Why do we need dance shoes? Like any sport, we need the right equipment so that we can perform our best. Argentine Tango is no exception. The requirements are slightly different from that of the ballroom shoe, so if you’re just starting out and unsure what to look for let us help you out.
There are two main requirements for a solid Argentine Tango shoe for ladies: they must be flexible and they must allow you to pivot. Shoes must be flexible in the middle so that you can push off from the floor and use the momentum in your dance. They must also move with your foot, fitting your natural shape. The material that will most allow for flexibility and pivoting is the leather sole. This is the ideal material for the sole of an Argentine Tango shoe. Most Argentine Tango shoes also have a soft lining, usually leather.
Once these criteria have been met, it is important that the shoe fits your foot. In street shoes, it doesn’t matter if the size is a little big. In dance shoes, this is a recipe for injury. Since most Argentine Tango shoes are made of leather, they will tend to stretch a little as you wear them*. Thus, when trying them on it is alright if they feel slightly snug at first. Note: this does not mean they pinch your feet.
On open-toed Tango shoes, it is important to keep your toes from falling out the front. When sliding your foot into the shoe, it should be a little longer than your foot – 0.5cm is considered ideal. Any more than that and you will run the risk of stepping on your partner and being stepped on.
There are two types of heel cage: open and enclosed. Both are secure (provided the rest of the shoe fits properly) and will depend on your level of comfort with the style.
Finally, heel height. 2-3.5 inches is the range for women’s Tango shoes, culminating in the stiletto. Since Argentine Tango is danced on the balls of the feet the higher heel helps with balance. That being said, if you are just starting out and not comfortable with a 3.5-inch stiletto, choose a lower heel and work your way up.
Argentine Tango is a dance full of fire and the shoes should reflect that. The high heel shoes off the leg and the leather sole enables smooth pivoting action. At iLoveDanceShoes we are (slightly) obsessed with Tango and would love to help you choose your next pair. To give you an idea, here are some of our favourite models:
Visit our online store to see more models. You can also email us to make appointment for a fitting (if you are in Montreal).
See you on the floor!
*note that the stretch of a leather or suede shoe is more than that of one made of satin or patent leather.