How to choose the right pair of Tango Shoes


Maybe this is your first pair of Tango shoes… or maybe you already have a few and none of them fits perfectly. Here are some features that might be beneficial for you.

Choosing the right size:
�Dancing shoes should give you a comfortable and pleasantly snug, whether they are closed or open-toed. Essentially they should fit you as a glove.

Tango shoes are made of leather and stretch a little after you wear them for the first time and the shoes need to fit you perfectly after they stretch. What you’ll need to know :

• When you’re dancing, it is dangerous when your feet are moving around in your shoe. The chances on injuries will increase. e.g. blisters and other foot worries.
• It will be much more difficult for you to balance in shoes that are too big.
• Shoes that are too big increase your chance of stepping on your partner or getting stepped on.
• Shoes that are too big will get in the way of your dancing, especially if you’re trying to do embellishments.

So sometimes dancers go half a size down from their regular street shoes to achieve a fit that supports their feet.

Open or close

At the tip of the shoe there is the toe box. This may be completely closed or open. On the inside it is usually leather lined with a material that reinforces the shape of the toe.
If the shoe doesn’t have a toe box, than the shoe is open-toed. The upper of the open-toed shoe may be anything from a single band to a strappy sandal.

The vamp

The vamp is that part of the upper that covers the toes. Can be long or short. Always try on your shoe. A short vamp may cut into the bunion, a vamp that is too long may cut into the high instep. A good fitting tango shoe will be leather lined and eventually mold to your foot. It will allow you to flex easily at your metatarsal.


The outer sole is referring to the underside of the shoe. They come in smooth leather, suede, chromo or smooth rubber. All types of sols are appropriate for Argentinean Tango, as long as they allow you to pivot freely on one leg.
Smooth leather soles, offer the least friction resistance as soon as you put them on.
Suede, chromo and smooth rubber require a few days break-in. But they offer the same benefits of the leather soled shoes.
Often the outer sole of a tango shoe is thinner than the one from a street shoe> This allows you to move easier.


The shank of the shoe is the reinforced material within a shoe that supports the arch of your foot and prevents the shoe from bending at that place. Dance shoes with heels may be available in 3/4 or half-shanks. Half-shanks are ideal for the experienced dancer who want to pointe and flex her toes to the extreme for aesthetics. Most shanks tower wille 3/4. This means the shank will not extend the toes. Quality dance shoes have strong shanks.

�When you slide your feet in the tango shoes, the shoes need to be only slightly longer than your feet. While you don’t want your toes hanging outside the base of the shoes, you also don’t want the shoes to be much longer. (1/2cm is enough.)

�If the shoes are snug, don’t worry. They’ll most likely stretch enough after you wear them the first night. If they’re hurting your feet, you can try a different style. In general, the open toe style will fit wider. It is also helpful to know that suede and leather material stretch more than the shoes that use satin or patent leather.

Heel Cage and Straps
�Some shoes have an enclosed heel cage and some have an open heel cage. If you just started dancing and worried, go for the fully enclosed heel cage. However, open heel cage are surprisingly secure, especially those that have a thick sling back!

The ankle straps come in variable positions, lengths and width providing fashion as well as function. They are designed to hold your foot in the dance shoe like a seatbelt.
So if you’re in love with the ribbon closure, by all means, go for it. Those are just as secure as the traditional leather straps with metal buckles.
Try several pairs of shoe, to figure out which ankle strap works best for your feet.


With the heel measurement the heel cap is often taken into consideration. Great dance shoe are balanced. Tango heels are affixed with many nails and screws and should be absolutely secure on the shoe. The heel is positioned so that balancing on your entire foot is comfortable and easy. The heel should contribute to a gait that is elegant and confident.

Tango shoes come in a variety of heights, the usual ranging anywhere between 6,5 tot 9cm. 7,5 cm is a comfortable height for many. This heel height offers most dancers the aesthetics of a stiletto but also allows one to balance easily on the entire foot or high on the ball of the foot when necessary.

If you’re not used to wearing high heels, you can start with lower heels and work your way up. Try different brands. Some brands give your feet better stability than others and this is not always related to the height of the heels.


Differences between regular street shoes and tango shoes for men are less apparent than in female shoes. The differences are not immediately visually apparent their impact on the feel in the foot is easily noticeably by tanguero’s. You will feel more comfortable during practice, social dances and competitive dance, but also they will give you an immediate advantage that will help you to achieve better connection with the partner, dance floor and music.

Features for men shoes


This 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 woman 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 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 woman. Stiff soles are undesirable because they can limit foot placement and moves such as pivoting. Soles also have to be thinner, so that the 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 causing an injury or break in the flow to the dance. Soles can be made from leather (easier for sliding across the floor) and suede (for more grip om slippery floors).


If you want better articulation on the floor, it is best that the upper part of the shoe is soft and flexible.


The height of the heel can vary in size


Since tango is energetic and fast, the 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 provides stronger and more firm grip on the foot, while suede is more flexible and can be more enjoyable to wear.

Men tango footwear should have a classic form.

Kristin Daenen

[sliders_pack id=”683″]


More 2 posts in News category
Recommended for you
Practica: Totally Lost in Tango!

The more we share, the more we have. You need inspiration to improve your skills. This is the place to…