Last Updated on January 30, 2021
Your shoes say a lot about you. But more often than not, newbies ignore this part of the attire.
If you show up at the dojo, wearing tennis shoes, which are designed to step sideways, you won't be able to move forwards and backward as effectively.
My point is:
Not all shoes are alike.
They serve distinct purposes, and that’s why you need a pair that will help you get through your martial arts classes. Unless you pick ones suited for the job at hand, you may not be as mobile as the other guy in a close-quarters fight.
Not to worry though, because...
In this article, I bring to you what I believe are some of the best shoes for kung fu and assorted martial arts.
I personally found the Adidas Adi-Kick 2 Taekwondo Shoes to be the most effective in their price range, but you’ve got several other options too, so, feel free to explore further and have your pick.
Let’s cut loose, footloose! 😉
- The 5 The Best Martial Arts Shoes Reviewed
- 1. Adidas Adi-Kick 2 Taekwondo Shoes – Best Overall
- 2. T.O.P ONE Kung Fu Shoes – Best Budget
- 3. Century Lightfoot Martial Arts Shoes – Best Lightweight Option
- 4. Adidas Box Hog 2 Men’s Boxing Boots – Best Option For Boxing
- 5. Otomix Lite Martial Arts Shoes – Best Classic Option
- What To Look For In Martial Arts Shoes?
- Bottom Line
The 5 The Best Martial Arts Shoes Reviewed
1. Adidas Adi-Kick 2 Taekwondo Shoes – Best Overall
At the top of my list, I have the Adi-Kick 2 from Adidas. Is it even a surprise to anyone that these made their way into my top list? Adidas is a well-reputed and top-ranking manufacturer of sporting equipment, and these are among the best taekwondo shoes out there.
With these, you will do pretty well with almost all mainstream martial arts. What I love the most about the Adi-Kick 2 shoes is how agile they are. Their dedicated pivot points allowed me to turn rapidly, without losing my balance or slipping, which can be handy in certain situations.
The comfort factor is also a major selling point, and I was impressed by how light they feel. This makes them perfect for long training sessions which will allow you to maximize your training and exert as much as your body allows you to.
The rubber-made soles maintain a perfect level of traction, not too high and not too low either. Instead, it offers fluidity in the motion, all the while keeping it perfectly controllable. Simply put, these shoes are both agile and allow calculated movements.
The visual appeal is also something to be amazed at. These are Adidas-made shoes after all and that says a lot.
And since the model is made up of highly breathable materials, it creates a perfectly cool interior and fights off sweat buildup which is a blessing, considering that a rough martial arts session is bound to get your feet all soaked up otherwise.
Overall, an impressive pair, I have to say, and it is all the more mind-blowing when you take these features side by side with its price tag – a decently affordable sum.
- These are bound to steal some looks in your class, owing to their visual appeal.
- The shoes are dedicated to martial arts activities like Taekwondo.
- You can use them for prolonged sessions without tiring your feet.
- The breathable structure keeps the interior fresh and prevents any sweat buildup.
- For some, the laces may be a bit uncomfortable.
- The return policy is not as impressive as some high-end models.
I must say that the Adidas Adi-Kick 2 Taekwondo Shoes thoroughly impressed me with their ingenious design and effective usability, the best part is that they are dedicated to martial arts like Taekwondo.
2. T.O.P ONE Kung Fu Shoes – Best Budget
You want them to be visually appealing, practical, resilient, and durable, all at the same time, but you can’t afford to pay what high-end shoes usually cost. Luckily, you don’t have to, you can get all of these qualities in a pair that will fit perfectly in your budget.
The T.O.P ONE Kung Fu Shoes are unparalleled in their excellence, given the price range. Not only is this pair very handsome but works exceptionally well for any number of martial arts like Kung Fu, Karate, and Taekwondo, to name a few.
The main contributors to this excellence are the rubber-made soles which provide optimal traction for quick and calculated movements. Moreover, their lightweight build and breathable upper-parts are also worth praise as they allow you to wear them for prolonged sessions.
Since they are universally compatible, I’d say that these are undoubtedly the best women's martial arts shoes in their price range. Don't get me wrong, they work just as well for men too, but it is harder to find some decent martial arts shoes for women.
Lastly, they are perfect for martial arts in general too as they will keep your feet from stinking up the whole place after hours of practice.
- These are among the most affordable martial arts shoes with such impressive features.
- They work equally well for men and women (children can use them too).
- The lightweight build and breathable materials make them perfect for prolonged practice sessions.
- They counter sweat buildup with great effect!
- Some users felt that the sides were a bit too thick for them.
- They fade in comparison to high-end models.
The T.O.P ONE Kung Fu Shoes offer a myriad of features in exchange for a minimal price, and this will make them much appreciated by anyone running on a tight budget. They work perfectly for either gender and are easily among the best women's martial arts shoes, given their price.
3. Century Lightfoot Martial Arts Shoes – Best Lightweight Option
In martial arts, you need to be quick on your feet, otherwise, you’re already beaten before the game’s even begun. This necessitates the use of lightweight, or rather “ultra-lightweight” shoes to maintain an agile approach throughout the game.
The Century Lightfoot Martial Arts Shoes are exactly as implied: “ultra-lightweight.” This light frame should not deceive you into thinking that they are any less impressive than the models discussed so far. On the contrary, this pair is as resilient as it gets.
Their biggest selling point is how they aid your footwork, allowing you to stay agile, yet in complete control of your swift movements. The last thing you want is to slip and fall amidst an intense fight, and these shoes will ensure that it never happens.
Naturally, the physical exertion involved in an intense karate session is bound to get your feet all sweaty and stinky. But this is also one of those things that won’t have to deal with owing to the breathability of these shoes, they are designed to keep your feet perfectly cool and aerated.
It also has those iconic pivot points that I discussed earlier on, making your movements all the more, easier. These shoes go as far as any decent pair would, and they undoubtedly deserve their rank among the best shoes for karate and assorted martial arts.
- They are surprisingly lightweight.
- The breathable material keeps them cool and perfectly aerated inside.
- They offer an excellent grip.
- The pivot points are essential in improving your movements.
- Some reported issues with the sizing, be sure to get an exact measurement from the manufacturers before you set an order.
- They don’t work as perfectly on rubber mats.
The Century Lightfoot Martial Arts Shoes are perfect for enduring the vicissitudes of martial arts training and the actual sport too. They are lightweight but at the same time, very resilient and effective.
4. Adidas Box Hog 2 Men’s Boxing Boots – Best Option For Boxing
It is no wonder that another entry from Adidas has made its way into my list, and this one won’t fail to impress just like the last one. The only difference this time is that these are boots, not shoes.
The Box Hog 2 is not made for walking (see what I did there? :)), but instead, they are meant to give you a competitive edge in hardcore boxing matches. Using high-end materials, the manufacturers have created these robust and resilient boots which can withstand even the roughest of treatments.
The breathable mesh on top is perfect for allowing air to circulate freely through the shoes and preventing your feet from getting soaked in sweat and stinking up the whole place.
This serves a more practical reason too and that is combating fungal infections such as athlete's foot which is not that uncommon and is very annoying, to say the least.
However, despite such a robust construction, the boots are deceptively lightweight, making them perfect for maintaining an agile flow throughout the game. Lastly, they are very comfortable to wear, surprisingly so, considering that they are athletic shoes.
All of these qualities combined with an extended lifespan are enough to make these among the best MMA shoes that a boxer can put on. And although they may cost a bit more than some other products, they do afford features that are virtually unparalleled by all cheaper options.
- The boots have a formidable look to them.
- They are highly resilient and robust.
- The ankle support offered by these boots is very impressive.
- They are deceptively lightweight.
- The breathable material accounts for a cool and well-aerated interior.
- Users have reported some sizing problems.
- Finding the right size may be harder for female athletes.
Overall, the Adidas Box Hog 2 Men’s Boxing Boots are well worth your investment if you value resilience and durability in a product, and don’t mind paying a sizable sum for it.
5. Otomix Lite Martial Arts Shoes – Best Classic Option
I’m not sure if you’ve heard the name before or not but odds are that you do have a faint idea about this pair. These martial arts shoes are based on the first original product from the company that came to retail shelves in 1988.
Of course much has changed over the past decades, but the classic design is still booming like the good old days. Otomix is no stranger to producing high-quality sporting footwear and these are by all means among the best shoes for MMA training.
These shoes are not only very durable but also work like a charm.
With a pair of these on, you will be able to stay quick on your feet, all the while never losing your grip with the surface. To aid the fast-paced action even further, these shoes are ultra-lightweight, making them perfect for prolonged usage.
They are easy to wear, feel very comfortable, and have a great overall feeling to them. All in all, you get these features in a classic look, if this doesn’t say “the best shoes for kung fu,” then I don’t know what does.
- They are easy to wear.
- They feel very comfortable.
- Being lightweight, they are perfect for accentuating your fast-paced movements.
- They can be used for a variety of martial arts disciplines.
- Some users complained about sizing issues.
- These shoes are not all that breathable.
The Otomix Lite Martial Arts Shoes are not only a timeless classic but also very practical, making them worthy of your admiration and investment.
What To Look For In Martial Arts Shoes?
The martial arts shoe reviews covered in the previous section detailed some of the most iconic and highly functional products available in the market. But your options don’t end here, you may want to explore further and that’s okay.
If you do go on, on your own, how will you ensure that you don’t end with a pair that only looks good but offers no merits in the sport? In this section, I will guide you through some parameters that you should always consider when picking a product.
I used these same criteria to pick out these shoes for my list and I am certain that they will work well for you too:
Do They Fit Perfectly?
Ideally, your shoes or any pair of shoes, should not push against your toes. Instead, they should leave enough space for your toes to be seated comfortably, this space should be almost as wide as the width of your index finger.
However, the inverse applies to the heel area, which should be firmly (but comfortably) placed against the back of the shoe, not pressed against it but not loose either. This way, you will not slip, and neither will the shoes come off accidentally during a fight.
Both of these, you can only ensure by trying them on yourself, but if you’re buying them online, ask the manufacturers for the exact measurements to get a clearer idea. It'd also be safe to ask if the shoes you're buying is designed for boxing, MMA, or whichever type of sports you're involved in.
Do They Offer Enough Protection?
Kicking is almost ubiquitous in martial arts and many variants of it use the upper portion of your foot’s front for striking. Unless padded properly, this part is vulnerable to injury during your training sessions, and this is why several martial arts shoes offer protection in this region.
Make sure that the ones you’re buying do the same, unless, of course, you’re buying boxing shoes in which case never mind. But if you do plan on joining MMA after boxing then it is best to get the ones with the padding.
Most of all, they should be high-quality, otherwise, all of this is a moot point.
How Do They Look?
Visual appeal has nothing to do with the actual sport but it is still something to look for. You’d be surprised by the variety of colors that martial arts shoes come in. Heck, you can even find pink ones!
My point is that just because they’re meant to be tough, doesn’t mean that they can’t come with nice visuals. There is no right or wrong when it comes to the type of design or color you pick, just make sure that the shoes are functional for your sport, and you’re all set!
Versatility Is Important
Just because the label says that they’re meant for martial arts, doesn’t mean that you can’t use them otherwise. On the contrary, any decent pair would go perfectly into any number of roles such as running or everyday use
If you are going to wear them for prolonged periods though, make sure that they are perfectly breathable to avoid sweat buildup and consequent infections like athlete’s foot.
In case you do get “athlete’s foot,” avoid wearing your shoes for a while and instead keep your feet perfectly dry and try out some home remedies to kill off the fungus.
Picking The Correct Size
Sizing is often-times an issue when buying shoes. That's not because manufacturers aren't honest but instead due to the confusion created by several measurement systems that run parallel to each other.
In simple words, an 8-size is not standard throughout the world. By some measures, this may be a big shoe, but by others, not so much. Be sure to check in with the supplier about what sizing scale they use before you take your pick.
Picking the correct size of martial arts shoes is no different from picking sizes for the best Hayabusa rashguard, the best headgears, or any other gear like the best boxing mouthpiece that you need to wear for safety and protection. Be careful with your choices so you don't end up frustrated.
That’s pretty much there’s to it.
Before we wrap things up, here is a helpful YouTube video about avoiding athlete's foot, which is very prevalent among people who wear shoes for prolonged periods:
A pair of decent martial arts shoes will go a long way in giving you a competitive edge in your training sessions and even in the actual sport. There is no arguing that you will most certainly benefit from a pair that suits your particular needs the best.
All the products mentioned so far are worthy of your admiration but I’ve cast my vote in favor of Adidas Adi-Kick 2 Taekwondo Shoes because of their performance excellence. However, if you’re running on a tight budget, then the T.O.P ONE Kung Fu Shoes are also a fine choice.
That’s all from my side, let’s hear from you in the comments section below!