About the “right” Tango shoes
Every now and then I am asked for my opinion about the right Tango shoes.
Actually Tango shoes are one of the most discussed things among Tango dancers.
Specially women (YES!:-) can be seen at every bigger milonga, looking through sortiments of Tango shoes talking about design, colours, comfort and all thinkable aspects of the Tango shoes displayed.
Okay, the choice of Tango shoes for women is bigger by far and with the choice comes the embarrassment of riches.
The choice of Tango shoes for men is small in comparison.
I have to admit that I like to take a look at shoes as well and I like nicely crafted, elegant shoes. Not only Tango shoes. Actually I like to spend a lot of time in shoe shops.
I spite of this I do not buy lots of Tango shoes, for two reasons.
Reason number one: I don´t know why but the Tango shoes I like always seem to have the highest price tags.
Reason number two: I have big feet and many Tango shoes I like are not available in my seize (Which probably is a good thing in the end, thinking about the price tags).
Anyway, for me a Tango shoe in first line should be comfortable and support your foot.
Elegance of course is nice but doesn´t help if Tango shoes are not comfortable andTango shoes which are too small can be hell.
I like it, when the leather of my Tango shoes is soft because it gives me the feeling of having a better contact with the floor and makes it easier for me to perform elegant steps (As I am not elegant by nature, I have to use every trick:-).
About the soles of Tango shoes.
Also the soles of Tango shoes are something strongly discussed. I know dancers who can talk for hours which sole of which Tango shoe fits which floor. Glazed leather, suede, polished leather…
So, which sole is right for your Tango shoes?
My answer to this is, I really don´t care so much.
When I go to an open air milonga with rough stone pavement or a dance floor made of wooden planks I tend to wear some older Tango shoes to avoid spoiling my new ones.
On a VERY slippery floor it may happen that I take off my Tango shoes and get back to my normal street shoes with rubber soles if they are sufficiently elegant.
I found that normally I get along well with whatever shoes I wear.
I think, in most cases choosing the “right” Tango shoes is rather a question of your attitude than a real necessity.
Look, in the beginnings of Tango there were not to be found many high class parquet dance floors in the quarters where Tango was born.
People danced in the streets, in backyards, in inns with rough wooden floors.
There were dancers who had no shoes at all, let alone elegantly crafted Tango shoes for the only purpose of dancing.
Tango in those days was pretty much down to earth, many of the elegant, sophisticated movements we connect today with Tango didn´t exist back then.
Turns and pivots for example you can dance only on smooth floors, came much later when Tango had conquered all parts of Argentine society and became a mass movement, with big dance halls.
So maybe we shouldn´t think so much about the right choice of our Tango shoes but more how we can adapt our way of dancing to the reality of the dance floor we find.
To master this challenge not only makes us more indipendent from dance floors and whatever soles our Tango shoes might or might not have but helps us to make our dancing richer as well.