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Parkour shoes

parkour shoes

Training shoes for PK and Freeruning is a very popular subject lately, given the fact that a lot of companies started developing and selling these so-called Parkour shoes for enthusiasts.

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

Dunlop Volleys

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.

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!

  1. Kris

    February 15, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    You could also consider the Vibram Five Fingers… they’re shoes with individual toes and feel similar to water shoes. They’ll protect your feet from cuts but you’ll still feel every rock, tar line or almost anything else you step on. The good thing though is that if you’re going to run on more rough terrain, they have a set that’s meant for mountain trail running that have just slightly thicker rubber to handle the larger sharper rocks.

    • Dan Dinu

      February 16, 2012 at 11:08 am

      Interesting! But after a few searches I found that they are much more expensive than regular running shoes. It’s kind of outrageous to pay more money to feel like you’re running barefoot, than actually running barefoot.

  2. hazim

    March 9, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    i have a dunlop volley but not sure it really works for me. Any suggestion or tips. I live in malaysia so its kind of hard to find some parkour shoe around.

    • Muizz

      October 28, 2015 at 2:39 pm

      Ur can try puma suede

      • David

        August 26, 2016 at 8:53 pm

        I have a pair of puma suede I like them but I haven’t tried to parkour in them yet but they got good grip and good sole on them

  3. Nikos

    March 26, 2012 at 1:41 am

    How about nike free run +2 shoes…..are they good for parkour?

    • Chris

      October 17, 2012 at 6:57 am

      i currently have a pair of them, the grip is good on trees and bricks/concrete but the rubber pieces on the bottom rip off, theyre not the most durable and get holes in the toes easily. the foam pieces on the bottom tear off fairly easily and leave you with chunks missing. they dont have good grip on rails, you just slip off. they are also very expensive $100 and up. its best to just find a cheap shoe that is all one piece of rubber on the bottom. i would recommend the newbalance 373. cheap and very durable, vey thin and light. you can feel the cracks in the sidewalk after you break them in.

  4. Kyle

    March 31, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    I have to agree with Kris. I have the trail running version of the Vibram five finger shoes for my parkour training, and I LOVE them. They allow me to run like we were built to, along with jumping and landing. It forces me to rely on my body for cushion rather than padded shoes.

  5. wrtio23

    June 16, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    to be honest i train in puma cabana racers and i find them amazing

  6. greg

    July 3, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    i use k-swiss ariake or the adidas ZXZ’s

  7. Buffy

    July 14, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    I have fila skeletoes, they have good grip and are relatively cheap. Good alternative to the vibram fivefingers

  8. Cai Llorin

    August 4, 2012 at 12:30 am

    I have a pair of Vibram Five Finger Komodo Sports. They’re really great. The thing is, they offer enough protection from your external environment and, at the same time, keep the shoe as minimal as possible. The Vibram’s forced me to correct my practice & technique; from landing and precisions all the way to basic running, walking, and even my posture in some little way. The soles offer a good amount of grip, but just enough so you don’t depend solely on it. The Fila Skeletoes were an option to me because I felt a bit dismayed with the pricetags on Vibrams. But when my friend got a pair of Skeletoes, they ripped & tore in less than 2 months. Other practitioners from our area were prone to injury due to the the Skeletoes being slippery. Ands they said that the joint-toe part of the shoe was not only limiting, but also annoying. There is a new product I found in the market. It’s called the Zem Gear Ninja. It’s sort of like a tabi shoe, however, has better grip underneath. Zem has a few products out now, and I wouldn’t mind trying some out.

    • Dan Dinu

      August 15, 2012 at 10:36 pm

      Hey Cai,

      Sounds like some great insight on the five fingers and similar shoes. Thanks for taking the time to post, I’m sure It will help readers decide better when they decide to switch.

      • Ced

        August 14, 2014 at 8:54 pm

        6pm.com generally has sales where you can get them for under $50

  9. Jorge DacostaJorgeDaCosta

    August 27, 2012 at 10:15 am

    I also have the vibram five fingers. I love them, but be warned, it takes a while to get used to the whole ” barefoot ” running. I recommend at least a few weeks to break them in and get your feet ready before attempting anything too intense. But for parkour training….. Nothing comes close…

  10. Pingback: What to wear for Parkour & Free Running training |

  11. Jake

    October 17, 2012 at 5:09 am

    TioTo be very pointed the vibram five fingers are well worth thelast cost they are well desinged and durable. It definatly gives the feel of barefoot running and when parkou/freerunning you learn to watch every step because if you misplce your foot it could cause damage this drastically reduces your chance of injury. I own two pairs 75$ & 100$ little pricy yes. But they last. I’ve had for 2years and wear and train in them daily. If you want to start the buy the kso 75$ not bad well worth it.

  12. levi

    October 25, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    what shoes would u recommend 4 beginners?

    • Dan Dinu

      October 26, 2012 at 9:28 am

      Hi Levi,

      If you are a beginner I would definitely recommend using running shoes with cushioning. In the first training period you will have a tendency to land hard and make mistakes (land on your heels, etc.). A good pair of shoes should limit the risk of injury. You can buy Kalenji Ekiden or any other cheap running shoe that offers a soft cushion.

  13. Dylan

    October 27, 2012 at 3:41 am

    I recently picked up a pair of adidas adipure on sale at finish line for $50 USD normally 90. On par if not better than the vibram in my opinion. Just starting out in parkour and so far I’ve been wearing mine all day without issue, Just thought I’d offer an opinion on shoe

  14. Evan

    November 5, 2012 at 5:35 am

    Hi, I’m thinking about training in parkour, and I’m wondering if my reezigs are good for beginners. Also, I’m a young teenager, so are there any extra concerns or precautions I should advise?
    Thank you!

    • Dan Dinu

      November 5, 2012 at 12:10 pm

      Hi Evan,

      I have never used these types of shoes for Parkour, but I must say, they look like they will not last you very long if you’re going to do intense training. The sole seems like it’s going to tear pretty fast. If you don’t mind putting them to the test, try them out. They still look like they can offer the cushioning you need.

      If you are just starting with Parkour, please take note of some conditioning exercises I have here that will help you get into good physical shape. Train your technique and strength at a 50-50 ratio. Don’t neglect warming up (joint rotations and sprinting) and warming down (stretching).

      If you want more in depth info, browse around my articles more, or just ask.

      Have fun!

  15. John Peter Narzoles

    November 6, 2012 at 2:29 am

    hi i’m 12 years old turning to 13 and i’m a leader of parkour group in philippines called RPK i use hi top converse in parkour is there any problem in converse to use?

    • Dan Dinu

      November 6, 2012 at 11:38 am

      Hi John,

      If you have experience in training with those types of shoes, that’s great. I prefer them over running shoes. Just try to be careful on your landings and big jumps. You don’t have any support from the shoes. You will have to build strong leg muscles to be able to perform big precision jumps.

      Work on lower body conditioning and warm-up thoroughly before starting your training.

      • John Peter Narzoles

        November 15, 2012 at 1:49 am

        ok and i’m doing about 25 push ups 50 squat 25 sit ups and about 1 min. leg stretch is it good?

        • Dan Dinu

          November 18, 2012 at 7:21 am

          Hi John,

          I hope you do at least 3 repetitions of the sets you described. You should be alright, as long as you also have a nice and thorough training afterwards. I’m a big fan of conditioning exercises first, then technique.

          • Joshua

            April 8, 2016 at 9:49 pm

            Hi Dan, are Puma suedes decent for training in Parkour, if not, what about Delcord’s men multi-sport running shoes.

  16. Christian

    November 6, 2012 at 4:37 am

    Hey, Im pretty new to parkour and looking for some professional training. Any Ideas??

    • Dan Dinu

      November 6, 2012 at 11:33 am

      Hi Chris,

      Try going here. You’ll find a big list of them.

  17. anonymous

    December 3, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    are Adidas Adipure Motion shoes good parkour shoes?

    • Dan Dinu

      December 5, 2012 at 8:53 pm


      From what I can tell, they seem alright. However, you need to think if you want to trash a $100 pair of shoes by doing Parkour. Intense training can reduce a pair of shoes to a piece of cloth in about three months, even less. The reason why people usually use Kalenji’s or Feiyue is because they are durable and cheap to replace.

  18. Vincent

    December 4, 2012 at 4:23 pm


    I was looking for shoes for parkour , and i found these jika-tabi boots, which are japanese ninja like shoes , do you know if they are good for parkour?

    • Dan Dinu

      December 5, 2012 at 8:48 pm

      Hi Vincent,

      I have zero experience with those types of shoes. But, judging by their appearance they seem to be a better choice for martial arts or sports where you need ankle support. Usually, over the ankle shoes tend to get in the way of the natural movement of the foot.

  19. Ben

    December 9, 2012 at 5:06 am

    Hi Dan, do you know if Nike Lunaswift 3 are good for parkour?

    • Dan Dinu

      December 9, 2012 at 6:15 pm

      Hi Ben,

      Those shoes look great for Parkour. They’re light and seem to have good durability. If you can’t find cheaper shoes, you can easily go with the Lunaswift.

  20. zac

    December 16, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    i usualy train in skate shoes beacase i skate and bike when im not doing parkour. they are durabe and have heal padding but minamal padding in the ball of the foot. i also occasionaly train in saucony kinvara 3’s. i was wondering if they would be good for advanced parkour training

    • Dan Dinu

      December 18, 2012 at 8:25 am

      Hi Zac,

      I have never had the chance to train in skate shoes, but I think they are a viable option. As for the saucony kinvara 3, do you really want to train in $100 shoes? In Parkour? Take into account that PK training involves forces much greater than running. I don’t think you’ll have those shoes for very long. Try something cheaper.

  21. Thanacic

    December 16, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Hi Dan , do you know mizuno wave rider 13 ?
    are they good for parkour and freerunning

    • Dan Dinu

      December 18, 2012 at 8:29 am

      Hi Thanacic,

      I can give you the same answer I gave Zac, below. They seem to offer a lot of technology. But putting such an expensive shoe to the test in Parkour or Free running will leave you with a pair of shoes you will throw away in 2-3 months. Don’t go for the expensive stuff, as this will only help you wallet get thinner, faster.

  22. Joe B

    February 5, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    Hey Dan, i’m a very athletic 15 year old tee, and i feel as though im very sloppy in my tequniques, and i was wondering how i could learn more, because there is no one i know that also does it.

    Also, i was wondering where i could buy shoes, and what you personally would reccomend.

    • Dan Dinu

      February 6, 2013 at 5:43 pm

      Hi Joe,

      Depending on where you live you can search for practitioners in your area. You can use Betterfly to find them or start on your own. The learning process is longer when doing it by yourself, but it is also more rewarding. You will learn a lot about yourself and the way your body behaves and have a much better understanding of the movement.

      If you have time, check out these blog posts, that might give you a boost in morale:

      • Joe B

        April 3, 2013 at 6:21 pm

        Thanks man, that all helped a lot. I did find one other person to run with everyonce in awhile, and before i would go out every day to a few select places, but now on the weekends i’ve been trying new places every time, and i’ve found that College campuses are the best. Also for the whole being silent thing, ive found a few precisions and jumps where you land on hollow metal and after a few weeks of practicing you can barely hear a thing so thanks i really appreciate you helping me out,.

  23. Garrett

    October 19, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    I’m a huge fan of the Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81. That shoe is a boss and can carry me anywhere I want to go!

  24. David D

    November 6, 2013 at 2:53 am

    I was wondering if onitsuka tiger ultimate 81 are any good for parkour.

    • Dan Dinu

      November 6, 2013 at 7:37 am

      Hi David,

      I did not have the opportunity to test the shoe yet. However I will pretty soon. I should have my hands on a test pair in a few days.

  25. Albert Bereti

    June 21, 2014 at 7:32 am

    How about the Ollo Sapien’s. The Sapien was developed in collaboration with traceurs on 3 continents. Their input and suggestions have been instrumental in shaping the outsole pattern design, degree of cushioning and the material mixture we use in our outsole compound.
    Grip optimizing bottom texture and pattern zones. 0110 / High Grip special blend rubber provides outstanding grip. Wider toe wrap is tapered and provides a tactile leading edge. Impact absorbing midsole in topgrade EVA for the highest resilience OLLOFLEX hinged forefoot upper pattern for improved toe flex.

  26. Mason Ham

    June 29, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Hey Dan,

    Out of these three shoes, which is the best for a indoor parkour gym: Nike Free 5.0, adidas Crazylite 3, or the Vans Old Skools

    • Dan Dinu

      June 30, 2014 at 9:23 am

      Hi Mason,

      Out of those three i would go for the Nike Free 5.0 due tot he following facts:
      – They have really good heel support without the bulk of the Adidas CrazyLite
      – The have a light construction and breathe a lot better that both competitors
      – Unlike Adidas crazylite and Vans old schools shoes, the Nike Free are actually built for running which give makes them more comfortable

      I hope this helps with your choice.

  27. Sam

    August 12, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    I have a pair of vibram five finger and I love them. Yes, they are expensive but I’ve had mine for over a year now and have used them for lots of things other than parkour

    • Dan Dinu

      August 13, 2014 at 6:26 am

      Hi Sam,

      Thanks for the suggestion. I have tried them on and I have to say I agree with what you say. Those shoes are like going barefoot without having to worry about stepping into glass or hurting your feet. That’s, if you’re not worried about their price.

  28. Hazreen

    August 21, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Hi. I just started. More like trying to begin. The thing is I don’t know where to start and what to do.

  29. Harry

    November 23, 2014 at 10:37 am

    I use Nike lite run. They have good grip and are comfortable for their weight

  30. Tony

    November 24, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    Hi Dan, regarding martial arts shoes, I have some experience with martial arts shoes (kung fu) for parkour and I have to confirm that they are very suitable.. nevertheless above mention jika-tabi boots – i agree.. fixed ankle does not seem to be optimal for parkour..

  31. Seth

    April 21, 2015 at 7:52 pm


    I was wondering if turning socks into shoes would be a good idea for parkour. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRCXy_UHPVc i know it sounds odd but they offer a lot of choice in style, comfort, and thickness. as well as the fact that they are thin, the only real problem i see with them is if they start to loosen up then your foot will slip. what do you think?

    • Dan Dinu

      May 8, 2015 at 7:54 am

      Hi Seth,

      I’m not so sure that would have the necessary grip or strength to keep you on walls and prevent you from losing your balance. For running, they look like a good idea, but for Parkour training, I would not try it.

      If you want to experiment, I would love to see the results!

  32. Seth

    May 11, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Well, OK then. Maybe I will!

  33. runnerstore

    July 7, 2015 at 4:23 am

    cheap nike air max 2015 shoes on http://www.runnerstore.org
    The Nike Air Max 2015 Running Shoe puts plenty of soft,flexible cushioning between you and the unforgiving ground for exceptional comfort throughout your run.The full-length Max Air unit delivers excellent cushioning with enhanced flexibility for smoother transitions through footstrike.The ultra-plush,seamless engineered mesh upper provides lightweight comfort to help keep feet cool.Its been simplified and refined for enhanced flexibility and a more lightweight ride.

  34. Foxx

    August 10, 2015 at 12:13 am

    I’ve been using aqua socks or water shoes. Whatever they’re called. They’re not going to last very long, but they’re only $6 on Amazon or eBay. So I don’t mind buying more and/or bringing an extra pair for backup. They have no cushion, so if you haven’t used shoes without cushion… well be prepared for a harder impact. I’m still learning to land lightly (I’m new to parkour). Sometimes I even take my shoes off. Meh. I was considering to get Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 shoes… until I read this article. Ehh, maybe I could just buy and use those for the meet-ups once a week perhaps.

  35. Seth

    October 28, 2015 at 7:09 am

    Okay, so personally, i like the nike fs run series. The last pair of shoes i had were the first gen of this shoe. I skipped the v.2 and went strait to the v.3s. my last pair lasted me about 10 months with spray rubber mods. they lasted me about 7ish without the spray rubber. the first ones were about $60 and the v.3s were about $80. i just bought the 3s today (technically yesterday, its 3 am now.) I really liked the v.1s and when I saw the 3s, i was stuck. there was no changing my mind at all. The 1s and 2s both have brick style teeth and the 3s have hex teeth. I recently punctured the mesh in the ones and the sole started to tear off, however, despite that, I still train in them, as the hole isn’t of much concern as it is so small, and the same goes for the tear in the sole. I would say that the 1s are definitely worth the money but I can’t speak for the 3s yet. they are very light and have a decent grip. I mostly do wall runs, though my technique isn’t that great, I’ve been able to do pretty solid runs in them. I don’t do rail work ass I can’t keep my balance well enough to do so, so I can’t speak for that aspect. At first, the teeth on the 1s were great, they had enough rubber grip to hold their own, however, after about 6 months, they wore down and became soft and more foam-like. Despite that, though, I am still able to grip most surfaces with them, so long as they aren’t slick, though the spray rubber fixes that issue.

  36. Lucas

    April 6, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Are Nike free shoes good for parkour.

  37. Josh

    April 14, 2016 at 1:37 am

    Don’t train in Nike free run 5.0. Their traction is good at first but then the grip goes away fairly fast. It slips on almost any surface that isn’t asphalt or dirt


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