The best parkour shoes will let you take your game to the next level.
Although you can technically wear anything on your feet, you're going to be a lot safer if you choose a pair of good parkour shoes.
Wall climbs, rail landings, and every other kind of trick will become easier when you're not wearing bricks on your feet.
The best shoes for parkour are not created equal, so you might prefer some based on the specific way you train. To give you a broad understanding of what you should be looking for, let's look at some of the standout features.
The Best Parkour Shoes Features
Don't forget there are no perfect parkour shoes out there even though some claim to be. Try to make sure the ones you ultimately decide to go with tick as many boxes as possible and you'll be fine:
- Weight Of Your Shoes
- Thickness Of The Sole
- One Piece Sole Design
- Arches In The Sole
- How Long Rubber Will Last
- The Price Of Your Shoes
Weight Of Your Shoes
There is a roof 6ft away and you plan to soar through the air and clear the distance with ease. If your parkour sneakers are a little heavier than the average pair you're unlikely to fall to the ground below.
Unless you're strapping weight plates to your parkour shoes it's hardly going to make much difference when it comes to flips, tricks, and the distance you can jump.
The main reason you want light parkour shoes is because you'll be throwing yourself around all day. It's just a lot more comfortable when it doesn't even feel like you're wearing anything on your feet.
Thickness Of The Sole
Thick soles can be helpful when you're starting out because they'll take some of the pain away. It's much better if you man (or woman) up and start off with a thinner sole.
Even though a thicker sole might absorb a lot of the impact, a thinner sole in your parkour running shoes is actually a lot safer. Do you have any idea why a thinner sole will always come out on top?
It means you'll get to feel a lot more. There are more than 7,000 nerve endings in each foot and they're constantly sending messages to your brain. You want to have as much sensitivity between your feet and the environment as possible.
One Piece Sole Design
If you look at most of the soles in an average pair of running shoes today they'll be made up of multiple pieces. The scientific geniuses working for large running shoe companies only care about runners, and they don't take traceurs and freerunners into consideration.
All those little chucks that make up a regular sole are going to get ripped apart when you practice parkour. Once you lose one or two pieces it's going to mess everything up.
The best shoes for freerunning and parkour should only have a one piece sole. They'll be easy to spot because we're going to look at lots of examples today.
Arches In The Sole
Some people will tell you arches in the sole are a good thing, whereas others will say they're not. The people who don't like arches are referring to plastic ones because they're slippery.
If you're jumping on a lot of rails a rubber arch on your shoe will help with balance. An arch could mean the difference between landing a jump and falling on your face.
But at the end of the day, they're completely unnecessary if you choose the best shoes for parkour. They'll be thin and flexible enough to create a natural arch when you land on anything.
How Long Rubber Will Last
It won't take you long to work out the different kinds of rubber at each end of the spectrum. On one side you've got soft rubber, which will be good enough to grip onto almost anything.
The soft rubber will also wear down a lot quicker, whereas hard rubber will last a lot longer. If your parkour shoes have a hard rubber sole it means you might slip during certain moves due to the lack of grip.
The kind you choose should really depend on the training you do, but for the average person and beginners a mixture between the two is usually the right way to go.
The Price Of Your Shoes
Cheap parkour shoes can actually be very good, so you shouldn't let the price scare you away. In fact, some of the best parkour shoes won't cost a lot of money at all.
The only downside is the fact you'll need to replace them on a more regular basis. You'll also have to wait on new shoes being delivered, spend days wearing them in, and lots of other things it would be nice to avoid.
It's why it's always preferable to spend a little more on your parkour shoes if you plan on using them all the time. If you're only testing the sport out it would be wiser to spend less money.
The Best Shoes For Parkour
Now you know what to look for in the best parkour shoe, but there are so many out there to choose from at the moment.
I'm sure you don't have time to test out each pair individually, so let's look at some of the best the parkour and freerunning community are always drawn towards:
- Asics GT II Retro Sneaker
- Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 Sneaker *winner*
- Merrell Trail Glove 3 Minimal Shoe
- New Balance 20v5 Vibram Minimus Shoe
- Puma Faas 500 V4 Running Shoe
1 – Asics GT II Retro Sneaker
The style of these Asics sneakers has now been going strong for over 30 years. They were also the first sneaker in the Asics line to have the GEL conditioning inside the heel.
This extra bit of cushioning makes them ideal for anyone starting out in their parkour adventure. They're still good enough to give you a lot of sensitivity, plus they're a very light parkour shoe.
You'll notice they have a one sole design too, plus the rubber is tough while being grippy at the same time. Even if you use these on a regular basis they're going to last you a while.
- They're not minimalist but still lightweight
- Cushion to protect your feet when starting out
- The sole will last you a long time
- Not great for advanced traceurs
- Bad if you don't like the retro look
2 – Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 Sneaker
It's hard to find a better pair of parkour shoes than the Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 no matter what level you're at. They're extremely comfortable and will mold onto your feet when you slip them on.
This means you'll be able to feel anything you're jumping on, plus you'll be able to stick to or climb up anything because of the grip. It's almost as if they get grippier every time you wear them.
You already know great grip usually means a short life when we're looking at the top parkour shoes, but these will last you a very long time. The sole is going to hold up to anything and so is the rest of the shoe.
- A padded tongue to protect your feet
- Free running shoes get grippier over time
- You'll feel everything underneath you
- Amazing on concrete but better options for rails
- Can take a week to wear them in for parkour
3 – Merrell Trail Glove 3 Minimal Shoe
Merrell has a few great running shoes out there right now, but their Trail Glove 3 is the best if you're into parkour. There are so many accidental features that come in really handy for the sport.
The design on the outer of the shoe stops them from tearing, which happens with some parkour shoes when you roll a lot. They also have a lacing system designed to lock in your heel while giving your forefoot freedom.
You'll get the top parkour shoe basics too, which means excellent grip and a sole that will last you for a very long time. They're also designed to stop sweat and moisture from affecting your shoes.
- Added protection to save the shoe when rolling
- The glove-like fit will let you feel everything
- Padded enough to let you wear them all day
- There are much more minimal shoes out there
- Trail Glove 3 predecessors were more popular
4 – New Balance 20v5 Vibram Minimus Training Shoe
When you want to train for hours and hours these New Balance Minimus shoes are a great choice because it will feel like nothing is on your feet. You'll be able to feel everything you land on and it will help with stability.
They stay wrapped tightly around your feet without the need to pull on the laces until they've almost snapped. You'll find they're really grippy no matter what kind of surface you're training on.
New Balance also engineer their sneakers with longevity in mind, so even if you're using them for parkour or freerunning they're going to last the distance. They look like they're made to run up walls.
- Vibram sole will give you great traction
- Extremely light pair of parkour shoes
- Plenty of freedom for your toes inside shoe
- Some people won't like for long distance running
- It can feel like you're not wearing anything
5 – Puma Faas 500 V4 Running Shoe
If you want to up your game to Spider-Man proportions you'll love the Puma Faas 500 V4 shoes. They will stick to almost anything, which will improve your skills while keeping you safe at the same time.
They might not be as minimalistic as a couple of freerunning shoes we've looked at, but they'll still offer your feet a lot of comfort due to their weight. They will give your feet the flexibility they need too.
When it comes to longevity they're going to last you a long time. This includes those who will wear them every day pulling off lots of extreme feats. Overall they're an excellent parkour shoe.
- Strong and supportive while staying lightweight
- Offers your feet much needed flexibility
- Perhaps the greatest grip of any parkour shoe
- Not great for running long distances
- Cheap parkour shoes could have better laces
The Best Parkour Shoes For You
If you love parkour it doesn't really matter what is on your feet. You'll want the best parkour shoes available, but you will make anything work. Choose any of the sneakers we've talked about today and you won't be disappointed. Even though some are better than others they're all top quality.
The best way to narrow down your choice is to read the unbiased reviews left by previous customers on Amazon, because they'll be used to wearing their parkour shoes every day. Click on the link of the pair you have your eye on to see what everyone is saying.