It was many years later that I saw ‘Tango Argentino’, on Broadway. I was stunned by the sophistication and intimacy of the dance and wanted desperately to learn. I went to Argentina for the first time in 1994. After 10 days of classes and dancing every night in the smoky tango clubs of Buenos Aires, I was hooked.

The only problem was my feet. I had been dancing in typical ‘dance’ shoes, made like slippers – so soft and comfortable, but with no protection or support for the long hours I was dancing. I found a little shoe store and bought a pair of typical ‘tango’ shoes made in Argentina. They were so sophisticated looking compared with my old dance shoes. High heels, pointy toes, criss-cross straps in black patent leather. Wow.

They were fabulous, but after an evening of dancing I realized that they were stiff and extremely uncomfortable. That's when the idea for a new type of shoe was born.


Blame my mother. She married a flat-footed man. She was determined that I would not suffer the same fate and made sure I got the support of a sturdy pair of Buster Brown shoes. My happiest days were the ones when decorum required more formal footwear, and she let me wear my patent leather ankle straps, with the black grosgrain bows and buttons!

She also loved to dance and sing. I can remember her singing in the kitchen. That’s where I first heard a tango, when Mum sang ‘Jealousy’, a popular tune of the day.