Once a week or so, I’ve started to do English conversation sessions with Viviana and Alejandra at “Viviana Barreiro Shoes” located in San Telmo at Independencia 389. Today, I headed out there in the pouring rain taking the bus that I normally take to Caminito. San Telmo area is along the way on this bus route. On my days off from Caminito, this is one of the activities that I am now doing.
As some of you may know, I’ve had the worst feet problems for years. Tango shoes were always killing me. It was normal that I wear a pair of tango shoes and my feet are in pain within few minutes. I thought this was normal! I couldn’t understand how some of the dancers would tell me, “No, my feet don’t hurt, maybe when I’ve been dancing in the shoes all day long.” I went through so many different pairs of very elegant and beautiful looking shoes that ruined my feet. If I needed to wear them for just a short night at a milonga, my feet were just barely “okay”, they would survive. I could numb my pain. If I needed to teach in them, to rehearse in them, or to dance all night long, my feet were completely done. I’ve had experiences where I almost lost conscious from the excruciating pain during a private lesson I had in Buenos Aires. In several occasions, I’ve been in tears because it was so frustrating and painful that I had no shoes that worked for me.
It really wasn’t until last September when I was at the Mujercitas Festival and I tried on Viviana’s shoes that I realized comfortable shoes are possible. For the first time in my life, my wide bunion feet would fit into a pair of tango shoes. They were supported and covered well. I had always felt like I’m one of Cinderella’s ugly sisters when I would try those petite shoes that my feet could not even slide into. For a change, the sole of the shoes were wide enough that my whole foot rested on it unlike the other ones where a portion of my foot is falling off like a wobbly teeter totter. The silicon in the sole gave a very soft and cushiony feel for the ball of the feet. The soles were suede giving nice traction to the floor, I’m not a fan of those hard sole shoes. I was still in doubt that a pair of tango shoes could be comfortable when I first came across these shoes. After 4 months of using that one pair for 2-8 hours a day, every day, it’s proven to be true.
I definitely recommend all who come to Buenos Aires to search for shoes that really fit your feet, especially if you plan to dance all night long at the milongas. Some of you may have an easier time to find something that works, for others it could be a lot more difficult. If you have wide feet and/or bunions, I really recommend Viviana’s shoes, especially since it’s so difficult to come across something made for our type of feet. Not only wide feet, their shoes also have narrower models, longer toes, shorter toes, and etceteras made for all different types of feet. For those that don’t like the high heels, they also make comfortable lower heels. For the first time, I can really recommend a brand of shoes, from my true experience, for the comfort they are giving me.
So, it was a nice incentive that when I stopped by to get a new pair from them, they asked me to help them with their English conversation as they interact with their clients. They’re very friendly and honest, by the way, and will absolutely refuse to sell you shoes that don’t fit your feet correctly. Try them if you’re here, and if the shoes don’t work, they will happily give you recommendations for other shoe stores in the area.
It’s been an 11 year journey to find these shoes that fit. Thank god…! It’s heaven sent!
Viviana Barreiro Shoes
Av. Independencia 389
Store hours 11am to 7pm every day (the website says 8pm but it’s actually 7pm)