The most popular shoe chosen by traceurs is, by far, the Kalenji running shoe. It is lightweight with good cushioning and has a good grip, much needed for that extra traction and wall impact.
The myth of good shoes
But are Parkour shoes hampering our natural senses and instincts? There are many voices that seem to confirm. Most people stomp around in shoes all day, and are in fact walking in an unnatural way. A study titled “Shod Versus Unshod: The Emergence of Forefoot Pathology in Modern Humans?” shows you walk wrong. According to the same study the cushioning and stabilization methods of shoes are making our feet lose their natural ability to absorb shock and shrink our ankle stabilizing muscles.
And if you think about it, it is not far from the truth. Sporting shoes, tied to our ankles and feet 12 hours a day will change the way your legs behave and react to impact.
Think about what are the main features you look for in a Parkour shoe for training. First is cushioning, because you need some thing to absorb the tremendous shock with. Second you want a shoe that will keep you foot tight, so it does not slip or slide inside the shoe. These are the main factors that lead to performance degradation. In time, your feet will start to depend more and more on the support of the shoes and will lose their natural strength.
The best option would be to grab a pair of indoor training shoes with little to no support and a cloth upper sole. You can get them from any store, cheaply. They are under 10$ so the price tag is not an issue. A good shoe is one that does not offer any cushioning, and has a relatively light frame so it does not constrict or disrupt your ankle’s movement in any way.
Recommended shoes for Parkour
Parkourpedia has a great article on shoes for Parkour, that I recommend you to check out. Their
Cheap, thin soles, good grip, with the only drawback being the soft compound used for the sole which means they wear away very quickly if you train certain techniques. These are the most probable choice for the early adopter of the no-support system on their shoes. They have a good feel and have been known as a great alternative to Kalenji’s for people trying to escape the running shoe.
- Adidas Energy Boost Parkour shoes
- Dunlop Volley Parkour shoes
- Nike Free Run+ 2 Parkour shoes
- Feiyue Lo shoes for Parkour
- K-swiss Ariake Parkour shoes
- Shoes for Parkour: Five Fingers
Why train in thin sole shoes?
Training with a non-parkour shoe without any support will lead to a dramatic change in the way your body will react to training. The impact of the movements you make will be greatly diminished and your toes will need to readjust to the impact.
You will be obligated to perform softer landings and in better form on the ball of the foot and strengthen your ankle stability in order to rebuild your training to the same level as with the Kalenji’s or KO’s. But in the longer term, the benefits are worth it. Risk of injury will diminish and you leg muscles will regain the much needed strength to perform at peak level under any circumstance.
At this stage you will be able to double your efficiency and movement precision when you will put a running shoe on. So think about it for a minute, and take off your running shoes!