The best parkour shoe for parkour training
It’s important to choose the right kind of shoes for training. If we wear the wrong shoes for training, we could slip on wall runs and rail precisions, get bone bruises from heavy impacts on the feet, lose sensitivity with the feet and make it harder to balance, cause us to feel heavy and lose height on our jumps, or even worse we could severely weaken our feet and throw off our alignment which can lead to all sorts of horrible ankle, knee, and back problems!
SHOES VS BAREFOOT
There’s been a big barefoot craze surfacing in the parkour community and even in main stream fitness but is it really better for the feet to train barefoot vs shoes that have been specifically designed and tested to give better performance?
Well the answer is yes and no. Here are the pros and cons.
Training barefoot is certainly better for your alignment, sensitivity, and for strengthening the feet. It’s how the human body was naturally designed and can be built up to handle a lot more stress and activity than most people realize.
The problem with barefoot training is that most people’s feet are very underdeveloped due to the shoeswe have been wearing all of our lives. So our feet are weak and soft. They can not handle rough terrain, high stress, or heavy impacts.
It will take most of us years to build up our feet enough to handle the stress for training an intense discipline such as parkour. We would injure ourselves very easily.
Also, you will always be able to go harder and get better grip with the right type of shoe.
Now the main problem with shoes is that they act much like a cast around the foot. The muscles in the feet atrophy and weaken, the natural alignment of the foot gets thrown off over time, and you will begin to have problems with the feet that can lead to problems all through the body.
The trick is to do both barefoot training and training with a good shoe. This way you can slowly build up the feet and also go for bigger moves or train on terrain that requires the extra support of a shoe while you build your feet.
For example, when I do light training, I go barefoot or use a “barefoot” shoe. When I’m doing heavy impact training that I know my feet can’t quite handle without the extra support, I go with a good running shoe.
I personally have two pairs of shoes.
#1– A minimalist shoe that provides me with the barefoot feel. No cushion, wide toe area so the toes can spread out and move, no extra ankle support, and a soft sole and body so the shoe can flex and move with my foot.
#2– A heavy impact shoe that provides me with the extra support. Nice cushion, tighter fit, and a harder sole and body for better resistance.
THINGS TO AVOID WHEN PICKING SHOES
#1-Avoid shoes that have any type of plastic on the soles or arches of the shoe. This makes the shoe very slippery when landing precisions, especially on rails.
#2-Avoid heavy and bulky shoes!
#3-Don’t wear skater shoes! (I say this because I have had a lot of people in the past ask me if skater shoes were good for training)
#4-Avoid shoes that don’t have laces or ways to secure the shoe.
#5– Avoid shoes that don’t have a solid sole. Meaning that the bottom rubber sole is cut in different pieces and not one single piece. The soles that are in different pieces tear easily.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
#1-You want a shoe that provides the best grip possible for climbing up walls, walking and leaping on rails, and for overall traction.
#2-You want a shoe that is light but also provides good support and cushion for your feet.
#3-You want a shoe that is very comfortable on your feet.
#4-Shoe that provides good sensitivity if possible.
THE BEST SHOE FOR YOU!!
Usually if you are first starting out you will be doing a lot of training with a shoe to get a that has more cushion and a little bit stiffer in structure.
The reason for this is that our form will most likely be a little sloppy and we want a shoe that is very forgiving for bad form.
If you’re an experienced tracuer, want to train on low impact moves and flow, or want to gradually test and build your feet and form, you will also want to go with a shoe that provides more sensitivity and flexibility.
This shoe will not be as forgiving as the stiffer shoes with more cushion but will give you greater balance, control, give you more height in your jump, and strengthen your feet while improving your overall alignment. (Also great for ground flips)
THE INSIDE SCOOP
Here’s what I have noticed in the PK FR community when it comes to shoes.
Most of the seasoned highly skilled traceurs, wear feiyues or something similar for their flexible, sensitive shoe and they were kalenji’s or a cheaper running shoe for their high impact shoes.
The advanced traceur trains a lot and goes through shoes quickly. It is pointless to spend high dollar on shoes. Unless they are sponsored by a certain shoe, then of course they wear their sponsor’s shoe.
The inexperienced practitioner usually pays up and wears the most expensive freerunning specific shoes, which really don’t make that much of a difference, especially when you equal in the costs.
WHAT I WEAR
I personally buy Fieyues for my flow training and buy the cheapest running shoe I can find for my high impact shoe, which is usually new balance, Aisics, or Saucony.
This combination has worked great for me and saved me tons of money.
THE SHOE LIST
But to each his own, that’s why I’m going to list some of the popular shoes people have been wearing and tell you what they are best for. That way, you can check them out and try them on yourself, if you need to, and find your perfect shoe!
-Vibram 5 Fingers (These have pretty much developed their own following. I personally don’t like them. They look goofy to me and don’t provide enough support. Also because of their individual toe design they will not allow as much freedom with the toes and will not perfectly fit everyone. But a ton of people love them.)
-Feiyues (Some of my favorite shoes. Great for flow and flips, low cost, and look really cool. Have a wide toe section that gives your toes plenty of room for movement. But they do wear extremely fast if you are training hard parkour and don’t provide a lot of support)
-VIVOBAREFOOT Shoe “Aqua Light and Neo” (Recomended by Ryan Ford, these are great minimalist shoes. I got to try them out for a day and they feel amazing. The rubber on the soles are more durable than the Feiyues so they will last a lot longer. If you like Feiyues then you’ll love these. However, they are a lot more expensive than the Feiyues.)
[Heavy Impact Shoes]
-Kalenji (Haven’t work any my self but have heard only amazing things about them. They stopped making them for a little bit but came out with a newer version not too long ago.)
-K-swiss Arayiaki (These have mixed reviews. Heard they are good shoes but not worth the price.)
-K-Os (Low cost but I’ve heard mixed reviews. Some love them, some say they only lasted for about two weeks. )
–Any cheap New Balance, Asic, and Saucony running shoe is always worth a try.
Of course those aren’t all the shoes that are good for parkour that have ever been produced. It’s a short list and I will add more soon. But it is a good list to start out with.
If you have any other parkour shoes that you have tried or recommend leave a comment below!
Hope this helps you find your perfect shoe!
P.S. For more in depth tutorials and training check out the new Online Parkour Academy! [Click Here]