Wondering who that energetic, brightly dressed, bandana wearing, booty shaking stranger is that you regularly see in the gym? That's probably your Zumba instructor.
Zumba in fact has over 14 million weekly participants in more than 150 countries. It has become hugely popular in the UK, for its Latin music, that combined with body weight exercises, produce great health benefits and very smiley, very sweaty individuals after a standard 50 minute class.
Zumba is not overly complicated and classes are usually held in gym studios or community centres, meaning that Zumba gear is basically anything that you can move, spin and jump in comfortably. If you are feeling overwhelmed with where to start, we decided to pick a few of the best items to get you set for your first Zumba session.
There is much deliberation when it comes to ideal Zumba footwear, however what you choose to put on your feet should be your top priority when embarking on any new fitness activity, as you need shoes that support your ankles and arch.
There are specific shoes manufactured by dance shoe companies such as Bloch and Capezio that are ideal for dance styles such as Zumba because they are light, breathable and provide enough support for the foot. Split sole dance trainers are also recommended, but alternatively cross trainers that cover the whole foot and are comfortable to move in will work fine.
Instructors usually advise against running trainers as the heel is designed for forward movements only and there is usually more grip on the sole, which makes it difficult to complete the twisting and spinning involved in the sessions. Qualified Zumba instructor Rachy Downes suggests that ‘The ideal trainer has ankle support and also has a circular shape in the sole where the ball of your foot will go, this will help with any twists and turns. Hi-tops are a great example.’
Zumba have their own range of trainers called Impact Plus that are recommended for the class but range from around £40 to £80 so would be considered for the more committed Zumba goer. These usually have a spin spot on the ball of the foot, which makes for fast spin action.
Bear in mind that things will be getting pretty hot and sweaty in a Zumba class, so try to opt for moisture wicking fabrics such as Capilene, Dri-FIT and Coolmax as cotton simply absorbs sweat, can be uncomfortable and cause skin irritation.
Vest tops or racer backs may be more comfortable to move in and raise your arms for example but a t-shirt will be equally fine. As you can imagine, Zumba do have their own range of both tops and bottoms that you can purchase online from the official Zumba.com website or on Amazon and Ebay. Most other sports brands offer great alternatives though, which means that you can wear them outside of the Zumba studio too.
Reebok do a great range of dance/sport wear that is designed for classes exactly like Zumba, a great top is the Performance Tank as it uses Playice tech which wicks sweat and heat from the body and is only £25.
Its also recommended to layer up on your top half for a class, as although it may be cold at first in the studio, after a few routines you are sure to be sweating.
We would suggest wearing either loose fitting cargo/jogging bottoms, tight workout leggings or shorts that don’t restrict your movement or fall down when you move. Believe me there is nothing more annoying. Again Reebok do some great affordable leggings, or Nike and Adidas have a bigger range but at a higher price. Some choice options are the Nike Palm Lux, which come in a range of colours and designs or if you want to opt for a simpler option then the Adidas Mesh Tights are only £26.
If neither of those take your fancy, have a look at 6 of the best workout leggings for women.
Women should consider wearing a supportive sports bra with good coverage so that you are not conscious of slipping out of it, it also helps if this is synthetic so that it doesn’t simply absorb sweat. Shock absorber and Nike both do some great style bras for a range of sizes. We love the Nike Pro Fierce which comes in all the colours and holds everything in place.
It has been mentioned (although not from personal experience) that going commando under your workout pants is the most comfortable arrangement for a class, however if this is not for you maybe simply steer clear of thongs, which could be massively irritating and stick to some comfortable underwear that wont ride up.
Water- It is highly recommended to bring a bottle of water to a Zumba class. Your body will most definitely sweat and it’s important to refuel and rehydrate your body as you go.
Towel- It may also be helpful to bring a small towel so that you can keep yourself dry and drip free.
Carpet Gliders- Zumba have also created their own line of carpet gliders (new to me too) that attach around the outside of your trainers and apparently make it easier to complete a Zumba workout on carpet at home as it creates a smoother surface to turn on.
And why stop there, simply take a look at their website to discover an endless amount of accessories to accompany your Zumba workout. To name only a few there are, Zumba headphones, Zumba backpacks, Zumba bandanas, Zumba beanies and even Zumba temporary tattoos. You'll be spoilt for choice.