Parkour is the art of efficiently clearing the distance between Point A and Point B, and nowadays it has become a popular form of self-expression in urban landscapes. Doing parkour often involves running in bursts, jumping, and rolling, making it quite a risky activity. However, many would say that being able to perform the moves after many trials come with a great feeling of accomplishment. Of course, the proper techniques and gears are necessary to protect yourself while practicing. This is because mistakes and serious injuries are more likely to happen without adequate research and protective equipment. If you are aiming to improve your stunts and master parkour, it is recommended to invest in a good pair of parkour shoes. You don’t necessarily have to purchase parkour specific shoes that are worth hundreds of dollars, but you should at least know what to take into account when you plan to look for training shoes.
What is Parkour?
Parkour is all about swift movements. Its goal is to develop a person’s capability to overcome any obstacle in the most direct and efficient manner possible. It is usually considered as an acrobatic way of getting from Point A to Point B. While many may think that it is only for the flexible and athletically gifted, it is actually an activity that anyone can learn to enjoy. This is because anyone can find a way to go over the barriers and obstacles that are standing in their paths. A male parkour practitioner is called a traceur, while the female counterpart is known as a traceuse.
Doing parkour is not limited to urban environments. It can be done in the forest, mountains, desert, or just practically anywhere as the world is literally the traceur’s playground. The philosophy of parkour involves altruism, useful strength, self-understanding, self-improvement, and longevity. Since the goal of parkour is to close the distance between two points efficiently, movements such as spins, flips, and other aerial acrobatics have no place in this activity. This is because such moves are clearly not the best way to make traverses and they require unnecessary effort and energy.
This, perhaps, is what separates parkour from free running, which seems like parkour on the surface except that additional moves can be incorporated purely for its aesthetic value. While parkour and free running are often used synonymously, their goals and purpose are not the same. Parkour is non-competitive and is merely an activity that provides practitioners another way of exploring and seeing the world, while free running is often used for its acrobatic and aesthetic flairs and may be considered as something similar to a traditional sport.
Things to Look for in Parkour Shoes
No single type of shoes is perfect for all traceurs. The best pair for you will mostly depend on your goals and parkour proficiency. Here are some of the things that you should consider when looking for shoes to train in:
It is not recommended to use a shoe with a thick sole in parkour. A thick sole usually promotes poor technique because it makes your feet less sensitive to its interactions with the environment. As a result, some people tend to attempt drops that they thought they were prepared to take. Thinner soles will let you have a better feel of the impact of your landings. One-piece soles are also the most effective because they will not tear in chunks like the soles that are attached in segments. A shoe with a flat sole is also a good choice because it generally has better grip and it has more surface area for a safer landing. It will also allow you to gauge your moves more accurately.
Arches are recommended when choosing shoes for parkour because they work as safety mechanisms when practicing precision landings. For example, your feet may slip forward when you land on edge, but having an arch in your shoe will allow the landing’s edge to lock into the arch for safety. You should steer away from shoes with hard plastic arches because it may cause slippage on climbs. You will also be more likely to slip off when landing on metal rails if your footwear has a hard plastic arch.
The shoe must be as light as it can possibly be as carrying less weight will allow you to last longer in training. Having less weight is especially beneficial in parkour because you are less restrained and you will be able to perform more natural movements.
The compound of your sole’s material usually affects the lifespan of your shoes and its grip abilities. Softer compounds can provide more grip, but they wear and tear at a faster rate. On the other hand, hard compounds are usually more durable, but they may cause slippage due to its weak grip.
Choosing the right shoes for parkour can be complicated, but for beginners, the primary concern is to have good form on low-impact moves. Minimalist shoes are highly recommended because they encourage you to focus on better technique. Wearing them will make you more cautious of performing stunts beyond your limits because one simple mistake can really get you hurt. In addition, it will also help your feet and body become stronger in the long run.
If your shoes are mostly heavily padded, your feet may not be conditioned to switch to minimalist training shoes. In this case, it is advisable to get a pair of minimalist shoes that are intended for non-athletic purposes first. Use padded shoes for parkour and then switch to something less padded every few months. When you get more accustomed to shoes with less padding, you may start doing light parkour on minimalist shoes. However, it’s okay to use padded shoes for better protection if you’re going to perform activities that have more impact.
Ultimately, the shoes should have the right fit, and it must be comfortable enough to wear even after many hours of training. Make sure that the shoes are neither too small nor too big for you as wearing the wrong size may lead to injuries. Your lower body will be the first parts of your body to get the stress from your landings, so wearing the right shoes will ensure that you are well prepared to take the impact of your moves.
Feiyue Martial Arts ShoesWhen choosing a parkour shoe, martial arts footwear may not immediately come to mind, but it can be a good choice because of their commonalities. In both activities, the shoes need to be durable in order to withstand repeated impacts, and it must also be flexible so that the user will be able to feel their feet’s natural movements. The grip on the sole is also necessary to keep both the parkour and martial arts practitioner safe and stable. Finally, the shoes must be comfortable enough to keep the feet protected from the rigorous demands of both sports.
These similarities actually make martial arts shoes a good choice when practicing parkour. The Feiyue shoe, for example, is an excellent prospect and it won’t even cost you more than $30. It has a very thin sole and the minimal padding gives a good grip and flexibility overall. Some say that it feels like you are wearing slippers with very light padding, so it’s like being barefoot with extra protection. If you are planning to purchase this shoe online, however, you should take note that it doesn’t come in American sizes. You will have to look for a chart and convert your size to pick what fits. While it is great on almost any surface, it doesn’t do well on wet surfaces, so it’s not recommended to train on them when it has just rained.
Overall, the Feiyue martial arts shoes score a medium in durability and you won’t have to worry about replacing them because they are quite affordable. Other choices that are worth considering may cost at least double its price, but if you are just starting out with easy stunts and low drops, this might be good enough.
PUMA Faas 500 V2 Running ShoePuma may not be the first brand that comes to mind when you look for parkour shoes, but the Puma Faas 500 deserves the attention of new and experienced traceurs alike. At first, it may appear like this shoe would be apter for the gym or for walking than for scaling walls and absorbing the impacts of drops, but it proves to have one of the best grips that a parkour shoe can have. While the flex grooves’ placements are really meant to improve the user’s running speed, traceurs have reported that it has helped enhance their performance. The rectangular grips on the soles also make it more convenient to clean the shoe, so it’s a great choice if you wish to practice parkour in a more natural setting. No need to worry about dirt, pebbles, and debris because it’s easy to remove those things on the Faas 500s.
The shoe has a snug fit that will allow you to be comfortable for long periods, even after you’ve done your worst moves on them. It is extremely durable, and they could easily last four to six months with constant training. Of course, how long it will last will mostly depend on the frequency of your training as well as your chosen training grounds.
One major drawback of this shoe, though, is that it’s mainly intended to be a traditional running shoe. While money may not be an issue, it will not provide the minimalist or barefoot feel that is more recommended for parkour. It can, however, make heel landings safer and more comfortable. If this isn’t a problem for you, then the Faas 500s is a great choice as they will stick to any surface and its light weight will ensure that your moves can be done more quickly and efficiently.
Vivobarefoot Primus Road Running ShoeThe Vivobarefoot Primus takes some time to break in, but they are one of the most comfortable choices for minimalist shoes. It scores high on flexibility because of its thin soles, but the durability is also notable on this one. It is one of the pioneering brands in the minimalist shoe revolution, and their patented ultrathin yet puncture resistant soles are the perfect combination for sensory feedback and protection.
The barefoot design is preferable for traceurs because its light weight allows them to have a better feel of the surfaces that they traverse. This is especially helpful when landing or rolling from drops, scaling walls, and running on rails. To its credit, the Vivobarefoot Primus does a great job on rough surfaces and wood, and it even has good grip on smooth and wet surfaces. This is because the TPU anti-abrasion outsole and latex rubber give extra protection by keeping your feet safe and providing more grip. With Primus, you can expect a comfortable fit because their shoes have more space for toes than its competitors.
The patented thin sole of the Vivobarefoot Primus is composed of four different layers. The top layer is a removable insole, and some traceurs prefer removing it because it makes the shoe lighter, allowing them to feel the environment more naturally. It is recommended to take the top layer off once the user is comfortable enough with the shoe’s minimalistic feel. It can last four times as much as the Feiyue shoes or probably, even more, depend on your usage.
However, it may take some time before you get used to minimalist shoes if you have long been using shoes that provide a huge amount of support and comfort. Fortunately, there are a lot of tips online that can help you make a smooth transition to these types of shoes for your parkour training.
adidas Performance Running ShoeAdidas really isn’t the first shoe maker you think of when you think of Free running or Parkour. But its new Energy Improve shoes are getting lots of hoopla. “Energy yield,” they say. Jump is significant in Parkour, so I needed to see that energy yield interprets to Free runners and Traceurs. Free running Adidas Energy Boost Parkour & shoes are made from a fresh substance called Boost, rather than the conventional EVA foam. The material maintains it transfer of energy to your legs. This is claimed to help you move better.
Weight: They will not be felt by you on your feet and you’ll feel like being on a water bed when you are standing.
Relaxation: Regarding the shoe as a whole 1/2 size are assembled on a last that is slender and little.
Impact: The mid-soles are seemingly made with the unique TPU foam and a fresh production process. They are quite soft compared to a midsole that is normal and you’ll be able to feel it. Impact is absorbed by the new stuff which is considerably better.
Hop/spring: It’ll likely enhance your high jump, so that is an added incentive for a Parkour shoe.
Hold: The clasp is extremely adequate in these shoes. I never slipped on slick painted bars.
Other things: Water is let through, so they are for dry runs, not wet. Using them on surfaces that are wet brings water inside the shoe. So you may not trace or free running in these shoes during fall or winter.
General: They’re extremely bouncy and light, but the major question is: does the increased energy yield matter in regards to Parkour and Free running? My cash is on yes. Yes, it feels considerably more receptive when jumping compared to standard running shoes and you’ll be able to feel the “increase”.
Merrell Vapor Glove 2 Trail Running ShoeMerrell Vapor Glove 2 Trail Running Shoes look like they would be too small but they flex in the best way. Awesome shoes, Low-profile trail runner featuring lace-up vamp and pull tab at counter. You can even wash them. They are available in diferent colors. Rubber soles, sticky Vibram outsole for traction. They are lightweight, very flexible, provided a fantastic amount of ground feel, and had excellent traction. They have breathable mesh and thermoplastic polyurethane upper.
When choosing parkour shoes, the most important things that you have to consider are the soles, the arches, the weight, and the material of the shoe. You will need something that has a good grip to make scaling walls convenient and to keep your landings safe. Martial arts shoes, running shoes, and minimalist shoes are all good options for parkour training. You just have to pick the type that is most fitting for your parkour goals and current proficiency.