What are the Best Parkour Shoes?

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When it comes to looking for a great pair of shoes to train parkour in, you may be overwhelmed by the number of choices available. There are many different styles that you can choose from, so knowing a little about what your preferences are will help make the process much easier.

There’s not really a ‘one style is best for all’ when it comes to parkour. For this reason, there are several things that you will need to consider, certain things to look for and even certain things to avoid when you start shopping for your shoes.

Don’t make the mistake of looking just at the price tag. You can find an excellent pair of training shoes for a low price that is perfect for training and ones that may be specifically labeled for this kind of training may end up not being worth all that extra money. Don’t simply pay for a label.

Ultimate 2016 Parkour Shoes Comparison Table


Brand names can be very important but just because the shoe has “parkour” in the description does not mean it’s a good quality shoe. Things you can do to help narrow down the field of choices include reading reviews, looking at customer comments from consumers that have purchased and are currently using the product you are interested in.

What are some of the questions you may ask yourself when searching through the different styles? Things like:

  • Do you want a minimalist shoe or one with padding?
  • What grip are you looking for?
  • Is flexibility really important?
  • Where are you running; trails or in the city?

These are all questions that would determine the type of parkour shoe that will be the best for your needs. When you are choosing a shoe for a specialized activity, you want to make certain that you look at the styles of shoes that will meet all of the requirements you are looking for.

What to Look for

The following features are what you want to look at and compare when you are researching the different styles that are available. Taking the time to do some homework and research now will save you the hassle of purchasing a pair of parkour shoes that are not going to fit your needs and preferences.

  • Grip – The amount of grip a parkour shoe has is very important. Possibly the most important aspect you will consider and compare. When a shoe doesn’t have the right amount of grip, the risk of slipping is great which can cause injury as well as a delay in improvement in your training. The best type of grip for this type of shoe will be a fairly flat bottom and not with cleats like a football or soccer shoe has. Look for shoes with a lot of flat surface area.
  • Cushion – Another important feature to examine when it comes to choosing the right parkour shoes is the amount of cushion it has. Although a lot of cushion feels good, having too much can cause you to become sloppy when it comes to training. This is due to the landing technique becoming poor since you really won’t be able to tell what kind of landing technique you have because of that extra cushion.

Another pitfall to having too much cushion is that it can make parkour participants think that they can handle larger drops than they may be ready for.   Look for shoes that have little cushion so you can learn to develop the right technique that you need to excel. Even though it may be uncomfortable at first, you will learn how to land gracefully and easily and this discomfort will expedite the process. Many traceurs recommend shoes with very little cushion and thickness for this reason.

  • secondPlaceWeight – Participating in the kind of activities you will be doing such as climbing, jumping and vaulting, you don’t want to be weighed down unnecessarily by heavy shoes. The lighter weight the shoe is that you purchase, the more freely you will be able to move around.   Heavy shoes end up feeling like weights added to your legs and can cause undue fatigue and even clumsiness.
  • Flexibility – Another consideration is the flexibility of the shoe you are considering. If they don’t bend, you’re going to lose control. You will be landing on small surfaces and even rails so having shoes that bends enough for your foot to wrap around what you’re landing on improves your technique and prevents slipping and falls. Another factor that inflexible shoes will affect is climbing.

Make sure that the front of the shoe bends so your toes don’t end up bending. Now there can be too much of a good thing, so look for the right amount of flexibility; too much and the shoe won’t support your foot. It’s more common to find shoes with not enough flexibility but too much can happen in some styles.

  • Durability – One of the drawbacks that you may find with the soft rubber soles of some parkour shoes is that they will wear down quickly. They do provide fantastic grip but it can be the tradeoff for having that grip. Harder, rubber soles can endure a lot more training but provide you with less grip. Which is more important will be different for different parkour participants. Checking the customer reviews on specific shoes can give you a good idea of the durability and grip of some brands that you are considering.
  • Price – Do you have a budget that you are looking to stick to? It is always good to have an idea of the price you want to stick to when it comes to your parkour shoes. You want to purchase the best shoe you can find for the budget you set. If you are able to set a higher budget that will open up a lot more choices for you, but ultimately you want to set a budget that you are comfortable with and will be able to stick to and still get a good quality product.
  • Arches – A shoe that has arches is preferable to one that does not. Arches in the shoes help you perform more precise landings. In some cases, when you are landing on an edge of something, the foot slips forward. An arch in the shoes allows you to drop the heels and then when landing on the edge locks the foot into the arch.

If the shoes you are considering have a thin sole and are very flexible, you will find that the natural arch of your foot provides enough in the way of safety during these edge type landings. Make certain that you avoid the style of shoe that has hard plastic in the arches. This can cause dangerous slippage when you are climbing or landing on rails and has the potential to cause injuries due to the increased slipping possibilities.

  • thirdplaceFit Fit is extremely important when it comes to choosing the best parkour shoes. You will be running, jumping and climbing so the fit of your shoes is extremely important. You don’t want to purchase a shoe that slips off your foot or one that rubs massive blisters. Training will be interfered with if you are trying to deal with the pain of a bad blister. This is very a very important aspect to consider according to American Parkour and Australian Parkour Association.
  • Sole CompoundThe soles of parkour shoes are made from different kinds of rubber. The type of rubber that is used to create the soles will determine several things like how long the shoe lasts and how well it grips. Softer types of rubber will wear out faster and have to be replaced with new shoes and harder types of rubber can cause slipping on maneuvers like arm jumps.

Conclusion

All of the information that has been listed above should give you a very solid foundation in which to research these specialty shoes and determine which ones are great choices and which ones may be of lesser quality. With all of the choices available, it can feel overwhelming to try and sort through them.

The information in this guide is designed to provide the features to look at and compare and to inform you of what makes a great parkour shoe. Having the right equipment is crucial to enjoying this activity and doing the best you can at it.

When your equipment is subpar, that will affect your progress, your performance and your abilities as well.   Now you are armed with the information that will guarantee you will choose a pair of parkour shoes that will be perfect for you.

 By now you should have a very solid understanding of what makes great parkour shoes and ought to be considering the ones I have recommended. But it’s up to you now to decide which shoe is for you. Will you go with the gripping Ultimate 81’s, the flexible Five Fingers, or the well-rounded Minimus?