Once you’re ready to invest in a shoe that’s been made specifically for tango, you have a lot of choice. Here are four main things to consider when choosing your first pair of tango shoes:
1. Choose the right sole
The ideal sole for tango shoes is leather or suede. Make sure you can pivot without hurting your knee, and that you’re not going to slip and slide on the dancefloor.
Dance shops will often have a area of wooden floor for you to use (or a wooden board that they’ll get out for you) so you can try out steps and pivots.
2. Get the height of heel that's right for you
You don’t need a high heel to dance tango, but most followers find it helps them to get the posture right. Many leaders also prefer a low heel rather than a completely flat shoe. Experiment. Find out what feels good for you and what helps you with your posture.
High heels look great – so long as you can walk and dance in them. Whatever heels you choose, make sure you practise enough in them so you can dance confidently.
3. Choose shoes that are soft on the outside
Tango shoes should be made of soft enough material that you can feel any contact with your partner’s foot. And they should certainly be soft enough not to hurt if you’re dancing with someone wearing open toes shoes.
Ideally, your shoe should match the contours of your feet. Avoid dancing in dress shoes that have a hard, protruding sole.
4. Make sure you get enough support
In order to stay grounded and to be able to dance on the balls of your feet, you’ll want a measure of support from the sole of your shoe. You really need to experiment yourself and find what works for you, but a super-flexible sole is not going to be the best choice for Argentine tango.