When you first start taking Zumba classes, it’s important to wear proper footwear. What kind of shoes do you need for Zumba? It depends on a few things:
- Your shoe size/width
- Joint flexibility & health
- Ankle strength
- How long you plan to dance each session
- Special foot or arch issues
- Floor surface you plan to dance on
- Your budget
No matter which shoes you choose, it’s important to find the right ones for your feet. If you choose the wrong shoes, you could cause injuries to your feet, ankles, or knees. We decided to answer some of the most common questions that people ask when looking for their first pair of Zumba shoes. If you have more questions, feel free to leave them in the comments!
What are Zumba shoes?
Zumba shoes are created specifically for the movement and impact of doing Zumba dance moves. They are a bit expensive, but totally worth the investment. There are many different types of Zumba shoes, from low top sneakers to high top dance shoes. You can easily find a style that not only looks great, but will help you dance better as well!
How are Zumba shoes different from other shoes?
Here are just a few things that are unique to Zumba shoes vs. running shoes or other athletic shoes:
- Extra padding for comfort and support
- Soles are not as sticky, making sliding or turning easier
- Pivot points and sliding pads reduce chances of injury
- Soles are built to withstand high impact of jumping and stepping
- High top Zumba shoes have extra ankle support to reduce soreness or injury
If you have any issues with your joints, or are worried about getting injured, I highly recommend looking into Zumba brand shoes. They are high quality, safe, and built to last!
How do Zumba shoes fit?
If you are buying Zumba’s brand of shoes, they typically fit pretty true to size from what I’ve heard. To find the right fit, I suggest trying on a few sizes to make sure you get the right amount of support and room. If you need extra wide Zumba shoes, you can check out their website, or do some research online to find the right width for you!
Your Zumba shoes should fit slightly snug, but not so much that you are uncomfortable. When you’re dancing, you don’t want to wear shoes that are too loose because the slipping can cause injuries like rolled or sprained ankles. However, if they are too snug, your feet won’t be able to swell (which always happens when dancing/running for long periods), and that can cause blood flow issues or unnecessary pain.
Can I wear Zumba shoes outside?
Sure, you can certainly wear your Zumba shoes outside! In fact, lots of people like wearing them while running errands, going on long walks, or doing other exercises. Since they are cushioned and very supportive, you could easily wear they all day!
One thing to keep in mind is whether or not your dance hall allows you to wear outside shoes in their space! Shoes you wear outside bring in dirt, which can scratch or damage dance flooring. It also makes keeping floors clean and sanitary a pain. So ask your instructor before wearing “outside” shoes into a class!
Can I wear running shoes for Zumba?
You can, but be very careful if you do!
Running shoes are made for running outdoors on pavement or hiking trails – not for dancing in gyms or dance halls. The soles of running shoes have a lot more grip on them than Zumba shoes, which can be dangerous if you’re not careful. When a running shoe “grips” the floor, but your ankles or knees keep moving, that can cause tendon damage, dislocation, or other painful injuries.
Your Zumba instructor will strongly advise against wearing running shoes – and they should. However, if they are the only shoes you have, you can get away with wearing them for a bit.
If you’re worried about injury, you can try a pair of Zumba Sole Control Wraps! They are around $20 for 2 pairs, and they can turn your running shoes into dance shoes for now. You slip the wrap over the top of the sneaker, and it allows you to slide and spin more easily! It’s not a permanent fix, but one that could work until you get a better shoe.
Can I wear jazz shoes for Zumba?
If I were to recommend any other shoe besides a Zumba shoe, it would be a jazz shoe! Jazz shoes and dance sneakers are also specifically created for dancing. They have the same cushioning and slide protection as a Zumba shoe – often at a lower price!
The only issue with jazz shoes is that they’re often sized differently than a regular shoe. Most manufacturers have their own sizing chart, which might be more complicated than you’re used to. I suggest trying on jazz shoes in a store that caters to dancers, instead of shopping online the first time. They will make sure to measure your feet properly, and can give you advice on the proper type of shoes and fit.
Can I do Zumba without shoes?
You certainly could do Zumba without shoes, as long as your instructor says it’s okay. Be careful of doing this on concrete or pavement, which could tear up your feet far worse than wood or vinyl flooring. Most dancers wear some kind of shoe or dance sock while on the floor, so instead of going totally barefoot, consider wearing dance socks instead. They’ll give you the flexibility of being barefoot but protect you and the floor from damage.
When dancing barefoot, be aware that the grip or slide your feet have is less than your shoes would have, and both may change as the dance session goes on. Your feet are built to grip the flooring, especially if they are a little bit sweaty, so be careful during slides and turns. If your feet are dry, you should be fine as long as you are careful.
Also, if your feet are prone to sweating a lot, it might be too dangerous to go barefoot – too much sweat puts you at risk of slipping and falling. It could also put others around you at risk of getting hurt, too!
In all honesty, I would say it’s not worth going barefoot. There are too many risks involved, and you can get the same effect while wearing more protective gear.
Whether you are a new dancer or an old pro, it’s important to know how to choose Zumba shoes that fit your needs. There are many types of shoes out there that will work, but ultimately it’s best to stick with proper Zumba shoes. If you have concerns about your joints, or haven’t worked out in a long time, get the more cushioned and supportive shoes made for dancing.
Frankly, it’s not worth risking injury to cheap out on shoes, but there are many options out there that are affordable while still being great quality! Do a little research or read my blog posts about different types of Zumba shoes, and find the perfect shoe!
I am licensed to teach Zumba®, Zumba Gold®, Zumba Toning®, Zumba Gold-Toning®, Zumba® Sentao™ and Zumba in the Circuit® classes.I am also CPR/AED Certified by the American Red Cross. I regularly attend continuing education classes including Zumba® Jam sessions to bring my classes fun and fresh new choreography.
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