What’s our favourite Argentine tango shoe?

What’s our favourite tango shoe and why? Founder and designer, Elena, explains “Yuyo Brujo” is her favourite dance shoe from all the ones she has designed.

The inspiration

The style we call “Yuyo Brujo” is actually the first design of tango shoes that I draw. I had this idea of a distinctive shape on the heel of the shoe: soft curves that enhanced the natural curves of the foot. It took quite a bit of sketching to decide on the final shape.

Sometimes, I like to think the curves on the heel echo a heart shape. Which feels so right at so many levels: the heart of the shoe, the love for shoes, the passion and dedication that goes into each design… the list goes on. Above all, it gives this shoe a character that is so fitting with the tango that it takes its name from. As the lyrics of “Yuyo Brujo” say: “Yo no sé qué loco embrujo le pusiste al Yuyo Brujo, que le diste al corazón“. (Translation: I don’t know what crazy spell you have cast on me, but it’s gone straight into my heart).

The making of a tango shoe

From my drawing, we then had to make a physical shoe, a first prototype or sample. For those of you who are familiar with sewing, you will quickly understand that sewing curves it’s not an easy job. Even less so in a shoe. Because of that, it took three iterations (three actual prototypes) to get the heel shape right.

A lot of people are involved in the process of bringing a sketch to life. Firstly, the person making the pattern has to interpret your sketch. Next, the person cutting the material has to accurately do so. Then, there is the person who folds and reinforces the piece of material and finally the person stitching it. If one of these people doesn’t understand the original idea or lacks skill the result can be disastrous. Or simply a wishy-washy version of your sketch. Luckily, after a lot of trying and error, we got it right!

Colours of a feeling

We could all agree that Yuyo Brujo it’s not special just because of the beautiful shape on the heel. Its colours and of materials makes it extra special. The bold hot pink at the back and the coppery tones of the laminated suede were a non-negotiable from the very beginning. Finding the right hues took time and effort. And I wanted to express the beauty and sensuality of “Yuyo Brujo” by the d’Arienzo orchestra as sung by Laborde. This tango has many elements that I adore, it’s melodic and punchy, it’s soft and sexy, it’s delicate and strong at the same time… The hues of hot pink and subtle copper or rose gold were a perfect combination to express these contrasts.

Materials for a dance shoe

I sourced the hot pink wild silk in London, in one of the famous textile shops on Berwick street. I loved the slight iridescent quality of that fabric plus the rough finish of the wild silk. However, the fabric was too delicate to be used on its own. We sent some fabric to our expert manufacturers who could advise on what type of backing the fabric needed to be supported and made stable.  We even called on the expertise of a shoe artisan in Valencia. He had vast experience in creating silk shoes for period costumes and his insight was invaluable. Needless to say, we carried many tests to find the right support to make the shoe fit for dancing.

I had seen the copper laminated suede (that creates the front of the shoe) at a leather’s fair in Alicante a few months before we started sampling Yuyo Brujo. I kept a sample swatch although I didn’t know yet I would end up using it on a shoe. Months later, I phoned the supplier to order more of it. They informed me that they had discontinued this material. However, they offered the contact details of the original Italian supplier they source it from. After that, I contacted the Italian office and sent them a piece of my sample to make sure we were taking about the same hue of cooper. Many exchanges later, I was able to place an order for production.

Carrying out tests, matching colours and shipments in between four cities (London, Valencia, Alicante and Milan) was quite an experience. A lot more complex than I had planned.

The happy ending

After months of sourcing, testing and sampling, the end result was a tango shoe that stands out for its beauty and originality. Since then, we have sourced and matched materials a lot closer to our manufacturing facilities. Although it’s not easy to make quality Argentine tango shoes for women, this first adventure was all worth it.

What’s your favourite shoe from our collection?

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Video created by Magdalena Smolarska Photography.

Yuyo Brujo is one of the main UK tango shoes online shops. Whether you are looking for Argentine tango shoes for women specifically or more generally for good quality women dance shoes, drop us a message and we will be happy to help. You can also wear our shoes for other type of dances such as ballroom and Latin dance.

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