Best Shoes for Zumba: Your Must Read Guide Before You Buy

Shoes for zumba - nike free 3

Finding the best pair of shoes for Zumba is one of the most important steps you’ll take in your whole workout. In this article we point out the top 4 features to look for in a pair of Zumba shoes – so you can get the most out out of your workout.

With the enormous range of motion involved in a zumba session, from top to toe your zumba apparel is going to make a huge impact in your workout efficiency and this is most true when it comes to what’s on your feet.

Like any type of workout, wearing the right shoes for zumba is important for safety as well as maximising your performance. Looking good doesn’t hurt either and there are a huge range of shoes for Zumba on the market right now that fit right, perform well and look fantastic.

So, what is a good shoe for Zumba?

There are four key factors to consider when choosing shoes for Zumba

  1. Weight
  2. Breathability
  3. Support
  4. Flexibility

We’ll go through each of these below providing examples of the best shoes for Zumba that meet these requirements.

Choose a lightweight shoe made from breathable material

The best shoes for Zumba should be lightweight so they won’t get in the way of you keeping good form while executing your moves.

Breathable material is another desirable feature for a pair of zumba shoes as with any intense physical workout, you’ll be looking to keep your feet as cool as possible during your session to maximise your overall performance.

Shoes for zumba - Ryka Studio D black
The Ryka Studio D is a light shoe with breathable mesh and removable sock liner. Shown here in black. Click on the picture to find out more.

Find the right balance between traction and ease of movement

Good shoes for zumba will also need to have superior traction, but at the same time a shoe with too much grip will prevent you moving properly, so it’s important to find that right balance in a shoe that will let you glide and turn easily, but also prevent you slipping over.

Shoes for zumba - reebok dance ur lead yellow
The Reebok Dance UR Lead has excellent support and stability, with shock absorption technology through the sole. Shown here in yellow. Click on the image to find out more.

Cushioning and support are essential

From the Merengue to the Reggaeton and every step in between, during a zumba workout, your feet are under a lot of pressure from a range of different angles so your zumba shoes need to have good cushioning and support. The best shoes to wear for zumba classes or working out on your own, will provide adequate arch support as well as stability to protect your ankles. A lot of zumba sneakers will also feature a special pivot point support on the ball of the foot.

Shoes for zumba - puma soliel synthetic
The Puma Soliel feature a contoured sole as well as a reinforced pivot point to support your foot. Shown here in the synthetic leather white and lime green. They are also available in patent, in a range of colours. Click on the image to see more.

While cushioning and support is vital for your safety and your foot health, you don’t want your shoes to be so cushioned or bulky it impedes your foot flexibility. As such, you’ll be looking for a shoe that strikes the perfect balance between support and flexibility, stability and movement.

nike free run for Zumba
The Nike Free Run s one of the most flexible athletic shoes on the market and is perfect for Zumba. Available in a huge range of colours and designs. Click on the image to find out more.

A lot of Zumba dancers workout wearing a traditional jazz shoe. While jazz shoes are lightweight and flexible, they don’t offer a great deal of ankle stability or footbed support. Plus, the traditional high heel design of a jazz shoe can cause a whole load of problems during an intense zumba session, particularly with anyone dealing with pre-existing knee or back issues.

Tennis shoes and other standard sports trainers are also a popular choice among the zumba crowd, as they’re typically well cushioned and also provide decent traction. For some participants, tennis shoes for zumba will work fine. It’s important to remember though that your sneakers will need to provide you with enough flexibility along the length of your foot as well as the cushioning and stability a pair of sneakers will offer.

Zumba is a unique sport, so whether you’re shaking your shimmy at home to a Zumba fitness DVD or dancing till you drop in a studio with a group class, get a pair of shoes designed to cope with the unique range demands zumba place on your feet.

The best shoes for Zumba for 2013

Now we know what we’re looking for, what are the best shoes for zumba?

Let’s take a look at the four best shoes for zumba in 2013.

Puma Soleil

The Puma Soleil is one of the most obvious choices for the best zumba shoes for women. Not only are they available in a great range of colours and fashionable designs, the Soleil are super lightweight, available with synthetic leather or patent uppers and comfortable padded collar and tongue. Puma’s lacing system ensures a close but not restrictive fit along the length of your upper foot. It’s a minor point, but depending on your personal foot shape, sometimes these flat laces can come undone easily so a lot of dancers prefer to switch to a different style of lace.

The Soleil also feature a reinforced pivot point to give the ball of your foot that extra bit of support during your workout.

The Puma Soleil has a slightly rounded sole and contoured arch support which provides a good range of motion through anything a zumba workout can throw at you. However, if you have specific sole needs, orthotics, for example, the contoured fit might not be your best choice.

Shoes for zumba - puma soliel
The Puma Soleil. Shown here in the patent Liberty Blue Cabaret Dark Shadow design. Click on the picture to find out more.

Pros  – Pivot point. High arch popular with flat feet.

Cons – Contoured sole might not be best choice for dancers with specific arch and foot support needs. Flat laces can come undone easily.

Ryka Studio D

The Ryka Studio D dance shoe is one of the most popular shoes for zumba in 2013. Available in a range of funky colours and designs, the Ryka zumba sneaker features a combination of synthetic moulded covering and breathable mesh to provide a lightweight and flexible design that will keep your feet cool all workout. Ryka also has removable sockliner slippers for breathability and dry comfort.

A padded collar and tongue ensures comfortable heel stability and the midsole and heel sole cushioning provide superior shock absorption. The Ryka also features a solid rubber vertical shank for added arch to heel stability, particularly around the Achilles area. This is a relatively flat soled shoe so might not be your first choice if you’re after firm arch support built in.

Shoes for zumba - Ryka Studio D

Pros –Light. Removable slipper lining for increased comfort and breathability.

Cons – Little contoured arch support, may case problems for people with flat feet.

Nike Free Fit 3

In the Nike range of dance shoes, the Nike Musique are often a first choice for zumba shoes. A lot of zumba dancers however find the Musique have a touch too much grip and are also not the most breathable or flexible of zumba shoes.

Instead of the Musique, many dancers looking for zumba shoes in 2013 are opting for the Nike Free 3. The Nike Free brand are a barefoot running shoe with excellent reviews across the fitness industry, and have now taken the Zumba crowd by storm.

The Nike Free are great for Zumba as they have fantastic traction but are still smooth enough to let you glide and spin. The strategically placed rubber pods in heel and forefoot suit a wide range of floor surfaces from carpet to tiles and boards and even outside.

The Nike central lacing system and cushioned collar and tongue ensures a snug fit.

These shoes are super lightweight and flexible and although they are a flat shoe, they have a cushioned insole with impressive impact resistance. The foam midsole together with the patented Nike flex grooves on the outsole are deigned to work with the natural range of motion in your foot, mimicking the feel of bare feet and providing  great flexibility while still offering secure foot support.

The Nike Free 3 are available in an incredible range of fun colours and exciting designs, making these some of the best looking shoes for zumba available.

Shoes for zumba - nike free 3
Nike Free 3 barefoot running shoe is perfect for zumba. Available in a huge range of vibrant colours. Click on the picture to find out more.

Pros – incredible flexibility and great range of colours and bold designs

Cons – moderate arch support and flat sole might not be enough support for some dancers.


Reebok Dance UR Lead

One of the best all round dance sneakers on the market, the Reebok Dance UR Leads are lightweight and breathable, with a mesh overlay combined with a shoe frame that’s both supportive and flexible. They are available in a fantastic range of colours and out there designs that really suit the spirit of zumba.

The Dance UR Leads have a great and comfortable fit with a padded collar and tongue as well as a traditional sports sneaker lacing system to ensure the shoe remains snug right along your foot. That said, they do run a bit narrow on sizing so ordering half a size up might be a handy tip for wider feet.

A lot of close fit shoes will limit flexibility, but not so with the Reebok Dance. These shoes have special grooves built into the sole to provide a fantastic range of movement, with a rugged traction that’s still smooth enough to glide and step smoothly.

Reebok’s  patented Ultralight outsole is super supportive, with great shock absorption but still won’t weigh your foot down like a lot of heavily cushioned sneakers will. The sole also has an inbuilt pivot point and patented turn zone to take the impact on those pressure points across the top of your foot strike. As with the Nike Frees, these Reeboks have a flat sole so that might not be the first choice for zumba dancers looking for inbuilt arch support.

Shoes for zumba - reebok dance ur lead
Reebok Dance UR Lead, shown here in solid teal. Click on the picture to find out more.

Pros – lightweight but still excellent cushioning and stability, with superior shock absorption designs through the sole.

Cons – a narrow fit won’t suit wider feet.

So there you have it. Wonder no more what to wear for zumba with four of the best shoes for zumba in 2013. Like any fitness pursuit, finding the right pair of shoes most suitable for the activity as well as your feet can take some trial and error, but remembering the four key factors in choosing zumba shoes – lightweight, supportive, flexible and breathable – you should match your feet to the best shoes for zumba in no time and be ready to set the floor on fire.