Tango Argentino > I want to buy my first tango shoes

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Atang, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. Atang

    Atang New Member

    Hi everyone! This is my first post here. ;)

    I have been taking argentine tango classes for a year and it's definitely time for me to buy a good pair of dance shoes. I have been dancing with regular shoes all this time, and I know that they limit my skills. The reason why I haven't already bought any other shoes is money. I still don't have enough money to pay for a normal tango pair (they seem to cost around 150 euros here in Belgium). I've been to a store today and tried a few pairs on, and I know which style suites me better. But do you think I could buy online? I've found some websites that have lower prices, but I would hate to spend 80 euros for a pair that wont fit.

    Has anyone had any experience with buying tango shoes online? Which sites are the most reliable ones?

    Thank you so much.
  2. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I, a guy, just use a regular street shoe. I don't think any specific tango shoe would have much effect on my dancing.

    Shoes have been discussed a few times before here, so you might try doing a search for shoe topics, to see what's already been written.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2017
  3. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    You didn't say whether you are a follower or a leader. I've found that shoes matter far more to me as a follower than they do when I occasionally lead. The only thing that seems to matter at my stage of leading is that I not try to lead in my high heel shoes.

    The rest of this post is for female followers and doesn't really apply to leaders or to men who follow unless they are just wanting to get that high heel experience to improve their empathy! :D

    For followers, I personally wouldn't suggest buying online for your first pair. I also wouldn't suggest buying a very expensive pair. The things that might seriously impact your technique when it comes to shoes are:

    Heel Height (too high causes more problems than too low, IMO)

    Balance/stability of the shoe itself. (a poorly balanced pair cah throw off the best dancer's balance)

    Sole surface and how it moves along the floor.(this usually comes down to suede vs smooth and if you dance several places with wide ranging floor types, you'd almost be better off getting 2 cheaper pairs than one expensive pair that you can only dance well in on half the floors you go to)

    How the shoes stays on your foot and stays snug.(for obvious reasons, but often people's street shoes don't fit the way a dance shoe should, which is why dancing in regular shoes can be a problem)

    My favorite pair of shoes for slippery floors are a pair of leather/satin Very Fine brand ballroom shoes with thick suede soles and 3" heels. I did get them online, but the return policy was sufficient that I took the chance. They were about $65 US. (A fairly famous couple was here recently and the woman was wearing this exact same brand/style/color shoe for their demo, so don't feel you MUST wear "tango" shoes)

    My favorite shoes for less slippery or downright sticky floors are a pair of Darcos Tango Suede shoes with smooth leather soles and 3" heels. But from what I've heard, you do NOT want to get Darcos online because they aren't consistent with their sizing. (I got them cheap in BA... about $55 US)

    Having said all that though, I danced a long time in a pair of basic black $50 Coast Ballroom shoes with (very dirty after a few years) suede soles and 2-1/2" heels. I still keep them in my bag for practice and when I need to take off my higher heels towards the end of the night.

    I'll also warn you that I bought several pairs of stilettos that felt fine in the store, but I eventually decided that anything over 3" was just too high for me to properly dance tango in, and WAY too high to dance anything else. Just because they seem like the right thing in the (carpeted) store, doesn't mean you will actually find that you can dance in them all night, especially with the unpredictability of being led. I actually had my partner with me to try them out and I still didn't realize how much I would struggle with them. AND I wasn't new to tango or to high heels... just new to combining them. (I danced disco in the late 70's in even higher heels with no problem, but I was.. ahem, coughcough... younger)

    You will end up getting some shoes that don't work out. It's part of the journey of a tango follower. So it's best not to pay so much that you can't recoup enough money by reselling them to feel ok about the whole thing. I suggest putting out the word in your tango community that you are shopping and see if anyone has something they want to sell off. I've gotten great shoes that way, and you can always arrange to dance a few tandas before you decide. I'd also check out ballroom studios to see if they have shoes for sale, as ballroom shoes tend to start at lower prices.

    I wouldn't buy imported tango shoes online as your first pair. The return process can be a nightmare, no matter what the policy stated is.
  4. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    I's go with what Zoops said. Also check ebay to see what people might be selling and see if something your are familiar with size-wise comes up.

    I'll be selling off some shoes here soon myself on ebay.

    You might also check out Turquoise tango shoes. They may have a dealer over there now. They are new and from Turkey and very nicely made and pretty comfortable for a tango shoe. I tried some on at a recent festival and they have a bit more padding than CiF. Hasan said he's getting some heels lower than 7.5cm in production soon.

    You might also try Nueva Epoca. They are a German/Italian shoe by Werner Kern and you may have more choices of vendors over there than we do here and they are also a very nice shoe.

    I think there is at least one inevpensive salsa/tango shoe line made in Britain, but I can't remember the name of it right now. Very colorful.
  5. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Welcome Atang. :-D
  6. LoveTango

    LoveTango Member

    I started with a pair of Latin dance shoes. Due to my wide and high arched feet, I can't be very picky about type of shoes. Basically I have to get them when I encounter a comfortable pair. I found that the types of shoes have no major impact to my dance. However, my tango shoes are prettier and I think they are better made. They also feel more snug and steadier. I think the investment on better made tango shoes worth the investment just to consider the fact that they last longer.

    Another reason for choosing tango shoes over other type of dance shoes is that the sole is more suitable for outdoor dancing. My tango shoes are too precious to wear outdoors, so I tried the method recommended by a leader (later I found a lot of leaders do this): apply some strong tape to the bottom of a pair of old suede sole shoes. But this is too troublesome, since tape wore off easily. Later, I send a pair of ballroom shoes to a local shoe repair shop and added a solid sole. I love it. It works perfect and the sole is very sturdy. I can pivot well indoor and outdoors in them.
  7. Atang

    Atang New Member

    Thank so you much for your answers! I'm happy I registered on the forum.

    I'm actually a follower( and a woman) and as I said in my previous posts, I can sense that my normal heels are not flexible enough sometimes. They are 3 inches high, and they are not too high. I wouldn't want to buy higher heels, I wouldn't even be able to walk in them, let alone dance!

    Nueva Epoca was the brand that I tried in the store, it was a black pair, 3 inches high, and it felt GREAT....So comfortable, as if it was made only for me. But it costs 160 euros. There's no way I can afford that.

    I guess I will be looking on ebay, because I honestly haven't been able to find any dance stores here with shoes that cost less than 100 euros.
  8. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Hi Atang, welcome! I´ve got no experience with an online shop. But there is one here in Hamburg, and if any problems would come up, you could mail me and I would try to clear the thing personelly.


    By the way I (leader) dance tango in super flat split sole dance sneakers. You are much more grounded then and you get the optimum of stability.
  9. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I have bought VidaDance shoes; they are very comfortable and they fit me well; as I find shoes usually too wide once the length is right.

    www vidadance.com
  10. Zsana

    Zsana New Member

    Me too ! :)

    I would not expect that a pair of tango shoes boost my skills. Regular shoes that fit confy and has non-slippery nor-rubber sole does serve just as well. Tango shoes are for the look! ;)
    I had several regular shoes for tango - the only difference that they tend to wear out quickly, while my pair of dance shoes are two years old now and I still use them regularly.

    Actually, I have not ever bought shoes online myself - but what I see that it is like lottery - some people are satisfied with their purchase, others put their almost-brand-new shoes on sale because they do not fit properly.

    Different brand shoes with same size may not fit equally. :(

    I guess if you decide to buy online, you should be prepared that they probably will not fit right - there is no guarantee for that without trying them.
  11. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Sadly I cannot recommend them. There is no such thing as a universal
    dance shoe as these are being sold. They are quite well made and
    an attractive design but one width only and while they are narrow enough
    for BTM they aren't wide enough for me. There is too much shoe in front
    of my toe as a consequence.

    Nor are they stable enough for tango, the split of the sole is in the wrong
    place, and the need of a split sole for tango is a debatable point. I would
    say not unless you're talking performance or performance style dancing.

    For forward projection the heel is not high enough nor is it even flat
    so you can have a tendency to roll back over the heel. The small sole
    does not reach the edge of the shoe leaving me with a feeling of my foot
    overhanging the shoe. The sole of the Vidadance shoe is convex which
    allows the shoe (with your foot inside it!) to roll around on the floor
    adding to the instability. The shoes are very good for spinning on the
    small central contact point but that's the very opposite of tango.

    As with all shoes, buyer beware.
  12. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    I tried once, never got the shoes, refund came six months later after tons of emails and starting to tell my story on just any forum.

    Do not buy online if you have money for just one pair.
  13. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Talk about blaming your tools! if they are too narrow for you then fair enough, but I have never felt my foot overhanging the sole. ( You can see it on the website photos) I am symapthetic if they dont fit, but they do offer a returns policy. But 95% of shoes of the "right size" in shoe shops dont fit me so I was pleased to get something that fitted comfortably.

    I also have a pair of suede soled Darcos, bu they are a bit knackered now.

    When I started wearing my Vidadance, I was getting comments from ladies about how nice my dancing had become and on one occasion on a very slippery floor that I was one of the most stable dancers at that milonga. it was a pretty unsafe floor for a milonga.
  14. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    What suits you (or me) doesn't necessarily suit someone else.
    Nor am I blaming my tools as I made two attempts to solve the most
    serious problems which just highlighted the others. Now I don't wear them
    for tango and use them for other more appropriate dances.

    It's quite clear that your style is not mine nor are your feet mine.
    I'm merely pointing out that your blanket recommendation doesn't
    apply to everyone.

    For Buenos Aires I've changed my approach altogether and found some
    non-welted thin leather-soled street shoes (in a wide fitting!) which are
    very stable, of a moderate weight and I can be like an argentinian
    by just walking in and dancing! For tango here they seem better
    and more supportive than a typical light and thin dance shoe.

    Maybe I'd like a slightly higher heel but physical changes caused
    by this dance and exercises have made that less important though
    I'd never recommend a 2cm ballroom heel for tango and that's also
    from personal experience.
    Maybe so - maybe your previous shoes weren't as good as you thought,
    maybe there were just too many other variables, not to mention the
    variable capabilities of other dancers there, to realistically judge.

    There is only one relevant experience - your own.
    And mine is different to yours.
  15. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    It's odd: I have some very light split-sole Bloch dance sneakers, with virtually no heel, and also some Arris Allen raw leather-soled shoes which are quite substantial and have a 2" cuban heel. I feel equally stable in either, and couldn't really say that I prefer one over the other. I would probably find the sneakers rather hard on the soles of the feet for an entire night's dancing, but that's not what I bought them for.

    My experience is probably not typical, though, as BR rise & fall (and to a lesser extent) Latin ball-flat footwork does wonders for developing strong foot muscles, and hygiene and safety issues apart, I'd probably be quite happy dancing bare foot - that would save money on shoes!
  16. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Not so odd actually.
    I too have some split sole dance trainers (Rumpf) which like many
    trainers have only little heel height. I am conscious though of the need
    for forward projection, something many teachers seem to avoid saying,
    and you need a shoe that at least doesn't sit your weight back onto
    the heel. I have insoles in the Rumpf shoes for the hardness reason and
    foam inside the heel to help bias my weight more forward retaining
    some heel weight for stability.

    It's a better solution for a day of tango/practice before a full evening
    than the Vidadance shoes.

    Like you, I'm lucky with strong feet and ankles, all of which helps stability.
    I can and have successfully danced barefoot which is really weird
    as we are obsessing about shoes. There is though something different
    about how our body must engage the muscles when barefoot and
    it certainly does feel different.
  17. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    If I felt that any shoe did that, I wouldn't wear it for dancing, but of course I am lucky again, as years of BR dancing has ingrained a forward balance in the carriage of my weight that I no longer have to actively think about. ;)
  18. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I have danced in foot undies but not only in workshops...
  19. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    You would not be allowed to dance in Lo de Celia Tango Club where sneakers are not allowed. You should know this in the event you ever travel to Buenos Aires. JohnEm came prepared.
  20. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Maybe not, but your post did read somewhat like a blanket condemnation.

    And this is coming from someone who has no personal knowledge or opinion of the shoes themselves nor really strong opinions of the shoes leaders need. It's just the way I read the posts.

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