Top 5 Best Martial Arts Shoes


Are you a serious martial arts student looking to take your skill to the next level? Or perhaps you are just stepping into the field of martial arts and are excited and keen to do your best to learn combat arts. In either case, it is understandable that you want to be equipped with the best martial arts shoes to reach your goal. This article will help you understand what you must look for and suggest some of the best martial arts shoes.

One doubt you might have is to do with the fact that most martial arts dojo has their students training shoeless. Now there are plenty of benefits of barefoot training, such as improved balance. But most often, especially martial arts like Taekwondo, Aikido etc., use mats for training which helps prevent injuries. Wearing shoes to such training can, for one, dirty the mats, and for another, it can even damage the mats. So that brings us to the question…

Do You Need Martial Arts Shoes

Whether you need martial arts shoes will of course primarily depend upon your dojo or sensei’s rules for training. If, however, you are required to wear shoes for training, then you can’t just wear any regular ones. You will need martial arts shoes that are best suited to your kind of training.

First of all your sensei will not permit you to wear just about any shoes to class. It will have to be in line with your training “gi”. More importantly, regular shoes tend to be heavier, which is not at all ideal for martial arts training that requires a lot of leg movement.

Heavier shoes will tire out your muscles much faster and will impact performance. You are also required to repeatedly practice certain movements till it becomes muscle memory. This is quite a straining activity, and with shoes on that are too heavy, will have a huge negative impact on your training. You will also get used to training with weight on your legs. For these reasons, you can’t wear just any regular sneakers for your training, you need the best martial arts shoes. And if you need any more convincing, here are some good reasons to train with the best martial arts shoes.

Why Use The Best Martial Arts Shoes

Healthy Practice

The chances of contracting fungal and other skin infections are higher in places where people tend to be sweaty and barefoot. Martial arts training is sure to be a sweaty endeavour. Good martial arts shoes protect you from such infections.

Preventing Injuries

Many times martial arts classes are conducted in spaces that are mostly used for multiple other purposes, such as functions, events etc. If the floor has not been specifically made for fitness and martial arts training, then it poses a potential threat to those practising on it due to uneven or hard surfaces. By wearing the correct martial arts shoes, you can avoid such injuries.

Helps With Your Sparring

Sparring is a common part of all martial arts training. Some martial arts shoes provide thin instep and top cushioning. This is helpful during light sparring and prevents injuries among students. Certain types such as the martial arts shoes for Taekwondo etc. are thin, lightweight and can be easily fitted with shin guards and foot cushioning. Such features allow you to have a more intense yet safe sparring experience.

Real-Life Situations

There is little chance that you will be bare feet when facing a real-life self-defence situation. Hence it is good to have some experience in combat while wearing shoes. Good martial arts shoes also improve your performance which is helpful when having to defend for real!

Things To Look For When Buying Martial Arts Shoes

If you’ve read this far, it means that you see the benefits that the best martial arts shoes provide. You must have also realised that you need martial arts shoes that are specific or most advantageous to the type of martial arts that you are training in. Continue reading to learn about the things to look for when purchasing martial arts shoes.

Most importantly, you need to choose martial arts shoes that are made specifically for your type of training. That is why these shoes come in multiple styles and designs. For example, the martial arts shoes for boxing have a low-top style that enables good manoeuvrability and a high-top style that gives ankle support. Karate, on the other hand, which tends to be practised barefoot, has laceless shoes to prevent students from being whipped by the lace when avoiding a kick.

Then there are other preferences, such as ankle wraps and grappling socks used by Muay Thai and MMA fighters. Taekwondo fighters require lightweight shoes and need provision for placing guards. Krav Maga trains keeping real-life scenarios in mind, and so has shoes that are in line with its principle. The main point is that, for choosing the best martial arts shoes, you need to be aware of the requirements of the art you are training in. Once you know what type of shoes you are looking for, make sure to try them out on both feet and ensure they are a good fit.

Top 5 Best Martial Arts Shoes

Now that you are aware of why you need martial arts shoes and what to look for buying on, here are some of the best martial arts shoes that can help take your combat skills to the next level.

Century Lightfoot Martial Arts Shoes

If you are looking for lightweight martial arts shoes that allow for easy manoeuvrability, then the century lightfoot martial arts shoes are an excellent option. Their soles feature pivot points are helpful while practising kicks. The outsoles are designed to grip the floor giving you more stability. Additionally, the breathable designs ensure total comfort.

UNOW Chinese Traditional Cloth Kung Fu Shoes

The UNOW Kung-Fu shoes are traditional Chinese shoes. These pairs made of old Beijing cloth have a history of over 3,000 years. The simple yet flexible and durable design with cotton lining, rubber sole etc. of the UNOW shoes ensures you get the best out of your training.

ASICS Men’s Matflex 5 Wrestling Shoe

The ASICS Matflex is one of the best martial arts shoes you can get for wrestling at an affordable price. The outsole of these shoes is a full-length gum rubber that gives you excellent traction. The top is made of breathable material which ensures comfort. Weighing at 8.3 oz, the ASICS Matflex is a great option at a low price.

Adidas Martial Arts Taekwondo Shoes

You can find the Adidas brand among the top if it has anything to do with sports. And here, too, the Adidas SM II low cut is one of the best martial art shoes you can get into, especially for arts like Taekwondo, Kungfu and Karate. These shoes are lightweight and suitable for light as well as heavy training. Its soles have a pivot design that ensures you can manoeuvre easily. The soft leather design makes sure you’re comfortable in them.

Men’s Cross-Trainer | Barefoot & Minimalist Shoe | Zero Drop Sole | Wide Toe Box

The WHITIN Men’s cross trainers have been designed to help take your combat training to the next level. Its Anatomical design ensures comfort while maintaining a natural form. There’s wide space for the toes, giving you good balance. The thin and flexible soles improve proprioception and ground feedback. It has a Zero-drop design from heel to toe that keeps your feet in a natural position. THat’s not all! It’s a 200% vegan product with no animal product. Additionally, you can remove the sockliner insole for a natural barefoot kind of feel.



Although martial arts has traditionally been practised bare feet, we have come a long way in terms of lifestyle and circumstances. Adapting with time, this art form has evolved to incorporate the right kind of martial arts shoes that can aid in training as well as real-life situations. I hope with this article you are now equipped to get yourself the martial arts shoes and take your combat skills to the next level. If you have experience with using martial arts shoes, please do share your thoughts on it by commenting below and help the community.

Krix Luther


Krix Luther is a Health and Fitness Specialist and one of Asia’s leading Personal Trainers. He is an Ex Professional Muay Thai fighter and Avid Free Diver. At the same time, he is very active, has a passion for gaming, and has his own Twitch stream. You can contact him via his Instagram if you have any questions.

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