January 2020

How to Choose the Perfect Aerobics Shoe | Jazzercise

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How to Choose the Perfect Aerobics Shoe | Jazzercise


The Best Shoes for Aerobics

When you start practicing dance cardio, you may be digging around your closet thinking, "...Are running shoes good for dancing?" Dance cardio is a different ball game so wer'e here to help. Cardio and dance fitness classes are all about keeping your feet moving—so it goes without saying, your dance shoes better keep up with you! Between pivoting, chasséeing and high impact workouts, you need a shoe that moves with you and helps to avoid athletic injury. And really...is it so much to ask that they look good, too?

Our anatomy of a great cardio dance shoe guide will help you find the best workout shoes for your unique needs. Because the only thing we want you to think about in Jazzercise class is having fun and getting fit.

Get to Know Your Feet

When selecting the right aerobic exercise shoes, you’ve got to know your foot type; specifically, what kind of arch you have. To find out what kind of arch you have, use the paper towel trick. Yes, this is a thing. Place a paper towel on the floor then dampen your foot and place it on the towel. Pick your foot up and inspect the towel. If the majority of the towel is wet, including mid-foot around the arch, then you have a flatter foot. If the middle area of your foot is dry, then you have a mid to high arch. Still not sure what type of arch you have? Check out this helpful chart.

Understanding your foot type is important to getting the right support you need from a dance sneaker.

Flat Feet (Overpronation)
A flatter foot means that your arch helps absorb some of the shock and pressure when you’re in motion. Since you’re rolling inwards during impact, you’ll need more support to avoid knee and ankle injury. 

Look for a shoe that offers inner-arch support. It’s slightly elevated near your arch and creates a cushion so your foot stays stable during impact.

Arched Feet (Underpronation)
A foot with a high arch doesn’t roll inward during impact, so it doesn’t absorb much shock: your knees and hips take that on. 

You need a shoe with cushion evenly spread throughout the sole so the shoe absorbs impact, not your ankle and knee joints.

Neutral-Arched Feet
If your wet footprint showed a defined arch (the area in between your toes and heels was thick but not fully pressed onto the towel) your arch is neutral. This means you require both support and cushion.

Your shoe needs to offer stability on the outside to protect your foot from rolling, and cushion to absorb shock to protect your joints.

Cardio Dance Shoe Checklist

​Use the tips below during your search for best shoes for step aerobics.

The size rule:
Go half a size up from your usual shoe. During high-impact training and aerobics, your foot will inch forward. Sizing up gives your toes a little wiggle room while maintaining a snug fit for your heel.

Be flexible:
The reason not all workout shoes are appropriate for aerobic-dance workouts is, in part, because of flexibility. Most shoes offer a solid outer sole to provide stability along the entire foot during exercise. In Jazzercise classes, we turn one way then another, twist and jump, so we require flexibility between the heel and ball of the foot, which allows an easy pivot. The trick is shoes that offer that support and flexibility.

Lighter is better:
Because dance fitness means springing and pivoting, the last thing we need is something dragging us down! A lightweight, breathable dance shoe offers support and stability without restricting mobility. Go light and be free…

Find the Right Shoe for You

We’ve tried a lot of shoes. A. Lot. Of. Shoes.

These are a few that our instructors, students and researchers recommend as the best shoes for aerobic dance. Remember, every foot, and dancer is unique, so try the most appropriate for your foot.

Ryka cardio dance shoe


Ryka is one of the most popular brands for dance shoes. (That’s why we partner with them!) Why we love this one:

•It provides extra heel and arch support (great for flat feet!)

•It has a lightweight molded midsole with a full-length RE-ZORB platform for impact protection and shock absorption

•Rykas are made for women, and their new fEMPOWER collection uses the latest and most innovative technology designed specifically for the anatomy of a woman’s foot

•They look good...honestly, nothing gets us more excited about the gym than having a new pair of pretty sneaks to wear!

Our rating: The extra arch support is perfect for a flatter foot

nike work out shoe


Nike Free Tr8

Why we love this one:

•It’s lightweight to keep movements quick

•The outsole is unbelievably flexible for easy pivoting

•The shoe has a second layer of foam cushioning to absorb impact and hug your foot

•The heel has extra cushioning as well, making it great for all foot types

Our rating: Nike Free Tr8 is lightweight and flexible, making it one of the best shoes for aerobics 

adidas shoes for exercise


ADIDAS Ultraboost 20 Shoes

Why we love this one:

•The knit, sock-like upper perfectly hugs the foot for an ultra-secure fit, perfect for dancing!

•The shoe offers stitched-in reinforcement for support in all the right places

•The midsole features 20% added boost compared to other similar trainers

Our rating: With a modern and sleek appearance, these shoes pack a major punch!

cardio workouts new balance

New Balance

Why we love this one:

•This style comes in four(!) different widths to flawlessly fit every foot, including standard, wide and extra wide

•The added medial post inside the shoe helps prevent overpronation, which is great for those with flat feet

•The lace-up design and mesh upper will keep the shoe in place to help avoid injury

Our rating: This is a well-rounded shoe, perfect for dance cardio, errands and beyond

puma shoes for high intensity workout


Puma Emergence Cosmic Sneaker

Why we love this one:

•The modern bootie collar offers a lock-down fit that secures the foot and offers ankle stability

•The shoe offers a soft foam sockliner for added cushion

•This style has a “streetwear” appearance with tons of comfortable features for all-day wear

Tell us your favorite cardio dance tennis shoe in the comments!

perfect aerobics shoes for your workout

There are so many styles of New Balance, as in other brands. Which one is the one here that you recommend as one of the best?
10/31/2021 2:51:52 PM

Loretta Dieudonne
When you say Rykas. Which one is best for jazzercise? I have been buying the Devotion plus 2 or 3, but I see it says walking shoe on it.
8/19/2021 12:02:38 PM

Joy Stephens
I have high arches and weak ankles. Looking for a jazzercise shoe
6/30/2021 1:12:55 PM

I think you have a mistake in this article. Flat feet don't roll in. High arched feet do roll in. You've got some information around the wrong way. The advice on arch support for flat feet vs even support for high arches is around the wrong way.
4/17/2021 4:21:58 AM

Lise Johnson
What is the shoe your instructors wear in the OnDemand video classes? It's a nice looking sneaker.
1/12/2021 4:16:21 PM

Can you please tell me the make and model of the gray shoes that several of the instructors wear in the JOD classes? Thank you!
12/17/2020 11:52:41 PM

Paula Wilson
What are the shoes in your Jazzercise on demand videos that are grey with a strap across the top of the foot??? Look so good.
5/24/2020 7:01:06 PM

Judith Wahlen
I would like to know the brand of shoes the instructors are wearing on Jazzercise On Demand?
5/22/2020 1:58:11 PM

Christine Cabot
When Jazzercise first encouraged shoes in class, I selected Avia and have never looked back. But I'm curious about other brands. I never see any information about the sole. There are so many patterns, some low profile and some deep, some simple and some fancy. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each type for aerobic dance?
1/31/2020 2:04:55 AM

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