Hobby & Sports

The 7 Best Parkour Shoes [Reviews & Guide 2019]

Parkour is one of the most rapidly rising sports of the last 20 years that requires little equipment.

Needless to say, your clothes are a crucial part of your performance, with shoes being the most important.

The best Parkour shoes will help athletes conquer various elaborate environments without using any assistive equipment as fast as they can by jumping running, climbing, twisting, and more.

That’s why we’ve taken the time to research the top shoes for Parkour so you don’t have to. Let’s get started!

Best Shoes For Parkour

 Onitsuka Tiger Unisex Ultimate ShoesTake Flight Parkour Athletic ShoeMerrell Men’s Trail Glove 4 Runner
editors choice
Uppers:Leather/FabricMeshTextile/Synthetic
Sole:RubberRubberRubber
Style:TraditionalMinimalistMinimalist
Colors:2119

For more of my top gear recommendations, have a look through these popular Outside Pursuits guide links: Cross Country Running Shoes, Roller Skates, Inline Skates.

Quick Answer: The 7 Best Rated Parkour Shoes For 2019

  1. Onitsuka Tiger Unisex Ultimate 81 Shoes
  2. Take Flight Parkour Athletic Training Shoe
  3. Merrell Men’s Trail Glove 4 Runner
  4. Inov-8 Men’s Bare-XF 210 V2 Sneaker
  5. Take Flight Stealth Ultra Parkour Freerunning Shoe
  6. T.O.P ONE Kung Fu Martial Arts Parkour Shoes
  7. Onitsuka Tiger Women’s Serrano-u Fashion Sneaker

Our reviews to the top rated Parkour shoes with our comparison table and buyers guide will help you choose the right pair of shoes for you.


Parkour Shoe Reviews

If you’re serious about finding the best parkour shoes, then take a serious look at the Onitsuka Tiger Unisex Ultimate 81 Shoes.

At first glance, you can see that they’ve taken inspiration from the 80’s, bringing a retro-styled shoe but delivering modern-day results.

Coming in over 20 colors, you’ll be able to choose exactly the one that fits your personality and wardrobe best.

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Not only do they look fashionable, but they’re perfect for athletic activities such as running and of course, parkour.

Why?

Because they can take the beating you’ll inevitably throw at them with climbing, landing, and sliding against things like cement, brick, and metal.

The rubber sole offers incredible grip, even on slippery surfaces. Two-tone EVA midsoles with flex channels in the heel offer the flexibility you need for landing and climbing.

Faux-leather overlays increase the durability of the fabric uppers, helping to resist against holes.

Finally, for your added comfort, the collar and tongue are both padded to eliminate any chafing or cutting into the skin.

The lightweight shoe won’t weigh nor slow you down, as they’re designed for speed and the minimal design speaks to that.

 

Onitsuka Tiger Unisex Ultimate 81 Shoes at a Glance:

  • Uppers: Leather/Fabric
  • Sole: Rubber
  • Style: Traditional
  • Colors: 21

While parkour shoes aren’t traditionally complicated nor technical, it’s still important to have the right design.

The Take Flight Parkour Athletic Training Shoe 1.0 is a straightforward model designed to fit well, no matter what you’re doing.

Designed with the input of some of the best parkour athletes on the planet, the 1.0 is made for you to perfect your abilities.

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The mesh upper is very lightweight, to ensure you stay quick on your feet while providing you with excellent airflow to keep your feet comfortable and dry.

Not only that, but they give a great amount of flexibility to allow a full range of motion.

The rubber sole offers an unparalleled amount of grip and traction, and the outsole tread pattern will put you worlds ahead of others in climbing over uneven and slippery terrain.

Just tying them on your feet, you’ll instantly feel more confident.

Thanks to the dual sock liner and signature Compression Landing System, these feel like they were customized just for you. In addition, they give you the protection and support you need, especially when jumping off high landings.

If forever reason you’re not 100% satisfied, Take Flight will give you a complete reimbursement so there’s literally no risk in trying them. What more could you ask for in one of the best shoes for parkour?

 

Take Flight Parkour Athletic Training Shoe 1.0 at a Glance:

  • Uppers: Mesh
  • Sole: Rubber Compound
  • Style: Minimalist
  • Colors: 1

Minimalist shoes have been one of the top-trending designs fo Parkour shoes for the past 5 years now, but the Merrel Trail Glove 4 always rises to the top.

With it’s technological advancements made to give you the highest performance possible. The low-profile shoe combines flexibility, low interference, and durability, it really feels like a part of your body.

The upper is comprised of a synthetic mesh that offers the same breathability as regular mesh, but with more durability.

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The toe box is notably wider than most we tried, which gives you the freedom to move without squishing your toes or restricting them from splaying properly.

You’ll also find strategically placed TPU overlays which not only add support but also increase the durability of the shoes.

The 4mm CMEVA midsoles really have changed the game, providing the perfect balance between lightness and stability. The compression molded EVA foam makes them incredibly shock-absorbent while giving you a cushy ride even on hard surfaces like concrete.

As you’ll be wearing these for hours on end, the anti-microbial properties are more than welcome, keeping your feet clean and dry.

The Trail Glove 4s don’t stop there. Another huge selling point here are the soles, which are comprised of the Vibram Outsole TC1s.

These are known for their insane grip and flexibility which is perfect for running, jumping, climbing, and landing.

Managing to be both lightweight and abrasion resistant, it protects against sharp rocks and uneven surfaces while distributing your weight evenly.

 

Merrell Men’s Trail Glove 4 Runner at a Glance:

  • Uppers: Textile/Synthetic
  • Sole: Rubber
  • Style: Minimalist
  • Colors: 9

Inov-8 Men's Bare-XF 210 V2 Sneaker

If you’re on the hunt for pure durability and strength, then the Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 V2s should be at the top of your list.

Whether you’re climbing ropes, scaling buildings, or jumping off of just about anything, these will have you covered.

When you first look at this pair, you’d probably have no idea that they’re “barefoot” shoes, but with the zero drop sole and a great amount of toe splay space, they definitely are.

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If you like feeling like “one” with your environment, then we greatly recommend these.

Any good parkour shoes need to be supple and sticky, which is exactly what the rubber soles of the 210 V2s are. In fact, when used on wet, slippery, and dusty surfaces, the rubberized ridges still held on perfectly.

With the upper made of a lightweight mesh, you can expect this pair to be the most flexible out there! It’s also soft against the foot, while offering supreme breathability while remaining sturdy enough to protect against holes.

The only “complaint” we had, was that the toes do point a bit more than others on our guide, which makes for slightly less accurate running. We didn’t all feel the same about that, but there were other consumers who agreed.

 

Inov-8 Men’s Bare-XF 210 V2 Sneaker at a Glance:

  • Uppers: Leather/Fabric
  • Sole: Rubber
  • Style: Minimalist
  • Colors: 4

Taking over 2 years to develop, the Take Flight Ultra Parkour Freerunning Cross Training Shoe has been made to perfection.

Much like their other model on our guide, this one also took guidance from world-class parkour athletes to bring you exceptional capabilities.

As it does only come in Black, you don’t have much of an option with colorways, but it does look sleek and go well with literally any kind of wardrobe you have.

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Just like the other Take Flight model, it comes made with a rubber compound sole to give an amazing amount of grip and control, even on wet and slippery surfaces like bars.

We experienced easy transition from heel-to-toe, which makes it easier to gain speed while maintaining accuracy.

It also comes with the same dual sock liners and Compression Landing System as the other, to fit like a glove while providing protection and support.

Featuring a fabric upper with leather overlays, they’re both breathable and tough. Even when used for climbing rough surfaces like brick, they remained unaffected.

The dual toe cover and extra heel support only boost the lifespan of these shoes, while the wide sole center gives more stability in landings and lateral movements.

Also expect the generous 6-month money back guarantee that Take Flight is known for, so you can use these completely risk-free.

 

Take Flight Stealth Ultra Parkour Freerunning Shoe at a Glance:

  • Uppers: Leather/Fabric
  • Sole: Rubber
  • Style: Traditional
  • Colors: 1

As one of the most versatile parkour shoes available, the T.O.P ONE Kung Fu Martial Arts shoes work for men or women, adults or children, indoors or outdoors.

They’re definitely the most simple design out there, but they are still some of the toughest and consistently rank as the highest performers.

Not only are they used for parkour, but weightlifting, running, and of course, martial arts.

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Coming in a huge array of sizes, you’re sure to be able to find the perfect size for you or anyone else in your family.

They do only come in Black or White, but they feature old-school white and red chevrons that looks good with anything you have on.

Due to the flat zero drop feel, they’re some of the most dynamic shoes we’ve put on our feet. They’re not “barefoot” shoes, but they are reminiscent of them.

The rubber sole is extremely durable and give that sticky grip feeling that gives you the confidence you need to try new obstacles.

The canvas upper is just as durable – in fact, we are hard-pressed to find an upper that is stronger than this simple material. While they’re not the most breathable out there, they’re still quite comfortable and will keep your feet dry.

 

T.O.P ONE Kung Fu Martial Arts Parkour Shoes at a Glance:

  • Uppers: Canvas
  • Sole: Rubber
  • Style: Traditional
  • Colors: 2

Did you know that Tiger was actually the forerunner of ASICS? That being said, the brand is one of the most well-respected and you can actually rely on them to provide quality products.

This time, we’re talking about the Onitsuka Tiger Women’s Serrano-u Fashion Sneaker, which is about much more than just style.

However, we’re positive you’ll love the retro-inspired look just as much as we do.

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Coming in just Black/White, there aren’t many options but these jive with any other colors and styles. The upper is made of 100% leather and textile, making it ultra-durable but also lightweight.

As far as breathability goes, they’re a bit better than average, but not quite as efficient as mesh uppers.

The spiked rubber outsole is very unique, working to mimic the spikes you’d find on track shoes! This gives an impressive amount of traction and grip on literally any kind of surface you find yourself on.

The heel and toecaps are also made to be tough, and the padded collar and tongue provide comfort while eliminating chafing.

 

Onitsuka Tiger Women’s Serrano-u Sneaker at a Glance:

  • Uppers: Leather/Textile
  • Sole: Rubber
  • Style: Traditional
  • Colors: 2

Parkour Shoes Comparison Table

Shoes For Parkour UppersSoleStyleColorsRating
Onitsuka Tiger Unisex 81 ShoesLeather/FabricRubberTraditional214.4 / 5.0
Take Flight Parkour ShoeMeshRubberMinimalist14.2 / 5.0
Merrell Trail Glove 4 RunnerTextile/SyntheticRubberMinimalist94.5 / 5.0
Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 V2 SneakerLeather/FabricRubberMinimalist44.2 / 5.0
Take Flight Stealth Parkour ShoeLeather/FabricRubberTraditional13.6 / 5.0
T.O.P ONE Parkour ShoesCanvasRubberTraditional24.8 / 5.0
Onitsuka Tiger Women’sLeather/TextileRubberTraditional24.4 / 5.0

How to Choose the Best Shoes For Parkour – Buying Guide

Best Shoes For Parkour

Now that you’ve read all about the best shoes for parkour, which pair is just right for your athletic ventures? If you’re still on-the-fence about which ones to get, there’s no need to worry. We know how difficult it can be to choose just one when there are so many amazing options out there!

That’s why we decided to jump right in and write up the user-friendly buying guide, below. This guide details every step of the selection process, so you can be 100% certain as to which shoe is perfect for you by the time you’re finished reading.

Grip

It doesn’t really matter how well your shoes fit you, if they don’t have enough grip, your parkour goals are not going to be accomplished.

One of the reasons why many excellent running shoes also translate to some of the best parkour shoes is due to the decent amount of grip they provide to keep you in control during sudden lateral movements or turns.

With parkour, literally everything involves grip. Climbing walls, jumping onto railing, running on cement – just about anything you can think of requires traction. What gives us the vast majority of our traction? The sole!

Sole

That brings us to our next point. The sole of the shoe does obviously provide most of the grip, but does so much more than that!

It’s responsible for durability as it’s the part that will most frequently come into contact with the ground, so it needs to be able to resist sharp rocks, hard walls, and so on.

While toughness is not an option, they also need to be flexible enough to allow your feet to naturally move and push off. If that weren’t enough, they also work to absorb shock which is crucial to your performance, comfort, and safety.

If you can, try to opt for a shoe with a one-piece sole, as they’re generally more durable. While going for a thicker sole may seem like the better option, oftentimes thinner ones are more ideal for “feeling” a landing to provide better accuracy.

We highly recommend rubber soles; we’ve yet to find a material that performs better for parkour. It’s durable, cheap, sticky, and abrasion-resistant so will look great even after years of use. The same goes for the outsole; it should be made of rubber and preferably feature a kind of tread to help with traction.

Minimalist vs Traditional Styles

You may have noticed above that we cover both types of shoes above, but which ones are best for you? Let’s take a look at each and their benefits so that you can narrow down your options.

Minimalist

Minimalist shoes are named as such because they provide minimal interference while allowing the foot to move naturally. These models are typically much more flexible, while remaining lightweight so that it doesn’t really feel like you’re wearing a shoe. However, keep in mind these don’t have stability or motion control so if you overpronate you may want to opt for a more traditional model.

Traditional

Traditional shoes are a bit heavier, though the models on our guide are still relatively light. They will have a thicker heel which do provide a bit more shock absorption, and also offer motion control in stability. While the models above are relatively flexible, they’re less so than their minimalist counterparts.

Shock Absorption

Let’s elaborate a bit on this aspect, as it is crucial in your experience. If you want to keep your heels in good shape, then you need to have adequate shock absorption.

Performing parkour stunts without it, can lead to knee, heel, or shin pain or injury. This could keep you from parkour altogether, so make sure to choose wisely.

Flexibility

As previously mentioned, flexibility is crucial for running and almost every type of extreme sport where you’re on your feet. When you’re running, jumping, and landing, you need to be able to move your feet naturally.

If they’re too stiff, this can result in injury due to the body being strained in unnatural ways. Remember that they should also be stiff enough that they’ll protect your ankle and feet.

Weight

You obviously don’t want bricks strapped to your feet when doing parkour. In fact, in this case, the lighter the shoe, the better your performance can be. When you’re literally throwing your body around, you want clothing that don’t affect the natural weight distribution.

To make your every move smoother and easier, your shoes need to be ultra-light. This is another reason why you should choose against thicker soles.

Durability

When you’re jumping, falling, landing, running, and climbing, you’re inevitably putting your shoes through a lot of stress. You need shoes that are able to resist all of this, made with durable material that isn’t going to break down or tear when subjected to these situations.

Uppers

The upper of the shoe needs to be extremely durable, as it’s going to be helping with climbing and protecting your feet from injury. Let’s cover the most popular uppers for parkour shoes.

Mesh: Mesh is extremely lightweight, which we know is required for the best performance possible. It also offers the most airflow to go in and out of the shoes to keep your feet dry and cool. However, alone, it doesn’t offer much durability and protection.

Leather: Leather is the most expensive of the bunch, but offers an excellent amount of protection and durability. It is heavier, so you’ll often see it combined with mesh to keep the weight low.

Textile/Fabric: This is the most common material used in uppers, as it’s inexpensive and offers a solid amount of protection. Durability is so-so but does also provide great breathability.

Canvas: Canvas is slightly more expensive, though not as much as leather. It doesn’t offer much breathability, but is lightweight and extremely durable, providing superior protection and flexibility.

Price

How much are you willing to spend on one of the best pair of parkour shoes? It’s a wise idea to figure this out before you even start your shopping. It’s easy to get carried away and spend more than you’d intended to.

This can result in buyer’s remorse, which we definitely don’t want. We’re positive that no matter what your budget is, there is a product that will suit you on our guide.

FAQs About Parkour Shoes

Q: Can’t I just use any regular running shoe?

A: While there are a few running shoes on our guide, not every running shoe is appropriate or recommended for parkour. In fact, many might encourage you to strike with your heel, which has been known to cause injury.

Q: I’ve seen other people running without shoes, why can’t I do that?

A: You definitely can if you want, but there is only an extremely small percentage of people who do. When you take into consideration litter and other potential objects normally on the ground, it can greatly increase your risk of injury. Not only that, but the science behind the benefits are heavily debated.

Q: How long will my new parkour shoes last?

A: Though they will undoubtedly last longer than other types of running shoes, don’t expect them to last much more than a year if you’re regularly going to parkour with the same pair. It also depends on the kind of surfaces you’re going to be running on.

Tips For Choosing Parkour Shoes

#1: Plan on your feet blistering or chafing the first week or two of wearing your new shoes.
This is because you’re going to be moving your feet in slightly odd angles occasionally, which will cause your toes and rest of your feet to rub against the shoe in places it wouldn’t if you were just walking in them. This may cause blistering until you break them in.

#2: Make sure you’re also taking into consideration the gait you have.
If you have flat feet or overpronate, you may find shoes with a bit of an arch to be more helpful with accuracy and landing.

#3: Also ensure you have the right size.
Ideally, there will be at minimum, 1 finger-width of space between your longest toe and the end of the inside of the shoe. If they’re too small, it will not only be uncomfortable but will give you less accuracy and can increase your risk of injury.

Getting Started With Parkour

Summary

Now that you’re essentially a pro in the best parkour shoes, which pair will be making their way to your doorstep? While each of the aforementioned products are some of the best money can buy, it’s most important that you choose the ones best-suited for you and your athletic ventures. We hope that this article has helped you do exactly that. Thanks for tuning in, and we’ll see you again soon!

Performance
Comfort
Support

The Onitsuka Tiger Unisex Ultimate 81 Shoes are our Editor's Choice for the best Parkour shoes with their combination of performance, comfort and support.

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