Wear Your Perfect Pair

Selecting footwear for a dance based fitness class for comfort and performance.

We’ve been dancing aerobically for decades and as much as the dance movement itself has evolved throughout the years so has the footwear. For your comfort and safety it is important to have the proper footwear while participating in a Red Hot Dance Fitness class. I am often asked what is the best sneaker and the answer to that really depends on a number of factors. So here are three types of shoes I typically recommend to those participating in any dance based fitness class including Red Hot Dance Fitness. Keep in mind there are a variety of shoes to choose from within each type including a sampling of styles to fit any wardrobe.

  • The Dance Sneaker – The “split sole” with support. While a dance/jazz shoe may provide freedom of movement for dancing it does not provide the support needed to perform some of the higher intensity and higher impact movement often performed in Red Hot Dance Fitness classes. For many a regular sneaker is too stiff and heavy and can put undue stress on your knees and ankles while trying to dance and pivot. The split sole in the dance sneaker provides the ability to move the foot more freely allowing you to pivot and not torque or twist your knees while providing the absorption of shock from high impact movements. Traction is extremely low on the dance sneaker as well. Capezio and Bloch each provide very solid dance sneakers in a variety of styles.

  • The Studio Shoe – If you require slightly more support then a studio shoe will provide the extra cushion you need. A studio shoe will help the body absorb high impact movement such as jumping, leaping and hopping. If you perform a high number of higher intensity, high impact movements throughout class or if you have joint issues that require a shoe that provides a higher level of support, the studio shoe or cross trainer may be better suited for your needs. Although this shoe will be a little heavier and allows a little less movement in the foot, it will provide the support you need to keep you stay injury free. Nike and Ryka both make a variety of studio shoes to meet your needs.

  • The Barefoot Revolution – There are a lot of reasons fitness enthusiasts have taken to the barefoot movement: encouraging a forefoot strike which limits impact on the joints, increased agility and the ability to burn more calories because you are using more muscles (there are 20 muscles in each of your feet). Many shoe companies including Nike, New Balance and Vibraims allow you to join the barefoot revolution while still wearing a shoe that is lightweight and mimics the feeling of being barefoot. Personally I wear the Vibraims Minimus shoe for all my workouts whether it be running, biking or dancing.

One shoe that would NOT be suitable for dance based fitness classes would be a running shoe. This is because running shoes help propel your body in a forward motion. They lack the necessary lateral stability for a dance based fitness workout. The heel is also lifted too high for comfort of movement and safety while performing dance movement. Running shoes also have a higher traction level and won’t allow you to move with ease as you dance, floating across the dance floor. I also wouldn’t encourage wearing socks on hardwood floors without some sort of traction on the socks.

Don’t forget to replace your shoes. It is recommended to replace your shoes after 3 to 4 months. But if you only wear them for classes they will last longer. You may also try having variety of shoes and interchange them. And I suggest listening to how your body feels. Does your foot feel comfortable within the shoebox? Are you starting to feel little aches even though you are doing the same movements? If so it may be time to replace your shoes.

Looking for some added movement with any sneaker? Try the Dance Socks – These great little inventions slip on over top of your sneakers and convert any sneaker into a dance shoe giving you the ability to twist, turn and dance with ease all while providing the support you need. (Available on the RedHotDanceFitness website)

The bottom line – Always consult a physician or podiatrist if you are experiencing any pain or would like expert advice for you individually. Your goals should be to find the shoe that works best for you. Having proper footwear will not only make your workouts more enjoyable but it will help you prevent injury and keep you on the dance floor longer and more often.