Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Atang, Nov 29, 2011.
No, sentenced to wear black and whites for the rest of your life....
That's even worse than losing your balance.
A note on the black street shoes for the milonga: While this might be standard for the milongueros it is not something i would recommend to anybody who dances even a tiny bit more modern. If the leader dances anything with foot-on-foot contact - sandwiches, drags, stops and so on it is much more comfortable for the follower if the leaders shoe does not have a welt. This is not a problem for followers - womens shoes are almost never welted - but the majority of mens shoes are.
I agree that in the UK it's difficult to find appropriate street shoes
and that they should be non-welted. Welted shoes are too heavy and clumsy.
The change in shoe style over the years has affected the choice we have
but a street shoe, carefully chosen, is effective for social (milonguero?) tango.
The "correct" shoe should add to the feel, stability and dynamics of the dance
and a typical dance shoe doesn't do that in the same way.
First of all sorry for the late reply and welcome on the board. You surf the internet for a good online shoe store.
It seems that this thread turned into more about leaders shoes, but I'd be interested to see what women like as well. Like the OP, at a year in my tango journey I decided to buy a pair of tango shoes.
Since I dance ballroom, my "shoe of choice" was Werner Kern. The "Layla" style was good for me. It has a somewhat chunkier 6.0 cm heel that is listed as a "tango heel." The shoes are part of their comfort line and have served me well. I bought them from Carmen's Dance Shoes in San Diego over the phone, and the gentleman I spoke with is very good in helping you get the correct size. Last December they had a 30% off sale for the month and it's a good time to make a purchase! Werner Kern also has a tango line called Nuevo Epoca, but the heels are too high for my personal comfort level.
When I bought my first pair of tango shoes, I wanted a lower (2-inch) heel. At a tango festival, I special ordered shoes from Mr. Tango (Jorge Nels). The shoes are hand made in Columbia, and you can specify heel height, extra padding, etc... Jorge measures your feet by measuring and drawing, but that didn't really work well and I had to return the shoes. I found that by trying on the shoes in person worked, and I basically wore the same size as I did in regular shoes. (Size 8 B in open toe, 8 1/2 B in closed) The shoes are $130.00/pair and he will remake the shoes up to three times if you're not satisfied with the fit. (You pay return shipping to a location in the United States.) He also has a website.
I have a beautiful pair of Comme il Faut's in red suede with a wider 2 1/2 inch heel. However, I was amazed when I saw the display of Madame Pivot shoes at the recent Albuquerque festival. Although the heels were 2 1/2 inches and thin, I felt really grounded and stable. They fit perfectly. These are Italian shoes and they have a U.S. website.
I can post links yet, or else I would add the websites. :-(
That's my experience, and I'd love to hear from other followers...
I've never heard of Madame Pivot shoes and browsed the web site. I love Italian shoes, but I won't be buying these. They are the same styles as Comme il Faut shoes.
If you asked a milonguero Viejo about women's tango shoes, he wouldn't describe open-toed sandals for tango. Real tango shoes have a closed toe with secure straps across the foot. The milongueros viejos wear street shoes to the milongas.
Today women use all kinds of street shoes, sandals, boots for the milongas in BsAs. Men wear dance sneakers that don't give them stability.
My absolute favorite shoes for tango are by Robin Tara, that were made in Montevideo.
Everyone has their preferences that develop over time. I have tried many many shoes in the last 8-9 years. This is a list of shoes I have owned at one time or at least tried on repeatedly.
Tara- absolutely not for me. I don't like the chunky look and the shoes are painfully narrow. I was not overly impressed with any of the 4 pairs I tried and spent hundreds of dollars on.
Comme Il Faut- These do not and have never fit my feet well. Better for those with narrower feet. I've sold all the pairs I tried.
Nueva Epoca- Lovely well made shoes in the leather/suede varieties I have had. There are still several types with the 6.5cm heel. Have a leather half sole added on to the bottom and it will feel like 6cm and your good to go. I also buy the 7cm ones and have them cut down a little and have a leather half sole added on.
Neotango- This shoe has some models that actually fit wider feet. The heel heights are uncompromising though and the balance is so nice on them that I don't want to mess with it and have them cut down so I only have one pair of high heels from them right now.
Turquoise- Made by Hasan Seremet from Turkey. Very nicely made and built shoe. Lowest heel again is about 7.5cm and I wouldn't cut them down. They have more padding than Neotango or CIF.
Greta Flora: I have more Greta Flora than any other shoe. They make a comfy 5.5 and 6.5cm heel sometimes and you have to jump on it to get it. Easiest to find at festivals.
Jorge Nel/Mr Tango. I've had some of my best and worst shoes from him. WHen he gets it right, he really gets it right, but he also gets it wrong too. I, too, tried a special order one time that did not work out but have much better luck getting them in person when I can try them on. One of my current favorite pairs is Mr Tango.
Guaranteed Fit- I tried them on once. Lots of padding, but I wasn't convinced of the quality so they went back.
Darcos- I have had several Darcos. My first tango shoes were from them and were my favorite. I think they may run on the CIF sizing scale (tight), but don't quote me on that. I got a pair of size 36 shoes and had to have them stretched for my feet, but now they fit fine. I might try the next size up next time. Sign up for their email sales.
Susana Artesanal- Nice shoe, runs large by about a half size from what I remember.
There's a couple of other umbrella brands I have tried but can't remember the names. Good luck. You'll find some shoes that work for you, you just have to try some things and find what works best for you. I prefer sandals, because I have arthritis in my toes and can't wear close toe shoes, but others prefer a closed toe or peep toe. There's no right or wrong here, just right or wrong for your own situation. Festivals are going to be your best bet to try a variety of shoes.
Wait- just so y'all don't think I have a serious tango shoe problem (!) most of these brands that I don't wear are ones I tried and sold in the first few years of dancing as I desperately tried to find something that would fit the requirements of my wide feet that were pretty but not too high. As of today, I only have about 12 pairs of tango shoes, including some that have been retired to practicing or streetwear. The last shoes I bought were Neotango, about a year ago.
2 Nueva Epoca
3 Mr Tango
4 Greta Flora
1 Tango Brujo (No longer available, I think. Neither hell nor high water could convince me to get rid of these shoes. They will have to just fall apart off my feet one day.)
In Buenos Aires we have had our shoes made at "p. h.". They could manufacture any design we came up with and adjusted the width according to our feed. Those shoes were extremely durable, comfortable and not expansive back then. It took them 3 to 4 weeks to make them. After a couple of years Sonja’s shoes very still intact but the material was so stretched out, it gained a size. As they were still good for dancing, Sonja donated them to some beginners.
In the following years Sonja used Come-Il-Faut shoes and I had to add a few boards to our shoe cupboard. They fit her like a glove, had a fancy look and featured decent high heels. Sonja uses 9 cm for practice/lessons and 10 for performances (…her choice not mine). Sometimes the buckles need some fixing and after 1 to 1,5 years of intensive use the inner steel support brakes. All in all they gave a very good performance.
During the last year, it became very hard to get them in that high, so Sonja chanced to Madame Pivot. They are of almost equal quality, but are sold at a lower price. Produced in Italy, we don’t have to pay customs. This way they are much more affordable.
BTW, once the snow starts to reach the ankles, nobody wants to be outside in dance shoes, therefore even German man will have some kind of “dance shoes” by December. I know this is a problem unheard of in Buenos Aires.
When Sonja discovers a new pair of fancy shoes, the hunt is on. In every town we stay, she will check the fabric stores in search of a suitable textile. When finally all ingredients are gathered, she makes a matching dress. It’s always shoes first, dress later.
I haven’t checked all bags and suitcases, but so far I just counted 21 pairs, which I assume to be still in usable condition.
However, several of them are for one act only, others are still “inactive” (the dress isn’t finished yet). A few are “consumable supplies” and will wither away during practice. For the use in lessons there are some plain shoes: one set black, one set nude and the according reserve. For social dancing there are several more colorful, but not too fancy ones.
I seldom bother to wear anything fancier than my old black shoes, because nobody ever cares about my footwear.
Absolutely, thank you so much for the information. So many shoes, and only two feet!
You are very welcome. It seems you have already made a start! I'm glad CiF will work for you. They are pretty! SInce I can't collect CiF, I collect interesting handbags instead.
Once you get used to your CIF size, check eBay for deals or something cheap in a higher heel you won't mind taking to the chopping block to see what happens. You can generally get 1/4" taken off without messing things up unless the balance was superb to start with, then don't mess with them.
Think shoes are a women´s issue… And if you´ve managed to grab one of these high-rated tango-gazelles, you will discover and of course have to acknowledge her collection! I´ve seen corridors with illuminated glass vitrines showing hundreds (believe so) unique masterpieces showing the way towards the bedroom...
Our shoes are no exhibition pieces, just tools … alas good looking ones. One day they will be used up and forgotten - except maybe for one pair!
Last summer I needed some objects for drawing exercises. For a few days they had to stand the heat, so I nicked a pair of Sonja’s shoes.
I would definitely advise against a website called "Argentina Tango shoes" at argentinatangoshoes.com
Their shoes are of the worst quality ever and their customer service is appalling. I bought a pair of Artesenal shoes from this website and ended up spending over $300 sending the shoes back and forth due to serious defects. The leather of the shoes had flaws, the stitching was atrocious, the heel caps were coming off, and one heel was higher than the other. In the end, I decided it wasn't worth spending another penny on postage to return them again.
Or red and white.
Fortunately, mine look almost exactly like bowling shoes, so at least I don't suffer the brunt of the Curse of the Black and White Shoes (even though they're _really_ conspicuous everybody thinks they are street shoes).
My other pair was black and unconspicuous (also Madame Pivot sneakers) but alas, they're half a European size too small.
There's a merit to dance shoes over "street shoes" in that they don't have a conspicuous welt, which cannot be said of most street shoes, and they tend to be more flexible (and thus more comfortable for dancing for extended periods); that's about it as far as advantages go.
Street shoes in supple and thin leather that you've worn for _very_ long tend to be just as flexible, and I did have some pairs of street shoes that I can comfortably dance with -- sadly, dancing years with them took its toll).
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