So, you’ve started Parkour. Awesome, welcome to perhaps one of the coolest and most relaxing things you’ll ever do in your life!
One of the questions I get asked quite a lot are “What are the best shoes for Parkour?” Or “What shoes do you use to train?”
In this 3 part series of blog posts, I plan to break down a couple of the shoes myself and the rest of the coaches at Crawley Parkour have used. What’s good about them? Are they fresh as?! I’ll also be discussing some shoes to avoid and what is on my to try list!
I’M NOT A SHOE EXPERT, I’M SPEAKING FROM MY OWN EXPERIENCE, SO TAKE WHAT I SAY WITH A GRAIN OF SALT, WHAT I FIND BAD MAY NOT MEAN IT ISN’T FOR YOU. I’VE DONE A LOT OF SHOE EXPERIMENTING IN MY 5 YEARS OF TRAINING
So lets start off with the shoes us coaches have used/ are currently using!
1.) Puma Future R698’s
These shoes spiked in the Parkour community between the years of 2013-2015. Used by myself, Storror’s Sacha Powell as well as many other talented athletes.
After the Cabana Racer II’s, Puma shoes sort of died out in the PK scene. These shoes, however, were a gem. I’ve had four pairs in my time, with my latest pair only just dying in October! The soles aren’t too thick, so you can get the right impact to power ratio, they’re comfortable and don’t take too long to break in, they come in some awesome and whacky colour combos too!
The downsides however, like most Parkour shoes, they become limited after a while. I struggle to find myself a pair, and when I do it’s mostly over £45. Durability is a bit hit and miss too. I’ve had pairs last no more than 3 months, but other pairs lasting for well over a year. If you can snag yourself a pair, consider yourself lucky, because these shoes are really good for Parkour. 7.5/10
KALENJI Run One Plus
Used by Raf and Alfie, these shoes aren’t very diversely known in the community yet! Kalenji have had a long history in Parkour however, with more experienced athletes using the Kalenji Success and Ekiden 50s (my first shoe, pwhoor, memories right?!) back in the day. In general, the Kalenji’s are a good shoe. The best bit about these shoes is the price! Head to your local Decathalon store and pick yourself up a pair, either as a permanent shoe or one for light training as these bad boys are only £13! Perfect for if you’re training on a budget! They’re also mega comfy!
However, with cheaper shoes, sometimes durability can come into question. Remember the saying “You get what you pay for?” Depending how hard you are going in on your training sessions, smashing them boss sized jumps and that, these shoes could deteriorate quickly! The padding isn’t too good if you’re taking height drops and if you’re training in the wet, they become really slippery. They wear out easily too, so lighter training sessions might be better for this shoe. I’m also not a fan of the “popular” black and orange colour, however, colourways are limited in these, but for £13, I can’t really make a scene.
K SWISS SI18
Who would’ve thought a tennis shoe would’ve made waves in the Parkour community. I owned a pair of these, as well as the Storror boys, the legendary Daniel Ilabaca & many other UK practitioners. The sole, whilst a little bulkier than some may like, they are well padded and don’t absorb your power when doing plio jumps. They are extremely durable and the grip is insane. I really liked this shoe due to its comfort, they also don’t look too bad fashionably aswell with many different colour combos to choose from, so you can still keep the streets fresh in your skinny jeans and pop out some jumps at a moments notice.
However, again, price and availability do come into play. K Swiss, whilst being the first brand to make a parkour specific shoe many years ago, discontinued this product during it’s 2015-2016 parkour spike! They’re still available online, with some places doing them as cheap as £38 (I use the term cheap loosely). Grab yourself a pair if you can because it is worth it, just avoid ones with the mesh top because after intense training, your little piggies sometimes start poking through!
Drew & Tam have both had experience with this shoe. It looks hella stylish, which is a really good thing, but they sole isn’t too thick either, which gets you really working on placement and control. The grip is good and help you gain a softer landing. They come in a range of colours, whether you’re looking for a smart slick black, or wanna go whacky with a luminous pink, there’s something for everyone.
HOWEVER, price, like many of the shoes on this list, is all over the place. Looking online, some shoes go for £70 whereas others go for £30. They also aren’t too padded and do tend to hurt your feet after prolonged wearing, so if you’re going for a 7 hour training session, you might need to bring a spare pair with you.
Originally a martial art shoe, the Feiyue have been around since the beginning of Parkour time. Just going to say it now THEY ARE NOT FOR HEAVY TRAINING SESSIONS. They are ultra thin, but this isn’t a bad thing. For the sake of £12-£20 (I don’t joke, they are stupidly cheap and always readily available) it’s always worth buying yourself a pair! The thin soles mean you can work on placement and technique, no landing on your arches! They come in a black and a white, so colour combo is limited. My best advice would buy a pair of these and try and use them to work on technique every few weeks. They aren’t very durable, but they saved me when my Future’s got completely destroyed and it was two weeks until payday. I still managed to smash out some heights drop side flips in them without feeling nothing. But then again, my technique is flawless, take notes ;).
Overall, a good shoe for them light training sessions and as a back up shoe.
No parkour shoe list is complete without these bad boiz making an appearance! They have been used religiously since about 2008/2009 by practitioners over the world. Drew has owned multiple pairs of these! The come in soooooo many different combinations (Drew snagged himself a pair with little Tigers on them, cute).
The grip is great! They take about two weeks to wear in properly before the grip gets real juicy. They're super flexible and stylish! They have an amazing durability, but very little shock absorption.
The price is very high nowadays though. You'll struggle to find a pair between £50-£70, BUT there is bound to be some cheap ones out there due to how popular they are!
All in all, a tasty shoe.
I hope I have helped you broaden your shoe knowledge so you know what to look out for! Next time I'll be looking into some of the Parkour specific shoes, created by Traceurs for traceurs!
Let us know what you'll like to read about in future blogs!
Stay safe, train hard!