What shoes should I get for tango?

Confused about shoes? Here are our top tips for choosing your first tango shoes.

Tango shoes are beautiful and expensive and they make a huge difference to your dance.

However, there’s no need to buy special shoes to join the Tango Fundamentals course. If you can, choose shoes that you can pivot in – in other words, shoes that don’t grip to a wooden floor. At a pinch, you can even dance your first few lessons in your socks.

Dance sneakers

If you’ve been along to a few classes and you’re considering signing up for one of our Cambridge tango courses, it's a good time to consider getting some shoes. Dance sneakers from brands such as Bloch or Rumpf make an excellent practice shoe. You can get them for about £50 and you can wear them to lead or follow.

Buying a pair of tango shoes

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.


Which brand of tango shoe shall I buy?

There are many brands out there. If you can, choose a shoe that’s designed for Argentine tango, not for ballroom or latin dance in general. 

Katriona likes Comme il Faut for following. You can buy them online from Lisadora

Savio likes Nueva Epoca for leading. 

Several of our students have bought shoes from Yuyo Brujo, who do mail order and also have a shop in London that you can visit by appointment.

Tango shoes are expensive, so take plenty of time to check for fit and comfort before you buy. There are many different brands and styles. Ask around at any milonga and you will probably get as many recommendations as there are dancers.

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