Zumba is taking over the world. It’s cheap, fun, easy and you don’t need much to join in on the Latin dance fitness craze except your body, whatever sense of rhythm you have, and the right shoes.
You don’t need those fancy high heels you may be picturing, however. Your regular gym shoes are just fine, but if you really want proper Zumba foot attire, there are a few things you should consider when picking out a new pair of kicks.
There are three basic elements to look at when purchasing any type of shoe: shock absorption, ankle support, and material and sole flexibility. Well, four, cause they have to look good, too, but that’s a given. These three elements become even more important when looking for shoes for a specific activity, which today is a kick-butt Zumba class.
Shock absorption is a vital design feature you must have in the shoes you use for Zumba. Classes are usually held in empty gym rooms with hardwood floors that don’t offer much cushion. Add to that the jumping and stomping of the Zumba workout itself, and without proper shock absorption you can set yourself up for heel and knee pain, and in extreme cases, stress fractures of your foot.
Ankle support is also key when picking Zumba shoes. You want as much support as you can get to avoid rolling your ankle and hurting yourself as you twirl to the beat. Also, if you have arch problems, you want to pick a shoe with a lot of arch support, and may even consider using inserts for even more security.
Perhaps most importantly, you want the most flexible sole and shoe that you can find for a Zumba class. Because you will be on the ball of your foot a lot, which is true of any kind of dancing, you want a shoe that will bend and move with your foot without hindering your movement or pinching. Lightweight, mesh shoes are perfect, and the holes in the material will also keep your feet cool and dry as you dance off the pounds. Shoes with areas of mesh are the next best thing, but as long as you stay away from completely leather shoes, you’ll be fine.
If this is all a little overwhelming, wouldn’t you know it, there are actual Zumba Wear Gym Shoes designed specifically for Zumba classes. If you don’t want a separate pair of shoes just for Zumba, take advantage of the barefoot running craze and pick up a pair of light weight running shoes, like New Balance’s Minimus WR 10 OG that give you the flexibility to dance your little heart out or try the Ryka Women’s Sync Fitness Shoe which double perfectly for the gym and your favorite Zumba workout.
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May 11th, 2011