering such buildings topless.
 

Zoopsia59

Well-Known Member
#20
I said about international events.
For some thing it's best to ask teachers in the community. And I don't think she is too tall for the "heels".
I never said she was. I never mentioned her height at all. If she likes heels and is 6'-5", then she can wear the tallest heels she wants. However she asked if she HAD to wear higher heels and the answer is emphatically NO.

There are many reasons why I someone ask or don't ask for the dance during milonga.
It's not all about followers, sometimes it's about me, or sometimes about them that I notice that evening.Or the energy of the evening is not the right, so I keep safe.If not in the mood for certain people I'd rather don't dance with them than spoiling dancing relationship.
I don't know why you keep trying to expand what I was talking about to include other reasons as responses/rebuttals to what I said. I said (several times now) that anyone who doesn't ask a follower to dance ONLY because she isn't wearing high heels or chooses followers based on shoes isn't worth worrying about. Even if it is about a follower being "tall enough" for him and not some shoe snobbery, most tall leaders I know have figured out how to dance with short women (and let's face it, 1 or 2 inches isn't going to make much difference when the leader is 6'4" and the follower is 5'2") I didn't say anything about you or your own reasons or other possible conditions. She shouldn't base a decision on whether to wear high heels on the fact that some leaders won't dance with her if she isn't wearing them.

And since you brought up her height, it's just as possible that some leaders won't dance with her if she IS wearing them. Her choice of shoes should be based on how she feels in them, not in pleasing hypothetical leaders.

Even the ones at international events (I'm not sure why you emphasized that... does her ability to dance well matter less at international events or something?)

I know a lady who doesn't dance with men who don't have shirts. ;)
Well, she's probably missing out on some very nice leaders, but that's her choice. If those leaders really want to dance with her and decide to dress differently, it's probably not going to affect their dancing as much as changing heel heights would affect a follower's dance.

Also I am sensitive about dress material, because I am touching it for cca 10 minutes.
OK, but that's about you, not a decision about whether you think the follower is a good dancer. The leaders I know who choose based on the follower's shoe heels are making assumptions about her dance ability.

She didn't ask with such strong implication for high heels.
She asked if she had to wear them. I interpreted her question to mean that she really doesn't want to wear them. You might have read her question differently. You might even know her. However, the answer to her question is still "No".
 

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