As a seasoned Zumba instructor leading up to 15 classes per week, students asking me what the best shoes for Zumba are is a common occurrence after every class.
Rarely am I asked about the clothing options. In fact, picking out the right clothing apparel for Zumba does not seem to be a question most students seem to need advice on.
Rather, they ask for advice about the best Zumba sneaker to wear with their latest lime green Zumba cargos. Not surprisingly, this question is a daily occurrence.
The answer may not be as simple as you might believe. There are many shoes that manufacturers claim are Zumba friendly. However, you should consider several important factors in picking out a pair for your class.
And yes, Zumba is about bright fun colors. Another yes to the fact that how fantastic we feel in our Zumba classes is linked to not only our music but that inner diva brought about by those fun colors.
How do you keep your comfort level up during and even after class? My advice is not to base your decision on the color factor or looks alone!
Best Shoes for Zumba: What to Look For
Here are some features to take note of and consider when looking for the best shoes for Zumba. These apply regardless of where you are: whether in the community, gym, dance studio or with your favorite Zumba DVD in the privacy of your living room floor.
As a runner and running coach myself, 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.
Here are the factors that may affect your decisions when buying the best shoes for Zumba:
The right Zumba shoes depend on what surface you are dancing on. This is one of the first considerations you should include in your planning. This identifies what type of support you need.
Wood flooring is optimal for impact and reduced stress on joints during some of the twisting movements famous in our classes such as the 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 wear and tear.
In these cases, opt for a more supportive, cushioned shoe, rather than a lightweight version, slipper type.
Carpeted floors provide other difficulties and with shoes of any tread could cause feet to catch and twisting movements can cause hyperextension of joints.
There are carpet gliders sold in several places but in looking for shoes for classes held on the carpet, I would recommend very low treading to reduce this griping issue. 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.
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 an important consideration.
Will you be on a hard surface, springwood floor, or carpeted floor? Support may not only depend on your foot type but the floor you will be on, as we have mentioned in the previous section.
The Bloch Evolution is a great option for a split-sole with lots of support in general, but especially arch support:
Comfort and Cushioning
Your overall general comfort, how you feel in your shoes is not to be overlooked. Issues to remember and consider include how breathable the material is or whether the product is mesh (which is notorious for rips and tares), canvas (more difficult to quickly wipe off), or leather.
Furthermore, you can check if the toe box is 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.
A breathable mesh design like these Nike pair of shoes can keep feet cool and comfortable in a sweaty Zumba class.
Check to make sure soles are sturdy for wear and tear of course, but also, you should choose a shoe with more flexibility than a running shoe.
The low tread is important for all surfaces. For some, the choice to opt for a split sole, a more typical dance sole may be a good choice. Also, the heel of the shoe and the right feel of this particular aspect of the shoe is very important.
The comfort of the cushion level in this area is important as well as a not good fit could lead to issues with the Achilles tendon.
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 Picks for the Best Zumba Shoes:
1. Nike Free Run
First of all, the Nike Free Run shoes are super flexible, are very breathable because of some meshing on the top, and have no issues of ripping.
Secondly, they have great arch support and the heals have just the right amount of cushion. They work well with all floor types and come in multiple colors like pink and black.
Certainly, you will appreciate them so much once you experience what I am talking about. I have personally owned and worn out three pairs! Love them!
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2. Puma Voltaic
These shoes are also a great choice as are many of the Puma brands. They are not overly flexible but have great support for those needing a bit more ankle and upper foot stability.
Furthermore, they have a narrow body for those with narrow feet. They even have smooth soles, so they are great for all flooring choices.
Finally, they come in some great color choices. Truly affordable and are great as double duty both class and daily walking shoes.
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3. Nike Tanjun
The Nike Tanjun is a tried and true Zumba sneaker. This shoe has been used by many Zumba students and still receives great recommendations.
The narrow style fits like Puma, with a tighter heel area. The sole is not overly flexible, but the round toe silhouette makes it perfect for pivots and spins.
While they may not be overly flexible, after just a bit of wear, they will fit your feet like a pair of gloves. Great, true to size fit, perfect for all types of flooring, and a great price. Certainly, the Nike Tanjun is a great buy!
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4. Ryka Vida
Another great brand is Ryka. The best option, by far, in their footwear would have to be the Ryka Vida.
Check out your next Zumba class since someone in that room may be wearing these shoes. Many times, that person may be your instructor.
There is a lot to love about these dance sneakers. They are very flexible, have great heel cushion lining, and with a rubber outsole with pivot point and strategic flex grooves.
Most noteworthy, they are built for the active woman in general so if you need to get double duty out of a show, this one is a great option.
Aside from being flexible, the variant comes in many color options, including bright shoelaces. This shoe is also surprisingly supportive so a pair can keep your feet feeling like you are walking on a great cushion.
This is especially needed in your Zumba, weight training, sculpt, and tone classes, as well as your daily walk for fresh air. Reviews are almost always positive with this shoe, and truly, they deserve them.
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5. Reebok Realflex
These ones make the list of the Top 5 for several reasons. These include great arch support for the flat-footed and breathable mesh.
The shoes are not overly cushy as this can make them too bulky for a Zumba workout. Also, Reebok tends to cut a little larger which is a great plus for those with wider feet.
Lots of great colors, and if you are a newbie to running, great shoe for short little training jogs makes it a bit more versatile.
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Best Shoes for Zumba: Final Verdict
These are my top five choices for the best shoes for Zumba shoes. Each brand is excellent, affordable, and comes with good reviews.
Now, it is up to you to pick the best ones based on comfort, affordability, and personal style. If you may need a dual-purpose type of shoe, that is also something to ponder.
Certainly, feeling stylish will allow you to let out that inner diva and come up with some personalized flavor to your moves. Consequently, you will truly enjoy your Zumba class and get the most out of your workout!