Best Shoes for Zumba Workouts

Zumba – Even the name has a kind of movement to it. If you are going to take Zumba seriously, then you need to have a serious pair of shoes. Zumba is a high-intensity workout, and you need to have the best shoes for Zumba to be able to keep up during your sessions.

Zumba combines aerobic exercise with dance. I love it (and hate it at times), but an easy mistake I made was to use any old pair of sneakers. Now, I am not saying that you should go out and buy an expensive pair of shoes before you have even tried Zumba. You should find your most comfortable pair of shoes and go try a class. If you like it, then that is when you should start thinking about a proper pair of shoes.

Zumba is intense. It involves a lot of movement, especially in your feet. If you are going to dance your way to a fitter, healthier, and happier you, then the shoes are the best place to start. A great pair of shoes will support your feet as you move. They will be comfortable and breathable. When you are wearing them, you will not notice them. They will leave your feet feeling invigorated instead of sore and uncomfortable.

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Sizing Your Shoe

When you are looking for the perfect Zumba shoe, I would recommend going to a shoe store and having your feet professionally measured (or have one of the sales staff put your foot in the little measuring thing). Often people have one foot slightly bigger than the other, and you should always buy your shoes based on the bigger foot.

Once you know your size, you can try some on. The shoes should fit snug but not be tight. If the shoes are too loose, then the material is going to chafe and rub, causing annoying blisters. If the shoes are too tight, then they are going to be constricting.

I would also recommend having your feet measured (and trying shoes on) in the afternoon or evening. Over the course of a day, your feet will begin to swell slightly so they will be larger in the evening than they are in the morning. Measuring your feet later in the day will give you a more accurate size.

Sweating and Breathability

This is one of the most important considerations when you are choosing your Zumba shoes. A lot of physical activities have you moving around on your feet, but none of them have the intensity of Zumba. After a Zumba session, your feet are going to be warm and sweaty (and possibly a little aromatic). When you are looking for the perfect pair of shoes, you should be looking for shoes which are breathable.

Look for breathable materials. Shoes with mesh panels always work well. You want the air to be able to flow through the shoe. This will help to cool your feet as you are dancing, which will prevent them from overheating. It will also prevent them from creating an abundance of moisture. Breathable material will also allow any moisture to be wicked away or dry out as you move.

Finding breathable shoes will prevent wetness from building up in your shoes. It will also stop blisters from forming (there is nothing worse than trying to dance when you have blisters on your feet.


Zumba is all about fast and precise movements. If you cannot find special Zumba shoes, then you are going to have to pay attention to the weight of the shoes. Zumba shoes are very light. This helps to give you swift and controlled movements. The speed of the dance is what gives it its intensity and what gives you your workout. When you are looking at regular shoes or sneakers, you need to find a pair which is lightweight.

Many sneakers come with cushioning for your feet which is great in an everyday situation, but not ideal for Zumba. With everyday sneakers, you will be wearing them all of the time, so the cushioning is necessary to protect the soles of your feet. Zumba is something which you will only be doing for a few hours every week. Regular sneakers, with cushioning, can actually be detrimental to Zumba – they slow you down.

The weight of your shoe will determine how fast you can dance. When you are looking at shoes (Zumba shoes or otherwise), pay particular attention to the weight.


Pivoting is integral to Zumba. When we think about shoes, we think about stepping forward, and that is exactly what shoes are designed to do. In almost everything we do, we are stepping forward. Regular shoes are great for this motion. When we think about Zumba, there is a lot of sideways movement and pivoting, or twisting. Regular shoes can be used for Zumba, but they will not give you the range of motion which is needed for Zumba.

With Zumba shoes, you have pivoting points. These points on the soles of the shoes make it easier to twist and turn. This aids you in moving faster and adding more intensity to your workout.

I have found that a high-quality pair of sneakers can be great for Zumba, but they do take their toll on your knees. With so much twisting and spinning, traction can become a factor. Sneakers are designed to give you great grip, but in Zumba, you often want the opposite. You want to be able to turn and spin quickly. Zumba shoes will give you the traction you need but will allow you to also use the pivoting points to spin and pivot.


When you are looking for a great pair of Zumba shoes, the flexibility of the shoe is very important. A regular day-to-day sneaker has some flexibility, but not a lot. When you are dancing, you need to be able to move your feet into a variety of positions and very quickly. The more flexible the shoe, the quicker your movements will be. You are looking for something with the flexibility of a high-quality running shoe and beyond.

Support During Your Zumba Workout

I have talked about the flexibility, breathability, and lightness of a great Zumba shoe, and all three of those are important, but, if you do not have the perfect fit, then nothing else matters. When you are choosing the perfect Zumba shoe, it needs to be comfortable, and that involves having good arch support.

If you have even bought a pair of shoes (and I am pretty sure that you have), then you will have thought about how comfortable the arch support is. You are not going to be Zumba-ing for long periods of time, but when you are, it is going to be intense. You need to find shoes which will give you great arch support or you are going to have painful feet at the end of a session. In fact, you can even damage your feet with the high-intensity workout over time.

If your arches are high, then look for a shoe which has a lot of support. You do not want your foot to roll when you are dancing, or you can cause damage to your ankle. If you have flatter arches, then look for a little more cushioning to keep your feet comfortable as you move around.

Split Sole vs Solid Sole

This is a question which I am asked a lot: Is it better to have a solid sole or a split sole? A solid sole is exactly how it sounds; it is the sole you find on almost all shoes. There is a sole which covers the bottom of the shoe. It is as simple as that. A split sole is more common on dancing shoes. Instead of there being a solid sole on the bottom of the shoe, there is a sole on the heel and a sole on the toes. The middle arch is internal, so there is no need for a sole on the middle part of the shoe. So which is better?

Split-sole shoes will give you more flexibility. They will allow you to move your feet in ways which solid shoes do not. This flexibility will allow you to gain more precise control of your foot as you are moving around. If you really want to take Zumba to the next level, I would recommend investing in some split-sole shoes, but the truth is, for regular Zumba, you will be fine with solid-sole shoes. Both types of Zumba shoes will give you everything you need to Zumba as you have never Zumba-ed before.

Should My Sole Absorb Shocks?

This sounds like a question which should have some sort of deep answer as we search for the meaning of life, but the Zumba answer is a lot less contemplative. Zumba is a dance which involves intense movement. One moment you are leaping through the air, and the next, you are stamping your foot into the floor. With so much need for balance and stability, you will find that you are often pushing your foot hard into the floor. So, is a shock-absorbing sole necessary?

Yes, it is … well, depending on how you dance. Zumba shoes have a range of thicknesses. A thicker sole will absorb more shock but may affect how you ‘feel’ the dance. A thin sole will not cushion your feet, but you will be able to feel the dance more.

When you are starting out with Zumba, I would recommend using a thicker sole to cushion your foot while you are finding your way. As you develop your style, you will become lighter on your feet and be able to absorb the impact naturally. The more you improve, the thinner the sole of your shoe should get. Move from a thick sole to start to a thin sole as you improve.

Do I Need a Heel Counter?

A heel counter is the part of the shoe which cups the back of your foot. The higher the counter on the back of the foot, the more stability and support it will give you. I used a high heel counter when I first started out and loved the support it gave to me. Over time, I downgraded to a lower counter as my muscles naturally strengthened. I would recommend this to anyone who is starting out with Zumba.

The one thing which I do believe is non-negotiable is an Achilles notch. When your Achilles tendon is tensed, it can rub against the counter of the shoe. A lot of rubbing can cause blisters and even injury. Look for a shoe which has a ‘V’ shape cut out of the counter. This will let the Achilles tendon flex without rubbing.

If you are unsure about your counter, then I would recommend choosing a high counter. As you become more experienced, a low counter will give you more flexibility and range of movement.


Buying the perfect pair of Zumba shoes need not be a chore, but there are certain things to think about before you go out and find the perfect pair. Not only is your comfort at risk, but the wrong pair of shoes can injure you, both short- and long-term.

Zumba shoes have been created to give you the best Zumba experience, but not all shoes are equal. You get what you pay for, and I always recommend investing in quality to get the most for your money. Pay particular attention to the weight, support, and flexibility of the shoe, and always choose a shoe which will give you the support you need.

Once you have found the perfect shoes for your needs, you can choose the style which best matches you and your dancing. Do you want bright shoes which attract attention to your feet? Or do you want plain shoes which let your feet do the talking? The choice is up to you.

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