Active Clothing Sneaker Trends

These Are the Only Shoes You Should Be Wearing to Zumba, According to Zumba Instructors

Photo: Getty Images / Luis Alvarez
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If you’re dancing your way into winter by taking up Zumba, you’re not alone. This Latin-dance inspired workout has grown exponentially in popularity over the last few years, according to the American Council on Exercise. And what's awesome is that the workout barely requires any special equipment. Simply throw on comfy clothes you feel confident in, that allow you to move and groove in, and you’re good to go. But the footwear might trip you up. Literally—unless you have the right shoes.

What to look for

“For Zumba or any dance fitness workout, you want to ensure you have a low-tread shoe and a circle on the bottom of the sneaker where the ball of your foot would be located,” says Holly Roser, personal trainer, Zumba instructor, and owner of Holly Roser Fitness Studios in San Francisco. “My clients always mention they have knee pain after Zumba and dance cardio, and this pain usually comes from torque on the knee joint when your foot is traveling one way, but your knee is tracking another direction, causing inflammation. A low tread and pivot point on the shoe allow you to switch direction quickly without causing a potential knee injury.”

It can also be helpful to have more than just one single pair of shoes to choose from. “I recommend having at least two to three different pairs of shoes and rotating between them for each of your dance fitness classes,” says Mariana Santos, licensed Zumba instructor and creator of Brazily Dance, based in Canada. “This ensures that the shoes will last long and protect your joints through all the jumping, pivoting and twisting you do in Zumba.” If you take anywhere from three to four classes per week, it is also recommended that you get new shoes every four to six months to make sure you have enough cushioning in your shoes and that they have enough integrity to protect your feet, ankles, hips and knees, explains Santos.

Ready to shop for some sneakers? Below we’ve rounded up some of the best Zumba sneakers based on our own testing and our expert input. See which allow you to dance like no one’s watching!

The best shoes for Zumba

Ryka, Dynamic Pro Training Shoe — $90.00

Sizes available: 5-11

The breathable mesh upper on this shoe keeps things from getting too sweaty when your heartrate increases as you dance across the floor. You’ll love the lacing system that extends down the sides of the shoe, locking your foot in so you feel secure with each move, jump, and turn you make. “The circular point on the sole allows you to pivot and spin with ease, specifically designed for dance cardio,” says Roser.

Colors: 3

Nike, Air Zoom SuperRep 3 — $120.00

Sizes available: 5-15

This pair of kicks is the perfect blend of support and stability, making it functional for a Zumba class. “The support is key for any and all fancy moves in Zumba class,” says Catherine Medina, Zumba instructor at City Zero Studio in Miami, FL. The company’s Zoom Air cushioning in the sole keeps your feet feeling fresh, and the flexibility in the midsole won’t restrict your mobility.

Colors: 9

Zumba Air Funk Dance Mid-Top Sneakers — $87.00

Sizes available: 5-13

Reinforce your ankle support with these shoes made specifically for Zumba! The breathable mesh fabric keeps things from getting too sweaty, and the overlays allow for ample flexibility, while keeping the shoe durable.

“The cushion in these gives the correct amount of support for all high impact dance combos,” says Medina. “Plus, the mesh fabric means your feet can breathe.”

Colors: 14

Adidas, Edge Lux — $57.00

Sizes available: 5-11

Designed for women, by women: These shoes have “flex zones” in the forefoot which allow you to pivot and change direction easily during any Zumba move.

“These provide maximum comfort and are so light, you’ll feel like you’re dancing barefoot,” says Medina. Bonus: The brand’s Bounce cushioning provide maximum energy return to your feet, so they won’t feel tired no matter how long you dance for.

Colors: 7

Lululemon Chargefeel Mid Women’s Workout Shoe — $148.00

Sizes available: 5-11

Thanks to the mid-rise construction of this pair, they’re perfect for anyone who feels they might benefit from some extra ankle support. They’re designed to be versatile, with lateral support, so you can use them for Zumba, as well as other cross-training and HIIT classes, too.

“The outsole on these shoes means you’ll have nice traction when shuffling your feet in class,” says Medina.

Colors: 5

Capezio Canvas Danseaker — $77.00

Sizes available: Currently limited

One of the most popular brands for dance shoes (both recreationally and professionally), Capezio delivers a lightweight, easy-to-move in shoe, that’s perfect for all Zumba combinations. “These split-sole shoes are a favorite of dancers,” says Medina, “allowing you to point and flex with maximum support.”

Colors: 1

Allbirds Women’s Tree Flyer — $160.00

Sizes available: 5-11

Not only are these shoes some of the comfiest we’ve ever worn, but they also transition from the street, to the studio, and then to brunch with ease. The brand’s SwiftFoam midsole is light and responsive, aka bouncy, making it perfect for Zumba, as well as any jumping up, down, and around. You’ll be able to wear them all day—to and from class. If they get sweaty, simply throw them in the washing machine to get them clean.

Colors: 6

Reebok Guresu 2 Women’s Shoes — $75.00

Sizes available: 6-11

Slip this stylish sneaker on your foot, and you’ll immediately appreciate the cushioning in the sole.

“I love how this sneaker is lightweight with a sole that’s ideal for pivoting and fast turns, that will help you execute quick movements,” says Roser. “It has the right amount of structure and support, allowing you to go from the cha-cha to squats without lacking support, which is exactly what you need for a dance fitness class.”

Colors: 1

Topo Athletic ST-4 — $110.00

Sizes available: 8-13

Lace up this lightweight pair of kicks before your next Zumba class. Their low stack height and flexible fit make them ideal for an optimal ground feel while twisting, turning, and changing direction—all of which you’ll end up doing. They’re the perfect blend of both nimble and secure.

Colors: 1

Brooks Glycerin StealthFit GTS 20 — $160.00

Sizes available: 5-12

You’ll appreciate the sock-like feel of the flexible knit upper of this shoe as you shimmy and sashay across the floor. It stretches with your movements, and provides compression to keep you feeling secure and locked in. We love how the comfortable midsole feels so responsive, allowing for seamless transitions during a combination.

Colors: 1

Hoka Solimar — $125.00

Sizes available: 5-11

The mesh, stretchy upper in this pair won’t allow you to feel constrained in any movement. You’ll love the feel of the compression-molded foam midsole, too, and the rubber outsole is extremely durable to last class after class.

“These shoes are designed to give you just the right kind of support for you to perform your favorite movements,” says Santos. “They’re also made of high abrasion rubber which makes them extremely durable.”

Color: 4

Saucony Women’s Freedom 5 — $150.00

Sizes available: 5-12

If you want one sneaker that can do it all, look no further! Thanks to the impressively responsive PWRRUN PB cushioning, your feet, legs and body will rebound quickly and give you the stamina to power through even the sweatiest Zumba class!

“These shoes provide great cushioning to protect your joints when doing any kind of jump during dance fitness classes,” says Santos. “The structure of the shoe keeps your heels close to the ground, which is great for preventing common foot problems such as plantar fasciitis and tendinitis.”

Colors: 10

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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