The story of one shoe

2008, May 25

The plane landed at Ezeiza on the morning, and on the afternoon I went for shoes. Tango8, Lavalle 3101 was the first shop on my list, being the nearest from my place. I was after the elusive *pair of shoes* , both comfortable and good-looking. Up to then I had two pairs of comfortable shoes -but ugly – and maybe four pairs of elegant shoes – but painful to wear – and even a few ones that were ugly *and* uncomfortable, namely the CIF and the Sansha ones.

They had none of the cool pairs shown on their website but I still found something I liked, and I even wore them a few hours later at Viejo Correo. Yes, the nearest milonga from my place. There I did not dance but still I noticed that the right-foot shoe had a strange behaviour. I could either tighten the shoelaces like the left shoe, a bit loose, but then my heel was given to escaping from the shoe, or tighten more but then my foot was squeezed. Nothing much, but unpleasant.

Back home I had a closer look and discovered that there was a slight difference in the building of the shoes. There was a place (See arrow on the picture) where I could only place the little finger for the left shoe but where I had room for the thumb for the right shoe. And because of that, the same lacing wasn’t resulting into the same containment of the foot into the shoe.

Two days later I returned at Lavalle 3101.

I bought this two days ago here, the two shoes are not the same, the left one is ok, I’d like a new right one.
This was a very sensible request, I thought, and I had even brought some money, because the shoe had been worn, even if for only a few hours. And also I had not kept the bill. Yet the concept proved too difficult for the salesman. First he thought I was complaining about the sizes. Then when I showed him where the difference was he failed to see anything wrong.

And anyway you tried them when you bought them

Yes and I actually felt a difference but I thought it was coming from a different lacing. Checking that the right shoe is the exact mirror image of the left shoe is not something you have to worry about in any shop of the world. Outside Argentina.

While he was looking for my bill from two days ago in his comp, a girl came out from the store room and they had a little conversation in spanish.

“- What does he want?

– See the shoes on the desk? The fool, he says they are not the same and he wants to exchange one of them. I proved him wrong, they’re the same.

– They’re different, she said after scanning my shoes for one minute. They’re made of the same parts but the sewing is different.

She returned into to the store room and came back to me after a while.

” – Sorry, this pair that you brought is the only one that we have in this size, she told me (in english). There is no possibility for an exchange.

– I see. Well the left one is ok, I’m keeping it. You can have the other one.

– What you say? I don’t understand.

– Just keep the shoe. I have no use for it.

And I left. Who knows, maybe next year when I’ll be back they’ll have the shoe that will match mine.


2 Responses to “The story of one shoe”

  1. luv2dancetango said

    Hey Pablo,

    Nice Blog! A few lol moments!

    I live in Denver and have been dancing AT for 7 years… and completely addicted. If you’ve been to the Denver, Portland or Austin Fandango Festivals, or were at Nino Bien or Salon Canning in BsAs, we may have seen each other or have danced before!

    I was also recently in Buenos Aires from 21 Mayo 2008 until 31 Mayo 2008 and at the Tango8 Lavalle 3101 location the same day you were. But I don’t think at the same time! Lau and David did a great job measuring my feet, etc. and I am very happy with the pairs of shoes I purchased there. They gave me GREAT customer service and also had a wide variety of shoes to choose from.

    You probably already know this but hand-made shoes are not going to have an exact match. You try the pair, check it for comfort and quality, then you pay. Everyone can benefit from a few Shoe Buying Tips so here goes:

    1. Try both on! More than likely, the right or left shoe may be looser than the other, unless you specifically order custom-made shoes and endure that process.
    2. Most shoes have some flaws (tango shoes are no different) so look them over carefully. If you find a flaw, don’t buy them, or ask for a discount before paying. Leather thickness and color come in different “lots” so inspect to match the “dye lots”. Ask for the warranty time and conditions before you buy because it’s not “Sears or Wal-Mart” in Argentina and you can’t easily return things. People put shoes back in the wrong boxes all the time, even the same style and size have variations (that may be why you could use your “thumb” for one shoe and your “index finger” for another). Make sure you’ve got a “matching” pair or, if they fit okay… just ask for a discount after pointing out the discrepancy!
    3. If you buy over the internet, ebay, mail-order, etc., make sure you have a good idea how their going to fit (you’ve tried a similar shoe; or that you are willing to sell the pair to a tango colleague if they don’t fit exactly).
    4. If you wear the shoes on the dance floor, in most cases there is no return or exchange, since the store can’t resell them as new. Some stores will make an exchange within a week if you haven’t used the shoes but you need to have the original invoice (it seems like Tango8 looked for another shoe to give to you as an exchange but they didn’t have one).
    6. For custom-made shoes… remember that it usually takes up to 3 tries to get it right! Sad but true! Be prepared to sell your “very slightly used shoes” to a fellow dancer!

    All retail stores have potential problems, and stores that offer hand-made items set themselves up for complaints even more so. Sorry you didn’t have a great experience.

    Abrazos y Besos,


  2. tangobeginner said

    I will sum up your tips because your comment is a bit long to read:
    1) They make low-quality shoes.
    2) They make low-quality shoes and won’t refund.
    3) If you’re ripped off then become an argentine yourself, sell the flawed shoes to a friend.
    4) They won’t refund and they won’t replace the shoes either.
    5) Hmmm there is no #5
    6) If you’re ripped off then become an argentine yourself, sell the flawed shoes to a friend.

    Thanks but I think I prefer my way. Being honest, that kind of thing.

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