If the shoes fit, BUY THEM!

For this improving tango dancer, good shoes are a priority. Whether I am wearing a sexy dress or scruffy jeans, when the shoes go on I am transformed. And for me, it’s not only what the shoes look like that matters, it’s what they do to my body. Do they help me dance or not?

I remember the day in England when I travelled to London to find one pair of plain black suede shoes from Buenos Aires. They cost me £80. The train fare was £30. So a total of $660 pesos. Now I am living in tango shoe heaven. I have spent hours checking out options and so far I have bought two new pairs.  At first the choice seemed overwhelming but for me, choosing was easy. Why? There are three basic reasons:

  1. The fit. Some makes have gorgeous designs but when I put the shoes on they do not fit the shape of my feet. Of course the assistants say that they can be altered, or that they will stretch. Some shops specialise in making shoes exactly to your requirements and this is an option I have not yet investigated, but I am unsure. What if they are not quite perfect even then?
  2. The heel. I want the highest stiletto heel. They are the sexiest. I am short and they make my legs look longer. Sometimes you can select a heel to go with the shoe you want. But surely it is better if the shoe is designed with the heel in one. I want shoes that will give me the greatest stability and position my body in the correct axis for tango. 
  3. The aesthetics. I am a special dancer, and I want beautiful shoes… My tango shoes are my most loved possessions these days. They are an extension of my personality.

Several tango shoe and clothes stores are located in close proximity on Suipacha (home to Confiteria La Ideal)  including Darcos Tango. Suipacha is a narrow street with relatively little traffic and so you can quickly explore options in one trip. Neo Tango is on Sarmiento and seems very popular. I’ve been in there three times and it’s always been packed. Riobamba also has tango shoe shops. I stumbled upon a ‘Tango Market’ on Sarmiento, organised for La CITA 2007. This was great because many brands were displaying their shoes in one location, thus saving my feet! Comme il Faut, off Arenales, is hidden away from all the other stores. It has no window display, a locked door and photography is not allowed in the tiny showroom. The staff can seem slightly scary at first but they soften when they know that you are serious about buying. It is worth a special trip, or more than one special trip…

So to price. We are talking around $150 pesos up to $300 pesos (£25 to £50). Most of the interesting designs are from $240 pesos. Here, you often pay a little more when using a credit card so you can save a few pesos by carrying cash.

Both the pairs I bought are Comme il Faut. One patent black, the other delicately ruched, pink, green and white striped fabric with a black trim. The latter are for special evenings – yet to come! I have tried on perhaps 50 pairs in different stores but for my feet, for my height, for my comfort, for my sense of style these are the brand for me. They are of course $300 pesos a pair but they are exquisite in their design. When I put them on I feel like I am already the greatest English tango dancer.

It is important not to spend too long deliberating over a pair of shoes. Next time you visit the shop the design may be sold out in your size. On the other hand it is important to visit regularly as new designs come in all the time. Some places allow you to reserve a pair for a week with a deposit.

Many people have asked me to buy shoes for them while I am out here but I am realising that this is potentially problematic. In England I an a size 5/5.5/6 in normal shoes depending on the brand. I know my size now in Comme il Faut. It is a 7. But in other shops I can only get into a 7 in some designs – others won’t go onto my feet! As you have to pay up front and they won’t take the shoes back… well you see the problem. I guess for men it would be the same.

So guys and girls you only really have one safe option. Come out here. Find out for yourself the brand you love and your size in it. Then I can buy more designs for you after you go back home. Now surely that’s an offer you can’t refuse…

See pictures of the tango shopping experience in Buenos Aires


2 Responses

  1. So pleased that you have met Gabriella and that you’re quest to be a tango starlet (with the most exclusive shoes)

  2. Okay…I had to read one more entry. *grin* Comme Il Faut, I’ve heard, is the top-of-the-line for women. My gal pal lucked out in that she knew the owner when she visited. Lucky her! Got some great deals!

    My favorite place after visiting several shoe stores including Darco Tango and Neo Tango was Tango Brujo for MEN. That is the first thing I’m going to do when I touch down next year—head straight over there. Hopefully, Alejandro is still the manager there. He was very helpful.

    Cheers, “Sly” 😀

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