Tango Boots and Foxtrot Shoes in History

Our Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot pre-order sale is in full-swing! We have been working on developing and perfecting these styles for months, and we’re so pleased to see such a positive reception to these lovely Edwardian shoes.

Hand-colored postcard featuring tango/foxtrot shoes

Tango and Foxtrot are especially romantic styles, complete with scalloping, lace-up tabs, and splendid ribbon laces. They are true showstoppers!

The wonderful @virtuouscourtesan modelling our Tango Boots and Foxtrot Pumps…in case you are in need of inspiration!

How did Tango boots and shoes come into fashion? Well, around 1910s, the Tango dance arrived in Paris from Argentina. From there, it spread to London and to continental Europe. The seductive and sensual dance immediately became popular. It was seen as a bit risqué and scandalous, which made the tango all the more intriguing. Society tea dances began to incorporate the tango, which certainly added a bit of spice to your average tea dance. This explosion on popularity had an impact on fashion. For example, Jean Paquin designed several ensembles for dancing the tango. There were even specialized corsets for dancing the tango.

Jean Paquin tango designs!

This is a specialized tango corset from the collection at the University of Hawaii!

Of course, the tango craze inspired footwear as well. Tango boots were designed to lace up the leg, which showed off the leg lines (and stockings) of the dancer.

Lame tango boots from antiquedress.com….so pretty!

Tango boots varied when it came to leg coverage, scallops and tabs, and what sort of laces were used. Some tango boots had tabs that curved around the leg, while others had a more cut-back silhouette that highlighted the shapeliness of the wearer’s calves.

Pair of tabbed post-1910 tango boots from the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Prague

Tango boots could be laced with wide ribbons, or with thinner pieces of cord. They came in all manner of colors (including metallics-yes, those gold and silver Tango Boots are indeed historically accurate!), in silk and leather, with and without beads.

Absolutely stunning beaded tango boots that are currently for sale on Etsy- somebody buy these, please??
Gold tango boots from the Met Museum, c. 1918.

If you’ve been around for a few years, you will probably remember our last iteration of Tango, released in 2015 and again in 2020. These boots had tabs that circled around the calf. Our new version (Tango 2.0) is modelled off of the style of Tango boots with a more cut-back silhouette, like the gold pair from the Met Museum and those shown in the 1915 fashion plate above. They lace through scallops rather than tabs, and curve beautifully along the back of the leg. One of the bonuses of this style is that they are more size adjustable. Our version also has a brand-new 3.5″/8.9 cm heel!

We couldn’t help ourselves…we just had to make Tango in gold!

Oh la la….look at these purple tango boots!

In addition to tango boots, there were tango shoes. Lace-up evening shoes from the 19-teens were referred to both as tango shoes and foxtrot shoes. They were often tabbed, like our Foxtrot Pumps, but they also sometimes laced up through ornamental features on the sides of the uppers.

One of our inspiration pairs we looked at while designing Foxtrot, from LACMA.
….and our version! We just had to make a blue pair in tribute.

A variety of foxtrot pumps, both tabbed and decorative lacing buckles. They also all have ornamental shoe clips on the toe. We are definitely going to be on the hunt for some clips to add to our Foxtrot Pumps!

This magazine page shows model Monna Delza in a dress by designer Maison Béchoff-David, wearing lace-up tango/foxtrot shoes (with added bows on the toes, so cute).

These tango/foxtrot shoes lace up through eyelets.

French magazine page from the Shoe Icons Museum collection, showing some lovely lace-up tango shoe/foxtrot shoe designs.

This American photograph from 1910 shows off some tango/foxtrot shoes with slim laces.

These pink and gold metallic brocade pumps from the Shoe Icons Museum have tabs for ribbon laces- just imagine how beautiful these would look with some matching pink ribbons!
These green silk tango shoes from the Shoe Icons museum are British, c. 1900-1910. Such a lovely apple green!

In need of your very own lovely lace-up shoes? Our Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot collection is on sale for $20/€20 off each pair from November 3-17 in our US and UK/EU stores. Expected delivery is in March/April of 2024. We can’t wait to see how you wear them!

Pre-Order is Open
November 3-17, 2023
$20/€20 Discount Per Pair


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