Tango Argentino > I want to buy my first tango shoes

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

  1. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Vidadance/Vida Mia Shoes

    In good faith I bought them for tango based on the quoted
    recommendations which the supplier endlessly trots out.
    That was my mistake.

    In answer to a blanket recommendation I think there are issues
    people should know about - then they can make up their own minds.
    Free speech and all that! And as a final point, the supplier of these
    shoes knows what my issues are and prefers to ignore them -
    - so can anyone else if they choose.

    Just so you know, they seem to be being sold in the US as
    a Vida Mia shoe here for instance:
    where they are being classed as dance sneaker, not a tango shoe.
    However I wouldn't recommend buying them on line.

    Read it as you like, I have no further comment.
  2. ant

    ant Member

    The Vidadance shoes seem to be popular in the UK. However I have found the same problem as JohnEm regarding the width of these shoes. They do seem to have been made with a narrow fit so I suspect that they will not suit people that normally buy wider fitting shoes.

    I am not sure whether this is a consequence of the narrow fitting but the other major comment people have made about these shoes is that they catch their big toe inside the structure of the front of the shoe.

    This is the second time this week where a post has suggested a higher heel. I think UKDancer mentioned a Cuban heel as well in a different thread.
    I have always thought that a flat shoe is best because I have never had an issue with forward projection. Do other leaders have a preference of heel type?

    Regarding the OP I find that putting a suede dance bottom on a thin soled trainer (either Puma for narrow fit or Lonsdale for wide fit) works well for me.
  3. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    This seems odd to me. If I was a block of wood, a higher heel would surely tilt me forward. In my mind forward projection doesn't come from the heels, it comes from the chest.
  4. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    I agree. But surely, a built-up heel is traditional for tango leaders, but no longer fashionable?
  5. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    None of this is as scientific as we make out to be as a consequence
    of writing about a dynamic dance of movement by humans and not
    blocks of wood nor even pillars!

    The forward projection of the chest is helped by a combination
    of keeping the shoulders back, not breaking at the waist (though
    this is just as much for preservation of the back), and some overall
    forward intent which has to come from the floor and the ankles
    if your tendons and muscles allow. Slightly tilting the platform
    of your foot (the sole of your shoe) allows you to lean a little bit
    and have the heel under you for stability.

    People's experiences are bound to be different because we all have
    slightly different experiences and abilities and/or wear and tear.

    Ladies have their high heels for just the same reason - a high heel
    enables a greater tilt when appropriate yet the heel of the foot
    can still be in contact with the heel of the shoe which is in contact
    with the floor. That's my understanding and the practical results
    of partners help confirm it.
  6. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    This is possibly because the sole is not the full with of the shoe and the
    leather is effectively wrapped around and under the foot and stitched
    to the undercut sole. I have felt that too and problems with the position
    of the split sole catching the ball of the foot uncomfortably. That possibly
    would not be a problem if I hadn't bought a shoe longer than my foot to
    get the necessary width and then exacerbated by my modifications to
    the original very low heel height.
  7. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    For those of you searching for a dance sneaker that doesn't cramp your forefoot, I LOVE my Sansha Dynamo split sole sneaks. It could be that they are just the perfect construction for my foot, but they do seem to have wider front part.

    They do not come in half-sizes and since I like my shoes snug, I ignored their recommendation to buy the next size up. So they are on the verge of being too short, but they are still wider than I really need. (but not enough to mean they don't feel secure)

    They also come with removable insoles that you could cut in half to boost the heel slightly or replace completely with something you prefer. I took them out and leave them out (since I bought the size down from my half size)

    They do not have sueded soles.. they have that sole material that isn't really like a rubber sneaker sole, but isn't slick either. IF I'm wearing them to follow on a sticky floor, I cover the front with a cut up sock or use baby powder. On slippery floors, they are fine. And I like them for leading.

    They also don't have that ugly bulky look that so many Dance sneakers have.

  8. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    The Rumpf dance trainers are similarly non-ugly, split soled, and
    with a hard composition sole that seem to have both control
    and spinability. Mine seem nearest to the 1556 Flite seen here:
    Edit: original dance sneaker link may have moved and this model 1573 seems to be be what they offer now.
    also available in half sizes which Vidadance/Via Dance are not.
    While I pack the heel for tango (it's not really high enough)
    the actual sole is really flat and very stable though inevitably
    it feels different to a solid leather soled street/tango shoe.

    I'm afraid my reaction to a sticky floor is not to spin or pivot
    but to step. Talcum (Baby) powder is not liked by many and
    can be dangerous to some. And though I don't much like the
    idea of a sock over the shoe, and I've never tried it, I think
    I'd prefer it to the talcum powder which can produce
    variable slip and unexpected results.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2017
  9. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    If I'm following, I don't have the option of not pivoting, since almost everything requires some pivoting and if you tell a leader to eliminate all those things, he's going to wish he hadn't asked you to dance!

    There are actually a few places here where we talc the whole floor in summer because the humidity makes them so sticky. When I want talc for my sneaks in other venues, I'm usually not the only one, and there will be a little talc pile in a corner for people to get it on their shoes without it creating a problem for those who don't want it.

    I don't usually plan on putting a sock over the toe end of my shoe, but I carry the cut socks just in case I am having to choose between doing that and not dancing. Again, this is only for following. I don't have to worry about not being able to do what I'm led if I'm doing the leading. Also, the sock piece I use leaves a bit of toe exposed in case i need the grip in an emergency, and only goes past the front sole into my arch. They do not cover my heel. This is mostly a last resort, not a typical scenario. But if I'm wearing sneaks for an all day workshop where heels would be tiring, or when I'm having a problem that prevents me from wearing heels, I need a backup plan in case the floor isn't "fast".
  10. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Those shoes (in the link) seem to have extremely nubby soles or something. The Sansha's are almost smooth without "tread". Like if you put your foot in paint and made a step, it wouldn't have a lot of pattern to the imprint.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2017
  11. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Be careful with dance sneakers; look at the soles; I have a pair of capezios which are clunky but nice to practice in; the bloch's I have ar useless they have too much grip under the toe, but they do one with less grip. but pivoting is impossible.
  12. shrek

    shrek New Member

    I am liking my gretaflora men's dance sneakers (or also called tarrostango) but I'm into that style and like lower heels. Only recommend though if you get a chance to try them on first as the fit varies a surprising amount even in the same size. In fact IMHO I think it's only worth buying dance shoes that you can try on first for fit and balance.
  13. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    You're right, these trainers/sneakers do have a "tread" pattern
    but you will see that it incorporates a pivot spot. The pattern is
    different to my first pair and to begin with wasn't as fast but wearing in
    has improved that so now I don't notice much difference and works
    rather like a chrome leather sole.

    The sole of second (and probably current) pair have a less cushioned sole
    so an insole insert helps if you are going to be on them all day. Personally
    I think this choice is better than having an over-cushioned trainer type
    sole unit which can dull the contact feel of the floor.

    Neither pair was originally bought for tango but with just a simple
    temporary modification in the heel they suit me better than Vidadance,
    they are more comfortable, more stable and safer for practice.
  14. Temza

    Temza Member

    when the floor is very sticky or if i dance outdoors in non-pivoting shoes, i replace a step+pivot with a step+step+step almost on the spot in double time, to face the leader again. this works well in forward ochos. in back ochos I don't pivot, just cross my legs, and in a giro as well. I haven't found a solution for a carousel (calesita) though :confused:
  15. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    I don't think there really is one...apart from making a (nice, non-judgemental, non-accusatory) comment to the leader that you really can't do those at the time since you can't pivot. Now and again I've run into issues with horrendous floor/"floor" conditions which didn't allow for various things, and a simple comment to my leader was well-received. Most guys, IMO/IME, don't actually want to cause their partners pain and are willing to be mindful of things that can be difficult, but might not always realize. Just a simple, "Ooh, I'm really having a hard time pivoting. The floors are really sticky. Can you try not to lead calesitas? They're just about impossible for me tonight" works pretty well.
  16. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    Just say "No" to calesitas. ;) But seriously, I like hearing when my partner tells me there are floor difficulties. Normally I switch to non-pivoting dancing if that is the case. Sometimes crossing "milonguero" ochos are still ok.
  17. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    Or you can try 2x4AlPié shoes, they come with three different soles that you can choose according to the surface. Well, not entire soles, just the part of the sole you're pivoting on.
  18. vidadance

    vidadance New Member

    Well yes, JohnEm did explain to me at length what he feels is wrong with my Vidadance mens shoes, and suggested I’m wrong to sell them for tango because the heel is too low.

    But I’ve sold many hundreds of pairs now to guys around the world, mainly for tango, particularly through personal recommendation, and with great feedback. They’re the most popular mens shoes in milongas at places like Eton, Totnes, Bramshaw, Bristol, including some pretty good dancers.

    I only sell shoes from stock, and am always happy to exchange or refund returns in their original condition if you ever want to judge for yourself.

    Or rely on the opinion of someone who clearly has a bee in his bonnet!

    David Venney
    Vidadance - dance shoes for guys
  19. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Vidadance Men's Shoes Again!

    Previously all I got in response to my observations were copied
    emails all expressing customer satisfaction.

    It is worth pointing out that this was originally a private exchange after David
    was advertising his shoes on a UK Tango email list which I felt was misleading
    to other tango men. There was no request for refund (nor any offered) as I had
    already had the shoes modified in an attempt to resolve some of the issues,
    ultimately unsuccessful. But David was not interested in any such opinion
    nor in seeing the result of my experimentation with his shoes.

    The low heel was not the only objection at the time - small contact areas
    with the floor, the curved heel and instability were also mentioned.
    I even compared them to MBTs, the very opposite of what tango requires.


    Comments in this thread were in response to a post of uncritical recommendation.

    That is more typical of the supplier's reaction to a contrary opinion.
    People may indeed use them but many do not realise their many limitations.
    A tango shoe supplier should know. Even before my order we were exchanging
    emails about posture and projection in tango and my preference of a higher
    than typical heel height.

    It is impossible to satisfactorily test tango shoes without using them
    to dance. They are then not in their original condition. This is an offer
    which provides no practical possibility of test in order to accept or reject.

    You buy them as much at your own risk as I did mine.

    That was an expensive bee to have in my bonnet! Tango is personal.
    The criticisms are based on my experience, not on that of anyone else.
    But my own years of dance experience should also have warned me not to buy
    a shoe which is claimed to be near universal. There is no such thing in dance.

    The modified Vidadance shoes are now discarded and I have followed in the
    footsteps of the porteño men by using appropriate street shoes. Bought
    in the Uk they are now modified with a wedge inserted in the heel
    to raise it by an average of 5mm to approximately 3cm.
  20. Captain Jep

    Captain Jep New Member

    Vidadance shoes

    Personally I hardly dance in anything except my Vidadance aka my "Venney shoes". Great stability good fit and I think they look great in all but the most formal of situations.

    I've tried Darcos shoes as well and find them plasticky very liable to scuff and not at all comfortable.

    I guess it's horses for courses. Still, I know there are loads of guys in the UK who love wearing Venneys, and I'm unashamedly one of them!

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