Looking for parkour shoes but have no idea where to start? Well stop right there, because you’ve come to the right place. We’ve rounded up some great options for parkour shoes and given a brief description of just what you need to be looking for to make sure you’ve got the right pair.
Parkour has been becoming a prominent part of modern culture for years now around Britain, and it’s great that so many people these days want to get involved.
We used to be asked a lot, exactly what is parkour? Or what is the difference between parkour and freerunning?
Through parkour videos – and indeed parkour fails – the partition has taken to the mainstream, though still many don’t know what gear they need to get started. Well, the answer is, very little gear – in fact, all you really need is a good pair of parkour shoes and a comfortable outfit.
What are Parkour Shoes?
Parkour Generations, the largest professional organisation for parkour note that any “Light, flexible running shoes are good - anything with a good grip, a flat sole and not too much cushioning."
Fear not though, for good shoes for parkour need not be too expensive. In fact, most who advertise specific “parkour shoes" are simply putting a big price tag on something that can be found for less. The best parkour shoes are often off-the-shelf shoes that are built for other purpose.
So, what should you look for when you’re buying a parkour shoe? Well, to expand on what Parkour Generations have said above.
Parkour shoes should be lightweight for obvious reasons, giving you more natural movement and less to carry around.
Despite what you might imagine, they should have thin soles if possible, as thick soles can promote poor technique in particular with landing, which can result in injury. One piece soles are brilliant for parkour also. This is opposed to souls which are glued together, and which can fall apart in pieces as a result.
Shoes with an arch are also great, as the arch can often help with jumping onto ledges and making your landings more predictable. You don’t want arches that feature hard plastic, because this will hinder your climbing and make those aforementioned landings more slippery.
Despite this, shoes without any sort of arch but exceptional flexibility and grip can also be great parkour shoes, as they allow you to use the soles of your feet naturally – though the arches do help in particular for beginners.
Of course, there’s also the theory that training barefoot helps you tone your technique and perfect the art of parkour, but we wouldn’t recommend that if you’re just getting started out. You might step on a stone.
Parkour Shoes Recommendations
How much do you know about Shaolin Monks? Not much we’re betting. But one thing you probably do know is that they’re massive on their fashion. You’ll never catch a Shaolin Monk sifting through the ‘just in’ section at Topman or jumping onto ASOS to refresh his winter wardrobe.
They go for practicality above all else, and yes, you’ve guessed it – this wasn’t all just a random aside – the Shaolin Monks have been known to wear Feiyues. They have a thin sole; they’re completely modest, they’re strongly made, and as a result they provide ultimate touch and sensitivity.
Of course, as a result, this means that you have very little of a safety net or very little extra protection when it comes to your landings, so this is maybe one for the more experienced parkour practitioners out there. Don’t be embarrassed, we doubt the Shaolin Monk trainees get started out on Feiyues either.
2) Kalenji Running Shoe
This one is a favourite with many parkour practitioners/tracuers. It’s light, it’s well cushioned in all the right places and have good grip.
Designed for running but with the propulsion, stability and cushioning required for parkour, these can be found at Decathlon, and offer a great option at a low price.
3) Merrell Trail Glove
A pricier option but one which is pretty much perfect as a parkour shoe, the Merrell Mens Trail Glove Barefoot Shoe offers you all the protection and cushioning you need against the surface while giving you amazing freedom of movement and a great natural feel for the environment.
The heel is locked in this shoe while the front of the foot can move just enough to make it ideal for parkour. The shoe is well built and tough, so will last for months, and the grip is great on everything but wet surfaces.
4) Asics Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81
Another shoe which is highly recommended for use in parkour, the grip on these shoes are top notch. They’re relatively light, with thin cushioning but enough to offer you some protection on landings, they have a neat fit and they’re a lot tougher than certain other parkour shoes in this list – which means that despite the slightly higher price, they will do you for a lot longer.
5) Vivobarefoot Neo
This shoe is brilliant on rough surfaces and even good with wet ground, which gives them a major bonus over various others mentioned.
There’s a little bit of freedom in the forefoot movement, and the heel is kept tight and intact, which is perfect for parkour, and while still featuring a slim sole, this manages to be one of the most durable shoes on the market.
A great investment if you’re serious about your parkour and training on any sort of surface on any sort of conditions!