A low-impact, high-intensity workout, step aerobics combines stepping on and off an aerobics bench with fast-paced, dance-like choreography. Performing the moves incorrectly, such as by misplacing your foot on the bench, or hopping up and down rather than stepping, can put you at risk of sustaining an injury. Wearing the proper footwear to a step aerobics class can help to support your feet and ankles while still allowing for freedom of movement.
Step Aerobics History
Former gymnast and trainer Gin Miller created step aerobics in the 1980s while rehabilitating a knee injury; her doctor suggested that she step up and down on a milk crate to strengthen the supporting muscles of the knee. The workout method peaked in popularity in the 1990s; at the time, shoes were designed specifically for step aerobics, but most of those cease to exist. In their place are cross trainers, which possess similar characteristics.
Best Shoe Characteristics
Shoes that allow you to move in all directions -- forward, backward and side to side -- are best for step aerobics. Cross trainers, which allow for 360-degree movements, will be more protective than a running or walking shoe, which are made mostly for going forward. The best step shoes should also provide ample cushioning to protect your joints from the up and down activity, as well as arch and ankle support.