Tango Shoes - Characteristics of Women's and Men's Tango Shoes
Tango is an emotional and instinctive music, which means that easy movement
across the dance floor is crucial for establishing a good connection with
the music and reacting to the partner's moves. Since the tango first
emerged from the working-class establishments in Buenos Aires and
Montevideo and reached higher-end dance floors in both Argentina and the
rest of the world, the dancers of tango preferred to have a softer type of shoes that eventually solidified into purpose-built dance shoes that are perfect for enjoying
tango music and tango dance.
Beginners in the world of tango dancing will need to ensure that their feet
are well protected in comfortable footwear that will enable them to
effortlessly move across the dance floor during practice sessions, social
dancing, and competitions. Choosing a right shoe is crucial for getting a
sense of awareness how your body is interacting with the ground, reaching
the proper alignments of the body, and developing the strength, balance,
and confidence that is needed for execution of perfect tango dance.
As a rule of thumb, the tango dancing beginners do not need to purchase
purpose-built tango shoes immediately, since they can get the most of the
benefits of such shoes by getting a good jazz dancing shoes. Men's jazz shoes are usually made
of leather, with not to still uppers and a flexible sole that will enable
them to keep a good awareness of the dancing floor. If jazz shoes are also
unavailable, men can also go for ordinary leather shoes, but it is
highly recommended to practice in models that have softer soles
. Some beginners (and even seasoned veterans) of tango dance also prefer to
do some training sessions wearing nothing but socks, which
enables them to train how to keep certain positions and alignments of their
Women’s tango footwear is famous for being inclusive to higher heels that go all the way to 9 cm of height, but
beginners are recommended to stick to dancing shoes that are more closer to
the ground. The novice female dancers are even recommended
to take flat dancing shoes with the minimal heel, which
will enable them to gain needed confidence when practicing
faster moves, more elaborate tango dance forms, and proper body alignments.
When the basics are covered, women are encouraged to switch to shoes with a
higher heel (which have to be strong and durable) because such shoes will
enable them to more easily place their weight on the ground.
And of course, one of the most important things that you need to take in
consideration when picking tango shoes for yourself is to make sure that
you feel comfortable in them. They would not be so tight that they prevent
circulation and cause sores, but it is not recommended to practice in too
loose footwear. Both men and women will spend a majority of time dancing
with feet being very close to the ground, and their balance being held on
the balls of their feet. Having proper shoes that are flexible enough to
support small feet movements while you rotate on your hell and the uppers
are not stiff and causing you irritation is crucial to your feeling great
while dancing the tango. Novices are also discouraged to use footwear that
is slippery and that have opened toe (for added protection). Commonly,
leather shoes are more sturdy but slippery, while suede shoes provide more
grip and flexibility but do require more maintenance.
Men’s Tango Shoes
Differences between regular street shoes and tango dancing shoes for men is
less apparent than in female shoes, but while these differences are not
immediately visually apparent, their impact on the feel in the foot is
easily noticeable by tango dancers. Having good tango shoes means not only
that men will feel more comfortable in them during their practice, social
dances, and competitive dance, but also that they will get an immediate
advantage that will help them to achieve a better connection with their
partner, dance floor, and music.
Here are the most important features of men tango shoes:
- The forma of tango shoes is the basic mold that determines the basic shape of the shoe. This underlying shape is
important because while external visual designs and materials can
change, the basic forma of the shoe will determine how they fit you.
Traditionally, forma of both men and women shoes comes in slim, medium
or generous sizes.
- Sizes of men tango shoes usually cover the sizes between 39 and 46
(6.5-13 in the US, and 5.5-12 in the UK).
- Soles of men shoes need to be flexible and articulated, which will allow men to
pivot as easily as women. Stiff soles are undesirable because they can
limit foot placement and moves such as pivoting. Soles also have to be
thinner, so that dancer can feel the floor better. It is also highly
desirable that soles have no “overhang”, enabling you to place your
feet very closely to your partner with a reduced chance of accidentally
touching them and causing an injury or break in the flow of the dance
routine. Soles can be made from leather (for easier sliding across the
floor) and suede (for more grip on slippery floors).
- Men’s tango footwear is best if the uppers are softer and flexible,
enabling easier articulation of foot.
- The height of the heel in men shoes can vary in size. Dancer needs to
pick what heel size fit their needs.
- Since tango dance is energetic and fast, feet of the dancers go
through a lot of strain during even a single dance. Because of this,
men’s tango shoes need to be comfortable and slightly flexible. The leather
material provides stronger and more firm grip on the foot, while suede
is more flexible and can be more enjoyable to wear.
Female Tango Shoes
The differences between regular street shoes and tango dancing shoes are of
course much stronger for females than for males. The changes are both visual and structural. Tango is well
known to be a highly elegant dance, and female dancers enjoy to find
extravagant and stylish shoes that will also fit the requirements of their
dance. Female dancers also need to take special care about preserving their
feet because their move sets will put a lot of strain on their heels and
ball of the foot when performing “pointe” moves, pivoting and taking
numerous powerful steps in quick succession. If female dancer starts
feeling any foot issues or aggravating existing foot issues, she should
immediately contact a doctor or a specialist about picking proper shoes
that will provide better comfort.
Female tango shoes are distinguished by the following features:
- Similarly as in male shoes, forma is a mold that determines thebasic shape of the shoe. It comes in three sizes ( slim, medium and generous), and it and the size of the
shoe is the easiest way you can find the shoe that will fit you best.
- Female shoe sizes for tango dancing usually are set between 35 and 42
(5-11 in the US, and 3-9 in the UK)
- Soles of female tango shoes need to be slim but strong. Sole at the ball of the foot has to
be smooth (leather or suede) so that dancer can perform pivoting, while
the arch (also called shank) that connects the heel and the fingers
need to be very stiff and flexible in the point of interaction.
- Heel cage can be both closed or with a slingback. It is recommended
for beginners to first stick with closed heel cage.
- Heel of the female tango shoe need to be very sturdy
, and it has to be strongly connected to the heel cage
. Heels that show the sign of flexibility should be avoided.
- It is very important that shoe heel is situated in the right middle of your foot heel, enabling the female
dancer to position her weight equally distributed between the heel and
the ball of the feet. If the weight is distributed in any way more
forwards, back, left or right, the dancer is immediately elevating the
chance of injury (either fall or direct injury to the ankle).
- Total size of the tango shoe heel is measured from the ground to the
point the feet touch the top of the heel. While the heels can start
with sizes as low as 6cm, the most female tango shoes are made with the 7cm and 9cm heel height. 6 and 8cm heels are much
- Most tango shoes are open toed, but beginners are
encouraged to start with closed toe box to reduce the chance of injury.
The toe box should be fit well, and not be too tight. It is preferred
that dancing shoes do not scrunch toes together and that they can stay
in their natural position.
- Tango shoes need to be comfortable, but they need to keep your feet
secure because tango dance will push dancers through fast movements,
pivots, and rotations. Leather shoes provide more strength, but many
female dancers prefer suede lining because it provides a little flex.