With all the kicking, jumping and spinning, your feet may need some extra support during Zumba.
Zumba may be marketed as a fun "party" workout -- but in Zumba class, you still need to be serious about your footwear choices, especially because Zumba Fitness classes involve high-impact movements, including jumping, hopping, shufп¬‚ing and spinning. Without the right footwear, you could set yourself up for an injury or chronic pain that could have you missing out on the party. Insole brands come and go, but there are some general things to look for.
General Footwear Recommendations
Your overall comfort involves comfortable shoes -- as well as the insoles inside those shoes. The Zumba Fitness website recommends an aerobic-style shoe for all Zumba Fitness classes. Aerobic shoes typically provide plenty of support for the side-to-side, shufп¬‚ing movements of Zumba Fitness and some level of cushioning for all the jumping and hopping. Your Zumba shoes should feel supportive along the entire footbed -- that area under your feet. Jump around in the shoes a few times if you're trying on a new pair. If your current shoes are giving you pain in the heel or midfoot, or it feels less-than-comfortable in those areas when you try on a new pair of shoes, one option is to buy an additional, aftermarket insole -- something you can add after buying the shoes.
Shoe Size and Insoles
Athletic shoes already come with some type of insole; it's typically that foot-shaped cushioning under the foot that may come out of the shoe if you pull up on it. These insoles are not always super comfy. If you buy a cushier insole, however, it can give you more padding in areas where you're experiencing pain. The downside is that you may find that your shoes are tighter than they were before. If you're at the store buying shoes, this might mean you'll have to choose a pair of shoes that are a size bigger than you're used to buying. If you put a new pair of insoles into a pair of shoes you already own and they feel tight, you may also have to go get a new pair of shoes that will allow for the space the insole is taking up. Try the new insoles with a thinner sock -- but if your shoes still feel too tight with that new insole in place, your only option may be to get a bigger pair of shoes. It might seem like a hassle, but it will make for a more comfortable Zumba workout.
An insole designed for aerobics is your best bet for Zumba. Unlike a typical cross-training insole, aerobic insoles have additional cushioning for the midfoot area as well as under the ball of the foot and the heel. Ideally, they'll also have added balance or stability features to help you with those sometimes-complicated Zumba moves. Check the bottom of the insole and look for cushioning "compartments" near the ball of the foot, the midfoot and the heel; those indicate that the shoe has enough cushioning in all the sensitive areas. Many companies make aerobics insoles, so your best bet is to sample several pairs at a retail location and find ones that feel most comfortable for you.
Zumba instructors sometimes recommend an insole designed for running, available at specialty running stores. Running shoes themselves are not good for Zumba, since they don't provide the lateral support you need for side-to-side movements. Running insoles, on the other hand, can provide at least some of the cushioning you'll need, though they'll tend to have less cushioning in the midfoot than aerobics insoles. If you can't find an aerobics insole that works for you, a running insole may be the second-best option.