I want to buy my first tango shoes

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

  1. sixela

    sixela Active Member

    I have cuban heels and have had them for ten years since my teacher sold his pair to me (they were too small for him). Never looked back. I don't care if it's traditional or not, it works for me (and they help me to walk more naturally to the front and roll from heel to toe without having my foot in an ungainly position and force me to be very precise in where I put my feet. And no, I don't wish to emulate those escenario dancers sticking their toes out just to land on the ball of their feet).
  2. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    What size are the heels? I prefer a low heel.
  3. vidadance

    vidadance New Member

    The actual heel is approx 1.4mm and there's an insole and footbed inside the shoe which add a few extra mm.

    I sell worldwide from my web-site though in the US you might find it more convenient to look at the lines stocked by GuaranteedFit. The guy who runs it is a tanguero and wears my shoes himself. They're listed under both dance shoes and sneakers.

    I also checked through the eight male friends I happen to have in common with JohnEm on Facebook. Six of them have bought my shoes, including two with two pairs each. That's a fact.
    bordertangoman likes this.
  4. JohnEm

    JohnEm Member

    Vidadance Men's Shoes

    David, I rather think you meant 1.4cm (14mm) but I don't have
    my (modified) shoes here to check. Nevertheless the effective
    heel height is significantly less than the 20mm of a pair of ballroom shoes
    I have which are designed to allow a backward upper body counter-balancing
    lean yet still allow you to be poised on the balls of your feet.
    These were the shoes I used when I started learning and discovered
    after months of trying that it was the shoes which were opposing the
    necessary projection in close embrace. And that was the start of my
    own individual shoe search.

    I am not really active on FaceBook. If we had eighty FaceBook male "friends"
    in common no doubt sixty would have your shoes but that would be
    no reference at all. Dance, especially tango, is personal.

    I have made no secret of the fact that I dance the tango of central Buenos
    Aires, not of the barrios, academia or Villa Urquiza, nor the third party
    tango of European teachers. I doubt if any of the "friends" and I dance
    the same. Shoes which positively deter and counteract stable, positive
    contact with the floor and connection with your partner cannot be good.

    In the interests of peaceful tango I had hoped this exchange would be dropped
    but you citing my "friends" to refute a customer's counter-view based on
    experience has prompted me to write in more detail then at least readers
    can judge for themselves.

    Here's a quote from the Vidadance Website:
    Guys - do you tango, jive, salsa, or enjoy any other dance?
    Discover these exceptionally comfortable and stylish mens dance shoes
    from Vidadance.

    Take it from a dancer of many dances, there is no such thing
    as a universal shoe. These are not purpose made for tango,
    a dance of solid stable connection with the floor requiring stability
    for your partner.

    These pictures are from here: http://www.vidadance.com/Dance0.html

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The left hand picture is a little misleading as the upper on my size 8 shoes
    projects beyond the sole unit. Walk in them on a rough surface and the
    underside rubs on the ground thus wearing out the soft leather, more clearly
    seen in the next picture. Width fittings are not available so wide feet
    overhang sole each side. They are a fairly narrow style shape so to gain
    the width an excessive amount of shoe projects forward - just right for
    catching your partner's feet.

    Ok, so you jive or salsa on the balls of your feet - mid right picture.
    The split of the sole is in a place you never see on a pair of dance trainers
    from elsewhere. Worse, the stitching of the sole runs right under the start
    of the pressure area of the ball of your foot. It is not comfortable.

    The heel is vital in apilado tango. This is not the exaggerated apilado that
    is sometimes taught but the projection necessary to provide and maintain
    the space between the partners' feet when in the embrace. Not only is the
    heel excessively low so it is never available if you maintain posture and
    lean forward a little, if you end up rocking back onto your heel the curved
    heel you can see will encourage you to roll back further. The right hand picture
    also shows the very low height of the heel.

    Other men may not have such a requirement but it seems counter-productive
    to supply a shoe which so negatively affects connection and the possibility
    of progressing to the tango of connection and the senses.

    A final picture from here: http://www.vidadance.com/Comfort0.html

    [​IMG] A larger clearer pic can be clicked from link.

    Clearly seen here is the curving away sole in every direction - looking at it,
    it is convex with a small contact patch with the floor. It is unstable for any
    dance style and unlike any other shoe I have so far seen. Tango needs a
    stable, flat contact patch and sometimes some control from the floor.


    A quote from the Vidadance size chart:

    4. Don't worry if your foot is wider than the outline.

    So these shoes for dancing are available only in whole sizes and a customer
    is advised to ignore the width, sizing on length only. I am please to have
    a wide foot - it's an inbuilt advantage for balance and stability - but the
    advice assumes that your foot will expand the shoe to suit thus increasing
    the width-ways overhang of the undercut sole. It will get increasingly
    uncomfortable as the foot bed compresses with wearing because the foot
    crosses the stitching line. There has been another comment to that effect.

    The upside is the shoes look nice! But tango for me is form following function
    and these shoes do not, so buyer beware.
  5. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    This is more and more like a TV soap opera, but you are failing to provide a satisfactory cliffhanger, each episode.
  6. sixela

    sixela Active Member

    Well, _I_ know what I want in a shoe and that echoes what JohnEm wants (for the reasons I have stated above). And that would still apply if a distributor/manufacturer could cite all other tango dancers as counter-examples.

    Refuting "I don't like these shoes because X, Y and Z" with "but others like the shoes" is a bit silly, even if both John happens to be completely wrong about X, Y and Z as good reasons for disliking them. I'll leave it to others to decide on what they like in shoes, I'm not going to make their mind up for them. If they think X, Y and Z are silly reasons to dislike shoes, then they know not to listen to the advice of JohnEm anyway.

    dchester dances close embrace and likes low heels, so JohnEm's preferences are clearly not universal either.
  7. gyb

    gyb New Member

    Disagree. Although heels might help, they are neither vital nor necessary to dance in apilado, unless you have too weak Achilles tendons. I dance as apilado as it gets in a completely flat shoes, and I actually prefer them to my high-heel tango shoes. On short steps they allow for a much smoother dance experience by making occasional arrival on the toes easier.
  8. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I have a pair; they are absolutley fine; whether I'm dancing salon or apilado. I have narrow feet; so the fitting is comfortable. most men's shoes (normal shoes and tango shoes are too wide for my foot. They are superb in my opinion. I have tried a cuban heel but its not for me. They are stable for pivoting, (anyone who has seen my enrosques will vouch for that) and even okay on some rather treacheruos floors where the lady has slid, and I've had to catch her.

    They wouldn't suit everyone, I'm sure, but they're fine and they are wearing better then a pair of Darcos suede soled shoes which were also very nice but the sole and upper started to come apart (after a lot of dancing, it has to be said..)

    i am planning to buy a second pair and maybe dye them blue....
  9. sixela

    sixela Active Member

    De calceamentis, gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum.
  10. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah, I hate the Cuban heels as well. However, I have a wide foot, so it sounds like these aren't the droids I'm looking for.
  11. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Nah.. we have high heels because they're pretty and because there are still leaders out there who think the ladies wearing the highest heels are the most desirable and skilled partners

    So I think all you guys need to be dancing in the highest cuban heels you can find.. even if they don't suit you, inhibit your stability, and cause you discomfort. At least then we followers will know who the good leaders are.

    pfft... ;)
  12. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I always hated that about ballet slippers.. the edge of the sole patch always hit right under the ball of my foot and made me unstable. I now take ballet in gymnastic slippers.
  13. sixela

    sixela Active Member

    So do I. I'm used to them, and if it makes all the other leaders trip all over themselves they make me look better and more desirable as a dance partner ;).
  14. pascal

    pascal Member


    I have a lot of shoes for tango, not because I like them all but because I don't like any and I keep searching for the one pair that will be easy to dance with and comfortable.
    I have "classic" shoes, I find them heavy, uncomfortable, and rigid - which compromises my balance. I have sneakers (DNI, TangoLeike, Darcos), they're light, comfortable, but well it's training shoes, wearing them in a milonga is like coming with clown shoes.

    So I ordered a Vidadance pair, and brought them to my tango class, together with my 2x4 al Pié, which I thought was similar in the concept. Neither sneaker nor classic, sole in two parts.

    [​IMG]

    Yes I like white shoes :)

    The shoes were delivered *very* quickly, a nice change from other online shops. I used the footprint tool to choose the size, 7, the smallest available by the way. On the footprint it looked almost too small, in reality the shoes are slightly too large, the end of the shoe is 1 cm further than the end of my thumbnail. During the class two followers walked on my foot (they usually don't), not hurting me though as they actually walked on the shoe and not on the foot. :) Maybe a 6,5 would have been better, not sure though as the shoes have a long and narrow shape, so for my foot it's probably either too narrow (6,5) or too long (7).
    The stability is perfectly ok, I know I am given to walking too much on the side of my foot and in this respect the shoes are more forgiving than, say, my Tangoleike which make me fall sideways if I am not perfectly centered. They have no significant heel which is more or less ok for me as I belong to the "toes-land-first" school of walkers. Still I would not mind slightly higher heels.
    Pivoting is very easy, you can pivot on a carpet, like with the 2x4 Al Pié when you select the most slippery sole.
    They're not flashy, usually when someone brings brand-new shoes there are comments from the other dancers, here nobody said anything... until at mid-class I switched to my 2x4 Al Pié. For me it's ok too, I don't like to draw attention, still maybe it's a sign that people don't identify them as tango shoes.

    The thing is, they're too large, when I walk I feel I am losing them, and they will end in the drawer with all my many pairs of "almost" good tango shoes.
    Size apart, the sum up would be: Are they tango shoes? No. Is it easy and enjoyable to dance tango with them? Yes.
  15. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hi pascal! Long time no see. :)
  16. JohnEm

    JohnEm Member

    Vidadance Shoes for Men

    The term "classic shoes" encompasses too many possibilities to be useful.
    Even in Buenos Aires it isn't clear what that would mean. I've looked at
    Darcoss in the past only to see three different styles, each with a different
    type of sole/heel unit. One I would say was probably virtually undanceable
    except completely on the balls of your feet, the sole was so upturned.
    The exaggeration of show tango has had a strong influence too resulting
    in an increased heel height for dramatic effect.

    My preferred shoes now are more of an Italian style in which the leather sole
    is thinner and lighter than a typical English welted one. A good fit is important
    as is a heel height - if there was such a thing as a standard height in Buenos Aires
    it would seem to have been about 3cm rather than the one inch (2.5cm)
    prevalent in the UK. That is enough to provide the forward projection without
    the excessive lean often incorrectly promoted as apilado.

    Now these shoes are well broken in, I can walk, tango and jive in them,
    even West Coast Swing. Not only that, they are the most comfortable and
    supportive shoes I currently have.

    As you have found, sizing is a big issue and can be worse for others
    depending on foot proportions. There are no alternative width fittings
    and not even half sizes are available.

    I too have the over length problem - essentially it is another negative
    for tango that, because of the shape of the design, too much shoe protrudes
    beyond the end of your foot to be practical for close embrace tango.
    Your pictures also clearly show the unconventional position of the split
    in the sole compared with the Alpie.
    I cannot comment about how you walk or dance etc. But I cannot see the
    point of using a shoe which is not inherently stable in itself. A good shoe
    should add to your stability not make you unconsciously work even harder.
    As an experiment try walking on the balls of your feet with your eyes closed
    and open, barefooted and in your various shoes.
    And thus too slippy for a dance floor. The slippiness is a result of a very
    small contact patch. For such contact patch reasons is why a motorbike
    with its smaller contact area can never outcorner a car.

    Most male social dancers in Buenos Aires use street shoes. So called tango
    shoes are flashy for attracting attention. It's the negative influence of
    today's visual world on a dance of feeling.
    Of course your opinion is valid for you though my experience of perhaps
    dancing a more traditional tango was not even half as positive as yours.
  17. To Buy Shoes

    To Buy Shoes New Member

    You can visit www. tobuyshoes .com
  18. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks for the (**cough**spam**cough**) tip, but I think I'd get laughed off the floor if I wore these to a milonga.

    [​IMG]
  19. jantango

    jantango Active Member

    The white shoes in post #54 above are the trend among young dancers but not the norm in the traditional Buenos Aires milongas. There's a UK teacher in BsAs this month wearing his buege shoes of the same style. Wearing these shoes only confirms that you are foreigner in Buenos Aires who hasn't noticed men wearing black street shoes to the milonga -- standard for the milongueros.
  20. Mladenac

    Mladenac Active Member

    And if you do not wear black street shoes you should be burned? o_O

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