What are the best shoes for Zumba?
As a seasoned Zumba instructor leading up to 15 classes per week, this is a very common question brought to me after the class. Rarely am I asked about the clothing options, picking out the right clothing apparel for Zumba, doesn’t seem to be a question most students seem to need advice on, but advice what is the best Zumba sneaker to wear with the latest lime green Zumba cargo’s is asked of me daily. The answer may not be a simple as you might believe. There are many shoes marketed as “Zumba friendly”, but really you should be considering several important factors in picking out a pair for your class. And yes, Zumba is about bright fun colors, and yes of course how fantastic we feel in our Zumba classes is linked to not only our music but that inner diva brought about by out by those “fun” colors, but to keep your comfort level up during and even after class, don’t base your decision on the color factor or looks alone!
Here are some features to take note of and consider when looking for the perfect shoes design for Zumba, whether in the community , gym, dance studio or with your favorite Zumba DVD in the privacy of your living room floor . And yes, as runner & running coach, I can tell you that the shoes you use for running or other activities could be the very ones you avoid for your Zumba class.
The right zumba shoes depends on the surface you dance on. One of the first consideration you should include in your planning is the flooring your classes will be held on so you can make decision about the support you may need. Wood flooring is the optimal for impact and reduced stress on joints during some of the twisting movements famous in our classes such as our spins or the pivoting during that favorite meringue march. If you are on a very hard surface, hopefully your instructor provides lower impact moves to save on the wear and tear. In these cases opt for a more supportive, cushioned shoe, rather than a light weight version, slipper type. Carpeted floors provide other difficulties & with shoes of any tread could cause feet to catch and twisting movements can cause hyper-extension of joints. There are carpet gliders sold several places including Zumba.com, but in looking for shoes for classes held on carpet, I would recommend very low treading to reduce this griping issue, and in this case a slipper model type shoe could be a perfect choice.
These Sacouny Grid Type A5 are great fit for hard surface floors:
However, for carpeted floors, these Puma Janine Dance Flowers are a better option due to their low traction soles.
Support-Another consideration should be what kind of foot support do you personally need? Are you a pronator? Do you need more ankle support? Do you already have foot issues? One way to determine foot type is to take a simple water foot test like this one. This will help you determine what kind of arch you have and the support you may need in your shoes. The design of each shoe model tends to differ greatly, and knowing what foot type you have can be a important consideration. Will you be on a hard surface, spring wood floor, or carpeted floor? Support may not only depend on your foot type but the floor you will be on.
The Bloch Evolution is a great option for a split-sole with lots of support in general, but especially arch support:
Comfort & Cushioning: Your overall general comfort, how you feel in your shoes is not to be overlooked. Issues to remember and consider include, how breathable is the material, is the product mesh (which is notorious for rips and tares), canvas (more difficult to quickly wipe off), leather. Is the toe box large enough to give plenty of space to your toe area to avoid crowding? Some narrow shoes may not work for those needing that space.
Breathable mesh design like these Nike’s, can keep feet cool and comfortable in a sweaty Zumba class
Sole design: Check to make sure soles are sturdy for wear and tear of course, but also, you should choose a show with more flexibility than a running shoe. Low tread is important for all surfaces. For some the choice to opt for a split sole, more typical dance sole may be good choice if … Also, the heel of the shoe and the right “feel” of this particular aspect of the shoe is very important. comfort of the cushion level in this area is important as this not a good fit could lead to issues with achilles tendon as unless you are a seasoned dancer with very strong tendons in this area, you will want a tighter fit with restricted movement to support these tendons.
My top 5 five picks for best Zumba shoes of 2013:
My number 1 choice by far are the Nike Free Run. They are super flexible, very breathable because of some meshing on the top-no issues of ripping though, they have great arch support and the heals have just the right amount cushion. They work well with all floor types, and come in multiple colors choices, pink and black my favorite. I love them so much that I have personally owned and worn out three pairs! Love them!
These Puma Voltaic are also a great choice as are many of the Puma brand. They are not overly flexible, but have great support for those needing a bit more in ankle and upper foot stability, have a narrow body for those with narrow feet, have smooth soles, so they are great for all flooring choices, and come in some great colors choices. Truly affordable and are great as a double duty both class and daily walking shoe.
The Nike Musique is a tried and true Zumba sneaker. This shoe has been used by many Zumba students and is still a highly recommended. The narrow style fits like Puma, with a tighter heel area. The sole is not overly flexible, but is no tread so perfect for pivots and spins a part of all Zumba classes. They are not overly flexible, but after just a bit of wear, the shoe will fit your feet like a pair of gloves. Great, true to size fit, perfect for all types of flooring and a great price. The Nike Musique is great value.
Another great brand is Ryka. The best option, by far, in their footwear would have to be the Ryka Transition. Check out your next Zumba class, someone in that room will be wearing these shoe’s, many times that person will be your instructor. There is a lot to love about these dance sneakers, very flexible, great heel cushion lining, and a great sole for those turns and spins. But one of the best things about this shoe, is they are built for the active woman in general so if you really need to get double duty out of a show, this one is a great option because although it is so flexible, comes in many color options, including bright shoelaces, this shoe is also surprisingly supportive so can keep your feet feeling like you’re walking on a great cushion both in your Zumba, weight training, sculpt & tone classes as well as your daily fresh air walk. Reviews are almost always positive in nature with this shoe, and they earn them.
One last shoe makes my top picks. The Reebox Realflex. These ones make the list of top fives for several reasons, great arch support for the flat-footed, breathable mesh, support but not overly cushy which can make the shoe too bulky for a Zumba work out, and Reebox tends to cut a little larger which is a great plus for those with wider feet. Lots of great colors, and if you’re a newbie to running, great shoe for short little training jogs makes it a bit more versatile.
These are my top five choices for Best Zumba shoes for 2013. Each are excellent, affordable and come with well earned great reviews. Now its up to you to pick the best ones based on comfort, affordability, if you may need a duel purpose type of shoe, and of course your personal style. One thing I am sure of & understand fully from leading all those Zumba classes each week, you need to feel stylish to let out the inner diva and add some personalized “flavor” to your moves to truly enjoy your Zumba class and get the most out of your workout!