What are Tango Shoes?

Janis Bennett

Tango shoes are specially designed dance shoes for men and women to wear when doing the tango, a form of ballroom dancing originating from Argentina. The shoes are light and soft. They are designed to fit a person’s feet comfortably while looking elegant and stylish during the dance.

Tango is a form of ballroom dance from Argentina.
Tango is a form of ballroom dance from Argentina.

Women’s tango shoes are high-heeled, open-toe shoes with a strap around the ankle. The heels are placed in just the right position to provide stability when walking backward. Tango shoes are flexible enough to allow for maximum foot articulation but still are supportive. The tango often requires the woman to dance on her toes, and tango shoes are built perfectly for those types of dance moves.

Men's tango shoes have the appearance of classic dress shoes.
Men's tango shoes have the appearance of classic dress shoes.

There are variations to the basic style, such as heel cages, peep toes, exposed arches, and T-straps going up the middle of the front of the foot. The soles usually are made out of leather or suede. Tango dancing shoes come in many colors and patterns to match a woman’s tango dress or costume. Women's tango shoes typically boast a stiletto high heel, but there are other options available. A woman just beginning to learn to tango might wish to start with a shoe with a smaller heel, and an expert dancer might choose to wear a very high-heeled shoe for a more dramatic effect.

Men’s tango shoes are made to flex with the foot while still providing foot support. The shoes also prevent slipping as the man graciously guides the woman across the dance floor. Men’s dance footwear often gives the appearance of a classic dress shoe. Men’s tango shoes completely enclose the foot and lace up the front. They are made out of leather or suede and are available in many colors and styles, from a basic brown to a black wingtip.

Tango dance shoe sizes run the same as street shoes, but half sizes might not be available. Shoe stretchers can be purchased to stretch the material of the shoe, allowing it to fit better. Shoes made out of suede and soft leather will stretch more than shoes made out of patent leather.

Tango shoes can be purchased at specialty dance shops or at online stores and boutiques. Many of these dance shoes are made in Argentina, which is considered the birthplace of the tango style of dance. Most online dance shoe retailers accept currency from many countries and will ship to locations around the world.

The tango started in Buenos Aries, the capital of Argentina.
The tango started in Buenos Aries, the capital of Argentina.

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Discussion Comments


My wife has gotten me to agree to taking tango dance classes with her and I was wondering what kind of tango shoes would be best?

We're signed up for a three month long beginner class, so we'll be on our feet quite a lot and I want to invest in a good pair of shoes. I have heard that Darcos tango shoes and Madreselva tango shoes are some of the best out there, and I hate to skimp on quality. Which one do you think is the better brand?

My wife is having a blast looking at tango shoes for women but I just want to find something that works. I am not too concerned with shoe style, just that they feel comfortable.


@Sara007 - While tango shoes may seem expensive they really do a great job of protecting your feet. I would strongly advise against trying to dance in regular heels as your feet will be killing you by the end of your first class.

If you don't have the budget for something like Argentine tango shoes I would go on an auction site and buy a used pair. You would be surprised how many people start tango classes and then quit, shiny new pair of Flabella tango shoes in hand.

The good thing is when someone has spent over $100 dollars on dance shoes, there is a good chance they'll try to resell them to recoup some of their costs. Good luck grabbing a deal!


I am just starting out with a tango class at my community center and was wondering if it is a good idea to buy tango shoes right away, or should I just wear regular shoes until I decide whether it is right for me?

I recently checked my dance teacher's policy and it seems that having tango shoes is optional when you are in the beginner class, but highly recommended.

Also, is it possible to buy cheap tango shoes for women? I looked in a shoe store specializing in things like ballroom shoes and Darco tango shoes, but they seem a bit pricey. I don't want anything professional for awhile.

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