Best Aerobic Shoes Reviewed for Performance

Aerobics has been a popular workout since the high-intensity but customizable for everyone exercise form hit the morning airwaves and gyms everywhere in the 80s. Aerobics began as a simple rhythmic callisthenic and evolved to cover and draw from dance, stepping, the use of free weights, kickboxing, and forms of martial arts. It is the rhythm, the cardio and variety of exercise, and the resulting healthier body, that makes aerobics popular.

Last Updated: May 9, 2018
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By Himmatpreet Kaur:

Aerobic exercises are varied and so the footwear you require may be a bit different depending on exactly what activity you engage in. We have taken 15 of the best general aerobics shoes and created this list to give you a better understanding of what to look for. We have also added a criteria section to go more in depth with the different factors that go into making a great aerobics shoe.

Another reason that aerobics is popular is that it is inexpensive. Some music, a small set of free weights if you want, maybe a stepper, simple clothing and a good pair of shoes are all you need to get started. You can weigh down a couple of water bottles with stones for weights and use a homemade, sturdy little stepper to get a good workout.

Featured Recommendations

K-Swiss ST329 CMF
  • K-Swiss ST329 CMF
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • IMEVA midsole
  • Price: See Here
Under Armour Micro G
  • Under Armour Micro G
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Stable midfoot
  • Price: See Here
Avia Avi-Finesse
  • Avia Avi-Finesse
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Solid support
  • Price: See Here

The one thing you should really look for high quality in though is the shoes. All that movement, especially when the workout really gets into high-impact, can be hard on your feet. If you’re wearing the wrong type of shoe or poorly constructed shoes, you’re going to have more than good, healthy muscle achiness. You’re going to have angry feet.

The right shoe for aerobics is a balance of stability so you move confidently, cushion to help you through those higher-impact moves, breathability to take care of sweat, and sturdy construction so they last. They don’t have to be expensive but they should be well built. We’ve gathered a list of the best shoes for aerobics for you to choose from below. Wearing any of these will let you focus on your moves without having to stop to think about your shoes. Happy Workout!

 

15 Best Aerobic Shoes

 

1. K-Swiss ST329 CMF

The ST329 was originally designed as a tennis shoe, developed by K-Swiss as their signature shoe. It quickly became a cult classic. Not unlike the Air Jordan, it became the basis for all other athletic shoes to come from the brand. It is a durable shoe that has a thick rubber outsole, lots of tread, and features that are specifically designed to maximize comfort on the tennis court. These qualities make it a great aerobics shoe!
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Functionality
The K-Swiss ST329 CMF’s are made from high-quality leather on the upper, with a thick rubber sole that has maximum shock absorption. They also boast a deep multi-dimensional tread, perfect for tennis but also for aerobics where quick footwork and rapidly changing movements require non-slip designs to prevent injury. The area around the heel cup is reinforced with dual foam to ensure the most energy return. Their sleek, streamlined look also helps them go from the gym to the street without a second thought.

Comfort
These shoes have been specifically designed for comfort, and though your aerobic exercise may only last an hour, these shoes could be worn for many more. Orthotic inserts aren’t needed when these shoes have custom made memory foam footbeds, allowing you ease of movement, freedom from joint pain, and the feeling of walking on air.

Cost and Value
K-Swiss may have had their origins in tennis, but these elite sneakers can be used for a variety of athletic purposes. These durable sneakers are built to last, and can be used beyond the tennis courts thanks to great multi-directional traction on the bottom of the sole, extra bounce and energy return in the heel, and a memory foam footbed that cushions your feet and protects them from fatigue, especially if you’ll still be wearing these shoes well after your workout is over.
Pros
  • All leather upper
  • Memory foam footbed
  • Multi-directional traction
  • High grip outsole
  • Shock absorbing heel
Cons
  • Poor breathability

2. Under Armour Micro G

Your feet with breath while landing those moves in these Under Armour shoes. They are made of a light foam and mesh in the upper, for breathability while leather overlays provide stability to your midfoot. The sock liner is EVA and Micro GFoam down the length of the shoe can take a landing and return a great takeoff. Traction points at the high impact zone make the shoe stable and light. They’re non-marking for the gym floor!
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EVA sock liner
The EVA sock liner in this shoe will give you a custom, comfortable fit along with providing your feet with some security and stability. A good athletic shoe hugs the foot and this will do that in spades.

Breathable
There is leather on the upper for midfoot stability. However, the upper is mainly foam and mesh material so it is super breathable with maximum airflow for a cool, comfortable foot.

Cost and Value
These shoes are mid-range in terms of price but for that cost, you are getting a high quality, meant to exercise, light shoe that will leave your feet feeling as great as your body after your workout. You’ll look cool while you're doing it too.
Pros
  • Breathable
  • EVA sock liner
  • Micro GFoam
  • Zoned traction
  • Non marking
Cons
  • No wide sizes

3. Ryka Hydro Sport

These are a hybrid shoe designed for both aerobics and water sports. The unique constellation of features they possess, which includes materials that are water resistant, removable footbeds, and webbing ideal for workouts that are done in and around water make these a great hybrid. There’s no specific way an aerobic workout has to be designed to provide the most benefit, but if yours involves water these are the shoes for you.
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Functionality
The functionality of the RYKA Hydro Sports shoes is reflected in their removable, perforated nitracel footbeds, as well as the drainage ports in their soles, ensuring that they dry out quicker than normal. They have thick rubber soles made of a “sticky” rubber that maximizes traction on wet surfaces. They also have a simple and easy slip on and off design.

Water Resistance
These shoes are made from a synthetic and mesh fabric upper that is quick drying and water resistant. The material is also chlorine resistant and forms a comfortable spongy wall around your foot. The webbing along the midfoot cage provides excellent medial and lateral support. These are perfect for high-intensity water aerobics, but would also do quite well in an aerobics class that has you perspiring like crazy.

Cost and Value
The RYKA Hydro Sport, cross trainers that are specifically designed for water aerobics and sports, have features that will enhance your aerobic experience and leave you feeling fresh and accomplished when you’re done. Their water resistant and chlorine resistant construction ensures that you won’t have to spend your entire workout in soaking wet shoes, especially thanks to their unique drainage system. For the price, there are no better quick drying shoes whether or not you wear them to the pool, on wet trails, or in a high-intensity aerobics class.
Pros
  • Perforated footbed
  • Water resistant
  • Lightweight
  • Fast drying
  • Multi-use
Cons
  • Sizes run small

4. Inov-8 F-Lite

4. Inov-8 F-Lite
The 235 is Inov-8’s latest F-lite shoe. It is designed with cushion for comfort and high-impact and increased flexibility to allow you freedom of movement while staying stable on your feet. The rubber outsole is stickier for traction and they use their own Rope-Tec technology in the upper to make sure this shoe fits your feet and functions on the floor. These shoes are a favorite among outdoor runners and cross trainers alike and are a perfect shoe for aerobics.
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High functioning
This shoe has all the perks for a high-performance athlete. If you’re serious about your aerobics workout, these will work as hard and as long as you do. No thought was overlooked in the design, from fit to comfort to grip. It’s all here.

Multi-directional flexing
Your workout takes your feet in all directions and you need a shoe that travels with it. This shoe features multi-directional flexing to make sure you hit those moves with stability and support. Take your workout to the next level.

Cost and Value
These high-performance shoes are the most expensive on our list but if you’re looking for a shoe that will keep up with your 2-hour aerobics, 1-hour Xtraining workouts, these are for you. Designed for high-performance athletes who really put their shoes through their own workout, you will get everything you imagine back for your investment.
Pros
  • Cushioned for comfort
  • Shock absorbing
  • Multi-directional flexing
  • Very breathable
  • Sticky rubber outsole
Cons
  • No wide sizes

5. Ryka Tenacity

5. Ryka Tenacity
The Ryka Tenacity is a cross trainer that looks like something out of Back to the Future II. It sits higher on the ankle and resembles more of a boot than a shoe. It’s ideally suited for dance training and aerobic workouts in a gym setting that might combine weights. It’s not as lightweight as other RYKA shoes, but some wearers will welcome the added stability of a little more rubber, padding, and upper materials.
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Functionality
This is the only high top shoe featured on this list, and because of its 4” shaft measurements, it goes well beyond the ankle bone and wraps around to provide lots of support and stability. The adjustable hook and loop strap lets you customize the fit to your own preference. It is made of a combination of mesh and synthetic materials, giving you lots of breathability but also flexibility.

Versatility
The Tenacity can be worn for your aerobic workout, your gym session, or even out and about, with its youthful, futuristic style. RYKA has put some time into the design of this shoe, making it both fashionable and functional. It also features an N-gauge EVA foam pad under the forefoot so that calf exercises will be a breeze, and dance workouts involving leg extension or pronation will be comfortable. Their design also allows for easy pivoting, essential in aerobics classes. They require almost no break in time so you can get right to your workout without any problems!

Cost and Value
RYKA has put a lot of thought and care into the design of the RYKA Tenacity, culminating in the perfect shoe for both aerobics, dance, and a gym session. Their high top design supports the ankle, while the N-gage EVA foam pad supports the forefoot. The highly breathable mesh design keeps your feet cool and dry, and the synthetic components bring the support and the style. The addition of a hook and loop lacing system means you can easily adjust the fit of the shoe throughout your workout. For the price, they’re definitely one of the best aerobic shoes on the market, particularly if you dig a retro style.
Pros
  • Padded forefoot
  • Hook and loop closure
  • High top style
  • Multi-purpose
  • Quality build
Cons
  • Poor sole cushioning

6. Nike Metcon

6. Nike Metcon
This shoe is made for cross training and perfect for high impact aerobics. Made of a mesh upper with Flywire technology to provide a solid, hugging fit on top, this shoe will work hard and breath well. There is also an abrasion resistant film that wraps around the foot to minimize drag and provide durability in the midfoot during friction. Sticky rubber in the forefoot of the outsole provides excellent traction.
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Flywire technology
While some mesh top shoes can be loose fitting and may not move with you, these shoes will stay in place on the foot. Your foot and your shoe will move together, preventing blisters and sores from friction.

Excellent traction
During an aerobic workout, you need an extra bit of traction in the forefoot to keep your foot stable while on the balls of the feet. This shoe features sticky rubber in the forefoot to provide an extra level of traction there.

Cost and Value
This shoe is on the upper end of the price range for the shoes on this list. You are getting a great deal of engineering for your investment though, in a shoe that moves with you without resisting, no friction burns or sores, an airy mesh upper and a sticky, grippy outsole. Nike is known for the shoes it makes for athletes and this one will not disappoint.
Pros
  • Flywire technology
  • Excellent traction
  • Airy upper
  • Quality build
  • High impact
Cons
  • Sizes run narrow

7. New Balance WX608V4

7. New Balance WX608V4
Some aerobic shoes are thin and fit tightly around the foot, while others are thicker and firmer with extra padding and shock absorption. The New Balance WX608V4’s are the latter, with lots of cushion and support. Whether you’re attending an aerobics class or working out at home, these shoes will make sure that the moves tire you out, not your shoes.
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Support
The New Balance WX608V4’s have a thick rubber outsole and sole, which means you feel the ground beneath your feet less, and are also more stable. Because the materials in the upper are leather and synthetic, it has a firmer feel around your feet - comfortable for those doing intense aerobic workouts. They also have an internal shank that provides additional support.

Comfort
With its extra padded collar and tongue, there’s enough cushion to prevent irritation, and the collar extends past the ankle bone for added stability. Its shock-absorbing Abzorb technology minimizes the impact from aerobics and diffuses it along the IMEVA midsole. Since aerobic activities can involve a lot of high impact interval training, this is a welcome feature.

Cost and Value:
New Balance is a brand known for making fine athletic footwear with quality materials. They pay attention to what their customers want and then spend time researching and developing the best way to implement their needs into the designs of their shoes. For a cross trainer that provides the sort of support and comfort needed for vigorous aerobic exercise, this shoe is a great bargain. It also fits wide feet!
Pros
  • IMEVA midsole
  • Supportive shank
  • Fits wide feet
  • Abzorb shock absorption
  • Padded collar
Cons
  • Very firm feel

8. Nike Free 5.0

8. Nike Free 5.0
Nike has distinguished itself as a brand that makes quality products designed for every athlete, so it’s not surprising that it has created an aerobic shoe. The Nike Free 5.0 doesn’t have the sort of thick rubber, high-impact ready look most shoes have - instead Nike went for a sleek, well-ventilated sneaker that has a low profile and allows for aerobics that may require a greater amount of flexibility and maneuverability.
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Flexibility
The Nike Free 5.0 is a shoe that is streamlined and uncluttered. They are made from highly perforated mesh material - ideal for maximizing airflow and circulation. Your feet will stay nice, cool and dry throughout your workout. The Nike Free 5.0's flex grooves also allow for plenty of flexibility.

Comfort
There is a cushioned midsole in these aerobics shoes, but the sole is a little too thin for heavy shock absorption. This shoe does not have great arch support but they are extremely lightweight and mold easily around the shape of your foot. The comfort these shoes provide is in the forefoot and at the back near the heel. Aerobic movements that feature rapid side to side movements, pronated toes, or resting back on the heel will pose no problems.

Cost and Value
Nike, like ASICS and RYKA, is a brand that uses innovative ways to provide their customers with the shoe that is best suited to their athletic needs, at a reasonable price. Their lightweight fit, perforated profile, and comfortable padding at the forefoot and heel make them ideal for any aerobics class or impact training you might engage in.
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Perforated mesh 
  • Nike Free flex grooves
  • Padded forefoot
  • Padded heel
Cons
  • Low arches

9. Avia Avi-Finesse

9. Avia Avi-Finesse
This shoe is sturdy and dependable for the gym or for wearing every day. It features a faux leather upper and soft textile lining, padded tongue, footbed, and collar for comfort. The midsole is EVA for comfort and shock absorption. It has a soft gel heel extra shock absorption and a metal shank in the outsole for stability. The insole is removable so you can wear an orthotic or a custom insole. A great shoe for those who want a little extra comfort and support during their workout.
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Comfort All Day
This shoe has a number of features to make your workout ultra comfortable, including padding in the tongue and collar for comfort on top and in the footbed for your soles and heels. The soft lining will also be easy on your feet.

Shock Absorption
You can workout in this solid, sturdy shoe without wearing out your feet. The EVA sole provides great shock absorption. The soft gel heel also adds a little spring and shock absorption in the back.

Cost and Value
This is the least expensive shoe on our list, and for that, you will get all the comfort you could ask for in an athletic shoe, along with extra stability provided by the shank. If you want a thicker, sturdier shoe to keep you on your feet during your workout, this is the shoe for you. You’ll want to wear it in and out of the gym.
Pros
  • Great value
  • Shank in outsole
  • Extra padding
  • Removable insole
  • Soft gel heel
Cons
  • Not very flexible

10. Ryka Influence

10. Ryka Influence
A brand known for colorful shoe designs that fit a wide variety of active lifestyles, RYKA has geared the RYKA Influence specifically towards high-impact fitness lovers. It is a more lightweight shoe than other cross trainers, perfect for aerobics and all the maneuverability it requires. It has a glove-like feel and unique features for flexibility that will allow you to blast through your workouts and achieve results.
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Functionality
For fitness enthusiasts wanting a lightweight, springboard-like feel to their aerobic shoes, the flex-foil and direct-fuse layers of the RYKA Influence provide support for lateral movements while cushioning direct pressure points. The narrowed heel and roomy forefoot are perfect for athletes with specific wearing requirements. The increased instep volume and more secure footbed give a fit that is stable and flexible enough to match the pace of any aerobic workout.

Comfort
These shoes have arch support where it counts due to the medial post, a key component of their comfortable feel. With a dual foam midsole you’ll have lots of cushions, and the ergonomically designed sole, including a pivot point, lets you enjoy natural movement through your fitness activity. The great traction provided by the outsole (in the shape of a foot no less) keeps you stable and upright.

Cost and Value
RYKA is a brand renowned for its innovation and versatility. Its attention to detail and customized features help it stay fresh and current in a market saturated with athletic shoes. It knows that certain shoe designs are appropriate for certain activities, and it’s made the Influence to be one of the best aerobic shoes out there. Its lightweight feel, direct-fuse layers, and ergonomic cushion ensure you’ll get the most out of your workout sessions.
Pros
  • Flex-foil
  • Direct-fuse layer
  • Lightweight
  • Ergonomic 
  • Roomy forefoot
Cons
  • May run small

11. Asics FuzeX

11. Asics FuzeX
This ASICS runner has a fuzeGEL insole that will leave you comfortable long after you workout has done you in. Its seamless construction means your feet won’t be irritated by friction that can be caused by traditional seams. It has a ComforDry sock liner that will give you a cooler, drier foot. The liner is also anti-odor which is fantastic if you have sweaty feet. The outsole is very durable and provides solid traction.
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ComforDry
Both the sock liner and the lasting in this shoe are constructed from a ComforDry material. Your feet will stay cooler and drier. The material is also anti-microbial so you can take that extra spin class you’ve been eyeing instead of worrying about odor.

AHAR Outsole
AHAR stands for ASICS high abrasion rubber. It is an extra durable material that is placed in the most important areas of the outsole to provide for exceptional durability. It can take anything you throw at it - including burpees.

Cost and Value
This shoe is on the higher end of the price range for the shoes on our list. For that investment, you are getting a very durable shoe with a super comfortable insole, and seamless, irritation free construction. The ComforDry material will leave your feet cool, dry and very happy.
Pros
  • AHAR Outsole
  • ComforDry
  • Anti-microbial
  • FuzeGel
  • Seamless
Cons
  • Sizes run narrow

12. Merrell Pace Glove 3

12. Merrell Pace Glove 3
Merrell is a brand known primarily for their running shoes, especially those that are geared towards unpredictable weather and uneven terrain. The Pace Glove 3s are trail running shoes, but their soft mesh construction, low profile, and extra cushioning make them a great aerobic shoe as well. The features they have on the trail like arch support and great grip will make workouts a breeze, especially if you want to take them outdoors.
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Functionality
Their patented M Select Fresh technology is full of antimicrobial agents that disrupt the production of the microbes which cause odor buildup. The highly breathable mesh allows for proper air circulation, keeping your feet cool and dry. The lug pattern on the bottom of the sole gives you stability no matter what sort of terrain you find yourself on. Whether you are doing aerobics where it’s wet or dry, the traction offered by these shoes will give you stability without the loss of flexibility.

Comfort
The Pace Glove 3 has the “glove-like” fit and feel that Merrell has perfect in their Pace Glove line of shoes. This shoe has a lot of flexibility throughout its design, letting your feet flow through their natural movements. The eyelets are sewn to the tongue midway down the vamp, ensuring that the tongue will lay flat and not slide around during a vigorous workout. They also boast a padded collar for comfort around the ankle, 4 mm of cushioning, and their patented TrailProtect pad for underfoot protection.

Cost and Value
Though they may be trail running shoes, all the benefits of their design heighten and improve any aerobic experience. The low profile, lightweight, and mesh design are perfect for high-intensity workouts, and the lugs they have to tackle uneven terrain mean no matter the move, your stability is ensured. The antibacterial technology they boast makes sure your feet are fresh and dry after every class, and the extra padding makes for a cushioned “glove-like” feel you’re sure to love. Plus, all the materials are vegan-friendly, so you can feel good about making the investment.
Pros
  • 4mm cushion 
  • 3mm lugs for grip
  • Omni-fit lacing system
  • Antibacterial lining
  • All weather
Cons
  • Sizes run small

13. Under Armour Charged Ultimate

13. Under Armour Charged Ultimate
If you want an aerobic shoe that doesn’t look like one, then the Under Armour UA Charged Ultimates are for you. They have a simple, unassuming look that vibes well in the gym and in a high-intensity class environment. Under Armour made sure to emphasize maneuverability, comfort, support, and stability with these aerobics shoes. For those that have flatter feet, they’re a dream come true. The quality of their materials and sharp look give them great streetwear credibility.
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Durability
Under Armour is famous for its long lasting, durable products, made to be put to the test through vigorous workouts. These shoes have molded toe caps for support and durability, plus an external heel counter that comes all the way up the back of the heel, allowing you to move through your full range of motion. The tread on the bottom of the shoe is deeply grooved mostly under the forefoot, which makes pivoting easier. The lacing system gives you a uniquely snuck fit and keeps the tongue down and flat.

Comfort
Specifically tailored to this shoe, the UA ClutchFit technology wraps your foot like a second skin, giving you powerful support and a smooth, glove-like feel. The full-length Charged Cushioning technology sockliner gives you comfort and is also moisture-wicking, ensuring your feet stay fresh. This is a fairly flat shoe, so those looking for arch support will need an insert. But for those that have flat feet or a low arch has been uncomfortable in the past, these shoes are your new best friend.

Cost and Value
Under Armour is a leading brand in athletic footwear and athletic fitness wear. With the UA Charged Ultimate’s they have made a shoe that is perfect for the gym or any high impact aerobics class. The simplistic design is unassuming, but don’t let this sneaker fool you; it is packed with all the right technology and features to enhance your performance and make your workout next level, from the glove-like feel to the toe and heel caps that give you a full range of flexible motion. They’re durable enough to be put through any workout - and they should!
Pros
  • Glove-like fit

  • Toe and heel cap

  • Moisure wicking
  • Cushioned sockliner

  • Great for flat arches

Cons
  • Low arches

14. Asics Gel-190 TR

14. Asics Gel-190 TR
ASICS, primarily known for their running shoes also makes a great cross trainer that can be used for aerobic exercise. Their success lies in the comfort features ASICS engineered into GEL-190 TR. It’s all about comfort with these shoes, and since aerobic exercise involves fast-paced, quick movements that can suddenly change and lots of impacts, it’s important to find a shoe that has all the padding plus support and stability.
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Gel Comfort
The comfort breakdown for the GEL-190 TR’s begins with the specially engineered DuoMax Support System that ASICS has developed. It consists of dual density midsole that is directly positioned to enhance arch support and stability. The Rearfoot GEL Cushioning absorbs the shock your feet and joints experience during the impact phase of aerobics and lets you easily and smoothly transition between movements. Finally, the spEVA Midsole improves the bounce back experienced throughout your workout and limits midsole breakdown.

Functionality
The point of having specific shoes for specific activities is that they’re designed to have features geared towards them, and if you run as well as do aerobics classes, you don’t want to have to wear your running shoes all the time. These shoes are lightweight, have good tread, and because they have no mesh, they can even be used outdoors in cooler weather.

Cost and Value
ASICS has taken a lot of time and care into designing these cross trainers specifically so that they could be used for a variety of athletic activities. They’re perfect for your Zumba class, step aerobics, or any high impact interval training you might be doing due to their uniquely engineered comfort technology. Having the GEL system throughout the GEL-190 means all day, lasting comfort that relieves foot fatigue is gentle on your joints and lets you focus on your workout.
Pros
  • GEL comfort
  • All leather
  • spEVA midsole
  • Great arch support
  • Dual density midsole
Cons
  • Sizes run narrow

15. Ryka Vida Rzx

15. Ryka Vida Rzx
These spunky, well-engineered aerobics shoes from RYKA are the perfect shoe for your next active workout. They combine the support, comfort, and durability of a running shoe but have all the lightweight flexibility needed in an aerobic shoe. All of those rapid-fire movements that aerobic workouts are so famous for will be met with relish with a pair of RYKA Vida RZX’s on your feet. They make a great all-around hybrid shoe for whatever your aerobic needs happen to be.
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Comfort
Comfort is the name of the game for any aerobics shoe, but different brands execute comfort differently. The mesh underlays of the Vida RZX allow for airflow and ventilation, keeping your feet dry and cool. The synthetic overlays give you support and wrap your foot snugly. The padded tongue and collar prevent against chafing and irritation. The anatomically precision-focused footbed provides a great deal of bounce back at the midsole.

Flexibility
RYKA has built these shoes around their RZX technology, designed to provide both flexibility, range of motion, and energy return without sacrificing comfort. The rubber outsole has a single pivot point, a unique element to this shoe that allows you to transition between movements with ease, even as they get faster or more complex. These shoes are great for a wider range of high impact activities, including aerobics. The soles have deep flex grooves to deliver excellent traction and tread.

Cost and Value
RYKA once again delivers a cross trainer that’s perfect for aerobic workouts. They’re lightweight, comfortable, yet have the support to keep you stable through vigorous exercise. The pivot point at the bottom of the shoe is essential for preventing injury to your knees, and the anatomical footbed provides great relief for your joints. This sneaker is highly recommended for anyone that needs a lot of arch support.
Pros
  • Arch support
  • Pivot point 
  • Lightweight
  • Anatomical midsole 
  • Rubber outsole
Cons
  • Sizes run narrow

Aerobic shoes come in an array of shapes and size, suitable for the beginner to the high-performance athlete. Though there is not one particular style of shoe, there are key features to look for – stability, traction, flexibility and comfort are so important when choosing a shoe you will be taking along to the gym or even using watching those videos at home. A good aerobics shoe will protect you from injury while letting you get the most from your workout.

Whether you participate in high-impact, high-cardio, sweat until you drop aerobics, or low-impact, improving your health and flexibility aerobics, in the water or out, at home or as a break from your Iron Man training schedule, there is a shoe for you in this list.

Criteria for Evaluating the Best Aerobic Shoes

Breathability

A good aerobic workout will leave you sweating and breathing hard. Your feet should not have to work as hard to breathe. A breathable shoe is important when you’re exercising to keep your foot comfortable and dry. Good aerobics shoes will allow air to circulate near your feet to regulate their temperature. This is especially important if you have sweaty feet or if you suffer from athlete’s foot or other skin condition.

Breathability in shoes is achieved in a number of ways.  Shoe manufacturers can:

  • Portholes – add small holes at the sides that allow air in and that work really well in a leather or synthetic leather upper.  
  • Mesh or Canvas – which provide great breathability as well but canvas does tend to be a little too stiff for aerobics
  • Cut Ventilation – added ventilation in the sole that is really great for wet conditions like water aerobics

The best ventilation in an aerobics shoe is provided by mesh uppers. This allows air in all around the foot while still providing for a shoe that hugs the top of your foot, keeping it in a good, stable position.

Poor ventilation can cause your feet to stay uncomfortable, sweaty and hot which will ruin the workout. Retaining sweat inside the shoe will also lead to a build-up of microbes and an unpleasant smell. We recommend that you allow your shoes to air out after use, no matter what type of ventilation it may have. We also recommend wearing a fresh pair of natural fiber socks while in your aerobics class, to keep your feet and your shoes in their very best shape.

Comfort and Fit

Whether you are participating in lower or modified impact aerobics or high-impact, high-energy kickboxing aerobics classes, your feet need to stay comfortable throughout. The amount of cushioning you need and where will depend on the shape of your foot and your preference.

For those with high arches, padding around the tongue and top of the foot will be important. Some people will prefer to have a little thicker padding around the ankle. Most importantly for aerobics though are:

  • Cushioned, fitted insole –
    The bottoms of your feet take a pounding during aerobics. A passed, fitted insole will help to soften those blows and keep your feet from becoming sore and exhausted.
  • EVA or other cushioned midsole –
    No one thinks about the midsole until they go home to soak their feet in an Epsom bath. EVA is a material that is firm but cushioned to absorb the impact of your weight as you walk, jump, kick or, yes I am going to say it, do burpees. Gel materials also work well. If the shoes have memory foam, the foam should be thicker rather than thin. The all-over shock absorption and cushion are important for the ongoing comfort of your feet.
  • Extra heel cushioning –
    Your heels are designed to take some impact. They evolved with a little shock absorption of their own but they can always use a little help, especially while doing aerobics. Extra cushioning in the heel will prevent fatigue.

Other factors will contribute to your comfort as well. A good aerobics shoe will close properly with traditional laces or with velcro straps, to ensure a proper, firm but not tight fit. It will also be constructed of quality materials that won’t cause sore spots or irritation while working out. Overall, look for these extra comfort features when you are considering a shoe for aerobics.

When considering fit, the shoe should not be loose. You want the perfect snug but not tight hug. Your feet should not lose circulation especially while working out. Because feet swell with exercise, they should be adjustable. If you want a little extra support in the ankle, choose a high top that is well fitting and adjustable. If you have high arches, look for a shoe with extra arch support so it fits the bottom of your foot well, or choose to wear a custom insole or orthotic. Make sure there is enough room for your toes, to avoid having them compressed during the workout. The better the fit, the more comfortable you and your feet will be.

Flexibility and Movement

Aerobics exercise requires a lot of flexibility to move safely and smoothly through the various exercises at a pace that benefits your body. Jumping, running, kicking, the dreaded burpee, squatting, and scissor kicks all require that we support our body weight while making the most of the flexibility in our joints. They also require a shoe that is flexible and can move to keep pace with the rest of our body.

What to look for:

  • has a pliable sole. Rubber is an excellent choice.
  • a flexible, not too stiff upper.
  • more support if you have flatter feet; and
  • Greater flexibility if you have high arches.

What to avoid:

  • Rubber that is too thick.  It should be able to fold in on itself or have cut grooves that allow it to fold.
  • Soles that are too thin or too flexible, you will not have enough stability (kind of like trying to run a marathon in a pair of flip-flops)
  • Rigid soles (like chemically hardened rubbers) that will not flex.

The ability to move in the shoe also means the ability to pivot. Pivoting is an important part of most aerobics routines these days. A good aerobics shoe will have traction in the right places to keep you safe on your feet while pivoting. In an aerobics shoe, traction is most important in the forefoot because you pivot using the ball of the foot and all of the pressure of your body weight and momentum is on the ball at the moment of the pivot. Look for a shoe that has good traction in the forefoot and most especially under the ball of the feet.

Versatility

Most shoe manufacturers don’t make anything they call an aerobics shoe. This is because they know that aerobics is a varied exercise that may be best suited to a cross-trainer, a running shoe, a trail runner, a water shoe, or a cross-fit type shoe. What you need will be based entirely on the type of aerobics you want to participate in.

  • High-impact aerobics –
    look for a shoe that has extra shock absorption and excellent traction, like cross-training shoes and trail runners.
  • Low-impact aerobics –
    For low-impact, modified aerobics, look for good traction and lots of cushion and support in the insole. You also, as much as possible, want to have a shoe that is lightweight.
  • Dance aerobics –
    For dance aerobics, look for a shoe that has extra flexibility, is lightweight, and shock absorbing.

The bonus of looking for an athletic shoe that will suit the type of aerobics that you want to do is that you will have a shoe that you can also wear to participate in other sports and activities. Take that aerobics class on Monday and go ahead on to cross-fit on Tuesday. Go from the gym to a run on the trail. Whatever your life style, an aerobics shoe will be versatile.

No matter how you get your exercise, there is sure to be a shoe on this list to suit your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: What are the best shoes for aerobics?
A: Aerobics can encompass a lot of different types of activities from dance to calisthenics to yoga to stepping.  It may be very high-impact or low or modified impact. As a result, a lot of different types of athletic shoes can be used for aerobics. What you want to look for are the specific features of the shoes that will be the most beneficial for your aerobic workout.  Whatever your specific needs, you will find a shoe above that suits.

Q. Can cross-trainers be used for aerobics?
A: Cross-training sneakers are one of the best shoes for aerobics, because they’re designed to be used for a variety of different athletic activities. They’re great for basketball, for running, for the gym, and for HIIT. They often have great arch support, mesh for breathability and airflow, rubber for shock absorption, and provide a lot of stability without sacrificing flexibility. They range from very lightweight to a heavier shoe, depending on the fit and feel that athletes want. They are great for energy return and eliminating foot fatigue.

Q: How should aerobics shoes fit?
A: Aerobic shoes should generally feel lightweight and be snug but not tight on your feet. They should never feel tight or cut off circulation. Remember that your feet will swell after exercise to be sure to accommodate that. Also, see our criteria above for tips on a good fit.

Q: Can aerobic shoes be used for other activity?
A: Since aerobics shoes can be runners, cross-trainers, trail runners or another type of athletic shoe, they certainly can be used for other activities. However, if you regularly participate in aerobics and another form of exercise, like running or cross-fit, it is probably best to purchase a specialized pair for the other activity. Both pairs will last longer and you will not wear then down unevenly. Also, some gyms prohibit the use of shoes that are used outside, a good thing to keep in mind.

Q: Why are non-marking shoes so important?
A: Non-marking soles do not change the performance of the shoe but if you are taking aerobics classes at a gym, community center or other similar location, there are usually rules about non-marking shoes to prevent damage to the floor’s surface.

Q: My feet get hot, can’t I just wear my aerobic shoes without socks?
A: You can but it’s not a good idea if you want the shoe to last. Sweating inside a padded shoe can cause a build-up of microbes that then create an unpleasant odor and can also break down the material in the shoe faster. If you have sweaty feet, try some merino wool socks which are quite absorbent. Using underarm deodorant or specialized foot spray can also help. Wearing athletic shoes without socks can also irritate the skin, causing blisters and sores. Also, try a shoe that has a wider mesh for even more air circulation!

Q: I have athlete’s foot. Won’t padded shoes just make the condition worse?
A: It can. We recommend that you use a fresh pair of clean socks during your aerobics class and change into a clean, dry pair afterward. Also, see our article on athlete’s foot for more care tips. Athlete’s foot is a common condition that shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying your time at the gym!

Q: I do my aerobics on the carpet at home. Can’t I just go barefoot?
A: You could go barefoot but carpet does not provide the traction necessary for safety during aerobics and it won’t replace the shock absorption of a good aerobics shoe. We recommend that you wear a pair of aerobics shoes that are non-marking and have not been used outside, to keep your carpet clean. If you’re worried about wear on the carpet, try covering it with a good rubberized mat for the workout.

Q: I’m just starting out with exercising. Can’t I just buy an all purpose sneaker for my aerobics class?
A: We would recommend a good cross trainer as your aerobics shoe for those just starting out. That way, if you decide that aerobics isn’t for you, you still have a shoe you can use for other activities. It will also provide you enough cushion, support, flexibility and traction to get you going with a beginner’s class without any injury or hurting feet. Once you advance a little and are ready for the really high impact class, you can purchase a shoe that has greater shock absorption and flexibility.

Q: I’ve left my aerobics shoes in my gym bag while I was on vacation. There’s a smell now. Is there anything I can do?
A: That’s unfortunate but hope is not at all lost. There are definitely things you can do to rid your shoes (and your gym bag) of the smell. Check out our article filled with tips!  Your feet and your shoes will thank you!

Q: I wear a size 7 dress shoe.  What size aerobic shoe should I wear?
A: Great question!  Athletic footwear should usually be worn ½ size up.  I will normally not be the same as your dress shoe. There should be just a little more room in the toe to prevent compression while you are working out.  A good “rule of thumb” is a half a thumb length between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.

Q: The midsole on my sneakers is looking a little wrinkled and they are not as comfortable as they were before.  What happened?
A: This is a sure sign that the midsole is wearing out.  They aren’t as comfortable as before because the material has become compressed from wear, which is normal.  It is also a sign that it’s time to replace your sneakers with a new pair.

Sources

  1. Body Break Staff, Aerobic Guide – Choosing the Proper Exercise Shoes, Body Break
  2. Lisa Jhung, The Best Sneakers to Crush your Workout Routines, Shape
  3. Michele Dolan, How to Select the Right Footwear for Step Aerobics,  wikiHow
  4. Health and Style Staff, How To Choose The Perfect Shoe For Every Workout, Health and Style
  5. Live Strong Staff, The Best Aerobic Shoes For Women, Live Strong
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