How to Choose Tango Shoes

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How to Choose Tango Shoes
Choose Tango Shoes

Tango requires shoes that allow you to maintain your balance, but also allow you to pivot easily and gracefully. For women, heels of 2 to 4 inches create the best line, while men can choose from a variety of dance shoes with no or low heels.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Buy dance shoes for both your practice shoes and your regular tango shoes. Though you can wear street shoes that meet the criteria for tango shoes, the fit and balance are never as good as a real pair of dance shoes.

  2. 2

    Choose a shoe that fits closely but doesn't cramp your foot. Your shoe should feel like an extension of your foot, whether you are a leader or a follower. Ask for assistance from a shoe salesperson to help you select exactly the right size for your foot.

  3. 3

    Test the dance shoes for balance. Walk forwards and backwards wearing the shoes and also stand on one foot. Both leaders and followers should only choose a shoe design and heel size that they can do this comfortably in.

  4. 4

    Make sure you can pivot in the shoes. The soles should be smooth enough that you easily pivot and don't need to forcefully move your body.

  5. 5

    Select dance shoes that remain securely on your feet, regardless of the tango move you do. Leaders won't have a problem with this, but followers should make sure that the shoe straps keep the shoes on their feet securely.

Tips and warnings

  • Visit Buenos Aires, Argentina, for the best selection of tango shoes for men and women. If you can't do this, find tango shoes for sale at tango festivals.
  • Leather will stretch, so new leather dance shoes may feel too tight the first few times you wear them.
  • If you find good shoes with street soles, you can cover the bottom in suede or faux leather for a better pivoting surface.
  • You can buy custom-made tango or ballroom shoes online, though you can't guarantee the fit.
  • Some black-soled shoes may cause streaks on the dance floor. Test out black-soled shoes before wearing them to a practica or milonga.
  • Followers should buy at least one pair of closed-toe practica shoes to protect their feet in class. As leaders learn new moves, they may inadvertently step on your feet.

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