Ultimate Parkour Shoe Guide

The Best Parkour Shoes of 2017


Looking for the best parkour shoes? Ultimately, it’s all about performance and safety, but let’s be honest, we need a bit of style too. We compared overall grip, comfort, style and price to get our final review scores. Here are the top four suggested parkour shoes from active free runners in the industry available right now.

Take Flight 1.0 Onitsuka Tiger 81 Evolv Cruzer Merrell Vapor 2
Parkour Shoes Best Parkour Shoes Best shoes for Parkour Parkour Free Running Shoes
Price Check Price Here Check Price Here Check Price Here Check Price Here
Score 10 / 10 9 / 10 9 / 10 8 / 10
Comfort Excellent Excellent Excellent Great
Style Excellent Great Great Great
Review Full Review Full Review Full Review Full Review

Section 1: Introduction

best shoes for free running

Finding the Best Parkour Shoe

Parkour Shoe Guide Navigation

Section 1: Finding the Best Parkour Shoe
Section 2: Take Flight 1.0 Review
Section 3: Onitsuka Tiger 81 Review
Section 4: Evolv Cruzer Review
Section 5: Merrell Vapor 2 Review
Section 6: The Best Parkour Shoe of 2017

As a dedicated traceur group, we get asked a lot of questions about parkour. From those who aren’t familiar with parkour, we get asked, “so what actually is it?”. From fellow traceurs, we get asked: “so what parkour shoes are the best and what should I be looking for in a good pair?”. To save us time and perhaps even our sanity, we thought we’d answer all of these questions right here. To start with, what is parkour?

Parkour, or free-running as some prefer to call it, is the act of moving rapidly through an environment filled with obstacles which you negotiate by running, jumping and climbing. It only uses the physical capabilities of the body and was developed from military obstacle training. Parkour is a great, fun way to stay active and keep physically fit and the great thing is, you can practice parkour anywhere. The local park, your own house, a forest, you name it! Which brings us to the next question and perhaps the most important one.

What Makes a Great Free Running Shoe?

What parkour shoes are the best and what should you be looking for in a good pair? Parkour is a physically demanding passion to have. It requires a lot of flexibility, stamina, and balance. All of this understandably means that your feet are going to need quite a lot of support and comfort in order to not completely fail on you. As a dedicated group of hardcore traceurs, we decided it would be pretty awesome to start up our own website where we test out and review various different parkour shoes for anybody just starting out.

This is not just for our own records but also to help any other dedicated parkour peeps out there! Before we do though, we’ve outlined below what truly makes a great parkour shoe, so that you can hopefully go on to learn how to spot a great parkour shoe yourself someday. There are four key factors, all listed below.

When we started out free running years back, we were really confused about what kind of gear we actually needed. Between us, we’ve had loads of parkour shoes as our profession kind of makes them wear out quickly. It took some time, but above are the top 4 that we all eventually agreed on. There are a load of other shoe reviews on here, but these are the best one’s available today and includes information on where to get them. We find Amazon the best place to buy this kinda stuff to be honest instead of a store.

So what’s the best Parkour Shoe?

"So, what is the best parkour shoe Eric?" I can hear you say, whilst it's a tough call, we know some that have come pretty close to perfection for us. Our 100% honest recommendation? We haven’t seen a shoe as great as the Take Flight 1.0’s in a long, long time. They hit every single nail on the head. Everything we have talked about in this summary of what you want in a parkour shoe is right there in the take flight 1.0.

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Take Flight Parkour 1.0 Review

best shoes for free running

Take Flight Parkour 1.0 Shoe Review

Durability Comfort Style Rating Purchase From
Excellent Awesome Excellent 10 / 10 Amazon

Back in the summer of 2014, before this website was even the beginnings of an idea in any of our minds, we heard about a new parkour shoe coming out by a company called Take Flight. They were marketed as a parkour shoe designed by traceurs that took two years and over 70 renditions to perfect.

To say we were intrigued would be an understatement. One of us took the plunge, thinking that if they weren't any good it wouldn't have been too much of a loss of an investment. We soon all had a pair and were using them daily. Their motto "Jump. Fly. Dream." could not have been more fitting.

That's why, when we started this website this was the one shoe we absolutely had to review right away. The Take Flight 1.0's are a dream shoe for any traceurs or parkour fanatics out there, heck, even for beginners! They're stylish, coloured to fit with any outfit you want and worn and endorsed by athletes and famous traceurs around the world!

best shoes for free running

They're by far the most comfortable shoe we have ever worn, featuring a dual removable insole which you can keep in for extra cushioning on those big drops or take out if you need the extra foot space. They sport the best grip on rails you will find and have amazing traction even on wet surfaces. This means that come rain or shine you can be out there jumping, flying and dreaming to your parkour hearts content.

Parkour Shoes

The thing we found most surprising about this shoe is it's ability to be lightweight, comfortable and flexible all in one. It's not a combination you could imagine finding in a parkour shoe, but those two years of work definitely paid off for them. They give you major support on landing and are super breathable to avoid smelling too much after a heavy parkour session.

They don't move around too much on your feet either, which is a major issue with some parkour shoes. When you're in the business of extreme parkour you want a shoe that fits to your foot like a glove. It could be the difference between losing all your teeth or not. It's hardly something you can afford to cheap out on! They're more than decently priced for what you're getting too, which is a major bonus.

parkour shoes for review

Easily the Best Shoes for Parkour of 2017

We only have one negative thing to say about this shoe, and we're reluctant to even say that. When you first try them out they can feel a little tight, but don't worry. You'll soon be wearing them daily and they'll be broken in in no time! It took us about a week of daily wear and after that they felt like an extension of our foot.

Warning though: they sell out fast! Amazon frequently has low stock on these beauties so we'd recommend picking up a pair asap. It speaks for itself that three years on these shoes are consistently selling out at the worlds biggest online retailer!

Take Flight 1.0 Parkour Shoe Review
Durability Comfort Style Rating Purchase From
Excellent Awesome Excellent 10 / 10 Amazon

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Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 Review

free running shoes review

Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 Shoe Review

Durability Comfort Style/ Look Rating Purchase From
Excellent Excellent Great 9 / 10 Amazon

For this review, we decided to focus on our ‘Bait x Bruce Lee, Jeet Kune Do’ limited edition sneakers, this is how you do parkour free running shoes right. A couple of months ago my friends were looking for some new shoes to buy as our old Nikes had started to get worn out. We used to like the Nike Dart 10 model but they seem to be discontinued at most retail stores now. Being traceurs, it’s essential to have a shoe that is light weight but also comfortable. It’s almost a requirement given how they will provide the extra agility needed for big jumps and also help with the regular, high-impact actions we place on our feet.

Firstly, I cannot stress enough how great they look in real life. Whilst I am personally a big fan of the classic colors, others might not be. My friend really prefers the light blue/ black style and if you want to really get noticed, I’d recommend it too. Just so you know, these shoes come in more than ten color combinations.

free running shoes review

Best Traceur Shoes

Basically, parkour in uncomfortable footwear is an absolute no. Not just because of the aches and pains, this brings but also because of the serious damage you can cause to yourself. There’s also the aspect of safety, you need something that feels natural but is going to grip any surface that you need it to at a moments notice. Lastly, we always look to buy a pair of shoes that are versatile, in the sense that it can be used for several different activities, from going to work to playing sports to enjoying a free run session.

An aspect that some users might say is the least important when choosing the best parkour shoe is of course, style. The Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 looks pretty sweet and there were so many color styles to choose from. So with all this in mind, I personally went online to see what the latest trends were in some free running forums that I browse often, which always seems to bring me to Amazon.

While looking on Amazon, I found the Onitsuka Tiger shoes from Asics. Plenty of users said lots of great things about them, both on the Amazon comment feedback section and forums I was looking through. On first glance, they just looked awesome. I loved that deep black tone, combined with the white Asics stripes.

parkour free running shoes

The Best Parkour Free Running Shoe for 2016

Weirdly enough, outside of the Take Flight 1.0’s, it’s quite hard to find shoes that keep your feet safe and are lightweight at the same time. We felt like our feet could breathe constantly during the motions and in short, the shoes did provide a high degree of comfort. These shoes also looked slick in many different combinations of clothes. One thing we will say about this shoe though, is if you're typically in between sizes when shopping for a shoe, consider going half a size up. They can be a little snug in terms of toe room which might become an issue if you have wider feet.

We read comments from people on Amazon who mentioned that they had this pair of shoes for more than six years but we doubt ours will resist as much as theirs given our activities are probably a little bit on the extreme side. All in all, we got exactly what we ordered and wanted from a parkour free running shoe.

Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 Review
Durability Comfort Style/ Look Rating Purchase From
Excellent Excellent Great 9 / 10 Amazon

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Evolv Cruzer Review

evolv shoe review

Evolv Cruzer Approach Shoe Review

Durability Comfort Style/ Look Rating Purchase From
Great Excellent Great 9 / 10 Amazon

Parkour shoes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but none quite as versatile as the Evolv Cruzer. This shoe is perfect whether you're after a shoe for heavy hiking and rock climbing or a casual walk down your local park. The have such a stylish, casual look that they sell great even to the average buyer. What's more is they're extremely comfortable and offer fantastic cushioned support.

Given that we as a group are huge fans of the outdoors, we do regular treks and hikes together pretty much weekly, if not near enough every other day. Due to this we have experienced all types of terrain on most of the shoes we try out and we can positively say that regardless of how rocky or difficult the terrain is, these shoes will keep your feet comfortable and supported.

evolv shoe review

Parkour Free Running Shoes

We decided to try this shoe out after seeing the great reviews for it on Amazon - and we can;t disagree with them. The shoe is surprisingly light and quite resistant to repeated impact which as we go quite heavy on the parkour, is practically essential. They have great traction and can be relied upon to go the distance you need to go.

Another benefit we found of this awesome little shoe is that they're extremely easy to wash. As guys who are outdoors a lot that is essential for us as we need our shoes to be ready to go when we are in the morning. With the Evolv Cruzer Approach's, you can just chuck 'em in the washing machine and they're good to go!

One downside we found to this shoe however, is the sizing. They're a bit of a tight fit so if you can order half a size up, you'll thank us for it! They don't quite manage to create that barefoot feet that a lot of other great parkour shoes has, but with these the style and comfort wins out.

parkour shoe cruzer

A Fantastic Evolv Cruzer Shoe

So let's try to summarize this review. Firstly, I have to tell you that we love the choice we made. Our feet were super comfortable and safe during my climbs and the sole sticks very well to any type of surface. I would say that the shoes perform better on harder soil, rather than sand or dust. The shoes maintain their grip both during ascent and descent, on a normal path and on a rocky surface. They offer lots of support, despite the relatively thin sole they boost. Being light and airy, your feet will not sweat or smell after wearing them for a long time. Sometimes, I even took my socks off and used them with my bare feet.

Evolv Cruzer Review
Durability Comfort Style/ Look Rating Purchase From
Great Excellent Great 9 / 10 Amazon

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Merrell Vapor Glove 2 Review

Good Free Running Shoes

Merrell Vapor Glove 2 Trail Running Shoe Review

Durability Comfort Style/ Look Rating Purchase From
Great Excellent Great 8 / 10 Amazon

As practitioners of parkour, we take a lot of care where we buy our clothes and especially our good parkour shoes from. Finding out mid jump that your shoe is not suitable for this activity is not what you want, I can assure you. With that being said, that is exactly why Merrell is one of our favorite providers. As a group, we have owned a lot of Merrell products in the pas.t We've always found them to be extremely durable and resilient. We bought our last pair at least four years ago though and they’re not exactly fresh for review right now. So we bought some more!

When we got to Amazon, our first thought was to check for any new models that Merrell have released in the past year or so. These guys have a great track record for high quality, vegan friendly shoes. Being a long time lover of the Trail Glove 2's for more than two years now (when we're not using our awesome new Take Flights), we were excited to try out anything new Merrell had come out with.

Good Free Running Shoes

Shoes for Parkour

This is where the Merrell Vapor Glove 2 attracted our attention. They appeared stylish and colourful without being too flashy. Even the more garish colors have been tastefully designed. After placing an order for two pairs, they arrived on my doorstep three days later. This is one of the perks of buying from American companies. You can always expect a super fast delivery.

With both pairs unboxed, our first impression was that we bought some seriously comfortable shoes. The sole of the shoe is made out of rubber, so we expected them to be a bit stiff. Surprisingly this was not the case. They have one of the softest soles we have ever experienced. That's coming from a group who have owned a hell of a lot of good free running shoes in our time. The shoe also features Merrell's new long-lasting M select fresh, which is meant to prevent sweat and moisture from making them smell. Merrell uses antimicrobial agents to penetrate the production of odour. Invaluable after those heavy parkour sessions where you're too tired to spritz and freshen up your kicks.

Good Shoes for Parkour Review

Good Parkour Shoes for 2017

In practice, the sole provided quite a lot of traction, even on a wet surface which was unexpected. We randomly took them out a few times jogging and around our custom free running track. This was where we found the lug patterns on the shoe extremely beneficial. There are no lug patterns beneath the arch so that your foot can flex more to increase comfort. On all occasions, they were still extremely comfortable and definitely considered a top contender in our best parkour shoe list.

The Merrell Vapor Glove 2 was so light and so comfortable that we felt like we didn't even have shoes on.

Merrell Vapor Glove 2 Shoe Review
Durability Comfort Style/ Look Rating Purchase From
Great Excellent Great 9 / 10 Amazon

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Important Features

Parkour Shoes

Important Features

Sole

Perhaps THE most important part of any shoe, let alone a parkour shoe, is the sole. Unlike most shoes you may be looking to buy, with parkour the thinner the sole is, the better. Part of what makes parkour so amazing is the ability to feel as though you’re not wearing any shoes at all. When you grip onto a rail with your feet you want to be able to feel as though you’re barefoot and free, not that you’ve got massive chunky trainers on that limit the experience. The thinner sole is also vital for achieving balance for rail techniques.

One downside to the thinner sole is the lack of shock absorption, but to us, this just adds to the feeling of being barefoot on the streets, which we love. Just a heads up though, always check if there are any plastic design features in any parkour shoe you buy. The plastic will become extremely slippery in wet weather and could lead to some nasty injuries if you’re not too careful. Go for a 100% rubber role and you’ll be sorted.

Fit

The second most important part of any shoe, but especially a parkour shoe, is the fit. If your shoes don’t fit they slip off, right? Now imagine them slipping off when you’re mid-air in the rain and about to attempt to land on a rail. Not fun. Not safe. Avoid at all costs. Make sure to grab yourself a pair of wide fit shoes if your feet are wide and a regular pair if your feet are regular in width. This is probably the most important aspect!

It’s just as bad to get shoes that are too small as it is shoes that are too big. If your feet are stuffed inside a pair of shoes too small for you, you’ll damage your feet and without that shock absorption, the landings will be twice as jarring. Give your feet room to breathe by getting precisely the right size for them. Most companies allow returns so try them on ASAP when they arrive and if they aren’t 100% perfect send ‘em back! With parkour, it’s definitely worth being picky about this kinda stuff. I know waiting sucks, but be safe.

Make sure the shoes don’t pinch you at the toes and aren’t too wide at the heel. One trick you could try if you simply cannot find the right size shoe for you is try thinner/thicker socks. These can make all the difference if the only issue is a few mm’s too big or too small.

Comfort

The third most important in any shoe, and especially with a parkour shoe. You need to be comfortable with the shoes that you are wearing. They need to feel like an extension of your foot. They are going to become like a second skin to you so you have to be entirely sure that you’re comfortable and happy. Some parkour shoes, like the Nike Free Run 2’s, offer extra support on the arch or a slightly thicker sole for extra comfort.

This comes at the cost of that truly barefoot feet, but for some, it’s an acceptable trade off. Some people simply can’t handle a 100% barefoot feel and that’s perfectly fine. What matters most is that whatever shoe you choose is suitable and safe for your feet. Parkour can be dangerous and you need to be prepared.

Breathability

Breathability, whilst not something you might care much about in a regular shoe, is pretty damn important in a parkour shoe. Your feet are going to be crammed inside these shoes for long periods of time. They’re going to sweat, hurt and get hot. Above all, they need to be able to breathe. Not only this, but when you come to take them off after a heavy parkour session, you’ll thank us. Odour will always be an issue if you're so dedicated that you partake in parkour and free-running on a daily basis, for up to 10 hours at a time.

We absolutely need a shoe that will reduce smell and allow our feet to get some air. Some parkour shoes, like the Merrell Bare Access 4’s and most recent shoes from the Merrell brand, have something called M Fresh Technology. This is basically Merrell’s name for a shoe which naturally eliminates odours and sweat that build up on the shoe overtime. Many parkour shoe brands have a similar technology they use, so it’s always good to keep an eye out for them.

Cost

Lastly, we thought we’d include cost. The cost of the shoe can be a good indicator as to how good it is, as with any product. You don’t want to go for a super cheap shoe that claims to offer you the best quality parkour experience as it’s probably a lie and you’ll end up damaging your feet using some tacky knock-off shoes that aren’t fit for purpose.

Having said that though, you also don’t want to blow a whole months pay check on something that can be gotten elsewhere for much cheaper. It’s a hard line to toe, so we’re here to help. This website we’ve put together is just as much a buying guide as it is a review website. We’re here to offer honest, tried and tested reviews for people who are looking for that perfect parkour shoe. We’re your ordinary, regular, run-of-the-mill parkour lovers. We write about parkour because we love parkour and that’s all there really is to it.

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Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 Alternative Review

Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate Review

The Onitsuka Tiger Ultimates were perfect for us and they now serve the free running purpose that we bought them for. If we had the chance to choose another pair of parkour shoes that can be used for many other activities again, we would make the same choice. We highly recommend these excellent free running shoes to all of you out there who like to look stylish whilst benefiting from the comfort of a great pair of shoes for many adventures to come. These shoes won’t slow you down, they will push you further.

Moreover, the Onitsuka’s look great on any person and work well with any combination of clothes. Unlike so many other brands around, the male and female models look equally awesome. Basically, you will not have problems matching them with your style tastes during your everyday life. The sole of the shoe is made out of rubber, this provides enhanced grip and will keep your feet nice and safe for those huge base jumps.

The Best Free Running Shoe of 2017

We’ve tested these shoes on several occasions. Ranging from jogging to playing badminton all the way to jumping off a twenty-meter factory roof. So needless to say a little bit of variety. This is an excellent parkour shoe hybrid suitable for many occasions with free running being just one of them. My group decided to order a few pairs of these for me and two traceur friends to try out.

From the moment they arrived and we laid my eyes on them, we knew they were exactly what we were looking for. Trying them out on our custom course was just a dream. To summarize how we found the Onitsuka Tiger 81. They were incredibly flexible, creating a sensation of liberty that can only be matched, incredibly, by wearing something like a flip-flop.