Moving to the sound of the music requires a little more than just the right dance moves. Focus and practice will help you to nail the steps at your next Zumba class, but the right shoes will keep you from injuring yourself. A quality pair of lightweight, flexible shoes allows you to dance till you drop and enjoy the exercise without twisting an ankle or missing a beat. You may think that any pair of athletic shoes will do, but shoes especially designed for activities like Zumba -- such as our top pick, the Ryka Pivot Point Shoe -- will ensure that you're comfortable, secure, and ready for your next heart-pumping Zumba session.
Considerations when choosing women's Zumba shoes
Here's what you should be looking for in your next pair of Zumba shoes:
Traction: No one wants to slip and slide when they're trying to follow a complicated dance routine. A textured sole ensures that you stay upright on the dance floor. Zumba-specific sneakers, however, aren't ultra-sticky, so wearers can still glide and slide as needed.
Comfortable, secure fit: A supportive fit is critical for most shoes designed for physical activity. Dancing requires a lot of side-to-side movement, so it's essential that you feel supported from front to back and left to right in your new pair of Zumba shoes. Your foot shouldn't slip out of the shoe, and your ankle should be stable.
Pivot point: A smooth patch on the midsole of Zumba shoes allows wearers to spin in place without resistance.
Flexibility: A split-sole design increases flexibility, but offers limited arch support. Avoid split-sole shoes if you need extra support, or you're new to Zumba.
Cushioning: Whether you're pounding the pavement while running or jumping and hopping from side to side in a Zumba class, midsole padding in a shoe is incredibly important. Cushioning reduces the shock of impact and helps reduce the strain put on the body. Shoes vary from lightly to highly cushioned. Anyone with joint issues or a larger body should opt for shoes with a lot of midsole cushioning. If you're new to the sport of Zumba, a generously cushioned midsole will help reduce post-workout soreness.
Support: Unlike running and walking shoes, Zumba shoes provide lateral support since the workout involves a lot of side-to-side movement. Some shoes may also offer additional arch support.
Breathable design: Your feet will inevitably heat up even in a perfect-fitting pair of Zumba shoes. Choose a shoe with a mesh upper to encourage breathability and airflow. Don't bother with shoes made of leather or other heavy upper materials.
Style: Pick from a range of styles, including everything from colorful, funky shoes with bright accents to neutral-toned options. You can even choose to match your shoes to your workout outfit.
Women's Zumba shoe prices
Pricing varies from $20 to over $200 for a pair of Zumba shoes. A low-cost pair of cross-trainers provides limited cushioning and support but might be worth it for those new to the workout who are unsure whether they plan to continue. The higher the cost, the more cushioning and support the shoe will provide.
Q. My shoes aren't very comfortable, do I need to break them in?
A. No. Ideally, they should feel comfortable right off the bat. If they feel too snug, you've chosen the wrong size and wearing them around the house will do little to improve the feel of the shoes. When trying on any type of shoe, ensure that you have enough room to wiggle your toes comfortably and that there are no obvious pressure points.
Q. Can I use my doctor prescribed orthotics in my Zumba shoes?
A. Absolutely. Remove the included insoles and replace them with your custom orthotics.
Women's Zumba shoes we recommend
Best of the best: Ryka Pivot Point Shoe
Our take: High-performance shoe recommended by numerous Zumba instructors.
What we like: Supportive and well-cushioned midsole. Breathable upper. Sole features a pivot point ideal for Zumba dancing. Accommodates those with wide feet.
What we dislike: Durability issues.
Best bang for your buck: PUMA Women's Tazon 6 Cross-Trainer Shoe
Our take: An affordable and stable shoe suitable for multiple sweaty pursuits.
What we like: Sturdy design and attractive price point. Very stable sole and supportive upper provide adequate lateral support. Sweat-wicking insole.
What we dislike: Heavy upper limits breathability.
Our take: A stylish shoe for the Zumba attendee seeking to stand out.
What we like: High-top design delivers unrivaled lateral support. Design works for casual wear, too.
What we dislike: Shoe is a bit bulky.
Steph Coelho is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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