Latin Shoes Vs Argentine Tango Shoes – What’s The Difference?

Last updated on January 28th, 2023 at 11:22 am

Tango shoes vs Latin shoes


If you have been following our blog, you might have noticed that we refer to our shoes as Argentine tango shoes, but some of you are probably wondering, how are they different from other Latin and Ballroom dance shoes? Is this something I should be concerned about when purchasing?

If you’re new to tango or just started tango dance classes, we have a specially written article to help you with dance shoes too.


How tango is related to other Latin dances

At the core, Latin dancing and Argentine tango are not the same thing. Latin dancing encompasses styles like salsa, samba and bachata. Tango – as a musical form and dance – was born in Argentina, when a tradition of countryside folk dance evolved as the population moved increasingly into cities, particularly in Buenos Aires. Tango also entered Europe and the USA and joined the Ballroom family of dances. Dancers call this “American Style” or “International Style” tango. However, Argentine tango – in origin as well as how it is practiced today – is a different dance in technique, musicality and sentiment. As a result, these differences in dance styles have translated into differences in the footwear that dancers require.

It would be interesting to explore all the nuanced differences between Latin, Ballroom, Argentine tango and their social and competition styles but for now, we’ll keep it simple and focused on the shoes. 😉

So how are tango shoes different?


Different dances, different shoes

Latin dancing – with some exceptions – is fast, nimble and in a competition context judges will look for pointed feet and certain poses. For this reason, Latin shoes need to be hyper flexible. Normally you can bend the whole sole of the shoe backwards. In Argentine tango there are more pauses and still moments where your whole body weight is only on one leg. Slow controlled movements that require a dance shoe that really support your feet. Comfort and stability are also key here.

The materials in the shoes are slightly different and serve how the dancers dance. Latin shoes often have suede soles to help with flexibility, as well as synthetic uppers made of satin. Tango shoes (at least ours!) are primarily made from leather, the soles as well as the uppers and lining. We favour this material as it’s more breathable and comfortable on the skin.

Finally, in terms of price, you will find that Latin shoes often cost a little less than tango shoes. This is mainly due to three things: the cost of the materials used (synthetic vs leather), where the shoes are produced (for example, Europe versus countries with cheaper labour), and the complexity of finishes and craftsmanship in the shoes.


Can you wear Latin dance shoes for tango?

So, can you dance tango in Latin shoes? Yes, but to be at your best when you dance, it is not ideal. You can always start out with Latin shoes, but after a few months you will need a more supportive shoe that allows you to perform all of the moves.

Our Argentine tango shoes are designed and made with the demands of the dancer in mind. We invested time in the development process to strike the right balance between flexibility, stability and comfort. Working closely with carefully chosen workshops and suppliers in Spain, we handcraft our shoes with handpicked materials to ensure the highest of quality. The result is a shoe that dancers can wear and dance with confidence.

Our goal is to ensure dancers feel confident in their balance and footing when they dance, always. Do you need help finding the perfect shoe within our range? What should you look for in tango shoes? You can read more here: Tips to choose the right fit tango shoes.

One important tip regardless of what shoe you choose – take some time to measure your foot and know your size. According to research, many people typically wear the wrong sized shoesas they become accustomed to how they feel and just assume that is “normal”. We ask a lot from our feet when we dance, so the right fit is important than for normal shoes. If you are looking for Argentine Tango Shoes in London, why not book a private fitting at our studio? To find out more, go here.


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