When I first started Zumba classes, one of the first question I had was What shoes should I wear?. For the first couple of weeks I just wore regular trainers, which wasnt too much of a problem, because I was still learning the basic steps.
What I soon realised though was that having the right shoes is actually very important and makes things a lot easier. I think this goes for lots of aerobic style dance classes. Not only do the right Zumba shoes make things a lot more enjoyable, they also reduce your risk of injury. If Zumba is something that you are going to practice, or already practice regularly you need to think about what you wear on your feet! Zumba is a fantastic form of exercise for young and old alike (Zumba basic and Zumba Gold), but the majority of the stress on the body during any type dance is concentrated in the feet and projected up through the body. By wearing the right shoes you’ll be kinder to your body and look like a pro at the same time.
Like many types of dance, Zumba requires shoes or trainers that are both lightweight and breathable, however unlike traditional dance shoes the shoes you wear for Zumba should also have some form of cushioning or impact protection. Even with the lower impact and slower paced versions of Zumba, this cushioning will make the exercise much more enjoyable.
Ideally your Zumba shoes should be designed specifically for a combination of aerobic dance or fitness and dance. These types of shoe are often called dance trainers, or dance sneakers in the US. Popular brands include Capezio, Rumpf and Bloch. Nike also sell a range of dance trainers which are also great and designed for modern dance.
It’s important that you try to avoid traditional running trainers. These often offer too much grip (they have too much tread on them) and increase your risk of pulling muscles or twisting your ankle whilst moving quickly. This is especially true when performing slide movements. Another important factor is the shoes ability to help you pivot. All of the brands weve mentioned are great for pivoting, Nikes pivot points are more visually identifiable when you look at the bottom of the shoe but the Blochs & Capezio shoes weve seen function identically in practice.
In Summary Zumba Shoes should be:
1. Be Lightweight
2. Be Breathable
3. Have good cushioning and impact protection
4. Have a relatively smooth bottom (less grip than running trainers)
5. Be good for pivoting
6. Offer good lateral support
7. Be non-marking; especially if you are working in a gym or polished dance floor