As far as full body workouts go, kickboxing is no joke. It is a high-impact and exciting sport that combines elements of martial arts along with punching and kicking your opponent. Needless to say, it’s a great stress reliever and an easy way to tone muscles, increase stamina, and give yourself a huge energy boost. But to feel good and survive those first few training sessions, you probably need more than just poise and sheer determination. You will also need the proper equipment. This is where kickboxing shoes come in.
Some of the basics typically include boxing gloves or hand wraps, a mouth guard, and a headgear to protect against unexpected blows. But if you’re wondering what are the best kickboxing shoes to wear while training, you have options, including going barefoot. In fact, going barefoot has some of the biggest advantages, according to Tempo trainer and boxing trainer Colby Landry.
Should you go barefoot when kickboxing?
It depends on your preferences and skill level. Those who are experienced and professional in the sport may want to kickbox without shoes, simply because kickboxing matches are actually done barefoot.
“Most kickboxers traditionally go barefoot for two reasons: one, you have to compete barefoot to protect your opponent, and two, it allows you to make the most of your toes and foot muscles to grip the floor,” He says. Landry. Also, barefoot fighting has been a traditional practice in the kickboxing world because it helps improve the fighter’s stance and gives him more stability when he lands a kick. At the same time, don’t to have go barefoot, especially if you’re a beginner or taking an aerobic kickboxing class at your local gym.
What to look for in a kickboxing shoe
If you decide to wear a shoe, it’s all about keeping things light, flat, and flexible. “You don’t want a shoe that has too much cushioning in the sole (like running shoes) because you need a lot of stability in your feet when you kick,” says personal trainer and sports performance and fitness educator at Herbalife. Denise Cervantes. “I prefer flat cross-training shoes that are flexible and give my foot stability when doing any cardio kickbox class,” Cervantes tells us. Essentially, you want something that feels like an extension of your foot and allows you to kick your leg out and spin quickly.
Second, stay away from shoes that have a lot of grip on the sole, similar to the type in many walking shoes. Too much traction can actually prevent a wrestler from turning smoothly and therefore can lead to a knee injury, according to Noom’s trainer and fitness trainer Hope Choplin. That said, he recommends training in something that has a much thinner sole and roomier toe box. For her information, these are the things in the closet that can go barefoot. They are incredibly light and mimic the natural shape and movement of your feet.
And above all, make sure your shoes have some support. Kickboxing can often put a lot of pressure on your feet and joints, especially around your arches and ankles. “Since you stay mostly on the balls of your feet in a kickboxing stance, having a shoe with a very high arch and ankle support is key,” says Landry.
As a general principle, consider which styles are the most comfortable and give you the best control over your lower body without compromising form or mobility. Although many choose to go barefoot based on their experience, there is no universal standard. “Retailers have designed low-profile footwear specifically for the sport of kickboxing, however it is always good practice to train in what feels most comfortable. Most people would be fine with bare feet, socks, or light shoes suitable for working out,” says fitness trainer and founder of JoshFit Training LLC., Josh Sedgwick.
Keep scrolling to find the best kickboxing shoes for you!
best kickboxing shoes
Vivobarefoot Primus III — $160.00
When it comes to minimalist shoes, any Vivobarefoot shoe is a no-brainer for celebrity trainer Joey Thurman. They’re light, thin, and super flexible so you feel more connected to the ground. They are basically a replica of your foot with more protection. “When you’re looking for a pair of kickboxing shoes, they’re usually more minimalist and with a wider toe box, the better. Think of something where you can actually feel the ground and allow your toe to open or spread out,” says Thurman.
Everlast Elite High Top Boxing Shoe — $100.00
If you’re looking to get more support around your ankles for punching, this traditional style boxing shoe is one to add to your wardrobe. They are great to use both on the gym floor and in the ring on training days. The mesh upper helps keep your feet cool and allows you to be light on your feet in transition movements.
Nike Free TR8 — $100.00
Despite cushioning throughout the midsole, these Nike shoes get an A+ for their flexibility and lightweight feel. They are super breathable and provide a lot of stability, thanks to the flat surface of the heel that gives you support and balance on the ground.
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