What are the best shoes for Zumba fitness?

What are the best shoes for Zumba fitness?

So many styles!
So many makes!
So many shoes!
So which shoes for Zumba should you buy?

A great majority of enquiries received at our offices and in person at our shop is “What are the best shoes for Zumba fitness?”. As with most things in life there is no one answer as it depends entirely on the person’s physiology, their physical abilities and sense of style – as to which attribute is the more important I’ll leave that for you to decide.

What we can do here is guide and help you to make the right choice as the wrong choice could lead to discomfort, injury and worse still, ridicule from your peers for wearing ugly shoes. Any one of these outcomes may lead you to decide to give up on Zumba and give up on an enjoyable way of improving mind, body, soul and sense of rhythm. Ironically, as a dancer, I have a heightened sense of rhythm at the expense of my mind, body and soul but any dancer would tell you that is a price worth paying to be able to dance.

What you should look for in a shoe for Zumba:

Excellent grip

In this context “excellent grip” really means “the right amount of grip” and not “you will stick to the ceiling in these” type of grip. So in this context we can ask if trainers have excellent grip for Zumba and the answer would be no, the reason is that they are too grippy.
The moves in Zumba require you to be agile, to spin, turn and change direction in an instant, and to do that you need to be sure footed without sticking to the floor. Standard trainers are designed for pounding tarmac and outdoor surfaces like pavements in the rain, and to be able to survive the abrasive nature of “the outdoors” the compound used to make the sole is hard and dense. Great for outdoors but on a dance floor or in a gym trainers have too much grip and at some point during an energetic turn the trainer will stick to the floor and you will “pop” your knee.
Dance sneakers are made specifically for indoor use. Their soles are made of a softer squishier compound than standard trainers and will grip a smooth floor adequately without sticking. Always make sure your shoes don’t have too much grip.
Look at the flooring where you perform and assess how much grip you need – a marble floor requires a strong grip sole whilst a carpeted floor reguires week grip.
Although it is not a good surface for doing Zumba carpet tends to be the surface most do it on. This is because they are woring out to a Zumba DVD or playing Zumba on the Wii. If this is you then you then be sure to wear shoes with rounded tred (trainers have angular tred to “hook” edges) and a spin spot.

Spin-Spot

Too much grip when you turn on the spot can cause you to twist and injure an ankle or even your knee if your body turns but your foot is stuck to the ground and there are lots of turns in Zumba. A spin-spot is a special feature designed in to the tread of the shoe that lessens the grip when turning and spinning without reducing the grip when moving backward/forward and side to side.

A split sole

Unlike standard shoes dance sneakers sometimes come with a split-sole. You can recognise split soled shoes because they have a sole for the ball of the foot and toes, and a separate sole for the heel. The arch of the foot is supported by an integral arch support that keeps the arch off the floor, and since the arch does not make contact with the floor why give it a sole.
The effect of a split sole is to make the shoe super flexible, allowing the foot to arch and point in ways a full-soled shoe would not facilitate.

Light-weight

Obvious one this. The lighter the shoe the longer you can dance.

The lightest shoes are made of good quality leather or even canvas, their soles are thin and there is little padding. The dance sneakers that have thick cushion soles, thick padding and high heel counter usually have mesh uppers to help keep them light, and breathable.

Shock absorbing sole

Zumba is full of Latin dance moves that require you to punch through the floor whilst being light on your toes. No doubt about it, until you master perfect poise and balance you will be coming down hard on your heels from time to time, and with out padding you can quickly develop bruised feet.
You will find that shoes for Zumba come with soles that vary in thickness from little more than a sliver to a good chunk of pneumatic shock absorption. The trade off is the thicker the sole gets the more you will be insulated from the floor and so the less you will “feel” the moves. I suggest that the better you get the thinner your shoe’s sole should be – you will find that your moves will become more fluid and you will find that you keep in time with the rhythm more.

Good heel counter

The heel counter is the part of the heel that “cups” the heel of your foot. Typically the higher the counter the more stability the shoe gives your foot, and likewise the stiffer the counter the more stability it provides. A high counter MUST have an Achilles notch to allow for the tensing of the Achilles tendon otherwise the the shoe will rub and cause injury. The Achilles notch is usually a “V” shape cut out of the top of the heel counter.
Experienced dancers tend to avoid high heel counter because it somewhat restricts the movement of the foot. This is fine for them since years of dance have strengthened all the tendons and muscles controlling their feet giving them good foot stability.

Style

Not only should you feel comfortable in your new Zumba shoes but you should look good too. Be sure to get shoes that reflect your personality and passion. Go for designs and colours that attract attention to how perfect your footwork is …or go for plain colours that let your feet go unnoticed – your call!

What a good Zumba shoe will give you

The Zumba shoes that you buy will have attributes that will be unique to that shoe. Those attributes will make your shoes feel different to any other shoe when working out. The following chart goes someway to explain the trade-off between total movement freedom that permits unhindered expression through movement and best protection from injury through shock and strain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ideal Zumba shoes

Bloch 538 Boost DRT Dance Sneaker


Excellent grip: YES
Spin Spot: YES
Split sole: YES
Weight: Light
Shock Absorption: Excellent. Lightweight pu midsole with air cushion of 4psi for shock absorption
Heel Counter: High with Achilles notch
Style: 4 colour combos in child and adult sizes up to size 11 [UPDATE: Only Black and Pink now available]

Take a look and buy now >>

RV Impact Dance Sneaker


Excellent grip: YES
Spin Spot: YES – ball & heel
Split sole: YES
Weight: Light
Shock Absorption: Substantial pneumatic
Heel Counter: High
Style: Child & Adult sizes up to size 12. Black and NEW Pink. Classic dance sneaker design by UK company Roch Valley.

Take a look and buy now >>

Capezio Hot Pink Web Dance Sneaker


Excellent grip: YES
Spin Spot: YES
Split sole: YES
Weight: Light
Shock Absorption: Block PU with built in patented flex points
Heel Counter: Low
Style: Made by Capezio who have a strong reputation with their dance sneakers. This shoe is also available with grey web and patent web. Available in sizes child to Adult.
Take a look and buy now >>

Capezio RockIT Dansneaker

Capezio RockIt
Excellent grip: YES
Spin Spot: YES
Split sole: YES
Weight: Light
Shock Absorption: Contoured EVA footbed with lightweight blown PU soles featuring vents for air circulation
Heel Counter: High with padded Achilles notch
Style: Made by Capezio available in Black only. Sport lacing system for an adjustable and snug fit.

Take a look and buy now >>

Bloch Wave Dance Sneaker


Excellent grip: YES
Spin Spot: YES
Split sole: YES
Weight: Light
Shock Absorption: Medium. Cushioned heel for shock absorption and comfort
Heel Counter: Mid-way
Style: Latest styling from Bloch, another company famed for quality dance sneakers. Choice of three fabulous colour combinations – all look juicy!

Take a look and buy now >>

Bloch Twist Dance Sneaker


Excellent grip: YES
Spin Spot: YES
Split sole: YES
Weight: Light
Shock Absorption: Medium. Cushioned heel for shock absorption and comfort
Heel Counter: High
Style: Another new design from Bloch. High density tpu outsole with functional spin spot. Excellent breathability.

Take a look and buy now >>

Bloch Criss Cross Dance Sneaker


Excellent grip: YES
Spin Spot: YES
Split sole: YES
Weight: Very Light
Shock Absorption: Medium. Same as the Bloch Twist and Wave with cushioned heel.
Heel Counter: Low
Style: The third in Bloch’s latest additions to their impressive dance sneaker range. this shoe benefits from an upper composed almost entirely of mesh for reducing weight and maximising breathability. Adult sizes up to 11½.

Take a look and buy now: Red, Purple, Yellow >>

Bloch Amalgam 570 Dance Sneaker


Excellent grip: Yes – on the right surface. Harder compound sole strips mean that grip on smooth shiny floors is not strong, so these shoes are better suited to high-traction surfaces such as theatrical staging and lino.
Spin Spot: NO
Split sole: YES
Weight: Ultra Light
Shock Absorption: Minimal
Heel Counter: Low
Style: 5 fabulous colour combinations including neon Hot Pink and Green. This flexible design construction from Bloch allows the feet to flex through all positions. Adult sizes up to UK 9 including ½ sizes. This design is also available in canvas.

Take a look and buy now >>

Capezio Freedom Dansneaker


Excellent grip: Yes
Spin Spot: NO
Split sole: YES
Weight: Ultra Light
Shock Absorption: Minimal protection provided by split-sole outsole of molded sponge EVA.
Heel Counter: Low
Style: This multi-articulating split shoe from Capezio is so flexible the entire shoe can be folded or rolled and put in your pocket. Adult sizes including half sizes.

Take a look and buy now >>

These shoes cover the broad spectrum of dance experience – each will give you a different feel during your Zumba workout. Choosing the right shoe for you is tricky, but we hope that the information that I have given here will happy you. If in doubt order more than one pair – we don’t quibble over returns (see our no hassle returns policy).

Update (26th October 2011):

Review of the New Capezio BOLT Dansneaker. Is it great for Zumba? Read more…

More Zumba reviews

How to look and feel great for dance fitness – Control underwear
Zumba on Wii
What to wear for Zumba fitness classes
What are the best Zumba shoes for men?

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11 thoughts on “What are the best shoes for Zumba fitness?

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  9. VBM

    Hello, I noticed you didn’t include any Ryka shoes in your review. Do you like the Capezio and Bloch that much more? Have you ever tried Ryka? I am asking because I have used and like Ryka but I want to try something new. I am considering a pair of Bloch, I would love to hear your advice. Thanks.

    1. Dancemania

      Hi, Thanks for your question:
      Ryka make very good athletics shoes but they are not meant for dance. If you look at their soles they form a wedge making your heel higher than your toes. For dance and dance sport fitness such as Zumba the feet must be able to lay flat when you are in a central position so that you can control your balance. Also the soles of Ryka shoes are made of a compound intended to provide high gripiness on outdoor surfaces. Coupled with lack of spin-spot these shoes would place extreme twisting forces on ankles and knees in dance turns.

      Capezio and Bloch shoes, as well as Roch Valley’s Impact shoes, are designed for dance and are far better for such than Ryka. You will find that all the dance shoes we mention in this blog have received customer reviews and I’m sure you will find them invaluable when making your selection.

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