Comme il faut (the shoes)

2009 July 25
Comme il faut by Simba tango, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License by  Simba tango

What I do understand:

People (men and women) are crazy about these shoes. They look (and are) extremely sharp, sexy, are light and well balanced. In other words perfect for dancing. An image of exclusivity also helps, although it has faded a little the last few years.

What I don’t understand:

Why the competition hasn’t caught up. It surely can’t be that hard? After all, we are not talking rocket science. They are pricey, so one would think others were ready to dig into that market as well. They only offer a small number of different models, and vary the color combinations, and they wear out quite fast as far as I have noticed. That is good for business, though, and should be easy to copy…

There is this fascinating tech reporting style dissection of womans’ shoes at Royce’s tango thoughts. Wonder if she noticed any difference between the Comme il fauts and the others.

The photo can be seen as my homage to ‘probably the best tango shoes in the world’.

Arenales 1239 Puerta 3 – Depto. M. Google maps here:

19 Responses leave one →
  1. 2009 July 26
    Claudia permalink

    Mmmm, I still think they are beautiful (actually, some of the designs are a bit hit and miss these days), but after I have been dancing much more happily in my slightly lower, softer soled, slightly chunkier heeled Tango Brujos my 5 pairs are on an extended break…
    I think the competition ARE catching up, but not by imitating CiF…

  2. 2009 July 26

    A few of us are falling out of love with the CIF’s. They are pretty for sure, real eye candy. Downside is that they wear out fast,and have no padding. I wish the competition would make an elegant high heel with better structure. I am where Claudia is..lower heel and solid shoe is making me happy, and most partners could care less about it if the dancing is good.

  3. 2009 July 26

    Hello,

    This thing with CiF…..

    Last year I decided to do something else, I have started a webshop with my own brand and some other less known brands like GretaFlora and Arika Nerguiz.
    Goal is to bring some new colours and models into the shoe market, with a good quality/price balance.

    For me it is really important to be cretive with these shoes. From the beginning I have selected material and colour and requested the shoemakers to make the shoes in those combinations for Tangotación.

    But do not forget the men shoes….. almost always in black or black/white….. I have choosen burgundt patent leather, “snake”skin leather, flowers……

    In August I hope to receive the first batch of my own designs!!!! Limited editions only (max. 12 pairs per model/colour) and in different heel hights.

    So, yes I think there are creative people who are inspired to develop danceshoes.

  4. 2009 July 26

    From a lead’s perspective, I really couldn’t care less what my follower is wearing as long as she is comfortable and can dance. That said, I understand the desire to feel attractive by wearing attractive shoes.

    I also hope the competition catches on by creating elegant shoes that women can feel comfortable wearing.

  5. 2009 July 26

    @Claudia: Indeed they are beautiful. They always had some tacky color/material combinations, though. At their best, they are sublime.

    In what is the competition catching up, would you say? The tango shoes used to be softer, like ballroom shoes, I think, but the Comme il faut are not very flexible. That might be part of the explanation, stronger support in the shoe itself.

    @Elisabeth Of course, good dancing goes a long way. But the right shoes may add a little extra… no?

    @Lenette Colors and materials get you only so far, I was thinking more in the line of the super slim stiletto, really high heels while still very neat, that Comme il faut is still the only to offer, I think.

    As to men’s shoes, I have to confess I have way too many pairs, but I have moved away from the fancy multi-colored ones, last time I only got single color to match my suits :-) Black, brown, gray. Let the woman shine.

    Good luck with your sales, if I am representative (don’t bet on it), you should concentrate on fancy shoes for women and basic for the men. I do love a subtle twist, though.

    @Henry I’m not with you on the couldn’t care less line. Dancing in a pyjamas with worn out sneakers doesn’t cut it. Really. I love it when the girls dress up, I love watching their beautiful shoes dancing past my table… And the shoes do affect how women dance, don’t let anyone fool you. Comfortable is so overrated, these days. ;-) More on that later.

  6. 2009 July 27
    Captain Jep permalink

    @Lenette Re the men’s shoes : well I take the opposite side to Simba. Yes the more designs the better. Darcos are the only ones Ive found with anything like a range of designs. Unfortunately their build quality is terrible, and by all accounts getting worse.

    The new 2x4s have got a lot of us male gadflies excited – fashionable and practical. Oh and they have a gadget too! I have a friend who’s just got a pair. Looking forward to seeing them first hand.

    I dont think the shoes thing is an either/or. Hopefully men and woman will both have great shoes….

  7. 2009 July 27

    My Comme il Fauts (and I have plenty of them!) have lasted me a long time and are in great condition. I haven’t had to retire a pair yet! They work great with my narrow feet and are very pretty.

    But for people who would like to try something different, there is always Greta Flora as well as a new brand called Taconeando, which you can order from tangospeak.com. Taconeando shoes are a lot cheaper than Comme il Faut. http://www.taconeandoshoes.com.ar/

    If you’re ever in Buenos Aires, you can also visit Raquel shoes, which are very fabulously made. You can have shoes custom made at Raquel and Greta Flora.
    I once borrowed a pair of Madreselva shoes from a friend and loved those a lot.

    The shoes I HATE are NeoTango. They hurt and do not mold to my feet the way I like.

    I quit dancing in Darcos because the last pair I had fell apart right away, but I see that they are coming up with some new beautiful designs.

    It’s important to consider that people all have different feet, different way of placing their center of gravity, different way of simply standing or walking. This can all impact the way dance shoes (or any shoes) work. Comme il Fauts might work for me but they might not work for the next person. :)

  8. 2009 July 27

    P.S. I have noticed that some brands are starting to put padding on the ball of the shoe. Taconeando might be one of them.

    I personally prefer not to have padding because I really like the feel the floor beneath me.

  9. 2009 July 27

    The tangospeak link didn’t come out on my comment. Here it is: http://tangospeak.com/

  10. 2009 July 28

    @Captain Jep I had this strange feeling I am not representative. Choice is great, I have most all my shoes custom made.

    @Tina Thanks, I have wondered about the quality of Raquel shoes, I’ve seen their ads in Tangauta.

    Your comment about padding is really interesting, I have this theory that if you know how to walk/dance on high heels, you don’t need much padding or low heel, but few in Northern Europe and the US got the right technique, upcoming post about that — if I find time that is.

  11. 2009 July 28

    I have a pair, but I’m underwhelmed with them; they were very expensive and they’re certainly not better built or more comfortable than the cheaper ones I own. I wear them from time to time, but I have other shoes that I think contribute better to the overall look and in which I dance better.

    If you’re going to argue that foot pain from 10cm heels is our fault for poor technique, please include your own demonstration of the proposed technique – with a heel height that’s the same in proportion to your foot length.

  12. 2009 July 29
    Claudita permalink

    Mmmm, yeah, I’m looking forward to your article on the ‘right technique’ of dancing in 10 cm heels – and I second Ms Hedgehog.

    I don’t like padding in my shoes but I prefer dancing in slightly lower heels (I can get used to dancing in really high ones but as I get older just ask myself ‘why?’).

    So, yes, there are probably some women out there who are used to very high heels (maybe because they wear them putside of dancing or just because…) and I think they exist in Europe, US and whereever else…And just a word about superhigh heels in BsAs – it seemed to me that there were less of them on the floor than in most places in Europe….

  13. 2009 July 29

    @Ms H: Haha, if you provide the shoes, naturally… Joke aside, I don’t think it is reasonable to dismiss my argument based on whether my woman’s technique is good enough or not. You are most welcome to tear my theory to pieces and step on it with your favorite stilettos, but only if it does not hold water.

    If you have others that look better, it’s impossible to argue with that..

    @Claudita: you give the impression that you disagree, but somehow you almost repeat my argument. Yes, some women are more ‘used to’ high heels, and they use them with more comfort and elegance than those who are not. Whether you find it worth the extra effort is not for me to decide.

    @both: What is your alternative theory? That you don’t need special technique to walk on high heels, is it just like walking in flat shoes, only they make your feet hurt?

  14. 2009 August 1

    As a teacher (and as someone who has been walking in high heels since I was a teenager, ha ha), I go both ways on the issue, but not to an extreme either way.

    On one hand, of course good technique can help the way one walks, dancers or feels in high heels. Hey, that’s what I get paid for and it’s what most female students request of me, particularly those who don’t wear heels too often. I’m always happy to help ladies feel more comfortable in heels and dance their best in them. :-) While I’m at it, I’d add that sometimes tango technique can help someone walk in heels better OFF the dance floor too! :-)

    On the other hand, I really do believe that (as I said before) we’re all built differently, even our feet (narrow, wide, high arches, low arches, etc), and each of us has a natural walk, a natural way of moving in general. (And my personal style of teaching definitely focuses on that fact).
    So yes it is possible that person A moves just fine in 10 cm Comme il Faut heels, while person B just can’t stand them and prefers a 7 cm heel from Raquel. But maybe, just maybe, they are both equally fabulous dancers.

    I look forward to your blog post about it, and the comments it inspires :-)

  15. 2009 August 2

    Mmh, I can feel the pressure now… :-)

    Getting there, but not quite finished yet.

  16. 2009 August 4

    Of course you need special technique to walk in high heels; my warning was essentially that women might feel some doubt as to whether someone who has no intention of ever attempting it is qualified to offer advice on it, or at any rate advice that adds anything to their own experience. There are reasons why we don’t wear them all the time. All of us know very well what those reasons are. Now, anyone at all with an ounce of common sense could of course make some quite plausible statements about what might or might not be a good idea. It’s unlikely that you’re going to say anything I’m likely to disagree with. But sounding as though we can’t figure those out for ourselves might be considered a little impertinent.

  17. 2009 August 4

    Not that I’m seriously attacking you here. After all, I talk of things I know nothing about all the time.

  18. 2009 September 1
    Sabrina permalink

    In regards to the topic of this particular post, I would say that the competition is catching up in terms of quality and style. Don’t get me wrong- I am quite obsessed with my Comme il Fauts and I take great care of them. However, I have found that some of the newer models are not on par with some of my older pairs in terms of construction. My straps start to fray way earlier than normal, I find loose threads and random flaps of extra material on brand new shoes, etc etc.

    A brand that I found to be extremely satisfactory is GretaFlora, so I definitely agree with the women who have suggested it in various comments. The shoes are well-made, they have more padding than CiF (if that’s what you prefer), and they have their own unique style, materials, and colors. In addition, the two women who own GretaFlora were incredibly helpful when I requested information on finding and ordering their shoes since there was no distributor even close to where I lived. They took my size, let me know what was in stock, and changed the heel on my shoe to my specifications, which automatically puts them further ahead in terms of customer service. It’s touch and go with Comme il Faut- sometimes the ladies like you, sometimes they don’t, and that will definitely inform their decision in which shoes they bring out to you in their showroom. The various distributors in the US, however, tend to be pretty helpful

    But, as I said, Comme il Faut is Comme il Faut. They established the standard in modern tango shoe design and they still made exquisite shoes. But there are some up-and-coming companies who are slowly but surely adding their own unique perspectives to tango shoe design ;)

  19. 2010 January 31

    Bitte ich brauch den Dance Costa Costa
    Liebe Grüße aus Wien

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