- Zumba shoes support and cushion the feet and have just the right amount of grip so you can get the most out of working out to pulsating music.
- The lightweight and flexible Ryka Influence provides support, stability, and swivel-action for busting out Zumba moves.
Do your hips start swiveling when you hear a beat? If so, try Zumba, a dance-inspired exercise program born from ingenuity. Developed in the 1990s, the popular exercise program uses soca, samba, salsa, merengue, mambo, and hip-hop music to get people moving.
Zumba provices a full-body aerobic-cardio workout that burns 369 calories in a 39-minute class. Zumba not only strengthens your legs and core, but also increases your agility and flexibility. You don’t need to be a dancer to enjoy this high-impact activity – all you need are two feet (even two left ones!) and a love of rocking to music with a strong beat.
In order to get the most out of your Zumba workout, you’ll want to wear high-quality, comfortable shoes designed to handle diverse movements like turns, lunges, hops, weight shifts, kicks, squats, rapid direction changes, and more. A good pair of shoes help you maintain proper form for maximum benefits and minimum injury.
When considering a pair of shoes for Zumba, look for the following features:
- Flexibility: Look for bendable uppers and soles.
- Fit: Some models run narrow and some run wide – as do people’s feet. Obviously, you want your feet to be comfortable. Avoid excess room, which could lead to pain from tight spots and pressure points or sliding.
- Weight: The lighter, the better.
- Cushioning in the insoles, midsoles, and outer soles: Although you may want thicker soles for greater shock absorbency, remember that the thicker the sole, the heavier the shoe and the less your foot feels the floor.
- Support: Look for support across the sole (front to back, side to side), under the arch, at the heel (a heel cup securely holds the back and sides of a dancer’s heel), and around the ankle (with high-top models).
- Grip: See how the sole “grips” the floor. Because dancers pivot, slide, and frequently change direction, they need shoes that don’t stick to the floor, which could result in twisted ankles, knees, hips, backs, etc. Avoid running and tennis shoes, which are designed to grip surfaces.
- Sole construction: You’ll find two types of soles: full (one solid piece that runs along the entire shoe bottom) and split (composed of two sections, the heel pad and the toe pad) which offers more flexibility but no arch support.
- Pivot point: This is a circular patch of rubber on the shoe’s sole – usually located under the ball of the foot and/or under the heel – on which a dancer can twist, turn, and spin with ease. Some but not all models have pivot points.
In our research, we read opinions by trained Zumba instructors as well as reviews by Zumba students – from beginners to veterans – to narrow the field down to these five models.
Here are our top picks for the best Zumba shoes in 2019:
- Best Zumba shoes overall: Ryka Influence
- Best budget Zumba shoes: Asics Women’s GEL-Fit Sana 3
- Best high-top Zumba shoes: Ryka Tenacity
- Best split-sole Zumba shoes: Capezio Rockit Dancesneaker
- Best Zumba shoes for men: Nike Men’s Free 5.0+
Keep scrolling to read more about our top picks.
The best overall
The Ryka Influence is not just stylish and sporty, it’s also lightweight, flexible, and sturdy, offers support and cushioning, and has a low-grip sole and pivot point.
Designed for high-impact exercise, the Ryka Influence has a lightweight and flexible construction that’s great for kicks and jumps and provides ample support for side-to-side movements.
The Ryka Influence has a trademarked a “Comfort Fit Precise-Return” insole for shock absorption. It also has an attractive synthetic mesh upper for breathability as well as a padded tongue and collar for comfort. Another great feature is the pivot-point under the ball of the foot, which makes turning, twisting, and pirouetting easy and safe. The sole’s grip provides “decent traction,” according to Sportsly, yet still to moves easily across the floor. In fact, many Amazon reviewers note that they wear these shoes while dancing on carpet. Only a few feel the sole has too much grip.
Ryka makes shoes specifically for women, so the Influence has a narrow heel, a high instep, a secure insole, and a roomy forefoot. Some Amazon reviewers like the narrow heel box while others find the toe box too narrow. ZumbaHQ points out that this model may be a bit narrow and uncomfortable for people with wide feet. In terms of overall sizing, the Ryka Influence runs true to size for some users but feels a half or whole size too small for others.
Named “Best of the Best” on BestReviews and “Best Cross Trainer for Zumba” on Shrewd Fitness, the Ryka Influence is also the top pick for women’s Zumba shoes on Sportsly, BestWomensWorkouts, RunnerClick, and BestExerciseShoes. ZumbaHQ, WalkJogRun, 5 Min To Health, and Zumba instructor Allen Lizzie of Zumba Center rate this model as one of the best Zumba shoes. Of the more than 2,100 Amazon customers, 77% rated it 4 or 5 stars.
Pros: Lightweight, flexible, supportive, and great for turning with pivot point
Cons: A little narrow for some and lacks ankle support as a low-profile shoe
The best budget shoe
Lightweight and flexible, the Asics Women’s GEL-Fit Sana 3 with gel cushioning is quite comfortable for Zumba class.
The Asics Women’s GEL-Fit Sana 3 seems to be built for Zumba. It has a breathable mesh upper for air ventilation, a “Rearfoot GEL” cushioning system that absorbs shock from the impacts of jumps, a midsole with a crisscross pattern for multidirectional bendability, and a rubber sole with the right amount of grip. People also like its stylish yet understated appearance in a selection of appealing (and “not wild) solid colors.
According to Sportsly, which rates the Asics Women’s GEL-Fit Sana 3 as its third best model, the shoe’s flexibility “promotes extreme articulation during Zumba dance classes.” This flexibility also provides freedom of movement in non-Zumba activities like walking and light cross training.
WalkJogRun ranks the Asics Women’s GEL-Fit Sana 3 within its top ten picks and says the “lightweight design [is] great for lateral motions.” Add the Mono-Sock design (an elastic internal sleeve that replaces a traditional tongue, making the shoe easy to slip on and slip off), and you have a sneaker that fits comfortably like, well, a sock – in fact, some people skip wearing actual socks. This construction feels secure and snug but not too tight.
The trade-off of the lightweight and flexible Asics Women’s GEL-Fit Sana 3 is a need for more support, particularly in the arch and the sides. Although Amazon reviewers describe wearing the shoes as “walking on baby clouds” and some feel they provide adequate support and cushioning, several say otherwise.
The Asics Women’s GEL-Fit Sana 3 is ranked second highest on BestWomensWorkouts, third on Shrewd Fitness, and within the top ten picks on RunnerClick. Among more than 180 Amazon reviewers, this shoe has 4.1 stars out of 5.
Pros: Lightweight, flexible, comfortable
Cons: Needs more arch and side support
Buy the Asics Women’s GEL-Fit Sana 3 on Amazon for $34.97 to $139.99 (price varies based on size and color)
The best high-top
The high-top Ryka Tenacity offers strong ankle and heel support along with stability and cushioning thanks to a springy insole.
Great for low-impact Zumba classes (like Zumba Gold, a low-intensity version designed for dancers who want routines that are easier on the joints), the Ryka Tenacity provides ample ankle support as well as comfort and security. Zumba Gold instructors recommend this model to students. BestWalkingFeet praises its heel support and describes “a molded, rigid heel reinforcement unit which keeps you from pronating too much to either side as you dance.”
The Ryka Tenacity has a breathable synthetic mesh upper that adjusts with a lace-up front and Velcro strap across the midfoot for customizing a secure fit. The manufacturer boasts both a RE-ZORB footbed (which BestWalkingFeet describes as “bounc[ing] back and return[ing] the energy of each downward motion back up to your legs”) that reenergizes dancers and a dual foam midsole engineering design to provide extra cushioning at forefoot pressure points.
What the Ryka Tenacity doesn’t have is strong arch support. You can insert custom insoles with arch support, but some users dislike the extra expense and inconvenience. Nonetheless, the shoe’s rubber outsole has a pivot point under the ball of the foot and the right amount of grip for dancing.
The Ryka Tenacity seems to run fairly true to size, although a few Amazon reviewers recommend sizing up by a half while BestWalkingFeet suggests sizing down a little bit. We recommend trying these on before you use it, or purchase from an online retailer with a good return policy like Zappos.
Of the more than 430 Amazon customers, 62% gave the Ryka Tenacity 5 stars. This model is the second-highest ranked Zumba shoe on RunnerClick, the fourth on Sportsly and BestWomensWorkouts, and sixth on BestWalkingFeet.
Pros: Comfortable, great ankle support, secure fit
Cons: Weak support for the arch (can add own insole, which isn’t always convenient) and lateral movement
The best split-sole
For women and men who demand bona fide dancewear, the Capezio Rockit Dancesneaker provides maximum flexibility for Zumba movements and foot extensions in a well-constructed studio shoe.
Famous dancewear manufacturer Capezio makes the unisex Capezio Rockit Dancesneaker, which is perfect for Zumba enthusiasts, dance teachers, hip-hoppers, etc. Users love this well-padded yet lightweight and flexible shoe. Its sturdy upper is made of polyurethane nubuck, imitation suede, and mesh. This model also has a ventilated arch for breathability as well as a padded collar, tongue, and Achilles notch above the heel for comfort. The removable footbed, made of EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate, a man-made material often used running and hiking shoes), provides ample cushioning.
What’s really special about the Capezio Rockit Dancesneaker is that it’s designed specifically for dancing. Zumba instructors state that it facilitates easy turning and pivoting without sacrificing stability. Excellent for changing direction, rotating, and executing lateral movements, this shoe has a non-marking, polyurethane sole split sole for maximum foot articulation and toe pointing; flex points and a spin spot under the ball of the foot for pirouettes; and a flat, boxed toe for executing toe stands.
The Dancerholic blog notes that the Capezio Rockit Dancesneaker is “great for those with knee problems as they have built-in flexible points and a spin spot so you can move side-to-side without putting pressure on your knees.” Several Amazon reviewers report switching to this shoe in order to avoid and/or eliminate aches and pain. Some users like the sole’s grip (even for dancing on carpeting) while others find it a bit slippery for lunges, squats, and on non-carpeted floors.
People (especially those with wide feet) find the Capezio Rockit Dancesneaker a bit narrow and that runs small. The manufacturer recommends women order one size up from their street-shoe size and men order two sizes up.
The Capezio Rockit Dancesneaker is one of the top picks on Dancerholic, RunnerClick, BestExerciseShoes, Shrewd Fitness, BodyTechReview, and ZumbaHQ. On Amazon, 52% of more than 600 reviewers gave it 5 stars.
Pros: Split sole allows full foot articulation and rotations, lightweight and flexible
Cons: Run a little narrow and small, can be slippery on wooden floors
The best for men
The Nike Men’s Free 5.0+ is lightweight, breathable, and flexible, and provides cushion for men starting out in Zumba.
Finding Zumba shoes for men is a bit like playing “Where’s Waldo?” because unless shoe models are labeled as unisex or for men, you can assume they’re likely for made for women. Nonetheless, there are good Zumba shoes for men out there, like the Capezio Rockit Dancesneaker described earlier and others by Capezio and dance brands like Bloch and Sansha. The best “mainstream” shoe we found after an exhaustive search is the Nike Men’s Free 5.0+. It accommodates the male foot shape well and has features that make it appropriate for Zumba.
Fitness enthusiast and BodyTechReview founder Mark Brennan likes the Nike Men’s Free 5.0+ for men trying Zumba because it’s lightweight, flexible, and comfortable. The shoe’s upper is made out of breathable mesh for releasing heat and evaporating sweat during an intense Zumba workout. The shoe also has a molded, cushioned footbed and arch support that adjusts to your foot and absorbs shock.
Its sleek look may appeal to men. Although marketed as a running shoe (which normally you shouldn’t wear for Zumba), the Nike Men’s Free 5.0+ has “decent” but not overly strong grip according to Amazon reviewers. Instead of heavy, deeply grooved treads often found on running shoes, this model features hexagonal flexible grooves on its minimal rubber sole, so it isn’t too “grippy,” which is important in executing twists, turns, and other Zumba moves.
The Nike Men’s Free 5.0+ runs a bit small and wearers recommend ordering up a size.
One Amazon reviewer wrote that his pair of Nike Men’s Free 5.0+ is “the absolute best Zumba shoes I have ever owned!” This model has an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars among more than 1,400 Amazon reviewers.
Pros: Lightweight, flexible, not too “grippy,” sleek and masculine appearance
Cons: Pricey, no pivot point, runs a bit small