Are Running Shoes Good for Zumba?

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If your running shoes aren’t loaded with padding and are relatively more flexible than the rest, sure, they make an excellent choice for Zumba.

However, generally, jogging shoes are specifically made for forwarding movement and hiking trails which can give an uncomfortable edge to your overall Zumba classes.

Well, your concerns are totally valid.

If you are here, we can assume that you either already own a pair of running shoes and are thinking of adding a fun essence to your life with Zumba or perhaps you like to think of yourself as a Zumba and running enthusiast.

Either way, you’ve come to the right place!

This is the complete guide of everything you need to know to clear the most burning question of athletic footwear: are running shoes good for Zumba?

Best Running Shoes for Zumba

As mentioned earlier, a good Zumba shoe consists of less tractional grip, more padding, and enough support to make you feel comfortable throughout the entire Zumba session.

Luckily, some of the running shoe manufacturers are designed in a way to suit running as well as Zumba dance moves.

Here are the top 5 best running shoes that make a remarkable choice for Zumba.

Best Running shoes for Zumba Comparison Table

Ryka Women's K1093WWSL Studio Flex Low Shoe

Ryka Women's K1093WWSL Studio Flex Low Shoe

  • Removable molded Nitracel
  • Durable Running shoe.
  • Reliable comfort Running sneaker.
  • Ultimate Agility-lateral moves and jumping
  • Nitracel forefoot cushioning protects from impact.
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Ryka Women's Influence Cross Trainer

Ryka Women's Influence Cross Trainer

  • BEST FOR: Dance fitness + Low-impact workouts
  • PERFORMANCE TECH: N-Gage energy return foam for shape retention + cushioning on impact
  • MADE FOR WOMEN FIT: Designed for a woman’s unique foot shape with a narrower heel, roomier toe, and softer foot cushioning
  • MATERIALS: Breathable mesh with faux leather overlays for extra durability + Padded heel for extra cushioning
  • OUTSOLE: Ergonomically-shaped rubber sole for extra durability where you need it most + Pivot Point for smooth and easy turns
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Nike Men's Free 5.0+ Breathe Running

Nike Men's Free 5.0+ Breathe Running

  • Textured mesh full inner sleeve for a dynamic, sock-like fit and easy on and off
  • Asymmetrical lacing system for reduced pressure on the top ridge of the foot
  • Diagonal cuts through the arch to encourage natural motion and help increase foot strength
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ASICS Women's Gel-fit Sana 3 Cross-Trainer Shoe

ASICS Women's Gel-fit Sana 3 Cross-Trainer Shoe

        • MONO-SOCK Fit System: An elastic internal sleeve which replaces a traditional tongue providing a "sock-like" fit.
  • Seamless Construction: The use of seamless materials reduces the potential for irritation and friction caused by traditional stitches and seams.
  • Rearfoot GEL Cushioning System: Attenuates shock during impact phase and allows for a smooth transition to midstance.
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Reebok Women's Split Flex Cross Trainer

Reebok Women's Split Flex Cross Trainer

  • Stretchy and breathable upper material
  • Designed for: Bodyweight studio workouts
  • Bootee construction provides a sock-like fit for added style and comfort
  • Removable silicone strap for forefoot support
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Top 5 Running shoes for Zumba

  3. NIKE MEN’S FREE 5.0+ – Best For Men


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This RYKA Women’s Studio Flex Shoes is perfectly built with lightweight mesh, cushioning, and ankle collar to give maximum flexibility for long periods of time.

The breathable insole will make sure to keep your feet dry and relaxed even while you are exhausted with all the footwork.


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With the pivot point and dual-density midsole with high impact along with shape retention technology, this shoe makes it the epitome of the perfect Zumba shoe.

The footwear also comes with an extra arch to aid additional support for your feet and legs.

3. NIKE MEN’S FREE 5.0+ – Best for Men

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Whenever this is versatility, there is Nike. This specific pair of sneakers are made with exceptional lightweight and breathable material to adjust with the movements of Zumba.

The shoe also comes with a cushioned insole and has a high ability to absorb shock during movements.


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The seamless construction of ASICS Sana 3 reduces the potential of friction and trips to give you a smooth experience during workouts.

What differentiates this trainer from the rest is its rearfoot gel cushioning system that allows crisscross patterns and gives you the freedom to move around effortlessly.


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If you like to level up your style game in the gym, nothing can beat the ravishing colors of Reebok Split Flex.

Originally made for road running, but they give increased resistance and comfort for Zumba enthusiasts.

History of Zumba

Zumba is a Colombian dance-exercise that uses international dancing styles like meringue, samba, Indian, and soca moves to shed rapid pounds all while having the time of your life.

Now, read this carefully, you’ve probably never heard this before. Zumba was created by Alberto Perez in the mid-1990s. He was a choreographer and fitness instructor who happened to create Zumba by a “happy accident”.

The accident happened when Alberto forgot to take his aerobics music on one of his fitness classes. Instead of going back to get it, he improvised with salsa and merengue choreography tapes that he already had at hand.

As a result, he turned that class into a fun dance and aerobic jam which made everyone irresistible to leave the gym!

Now over 12 million fitness aficionados from all over the world reach their health goals with Zumba every year.

What are Zumba Shoes?

Zumba shoes are specifically produced to aid extensive movements like jumping, twisting, and spinning. It does this by using materials like mesh and rubber outer sole to give maximum flexibility and prolonged durability.

Nowadays, on the market, you can find a wide array of Zumba shoe options to make each second of Zumba more enjoyable. From low top sneakers to Zumba shoes with high drag (high heel), everything is laid out in front of you to take your best bet.

Can I Wear Running Shoes For Zumba?

Now comes the question that was promised in the first place. To put the answer in the simplest way you can. Yes, you read that right.

However, there are a few things you must consider in your running shoes. A good Zumba shoe features a pivot point to make it easier to spin, is lightweight, and has a comfortable sole to prevent knee aches and other foot issues like plantar fasciitis.

Now coming to running shoes, where some running shoes are the complete opposite of these Zumba-compatible features, some running shoes offer the same features. But what you need to look out for is the sole difference between these two shoe types.

The sole made for avid runners are meant for rough surfaces with high grip, whereas the sole for Zumba dancers don’t stick to the floor and allow the smoothest movements possible.

Can I do Zumba with any type of shoes?

The answers depend upon what exactly do you mean by “any ”. Shoes like Jazz shoes can provide almost the same flexibility with their non-slip material and adequate cushioning.

On the other hand, heavy footwear weightlifting shoes provide no cushioning and flexibility for your feet during intense dance moves.

What kind of shoes should I wear for Zumba dancing?

There are a few things that give Zumba shoes an upper hand among the rest of the athletic shoes, including running shoes in support and flexibility. Some of them are:

  • Non-slip pads under shoes reduce the chances of injuries
  • Soles made up of robust material to endure the high wear and tear of Zumba
  • Extra cushioning for support and “bounce”
  • Less grip in the soles to make turning easier
  • Pivot point
  • Extra ankle support to reduce soreness after exercise

Is it required to wear shoes for Zumba? Can’t it be done barefooted

Barefoot, no. A slight lining or dance sock is still alright. While dancing, your feet get prone to sweating which, as a result, puts you and your dance fellows at risk.

However, many researchers rave about the benefits of running and dancing barefoot, but being exposed to pavement flooring can definitely tear up your feet in the most painful way possible.

In a nutshell, barefoot dancing gives you the ever-needed flexibility while dancing, but you might have to bear with all the pain as soon as you reach home.

Effects Of Using The Wrong Shoes For Zumba

Running shoes have traction which helps you grip tight on the road and thus, increase your running speed. However, if we use the same shoes with the traction you’re likely to injure yourself while making lateral moves in your Zumba class.

If not that, then the risk of sore knees and sprained ankles are definitely something you can expect from wearing the wrong shoes for Zumba.

Why Do People Recommend Other Shoes For Zumba?

People recommend other shoes like running footwear for Zumba because not all speeding shoes are inflexible and have extremely tight traction.

There is some incredible running footwear like Nike shoes which feature extremely lightweight, breathable, and flexible materials to allow you to use them in any exercise you want.

Research and Findings

Now that we have seen what fitness experts have to say about Zumba and running shoes, is there any legitimate proof backed up by science to clarify this common concern?

According to research done by the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, by manually increasing the flexibility of running shoes we can actually use them for our Zumba dance moves.

In fact, softer and thicker soles also give the effect of high cushioning which is, of course, ideal for smooth jumping and moving around in the gym.

Best Ways to Use Running Shoes for Zumba

Now that you are convinced that running shoes can indeed be used for Zumba dance there are few things you must keep in mind to adjust the flexibility of a stiff running shoe.

Hold your running shoes by the heels and gently push the toes of the shoe pointing down against the floor until they start to feel less stiff.

Repeat this process every time you feel less support and pressure in your feet. Once you manage to master that, you are all set to rock any Zumba floor with your mesmerizing moves and undying energy.


Regardless of what level you stand in Zumba, it’s highly imperative to choose a fit that meets your requirements.

Where running shoes can give you some of the desirable flexibility, it can never give you the experience that a real Zumba shoe can.

If you are a beginner or perhaps have an ankle or feet problem, go for shoes that offer more cushioning and ankle support so you can indulge your time having fun dancing rather than whining in pain.

Good luck!

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Under training to become your personal trainer of choice. If Nelson is not busy producing awesome content to improve your mental, physical health and wellbeing, he’s probably sweating it out at the gym or watching Arsenal break hearts. A salesman and digital marketer , an avid reader, plays tennis and adventurous. He’s a disciple of self-development and follows everything fitness religiously.