What you wear to Tango is almost as important as how you dance.
Dressing appropriately will definitely get you on the dance floor a lot faster and the proper shoe will help you to dance better. When dressing for Tango think elegant and comfortable.
Dress for practice, it’s best to dress comfortably in clothes that let you move. Flowing skirts or pants are a good option.
For practice, you may also want to wear flat practice shoes, and save your feet for the milongas. I’m a fan of Katrinski Tango Flats. They are very cute, come in a variety of colors and are very well made. The hard leather soles are surprisingly easy to pivot in and great for street wear too.
Dress for Milonga, look for dresses that hug your curves but stretch and flow near your legs. Slits in the skirt allow you to move and are sexy. Make sure you skirt or dress allows you to do open steps without hindrance. Click here for suggestions on where to purchase tango clothing.
Ladies Tango dress shoes have heel heights between 1 inch to 4 inches and can come with either a closed or open toe. They are usually lightweight, have a hard leather sole and a pointy heel. Some of the most popular brands of Tango shoes are Italian Made Madam Pivot, Sur and Bandolera/Tangolera, Turquoise (Made in Turkey), and Souple (from Argentina). Many people have their personal favorites based on the shape of their foot so it’s best to try on a few different styles to see which fits you best. Make sure you find a pair that fits your foot well, and allows your toes to spread so you can be grounded while gliding smoothly across the dance floor.
If you are just learning, and not used to high heels, it’s best to start with a lower heel that allow you to be more grounded. Look for shoes that are secure around your ankle and wrap snugly around your feet. Your shoes should be an extension of your legs.
A must-read article on Tango shoes for women: How to Choose A Tango Shoe That is Right For You: A Detailed Buying Guide For Beginner to Advanced Dancers.
List of where to buy Tango shoes in San Francisco
Dress for practice – Jeans are fine or pants that are loose and allow movement. Shorts are almost never worn, except for a beach party. Depending on how much you sweat, bringing a change of shirt and/or a sweat rag is recommended.
Dress for Milonga – Depending on the milonga, men either wear a suit and tie or nice slacks and a dress shirt. Nice jeans are also acceptable.
Men’s Tango Shoes
One of the most popular Tango shoes for men is 2×4 al pie as they have interchangeable soles that can be switched out depending on the dance floor. Axis Tango sells Men’s Bandolera (plus Ladies Bandolera shoes too), made in Italy, and are very comfortable. Soy Porteno designed by Gabrielle Misse are also quality tango shoes. I’ve been told that Turquoise Men’s Tango shoes are also very comfortable and well made.
Another option is to wear street shoes, but make sure they have a smooth leather sole, are lightweight and allow you to pivot on any floor.
Here is a great article to read by Florentino Guizar: Selecting The Right Men’s Tango Shoes: Tips and Tricks for Buying.