Kelly Ripa Collection Ryka Transition Shoes for Zumba

January 7th, 2012

Who doesn’t love Kelly Ripa?

You probably also know that Kelly Ripa does Zumba. Earlier this week, Zumba Fitness creator, Beto Perez did Zumba with Kelly Ripa, Rob Lowe, and Vanessa Lachey on  LIVE! with Kelly. Watch it here:

kelly ripa zumba

The RipaRyka Kelly Ripa Collection by Ryka features a shoe called the Transition that is perfect for Zumba. I have heard a lot of good things about the Ryka Transition for Zumba, Zumba Gold, and Curves Zumba in the Circuit classes from my fellow Zumba instructors and participants. The mesh upper reminds me of my old favorite Zumba shoes, the Nike Musique IV, which is no longer available. The Transition studio shoe is light, flexible, and breathable. The Transition studio design provides support and stability, but also allows lateral movement and just the right amount of grip need for Zumba. These shoes are readily available – at least online.

Just another reason to love Kelly Ripa!

If you use Ryka Transition for Zumba, leave a comment and let me know what you think!

kelly ripa ryka transition zumba shoe sidekelly ripa ryka transition zumba shoe

Why is it so hard to find Zumba shoes?!?

October 25th, 2011

Why is it so hard to find shoes for Zumba?!?

My search for good Zumba shoes started over two years ago after I experienced knee pain after Zumba. During Zumba class, I was having so much fun that I didn’t even notice that my usual gym shoes stuck to the studio floor. My knees were taking all kinds of the abuse while my foot was planted on the studio floor and my body twisted and turned and made lateral movements. After Zumba class, my knees ached.

In the beginning, I looked at everything from cross country “waffle” running shoes to wrestling shoes to indoor turf soccer shoes. I even got out my old Capezio athletic dance shoes from dance team performances in college.

Finally, I found Nike Musique IV. They were perfect – from the mesh upper to the sole to the price. Now, Nike Musique are cheerleading shoes with all leather uppers – not to mention, they are too ugly to wear to Zumba class.

I moved on to Nike Huarache. Cool, hip-hop style dance sneakers with a sock like upper and great soles and again, great price. Now, Nike discontinued them. A search for Nike Huarache will bring up hits for men’s soccer shoes.

I am currently using Reebok Zigs for Zumba. They are working… for now. My feet often go numb during class, but at least the ridiculous looking soles can turn on the studio floor, which saves me from knee and hip pain. They are expensive, but I found mine on a clearance rack at TJ Maxx.

I’ve seen everything from Sketchers to Puma to Ryka to Vibram FiveFinger barefoot running shoes to bare feet in my Zumba classes and no one seems really pleased with their Zumba footware. Men seem to have an even bigger struggle than women in finding good Zumba shoes.

Zumba currently sells Z-Kickz and Z Tops are coming out in November 2011. Buying shoes for Zumba from Zumba will cost you $75 to $95 USD.

Finding the right shoes for Zumba has been a struggle for me since I started teaching Zumba classes to years ago. What shoes are you wearing for Zumba right now? Would you (do you) recommend them to others?

NEW: Z-Kickz Athletic Dance Shoes for Zumba by Zumba Fitness

August 28th, 2011

All of my favorite athletic dance shoes for Zumba have been discontinued. First, it was the Nike Musique IV with the mesh upper. Then it was the Nike Huarache. I’ve tried regular running or cross-training shoes, but nothing feels right in Zumba class. What’s a Zumba lover like me supposed to do?

Zumba Fitness has an (expensive) new solution: Zumba Z-Kicks. According to the Zumba Shop:

When you want to break it down (which is probably all the time step it up with Z-Kickz, the ultimate dance-fitness shoe – with a kick!
- Super-breathable mesh
- Ultra lightweight
- No-tread
- Neon accents
- Reflective Zumba logos

At the time when this post was written, Zumba Z-Kicks athletic dance shoes were only available for women and cost $74.95 USD. With 50 reviews written by customers in the Zumba Shop, these shoes have a 4.6/5.0 customer rating… Not bad!

I personally cannot afford to spend $75 USD on athletic shoes that I am only going to wear for Zumba. I used to find my Nike Musique and Nike Huarche on sale in stores or online for around $35 USD. $75 USD is out of my price range so I am going to wait and keep looking for a more affordable alternative.

If you try Zumba Z-Kickz, let us know what you think by leaving a comment! Thanks!

Zumba Z Kickz

No More Nike Athletic Dance Shoes for Zumba

July 4th, 2011

As a Zumba instructor, I’ve owned many pairs of athletic dance shoes for Zumba. My favorites have always been Nike brand so I have to ask:

Why Nike? Why do you continue to discontinue the best athletic dance shoes for Zumba?

First to disappear was the Nike Musique IV with mesh uppers. The Nike Musique athletic dance shoes that continue to exist consist of stiff, leather uppers that look like silly cheerleader shoes. No thank you.

The last pair of shoes I bought for Zumba were Nike Huarache. I bought them in March and after just 3 months of use, I noticed both shoes already had small holes in the fabric on top of my foot near my little toes. Time to buy another pair, right? Wrong!

It appears Nike Huarache athletic dance shoes are no longer available.

And so again, I am searching for the best shoes for Zumba.

Foot Pain and Zumba

March 10th, 2011

One night after a long day of teaching Zumba classes, I had an ache in the forefoot of one of my feet. It felt like there was a round, hard stone right behind my second and third toes.


I thought the pain was unusual so I took some ibuprofen, did some extra calf stretches, and ran my foot over a wooden foot massager. Nothing seemed to help my foot pain, but I thought I must have stepped on it wrong and that the pain would go away soon enough.

About two weeks later, my foot felt significantly worse and when I woke up one morning, the top of my forefoot was red, hot, and swollen. According to the the Mayo Clinic website, I had symptoms of metatarsalgia :

Symptoms of metatarsalgia may include:

  • Sharp, aching or burning pain in the ball of your foot — the part of the sole just behind your toes
  • Pain in the area around your second, third or fourth toes — or, only near your big toe
  • Pain that gets worse when you stand, walk or run and improves when you rest
  • Sharp or shooting pain in your toes
  • Numbness or tingling in your toes
  • Pain that worsens when you flex your feet
  • A feeling in your feet as if you’re walking with a pebble in your shoe
  • Increased pain when you’re walking barefoot, especially on a hard surface

Sometimes these symptoms develop suddenly — especially if you’ve recently increased your usual amount of running, jumping or other high-impact exercise — but problems usually develop over time.

When to see a doctor
Not all foot problems need medical care. Sometimes your feet simply ache after a long day of standing or a punishing workout. But it’s best not to ignore any foot pain that lasts more than a few days. Talk to your doctor if you experience a burning pain in the ball of your foot that doesn’t improve after changing your shoes and modifying your activities.

I was pleased to see that Mayo Clinic did not recommend seeing a doctor based on my symptoms, because as a self-employed individual / part-time employee of many companies, I cannot afford medical insurance at this time. I found subs for my Zumba classes and practiced the R.I.C.E. acute injury treatment method for the weekend. My foot felt a little better by Monday.

After a couple of days of high-impact Zumba classes, my foot was swollen again. Luckily, a holiday was coming up and I got the stomach flu so I was able (and forced) to clear my schedule and take nearly a whole week off from exercise. During that time, I continued to use the R.I.C.E. method daily to treat my foot pain. Upon returning to exercise, I wrapped my sore foot and wore supportive, shock-absorbing Nike cross trainers for Zumba instead of my usual Nike Musique athletic dance shoes for Zumba. After 8 weeks of foot wrap and cross trainers, my foot pain is gone.

My experience with foot pain is one of many reasons why I believe proper footwear is important for Zumba. I have changed my Zumba footwear from Nike Musique IV athletic dance shoes to Nike Huarache athletic dance shoes. While I feel the Nike Musique IV shoes have more support and cushion in the heel of the shoe, Nike Huarache shoes have more support and cushion in the ball of the foot, which is where I need it most.

Best Nike Zumba Shoes

March 10th, 2011

I have been doing Zumba for 2 years and I have been a Zumba instructor for 1.5 years. I have gone through several pairs of athletic dance shoes for Zumba, and I am partial to Nike.

Nike Musique
I have seen Nike Musique III, IV, VI, VII available, but my first four pairs of Zumba shoes were Nike Musique IV. I really liked the Nike Musique IV because the shoe was leather and mesh. Athletic dance shoes fit very tight. For me, the tightness was uncomfortable at first, but I found the mesh in Nike Musique IV shoes molded to my foot, and eventually the shoes fit like a glove.

I bought my first pair of Nike Musique IV on clearance at a Famous Footwear. I bought all my other pairs of Nike Musique IV from Zappos. Nike Musique can cost anywhere from $30 to $65.

The heel of Nike Musique is very well-cushioned. The ball and forefoot of the Nike Musique is not very well-cushioned. I am not a doctor, but if you are going to do a lot of Zumba or a lot of high impact Zumba, I recommend metatarsal pads for your Nike Musique.


Nike Hurache
Lately, all models of Nike Musique athletic dance shoes are getting harder to find. I have been unable to find the model with leather and mesh so this time, I bought Nike Huarache dance shoes.

Nike Huarache shoes are very different than Nike Musique shoes. Online, I thought these shoes looked bulky like a street/skater shoe, but Nike Huarache are not at all bulky. The sole is narrow, like Nike Musique, and has the tell-tale circle for easier turns. The shoe upper is mostly a sleek fabric, like a water shoe. The laces are almost unnecessary because these shoes fit like a sock. They are tight and I find them very supportive.

I bought my Nike Huarache from Zappos for $65.

Unlike Nike Musique, the ball and forefoot are well-cushion in the Nike Huarache, but the heel is not well-cushioned. I find the heel very narrow and the soft upper allows a lot of movement during Zumba moves like a heel tap. Only time will tell if the Nike Huarache will be as successful as the Nike Musique for Zumba.

Nike Huarache Dance Shoes

What Are Zumba Shoes?

June 27th, 2010

One of my Zumba participants walked into Lady Foot Locker and asked for Zumba shoes. The LFL sales team looked confused and responded, “What are Zumba shoes?”

How embarrassing! Someone is willing to walking into an athletic shoe store and drop $60 to $110 USD on a pair of dance shoes and the sales team at a store like Lady Foot Locker doesn’t even know what Zumba is?

In an athletics store, you are most likely looking for Nike Musique athletic dance shoes. Ryka also makes a couple of styles of athletic dance sneaker, Ryka Studio D and Ryka Sync, and from what I’ve seen, they are similar to the Nike Musique. This type of shoe is used by cheer and dance teams at the high school and college levels so they are somewhat easy to find. They are attractive athletic shoes, but obviously not built for most sports. You’ll find them on the edge of the athletic shoe section, not mixed in with the running shoes. Because they are not common, they are also easy to find on the clearance rack if you are a bargain hunter.


There is also currently a Nike shoe called Nike Huarache. It is more of a hip hop dance shoe so you might find it mixed in with the street wear.

nike huarache zumba shoes

nike huarache zumba shoes bottom

If you have access to a dance studio or dance supply store, look for Capezio or Bloch athletic dance sneakers. These sneakers are also worn by dance teams and instructors so they are easy to find. Capezio and Bloch sneakers usually have a split sole which allows more foot flexibility during dance training and performances. To me, the split sole takes away some of the stability of these athletic dance shoes. The split sole is why I personally chose NOT to wear them for Zumba – I need stability and support. However, I do know plenty of people who DO wear them for Zumba.

capezio rockitIn stores, you will pay about $30 USD for Zumba shoes on the clearance rack. Full price, Zumba shoes will cost $60-$110 USD. Online, you have more options and better prices. You will find Nike Musique and Huarache and Ryka Studio D and Sync online. Discount dance supply stores sell Capezio and Bloch athletic dance sneakers online.

I hate to order shoes online, but I like online shoe store prices so I use a little trick. I go find the shoes I want in a shoe store, try them on, and make note of the size, style, and color. Then I go home and order the same shoes online. It take a little more time, but I think it’s worth it.

If you have a favorite brand or style of shoe that you use for Zumba, I would love to hear it!

Where to Buy Dance Shoes

June 16th, 2009

I did it. I broke down and bought a pair of Nike Musique IV dance shoes for Zumba.

There are a wide variety of dance shoes available online, but I had been hesitating about making a purchase. I personally don’t like to buy shoes online for several reasons:

1. I like to try shoes on.
2. I don’t like to pay for shipping.
3. I’m afraid I won’t get around to making returns.
4. I rent an apartment, which can make receiving shipments difficult.

So last week, when I found a pair of Nike Musique IV dance shoes on a clearance rack at Famous Footware, I decided it was time to buy. The pair of dance shoes I found are metallic grey and cool blue – a little more flashy than I would like, but you get what you pay for. I paid $40, which is about a 30% discount off the $60 regular price.

My advice for those of us who are not online bargain hunters, watch for dance shoes on clearance racks at stores like Famous Footware, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack, or regular sporting goods stores. They are out there and you will find them, sooner or later…

Also see my “Sticky Shoes During Zumba” and “Best Zumba Shoes” and “Good Dance Shoes for Zumba” posts.

Good Dance Shoes for Zumba

June 6th, 2009

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I wear 4-year-old Nike Shox that are in good condition to Zumba. My new running shoes have too much traction for Zumba class and the soles are too big and bulky – I kick myself. My old Nike Shox are lighter, but the footprint is still large and cumbersome. I know that others in my Zumba classes are struggling to find the right Zumba shoes because class often sounds like a basketball court – full of squeaks as their Zumba shoes stick to the dance floor.

Tonight, I participated in a Zumba Master Class with Tony Witt, nationally acclaimed Zumba instructor. For the occasion, I pulled out my old pair of Nike Zoom Waffle running shoes. I think I may be on to something…

I was originally introduced to Nike Zoom Waffles in high school cross country. I trained in standard Nike runners, but raced in Waffles. Cross country shoes are like track and field shoes, without the spikes.

I loved my Nike Zoom Waffle running shoes so much, I also wore them as dance shoes during high school pom and dance team practice. They were attractive, light, flexible, and low profile – perfect for dancing.

When my first pair of Nike Zoom Waffle running (and dancing) shoes broke down, I bought a new pair. I quickly found out that new Nike Zoom Waffle running shoes had far too much traction for dance. I had worn my previous pair enough to wear down some of the traction on the ball of the foot – all this new shoe-traction made turns very difficult. I wore the new shoes daily to get rid of traction for practice for my university dance team. Practice was held on a rubber gym floor, which made turns difficult enough.

The pair of Nike Zoom Waffle cross country running shoes I wore tonight as dance shoes are the same shoes I wore to dance practice in college several years ago. The ball of the sole is worn nice and smooth.

My conclusion is that Nike Zoom Waffle cross country running shoes work well as a aerobic dance shoe – AFTER you break them in and wear down some of the traction on the sole. Cross country shoes are a relatively inexpensive athletic shoe – especially if you can buy youth or boys’ sizes. Avoid track and field shoes, which are very similar, but have spikes.

Of course, there are athletic shoes designed especially for dance. Look for a circle or concentric circles on the ball of the foot of the sole of the shoe to identify atheltic dance shoes. Also see my “Best Zumba Shoes” and “Sticky Shoes During Zumba” and “Where to Buy Dance Shoes” posts at for more information.