Tango shoes: useful or just pretty?

I decided my only reasonably high heel shoes were not good for tango, and then I tried tango dancing in low heels. I found that walking backwards actually is quite a bit easier with heals... so I actually bought a pair of tango shoes. They look pretty neutral, black with a little dark brown - if I stop doing tango I think can use them as normal high heels.

The funny thing is, I bought shoes because I found my normal "high" heels (actually not that high) were to soft. When I walked backwards and put my heel down it did not feel stable, so my idea of buying tango shoes was high heels with a stable sole. Another lady though, was convinced that the problem with her shoes was that her heels were to thin. The heels of those I bought are thinner than those I discarded, so she thought I did a major mistake. I think not, since you have the major part of your weight on the front part of your foot anyhow... Time will show, I guess.

The woman selling the shoes led me through a few steps and ochos - she led well! and I bought the shoes. How clever sales person! :lol:
New Shoes !!!!!!

:) :) :)

My new tango shoes are Diamants (again!). I was going to get red leather but someone had bought the ones they had (and this is a very small tango community so I WILL find that someone :twisted: ). So I bought (or rather my darling bought as he bought them for me for HIS birthday :? ) a simply gorgeous pair of black ones with a fabric that more than sparkles - it shoots off flames of light! My dancing feet look so...so...so....dazzling now 8) Cannot wait for the next Milonga (in 4 sleeps and on my darling's actually birthday so he can enjoy them too :wink: )

As in keeping with this topic - they are both beautiful and useful.
nepheli said:
hello there!
Can anyone in Melbourne, Australia please suggest a store where I can find tango shoes?
Hi Nepheli! Have you tried Boyles? You could give them a call and ask if they've got any... (just google the shop name) The shop's got shoes for different styles of dancing when i went there last year..
Patapouf said:
I'm in the process of getting a pair of tango shoes, I have some doubts about leather and suede soles. I have heard some people telling me that I should always choose leather sole to ease the swiveling and pivoting action in ArT. However, I've also heard some people saying that leather sole is not needed in the States since most dance floors are hard wood and suede sole is good enough, and that leather sole could be too slippery. However, in other countries/Buenos Aires where dance floors were sometimes concrete then we may need leather-soled shoes. Anyone has any opinion on this? Leather vs. suede soles?
I've been to argentina.. always went to milongas and practicas with at least two pair of shoes. leather and suede. you never know what kind of floor there will be.. and yes, i too learnt the hard way (ankles permanently my weak spots because of irritation in tendons...).

(btw: i do the same now when going to salsaclubs i don't know yet)
Hi all,

Here's my take on tango shoes vs. other dance shoes: in general not only do tango shoes have a certain 'look' (extra sexy and flashy because there is so much focus on fancy footwork in the dance!) but the heel is usually higher - 3" to 4". You wouldn't want to do salsa or swing in heels that high because of all the spins. There is no spinning in tango; instead the lady should almost always have her weight over the balls of her feet and stay forward towards her partner. A higher heel helps her do this. Also, when walking backwards, as the women mostly do in tango, the higher heel is always right there under her, actually giving extra stability I think.

You can dance tango in either suede or leather soles. Traditionally the soles of tango shoes were leather because its a folk dance, danced by grandmothers and shopworkers and waitresses and everyone in between, who would come to the milongas in their regular street shoes. (Even now, at some milongas in Argentina people come in the shoes they are going to dance in and it is even considered a bit gauche to change your shoes at your table.) Also, as was mentioned, often times argentine milongas are held in social clubs, cafeterias or even gymnasiums where the floors are tile or stone and suede soles are not good for these surfaces. (Plus they are not cushioned for the hard surfaces!) Now you can get tango shoes with suede on top of the leather sole, but its not the same as the really flexible suede soles that latin shoes have.

In the past tango shoes had a 1940's look and were usually closed toe. It is very, very stylish these days however to wear open toe sandal type shoes without stockings (even in the winter!). There are a few newer brands from argentina that are very popular and have really revolutionized tango shoes. Now they come in all kinds of crazy colors and fabrics. See a picture of a typical new style here:


But I say, wear whatever you like! If you can't do high heels or open toes, or prefer suede soles then get what you are comfortable in. Just because it's a 'tango shoe' does not mean it will make you dance tango bettter (although you may look the part more). However, I do think a 'dance shoe' will make you dance better than a 'street shoe'.


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