Tortured Toes

Tango Tia: I love my tango shoes but my toes keep getting banged in to and the pain is excruciating. One guy kicked me so hard I lost a toe nail. Is there anything I can do to keep this from happening? Tortured Toes

Note to Men: Could she be talking about you? Do you bump your follower’s feet and think it’s her fault because she needs to take larger steps?  Do you reach forward with your legs and feet instead of from your axis? Not sure? Then you are definitely leading from the floor up and likely to cause injury. Initiating steps from the top down is a must for keeping your ladies’ safe, and making you a more desirable partner. Not that you asked, but it would be good for you to move this to the top of your “Ways I can lead better” list.

Dear Tortured: Exposed toes are completely vulnerable however, you can improve your chances of protecting them by staying tilted toward your partner when walking back. (Weight forward on the balls of your feet, keep your back straight.) The best protection is prevention so keep track of who the owners of flailing feet are and move them to the bottom (or off of) your “Yes, I’d love to dance” list.


  1. Tango Tails says

    Dear tangotia, Thanks for your sage advice to us men. Great honest advice like this is golden to me. As a man, I deeply feel for “Tortured Toes”. In a milonga, I rarely hit a followers toes. When I am an offender, I expect and deserve the wrath of the lady/follower. I would completely understand if you were to leave the dance floor in the middle of a tanda, if I were to do this. Please know, that caring leaders like myself, are doing all that we can not to be an offender of this felony. We are continually practicing and taking private lessons, especially trying to improve on our walk, axis, etc. I work toward never hitting anyone’s toes, a perfect safety award, maybe one day? Being extremely sensitive, I can be my own worse enemy, though, beating myself up on my weak areas. I have to be confident in my abilities to successfully lead a dance and protect you, the follower, in all areas providing the best experience possible, hopefully a magical experience on rare occasion. In lessons, classes & practicas, we (men) all need improvement in this area, especially when learning new steps. I think that this is the most dangerous time for the follower to have a “toe incident” with a leader. When I do bump someones toes, I go back to the tango drawing board to analyze what went wrong. My wife dances with me. She suffers from the shoes alone, and a “toe wreck” may end the event. For classes and practices, she is now wearing covered toe shoes.

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