: for women, the heel is not as important as you would think because most of the energy and weight is distributed into the balls of the feet. As such, heels come in every shape and size (literally there are about 10 different heel types, and up to 20 different heights). The most common are 3.5" ultra-slim stilletos. Men's heels come in two sizes: Cuban (also called French) or the lower ballroom heel, which many men prefer.
: the outsole (or more commonly called just 'the sole') is the bottom part of the shoe, and is very important to get right because you need to slide and pivot easily. As a result, common materials such as rubber and plastic cannot be used and are replaced with either suede or hard leather. Suede is a very soft type of leather, that is both non-slip and enables gripping due to tiny fibres. It does however require brushing to keep up its quality. Hard leather outsoles last longer than suede but are more slippery - though they are great for sticky floors. Another unique feature of tango shoes is that the outsole never protrude past the shoe.
: tango shoes must provide considerable support, with at the same time be flexible - somewhat contradictory requirements. This is achieved by ensuring that the heel and arch do not bend too much, and the shoe must be quite tough around the ball of the foot and toe area.
: your tango shoe has to hug your foot without any slip or space, otherwise there will be significant chances of accidents and pain. To ensure tight fitting, both straps and laces are used. Straps come in multiple forms and fashions, but an adjustable ankle strap for women is considered extremely important for stability. In addition, for even more support, some tango shoes (including the Adjustable Shoes
on this Very Tango Online Store) have a second adjustable strap on the front of the shoe. This is particularly good if your foot has a slightly unusual shape or size, for example narrow or wide.
: a tango shoe cannot have bumps anywhere on it that may catch against other shoes, including your own. To ensure this, the shoes will be very smooth.