Thursday, July 09, 2009

Its time to talk shop.... shoe shopping that is!

So, I have been a good girl and not gone hog wild on the shoe shopping.
I could have.
There is much trouble to be gotten here.
But I was good.

I have been asked by numerous people about where to shop for shoes while here, so it seems worth a post even though I know that many people write about shoes. So, here is my opinion. I am only going to write about what I LIKE and LOVE. I am not going to write about the places I did not like, if you have a question about a place I don't write about, send me an e-mail or post a comment with your e-mail address (I won't publish it) and I'll send you my honest thoughts on that place if I have visited them.

First, and foremost, naturally
Comme il Faut - number bought - me - 2, friends - 5

Love, Love, LOVE this place! First of all the women there are so lovely and helpful. And they rather give you a feeling of being super, high class special because they discuss with you what you like, what you want, and then they bring the shoes to you to try. It might seem difficult, but actually it is not. The more specific you are with them, the better they can help you. I ended up buying shoes for multiple friends here as well as two pairs for myself.

Located on the second floor of a shop located in the Rue de Artisans, they set the tone of being exclusive with simply the location. Walk off of the busy street onto the Rue de Artisans, in a beautiful courtyard, up a flight of stairs and ring the buzzer. You are usher in with a warm "Hola, Como Esta?", sit on one of the benches and one of the sales ladies talks with you about your needs and wants. Boxes and boxes appear, you try on, you admire in the full length mirror, and all the women in the shop at the time will chime in with their comments. One of my visits there there were two women from France, one from Japan and one from London. We all gave opinions on each others, as well as swapped out shoes when we saw that one had a pair that another really liked.

My favorite place to shoe shop is here.

Take note - if you pay in cash, the price is about 20 pesos cheaper. As with most places in Buenos Aires, if you pay with a credit card, you pay the fee that the vendor is charged by the credit company. So go with enough cash to save yourself some money if you are buying more than one pair of shoes.

Did you know that CiF makes a shoe with a 1.5 inch heel?!?! They do! On my last visit to buy for friends, there were two adorable older women there, who were trying on shoes that looked like CiF, but had a 1.5" wedge heel. My friend Sally was with me and we both exclaimed over the shoe. We asked the salesgirl if these were new, she said no, but they do not have many and it only comes in one style (peep toe with closed heel) and two color options, royal purple with silver accents or black and red. Regardless, if you are interested in a super low heel from a very well made shoe, go to CiF and ask for them.

2x4 -number of shoes bought me - 1, Sorin - 1

Find of the century. These shoes are AMAZINGLY comfortable. Possibly the most comfortable tango shoes I have ever worn. They also have interchangeable soles, so that you can change how your shoes respond to the floor, you receive three options with your shoes - hard leather, suede and rubber. I was unsure how secure these soles would be, but they are perfect. The sole never slips (held in by super industrial velcro) and, as I did at one milonga, you can change the soles if the surface of the floor changes through the night from humidity, heat, etc. If you are there when the owner is there, ask him how he came up with the design, the story in itself is worth the trip, and he is so passionate about creating the Perfect Tango Shoe.

One drawback for women - there is only one style of shoe - many many colors - but only one style - a strappy sandal with a closed heel. They are a little "older" looking in style. Compared to my CiF's, they look very "sensible". However - I took a 90 minute milonga class in these and never had a problem.
For men - there are multiple styles and colors to choose from.

You must try these on. I found out that in these shoes I am a 36.5 - where I normally take a 37.

Located on Scalabrini Ortiz in Palermo, you will most likely do what I did and walk past the address not realizing it is a store. It is a normal, residence building, and 2x4 is located in the back on the first (ground) floor. There is a white buzzer above the residence buzzers that has in small print "2x4". Look for the address number, not a sign for the company, and make sure you check them out!

Word of warning - these are the most expensive shoes I bought. 470 pesos. Well worth it, but they are a cash only business. So make sure you have enough money with you!

Taconeando - number of shoes bought - 1

A new, young, hip store located on Arenales, this store is wonderful. Created by a young tango dancer, her designs are simple and clean and her colors vibrant and eye catching. If you want the most vibrant of metallic leathers - come here! The most saturated satins - come here! She also has some outrageous shoes as well - think maribou detailing..... hhummm!
The prices are also very reasonable, between 250 and 300 pesos for most designs.

The heel heights are high or not as high, so if you are looking for a low heel, they most likely won't have it. However, the balance of the shoes is fantastic. I brought my friend Sophia there, who was adamant about a low heel height. She tried on the shoes and and was amazed that she did not feel as though she was in a high heel. She ended up buying a gorgeous black velvet Mary Jane style shoe with gold embossed flowers. Really chic. While we were there, a woman from Miami was picking up her shoes. She told us she was 75 years old!!! And her high heels were in what was most definitely Miami colors (aquamarine blue, hot pink, and celedon green). She was so enthusiastic about the shoes, that all I could think was if a woman in her mid-seventies was dancing all night in these shoes, everyone should.

Neo-Tango - number of shoes bought - me - 1 sneaker, Sorin - 1 (at Tango Brujo)
You can go to the NeoTango store, located downtown at Sarmiento, or you can buy their shoes at Tango Brujo .

The actual NeoTango show room is beautiful, bright and right in the middle of everything. The displays are drool worthy. Their shoes are really well made and are a wonderful combination of colors and materials. Again, you have to try them on. I ended up buying a pair of sneaker for classes because I really needed a pair, I've been using ballet flats for years now, and I wanted a pair of sneakers that did not have a huge, thick sole that stopped me from feeling the floor and felt like 10 pounds on each foot. The sneakers I got are great, brown with some gold accents, they are super comforable, have a split sole and are thin enough that I can feel the floor. They had much flashier colors available in the sneakers, as well as more sedate. The pair I really wanted were a cool pattern of browns, but they no longer had my size.
The heels I really liked, but they unfortunately do not fit my feet. The 37 was too big and the 36 too small.


ModernTanguera said...

Given that I have been looking for both purple shoes AND low heels, I may have to send someone on a mission to buy me those CIFs!! Who knew?! I have heard other people describe the CIF shopping experience, and I look forward to visiting when I get a chance.

I have also seen the 2x4 and Taconeando shoes online--I'm glad to hear more positive reviews!

Oh, shoes ...

sighmon said...

visited cif 3 times and find the staff stuck up and nonchalent - strange difference of opinions here. I found great men's shoes at a new store but prefer not to disclose for the sake of exclusivity ;)

Debbi said...

sighmon - that is curious, I have also been in the shop three times and each time had a great experience. They have also always been busy when I go in, not sure if that makes any different or not. But, these things are all very personal aren't they!
And such a tease on the men's shoes! Will you send me an e-mail divulging your secret place if I pinky swear not to tell???

MT - The low heels were such a surprise to see! I immediately e-mailed a friend of mine whom I had been searching high and low through the city for good looking, well made low heel shoes (she has foot problems) and she is so excited to be getting purple CiF's!
I so strongly recomend the 2x4 - they are a fantastic shoe.

Anonymous said...

try Susanna Villarroel, the one near Abasto Mall. I heard good reviews on their men's shoes. NK

Louis said...

Hi Debbi,

Curious to hear about your verdict about 2x4. I bought a pair of men's shoes but thought the ladies' version was a little heavy, no? This was also my girlfriend's reaction at the time - I mean, comparing to CIF and Neotango.

By the way, it seems the price for 2x4 has gone up (by 20 pesos) in the 3 months since I came back from BsAs! Make sure you get a few extra replacement soles. I am now regretting not getting them when I was there but fortunately I have friend heading that way soon.

Anonymous said...

The 2x4s are great shoes - I am thinking about investing in them as well for my shop. I was one of the lucky ones who got to hear all about how he designed the shoe. They are expensive but when one considers that they get three different soles for the price of one shoe, it's actually a bargain. I've heard from our friend "S" that like you, she raves about how comfortable they are. I do agree though that it would be nice if they had more styles for the women's shoes.

Anonymous said...

visit GretaFlora before you leave. They also have nice shoes!

smw said...

Thank you so much for this post. I'm going to BsAs in a month and it really helped me to get an idea of which shoe shops I want to make sure I don't miss.