When it comes to boxing gear finding the right pair of boxing shoes is almost as important as finding the right pair of boxing gloves. But the need for specific boxing footwear might not be as obvious to people who are new to the sport. We all know why a boxer needs gloves, but why boxing shoes? Wouldn’t running shoes, cross trainers, or high tops work just as well?
With a few exceptions, the answer is no. If you’re strictly participating in boxercise classes, you will probably be okay with a pair of general gym shoes, although you might find that boxing shoes are more comfortable. If you’re taking a trial boxing class, you will likely be allowed to use your regular training shoes, but you’ll want to invest in a pair of boxing shoes if you decide to continue.
So why are boxing shoes so important? How can they protect your health and improve your performance as a boxer? Let’s take a look at five benefits of boxing shoes.
1. Sports-Specific Design
Running shoes are designed to support athletes who spend most of their time moving in a forward in the frontal plane, which makes their ankle support uncomfortable and potentially dangerous when you add lateral movements to the mix. Cross trainers and basketball shows are designed to support the foot and ankle in multiple ways. Their thicker soles are designed to support jumping and cushion the impacts of landings, which makes them less than ideal for sports where athletes need to feel more grounded and balanced. Wrestling shoes provide some of that balance, but their grip is better suited to executing and stuffing takedowns than throwing and evading strikes with good form. But boxing shoes are designed to address all of a boxer’s specific needs.
When it comes to traction, boxing shoes have to perform a delicate balancing act. They need to support a boxer’s balance and their ability to move quickly and pivot on their feet. Too little traction, and you would risk slipping and falling during footwork — or even a punch that temporarily throws you off balance. Too much and you wouldn’t be able to perform the right body movements with the right timing to throw or evade punches. The soles of boxing shoes meet these unique demands in two ways. They’re thin and have a low heel, which helps the boxer feel and stay grounded in their movements. They also provide just enough grip to keep you from slipping or falling without getting in the way of the full body movement required for effect punches, evasive techniques and footwork.
3. Ankle Support
Different styles of boxers sometimes require different types of ankle support, but there’s a boxing shoe designed to provide the best support for almost every style. Low-top boxing shoes are designed for speed boxers. This cut allows for more speed and range in foot and ankle movement. High-top boxing shoes are great for maneuverers because they offer the necessary support for ankles and shins during pivoting and shifting movements. Both kinds of boxing shoes are designed to support your feet and ankles in all planes of motion while allowing enough flexibility to keep you fast and agile and performing at your best.
4. Ease of Movement
None of the above will matter if you’re working in a shoe that’s bulky or heavy. A shoe that’s too thick can restrict your movement. A shoe that’s too heavy can slow down your movements and contribute to fatigue. All of which will have a negative impact on your training, your sparring, and your fights. Boxing shoes are made of lightweight but durable materials to provide all of the support that you need without slowing you down or weighing you down. Investing in a good pair of boxing shoes means that you don’t have to choose between injury prevention and performance. A good pair will help you to stay as healthy as possible and as effective as possible during training, sparring, and competition.
Boxing shoes are also designed to protect you from any unnecessary distractions during boxing training and competition, like uncomfortable seams or soggy feet. Most modern shoes are constructed with lightweight materials for maximum comfort and breathability. That includes a durable mesh that allows for better air circulation, and for sweat to evaporate more quickly. This will keep the insides of your boxing shoes dryer and your feet feeling a little less stuffy during training and competition. Which means that, in addition to keeping you healthy and making you more powerful, boxing shoes can also help you stay a little fresher. This design also makes boxing shoes easier to dry and clean after training, which can prolong the life of your boxing gear and keep it smelling better, too!
Now that you know why boxing shoes are important, it’s time to figure out which boxing shoes are right for you! For more information, check out our boxing shoes buyer’s guide.