When you’re ready to take off for a run you’ll need to make sure that your sneakers are going to keep up with your every step. They need to be specially selected. This is an intense sport and if you don’t have the right gear it can turn into a dangerous one.
This does not mean, however, that you have to shell out hundreds of dollars for specific Parkour shoes. In some cases a $20 pair will serve you better than a set that has been specifically designed for this high impact sport. Here, check out this list of the top 10 shoes for Parkour, it includes some very reasonably priced options.
How to choose the best Parkour shoes
The sole – Keeping you grounded
Look for options that have been constructed with a one-piece sole. The soles will last longer and won’t tend to fall apart. Some soles have been glued together in pieces and they can’t withstand the pounding that you are going to put them through. You definitely won’t want to be making a jump only to land on hard pavement and see pieces of your rubber sole dotting the asphalt.
The soul of the shoe should be thin enough that you can feel your landings. This way, you’ll be more prone to apply the right Parkour techniques. Thicker soles act as a cushioning effect, which is the last thing that you’ll want. You need to be at the top of your game when you are involved in Parkour and able to feel everything with your feet. The techniques involved are a balance of art and science and in order to perform properly you’ll need to be able to not only feel the ground beneath you but sense your next foot move.
You should also examine the rubber on the sole. It should neither be too soft or too hard. Softer rubber compounds provide a better grip but don’t last as long as harder compounds. Look for a sole that has a middle-of-the-road rubber compound for the best value on your money.
The arches – A necessary part of landing
Arches played an important role when it comes to Parkour shoes. You’ll need to have an arch on your shoe to control precision landings. The feet can move forward during a landing and you’ll need an arch there to keep your feet from slipping forward. There are a few options, however, where the arch is not necessary. If you have flexible sneakers with a thin sole, you’ll have enough sensitivity to control your landings using your own foot arch.
The weight – Too heavy will tie you down
A shoe that is too heavy will keep you from gaining height and flying through your obstacles. Lighter sneakers will give you more control and your body movements will be more natural. This just makes sense. The more weight that you are carrying around when you’re training, the less time you’ll be able to commit to your training.
When you’re first starting out
If you’re a newcomer to the sport, it’s best to start with sneakers that are a bit stiffer and offer more cushioning. At the beginning, your moves will probably be sloppy and you’ll need a forgiving shoe for bad form. As you start to get better and your form improves, you’ll then want to start shopping for sneakers that offer flexibility and sensitivity. This will give your jumps more height, improve your balance and strength in your feet at the same time.
What the seasoned Parkour runners wear
The highly trained traceurs tend to wear cheaper footwear since they know that they are going to wear out quickly. It’s the newcomers to the sport that go online to order the most expensive shoes for Parkour. If they continue with the sport, they’ll quickly learn to keep their hard-earned dollars in their pockets and look for the cheaper sneakers. No matter what type you buy, if you train a lot they are going to have to be replaced often.
Consider Getting 2 Pairs
A lot of runners will buy two pairs of sneakers: one set for flow training and another for high impact training. Feiyues or similar shoes seem to work well for many as their sensitive and flexible choice. Cheap running shoes such as New Balance are good enough for high impact training.
Barefoot Parkour training
There’s a barefoot trend in the Parkour world and if you haven’t run into it yet you’re sure to see it soon. When you train with bare feet you’ll have better alignment and sensitivity and your feet will automatically become strengthened. The problem is that most people’s feet are used to wearing shoes and have become soft, weak and underdeveloped. For most people, it can take years to build up the feet so that they can handle heavy impacts, high stress and rough terrain.
You’re better off doing your heavy training with sneakers unless you are absolutely dedicated to taking the time and energy to substantially strengthen your feet. For light training, you may be able to do some barefoot practicing until you know that your feet can handle certain moves without any extra support.
Parkour has become a passion for many people and the right type of shoes will definitely affect your performance. Take some time to look for minimalist options that provide sensitivity and flexibility and another pair that can offer enough cushioning for heavy impact training.
Don’t purchase the higher-end shoes until you have started training and have learned what type of sneakers you really need. In the end, you’ll probably find out for yourself that cheaper ones will really do the same job that the higher end shoes promise to do.