Saturday, 20 October 2007

Footwear for Parkour

Whilst the experienced Traceur may say it is down to the Traceur and not the trainers, I beleive the type of trainers play an important tool for a Traceur to move confidently, queitly and with sensitivity through his/her environment. It is important to be confident in the shoe you use.

Grip Confidence - Quietness - Sensitivity
I like to know there is little chance I will not slip/slide when I land on a rail or wall, which will free up any doubt in my mind. So a trainer with great grip is very high in my list.

I like to move and land as quietly as I can, and while landing properly is down to good technique. A good Traceur landing wearing DC's and a good Traceur wearing Nike Free's the sound of the landing will be much more quiet wearing Nike Free's.

When moving around in my environment, I like to feel what is beneath my feet through my shoes. I like to feel the friction of the surface as well as any curvature and edge of any given surface. This increased feeling heightens my overall sensitivity and impoves the feedback i need to move and feel my path.

At the beginning...
I remember the first time I done Pakrour with my DC Skate shoes, and thought they were good because they had a big flat chunky sole. Now looking back they were like running about with big rubber bricks on my feet.

After a month in the DC's, I went out and bought my first decent pair of trainers that were more suited to Parkour. They were Nike Air Pegasus 2005. They where light weight and had a superior grip, which improved my Parkour considerably.

As any Traceur who trains constantly will tell you, your trainers do not last long in Parkour. And since my early days in Parkour I have went through 5 pairs of trainers. And now I am onto the new Ariake trainer from KSWISS.

Below are the trainers I have used and what I thought the Pro's and Con's.

Pro's: Good for rail balancing due to flat sole

Con's: Heavy, lack of sensitivity & poor grip.

Nike Air Pegasus 2005
Pro's: Light weight, superior grip & good ventilation.

Con's: Plastic parts on sole can make rail work slippy and dangerous.

Nike Dart IV's
Pro's: Light weight, last long, good ventilation & price

Con's: The grip when new is waxy and takes a while to become good at traction.

Nike Dart III's

Pro's: Light weight, last long, good ventilation & price

Con's: The grip when new is waxy and takes a while to become good at traction & the stitching comes loose too quickly.

So now I am on to the Ariake from KSWISS, which is a trainer that is purposely built for Parkour/Free running and is endorsed by Sebastien Foucan.

My first impression of these trainers is, they are one of the best looking trainers with nice attention to detail. The sole from the middle to the front is smooth and reminds me of a tyre tread in a F1 racing car. I know for sure that these will be grippy despite being smooth, as the type of rubber on this sole has a sticky/gripping property to it.

KSwiss Ariake
Pro's: Stylish Looks (Although not important), Excellent Grip!!

Con's: Too rigid (will not wrap around rails), lack of sensitivty (for feeling edges and curves), the ventilation could be better & Expensive.

After testing these trainers for just less than 2 months this is what I thought. I really loved the grip on these trainers; they allowed me to forget any doubt of sliding and gave me confidence in trying bigger and more challenging things. However they are rigid in their construction, which made my landings recognisably louder and heavier. Also the lack of flexibility has not allowed me to wrap my feet on rails during precisions; which in turn has sacrificed the sensitivity from the shoe. I found my feet sweating a lot from the poor ventilation as well, although the white KSwiss Ariake have perforated holes in the side and so may have better ventilation.

***Update 10th January***
I originally found the K-Swiss trainers to be dangerous in the wet, however I have adapted by specifically training in the rain. And I have found by sharpening up my technique in the wet they are not as dangerous in the wet as I once thought. This is just my personal opinion and down to the way i train. So please be careful if you train in the wet.

***Update 8th February***
Nike Free 5.0 v2
I recently purchased my Nike Free's last week and love them!!!
I will give a proper write up of these trainers in a couple of months time.

Pro's: Amazing feedback on the sensitivity, Very Flexible, Ultra lightweight.

Con's: Not for the inexperienced Traceur who has not mastered their landings. Also... Due to the design flaw unsupporting of the foot, should the foot roll over sideways there is a very high chance of spraining or breaking your ankle. And this can be at ground level on uneven ground. And has happened to 3 of our experienced Traceurs at ground level.



Ви. said...

Like to know how are they =)

Blane said...

I used the Ariake's for a little while and they were quite good. Generally I think they're suited to slightly more experienced traceurs as they might lack the kind of shock absorbtion a beginner will rely on whilst their landings still need practice.

The only (and major) downfall to them is that they tend to be really slick and slippery on rails compared to a running shoe. If they could fix this, I would be wearing them now I think.

I've gone back to Nike Darts though, I love and trust them... this is my second pair. I started with old Fila trainers, moved on to heavy Merrell's then found Nike to suit me best. The Darts are relatively cheap compared to other models such as the Pegasus and I would highly recommend them to anybody.

Anyway, nice post mate, hope you're well and training hard. Let me know what you think of the Ariakes. :-)


Anonymous said...

hey blane which nike darts do you wear???
Im thinking about investing in a pair

Ви. said...

Yeah, Darts are realy good... But, one question disterrubt me. heh? mybe sounds silly but... "Do you wash your trainers in the washing machine?" 'couse I washed and they become kind of... emm... soft, but now have very good fitting to my feet... And the "-" is that the back of the trainers is softer now and woun't secure my feet from the high drops...

TraceurZeno said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TraceurZeno said...

I probably would say the Nike Darts overall are the best trainer, as they are cheap, light-weight, good shock absorption.

I just find the Nike Dart properties of rubber on the sole cheap and waxy when new, they really take a while to become good at traction.

So far I find the K Swiss Ariake the best grip for Parkour, until it gets wet, then they are the most dangerous.

Three down points so far about the Ariake is the lack of sensitivity to feel your path, the stiffness of the shoe, does not allow me to wrap my feet/toes around rails and like Blane has said can be slippy and lastly is the poor ventilation to enable my feet to breathe. However I still really like this shoe and I will give it a good month more to pass final judgement.

Ви: Your point about washing your trainers interests me. As in... Would this improve the trainer as it softens it or would it ruin the trainer? So that is something to think about cheers.

For me the perfect Parkour shoe would be the sensitivity and of Nike Free, the grip of the Nike Air Pegasus (with no plastic parts on sole), rubber sole properties of the K Swiss Ariake and the ideal price of the Nike Darts (as your shoe will not last long, so price is important).


TraceurZeno said...

I added to the bottom of my posted "Trainers for Parkour" blog my final judgement on the KSwiss Ariake.

As for slipping on rails, i have slipped a few times with these Ariake. I don't know if it is the grip or the fact the shoe is so rigid that i cannot wrap my toes around the rail for improved grip and balance.


Anonymous said...

Does anyone have experience with the new Vibram Fivefingers shoe:

I just thought it might fit parkour preeetty nice due to its grip, climbing and running abilities. Just wondering about the shock absorbtion because they say that using this shoe is like walking barefooted.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have experience with the new Vibram Fivefingers shoe:

I just thought it might fit parkour preeetty nice due to its grip, climbing and running abilities. Just wondering about the shock absorbtion because they say that using this shoe is like walking barefooted.

Anonymous said...

has any one tryed the adidas micro bounce are they any good

Jerry said...

HI iv been doing parkour for a few yrs and iv tried all kinds of shoes in my time. Overall i found two different shoes that stood out from the rest. The adidas Aasphalt's have great support and very good traction and are have good feel of the ground. Also the Brooks Beast although expensive offer amazing comfort, great ventilation and traction, special graphite supporting are amazingly lightweight althoguh they have a large flat "anti-rollover" bottom.

SC_Tracuer said...

I have actually tried many shoes for parkour and have been disappointed with most but I may have found one or two good pairs. The five ten freerunners seemed like they would be great when I got them. I'm not saying it's a bad shoe only that the only thing it grips is concrete and brick. So if you aren't using it for that don't get it. Also highly expensive. The ariakes where pretty good but didn't meet my expectations. They weren't as comfortable as I believed they would be. Like he said they are very stiff. The Nike Frees are really dangerous. I messed up my ankles basically jogging. The only pair of shoes I really really liked are the Nike Air codes. I have used them for two years (not just for parkour) and they haven't let me down. I started using them after a year of having them (for parkour) and even though part of the grip has been torn off, they still are amazing. The sole is sponge and feels like walking on air. I love it. The shoe isn't stiff at all anymore but still maintains a good shape (I've washed them too) I am about to buy a second pair. It may not work as well for you and are $70 so I'd test some out on your own enviroment.

TraceurZeno said...

Thanks for your feedback guys, i will look into some of those recomendations.

Today I bought a pair of Feiyue's and I know they offer no support, however I am interested in trying them out, for their sensitivity and grip properties. They are only £10.


Simon said...

i bought sme nike darts today just to say i'm really impressed with the grip on them and they also offer jsut enough support and cushioning to protect your foot, yet at the same time they are light weight and also you can feel what you are standing on. Most of the peopel n my commuinity swear by kalenjis and also Feiyues.

Uncle L said...

I like the INOV-8 F-LITE 320 PK very much

k swiss trainers said...

I love Parkour as it involves lots of jumping and climbing, or the more specific parkour moves.
I personally feel that K Swiss is a great choice for Parkour Footwear.