The Ins and Outs of Zumba Shoes
Did you know that there are special zumba shoes you can wear if you participate in zumba? Learn how they help to protect your feet from injury.
You love Zumba - but do your feet?
One in four Zumba participants experiences injury. There are special Zumba shoes that make sure you give your best performance class after class while staying injury-free.
Read on to learn about the best Zumba shoes!
Get the Right Shoes for Zumba
To prevent injury, ensure your feet love Zumba as much as you do. The best way to do that is to keep them in the right shoes for Zumba. Here, we tell you the best shoes for your Zumba workout and why.
Why It's Important to get the Right Shoe
Zumba is famous for its jerky dance moves, quick steps, and bouncing. While that all makes the class a whole lot of Latin-dance-party fun, it puts stress on joints and feet. Choose the right shoes for Zumba and you can absorb the impact so it doesn't hit you at the ankles, hips, arches or lower back.
With the right shoes, the only discomfort you'll get from class is the sort you want; tight muscles on day two and three! Whether you are just starting Zumba or have been doing it since it started in the 1990's, it is important you know what the common injuries are, and how you can avoid them.
Common Zumba Injuries
The fast-paced, jumpy Zumba movement style can be a recipe for injury. Any instructor worth their class fee will ensure you warm-up at the start of the class and stretch at the cool-down. This is a big part of avoiding some of the common injuries we will explore here.
A study of Zumba participants fond 1 in 4 suffered injuries. The study found the more classes participants went to each week, the higher their chance of injury was. The most common Zumba injuries among the group were:
- Knees (42%)
- Shoulders (14%)
- Ankles (14%)
- Elbow (5%)
- Calf (5%)
- Lower back (5%)
- Neck (5%)
- Thigh (5%)
- Muscle Pain (5%)
About half of the group in the Zumba-injury study sought medical help for their injuries. This tells us that Zumba gets expensive if you don't take the right precautions against injury.
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons says they don't see a lot of Zumba injuries. This may be because half of the sufferers don't get proper help. They say that the most common injuries they see are things like an ankle sprain or fracture, injuries caused by overuse, and torn meniscus.
Shoe Name and Brand
Definitely our top choice. Extremely, extremely comfortable and lightweight. Ideal for Zumba or any dance-based workout.
Uses seamless construction to minimize the chance of blisters and irritation. Not quite as supportive as we'd like though
Just not comfortable enough for our tastes. Might be a better weightlifting shoe than Zumba shoes.
First of three entries from the well-known Ryka brand of Zumba shoes. Nice high top, also has a strap to make sure your laces don't interfere. Quality on these was a bit questionable... ours wore out too quickly.
Again, we liked the velcro strap over the laces, but this shoe just didn't quite work for us. Quality is a little questionable, and despite great cushioning, wasn't as comfortable as other options.
A low top option from Ryka. Really lacking in stability.
Nice looking zumba shoe! Designed specifically for the sport, so allows a little more sliding while maintaining stability. Definitely a good choice!
Again, we really liked the Zumba brand shoes. Also very stylish and designed specifically for the sport.
Best choice if you like a high top dance shoe. This really comes down to personal preference. If you need more ankles support though, you should definitely go the high top route.
Unheralded brand. Unfortunately, it's unheralded for a reason. Just not that great in our workouts.
Another pure dance shoe. Not sure it really hits the mark.
Hey, a new Zumba shoe from Puma. And it's pretty good! Definitely better if you have wide feet.
What's So Different About Zumba?
We just looked at the variety of sports shoes needed for a quick few examples of different activities - running, boxing, yoga and indoor soccer. Now I bet you are wondering, what shoes are best for Zumba moves?
The first step in answering the question is to look closely at the activity itself. What does Zumba involve, and what does that mean for your body? What are the main injury-risks, and what causes them?
The Zumba Class: Party or Pain?
Zumba is a high-energy exercise class inspired by Latin dances. It combines elements of salsa, meringue and other dances. It is often said to be like Latin dance party that gets you in shape (and fast)!
Zumba is most often held indoors at health clubs, community centers, and school auditoriums. While the cliche goes that all participants are female (and moms), it does, in fact, attract everything from fitness novices wanting to lose weight to professional dancers wanting variety in their toning workouts - both male and female.
Classes are fast-paced and are physically taxing. Participants usually end the class drenched in sweat and out of breath. While that might sound like some people's idea of torture, it is still insanely popular.
Classes fill quickly because of the party atmosphere and impressive results.
Despite all the fun, participants do need to be careful on some key points. Pivoting and side-to-side or fast rotating hip movements are common - some classes begin with these moves too soon. A good warm-up is necessary to avoid injuries.
Apart from an adequate warm-up and some slow body stretching after the class, good shoes are key. Wearing the right Zumba shoes is perhaps the best way to lower injury risk.
The Best Zumba Shoes
Zumba shoes should be high-quality sports shoes specifically made for Zumba.
Cross-trainers or dance sneakers are excellent choices as they have good traction and support quick movement while maintaining a certain lightness of form. A bouncy sole and a form that allows for easy turns are also important.
Don't forget to make sure your Zumba shoes have mesh or other breathable technology. Zumba is a fast-paced, sweaty business that needs a shoe that breathes!
Zumba is well-known for the colorful, party-like outfits participants wear. Hot pinks and fluoro yellow and green are often seen. You might like to keep this theme in your Zumba shoes too, so they are as bright as the rest of you while you are dance yourself to peak performance!
The Right Fit for Zumba Shoes
Picking the right Zumba shoes is only half the battle. Like choosing any other footwear, there are lots of other considerations to make sure this is the right shoe for you.
Make sure they fit. It sounds so basic, but we have all broken this golden rule more than once. Maybe part of the problem is that we grow up hearing, "you'll grow into them" or "they'll be right after a couple of wears". We cannot stress enough how wrong this is!
The right Zumba shoes for you will fit right the first time you put them on. If they pinch the middle of your foot, squeeze your little toe or rub your heel - leave them in the shop! You want a well-fitting shoe that gives full foot support or nothing at all.
It is good to get in the habit of measuring your foot each time you buy a shoe since the shape of our feet can change with age. If, like many of us, one of your feet is larger than the other, select the shoes that best fit the larger foot.
Look for a nice, snug fit around the heel of the Zumba shoes. Selecting for this means no sliding up and down at the heel. Shoes that slide at the heel are a surefire way to get nasty blisters that will stop any Zumba action for a week or two.
Try to find Zumba shoes that leave about half an inch (1.5 cm) between the big toe and the interior of the shoe. This is a tried and trusted way to check they are the right size.
More Sizing Tips and Tricks
Wear some athletic socks when you try on your new Zumba shoes. This makes sure fit is true to how it will be when you wear them to class. Wearing thin socks to your shoe-shopping trip and thick socks to the first class you try them at is a road to disappointment!
Have a look at shoe sizing charts beforehand. Shoes offer standard sizes, generally either in US, Euro or UK sizing. You might be planning to shop while abroad and aren't sure how your shoe size converts.
To see conversions between these different systems, here are some links to shoe sizing charts to help you select the perfect fit anywhere:
Some specialist sport shoe stores even offer gait analysis. This is where you are filmed running (or Zumba dancing!) and an expert analyzes the particular way your foot moves.
If you over-pronate - that is, your ankle allows your foot to cave inwardly more than it should - you might need a particular dance shoe to counteract this. Many joint injuries come back to gait issues that can be corrected with the right shoes.
The Right Shoes for the Right Sport
Back in the day, there was one sport-shoe for almost all activities. Then, we moved to two basic choices: cross-trainers and running shoes.
Thanks to lots of sports research we now understand that different sports impact the body in very different ways. That's why it is so important to ensure we get the right shoe for the sports we do.
Manufacturing of shoes has also evolved. The variety of innovative styles offered to meet our diverse sporting needs can be overwhelming. Here are some quick examples of the vastly different shoes needed for different activities, and why:
There are different running shoes depending on the terrain. There is a huge difference in the impact on feet and range-of-movement asked of the ankles depending on where you run.
Trail running can mean hills, uneven surfaces, fallen logs, rocks and hard-packed dirt. Shoes for this sort of running must absorb impact, lessen stress on joints, and have excellent grip.
Running on a treadmill doesn't call for as much grip thanks to the tread on the belt. Too much padding under the heel can brig about calf tightness or even overuse injuries. Running sprints on sand or grass means an extremely flat sole is in order.
As you can see, the running shoe is a category of its own, not a single choice of sports shoe! If running is your game, you need to think long and hard about where you train and buy your shoes accordingly.
Boxers have to be light on their feet. They need to be able to spring away to avoid that hit or bounce around the ring until they tire their opponent. This means they need shoes very different to what a runner would use.
Boxing shoes should be made for traction, breathability, and grip-and-pivot. They should be well-made and fit like a sock. Imagine a boxer entering the ring with some heavy running shoes, or without a great sole grip - disaster!
Any boxer wanting to spring around the ring instead of resting on the ropes needs to take a long look at specific shoes for their sport.
Yes, you might be more used to Yoga in socks or bare feet. Yoga shoes are increasing in popularity though, as a way to improve balance and get more out of each stretch. They also make the beach and other outdoor yoga styles more possible.
A Yoga shoe needs to be almost sock-like. They should fit snug but give ample room for the toes so they can be spread apart in standing poses. The should have excellent grip while maintaining a very light-weight feel.
Yogis, next time you salute the sun remember you should worship your feet, too. Some quality yoga shoes are a good way to do so.
Indoor soccer moves faster and is played on a harder surface than regular football. It can also be played on turf or on an indoor court; another variable! This means joints like ankles and knees are under pressure and need the right support.
The best indoor soccer shoe will have a flat gum rubber sole with complex tread patterns for indoor court games. Alternatively, indoor soccer shoes may or low-profile studs for indoor turf environments.
The indoor soccer example shows just how much sport-specific shoes vary even within the one sport! From turf to court you are looking for pretty different things.
Time to Zumba (in Your New Zumba Shoes)
At Shoe Guide, we like to provide the most up-to-date, relevant content to help you make an informed decision when you're thinking about purchasing a new pair of shoes. That's why we wrote this article for all our Zumba fanatics.
Now you know the importance of selecting a shoe that is right for the activity. You know that this is especially true for high-energy, fast-paced Zumba. You know the injuries that can come your way if you don't.
And you know how to get the best fit for those dancing trainers. The only thing left for you to do is pick your style and get back on the dance-floor!
What are you waiting for? Shop your way to better Zumba shoes today!