Updated: December 2017
It might surprise you - but Istanbul has a very good, lively tango scene and it's one of the reasons I love going there.
During my frequent trips I visited many milongas, alone or with
a friend. And I danced a lot! Turkish dancers also ask ladies
to dance if they don't know them and many of them speak some
English, French or even German.
There is at least one milonga every night (it can be a bit slower in the Summer months). You can find a lot of information about this in the Internet. Most of them go on until 1 AM during the week and longer on the weekend.
There are also several tango festivals through the year. A friend of mine told me that there were a lot more women than men during a festival, so ladies should bring their partner along.
I have been trying to keep up with the weekly milonga schedule - but the tango scene here is as dynamic as the city of Istanbul in general - best check out the current ones at www.milongaistanbul.com
Many of the milongas are situated in the Taksim / Istiklal Caddesi area. A good reason to take a hotel here - so you can simply walk there and back home. Suggestions for hotels are here.
Of course there are also shoes made in Istanbul: Turquoise Shoes for example. They sell high quality shoes in great designs. Recently there is also a range of men's shoes.
It's quite easy to find the store: Coming from Takism square, walk down Siraseliviler caddesi. Der shop is opposite of the Italian hospital, on the left side of the street.
As you can see, there is also the possibility to test-dance the shoes! English is spoken.
Want something more personal and for a good price? Go and see Istanbul's most famous tango shoe maker, Necmi Usta. He speaks only Turkish, but some pantomime, drawings and a calculator will help. Often there are also other customers around who can help to translate.
Shoes cost around 220 TL for standard models or more for special designs.
I had many shoes made there, some with materials that I brought or after my own drawings.
His workshop is close to Istiklal Caddesi as well.
Mis Sok., Mis Gurkan Han No. 7, 5. Stock
If you don't have much time, Necmi can mail the shoes to you. This always worked well for me, sometimes it can take a while though.
Right next to this you will find Umay Kundura. He has many ready made shoes in his shop but also does custom orders. He speaks French and some English and is used to shipping shoes abroad as well. Prompt service and good quality.
Mis Sokak No: 13-A
Tel. 249 96 05 / 0535 457 47 06
If you prefer to buy tango shoes off the rack, you can visit www.buenestilo.com
Tanguera on the Asian side of Istanbul have very nice shoes as well!
More tips for Istanbul: Hammam, hotels, shopping etc.