Parkour is an activity that involves getting from A to B as creatively and efficiently as possible. This means relying on your body and mind to find a path and make your way through. It’s a simple idea but a lot more challenging than it might seem.
Completely different from other sports or activities, parkour has no equipment involved at all. In parkour all you need is your own strength to propel you and lift you across obstacles, however don’t let this fool you because there are a few things you won’t want to overlook.
While you, strictly speaking, might not need any equipment, you’ll definitely want to get your hands on some parkour kit before you begin. There’s full ranges of parkour clothing available with some unique characteristics and styles. Parkour tops and trousers will focus on giving you uninhibited freedom of movement to prevent any limitations. Gloves and hoodies will focus more on protection from slips, falls or even just the elements.
While all of these are extremely beneficial to you they are ultimately optional. One thing you cannot afford to leave out though is your parkour shoes. Parkour involves a lot of jumping, landing and climbing on a different range of surfaces. Having the right shoes is crucial so you don’t badly injure yourself before your parkour journey has even begun.
There’s been a lot of time and development invested in specialist parkour shoes by companies around the world. This has led to the creation of the five finger shoe which is the latest offering for parkour enthusiasts.
What Are Five Finger Shoes?
Unlike traditional shoes, five finger shoes are specific shoes that have pockets for each of your toes, similar to gloves on your hands. Often referred to as ‘toe shoes’ this unique type of footwear looks extremely weird at first but actually they have a number of uses which make them extremely well suited to parkour.
You have a much greater range of movement with a five finger shoe. Each of your toes is able to move independently which gives you much more strength and grip on surfaces. These individual pockets also offer support and protection for each individual toe, helping prevent sprains or injuries while moving. This ability to use individual toes while running makes these great shoes for parkour.
Originally five finger shoes were designed to give a more natural feel and boost performance in outdoor activities. There are now several different versions available both for indoor and outdoor pursuits but they are most used in climbing and bouldering.
The specific design of the five finger shoe makes them perfect for parkour where you need to use every part of your body to full effect. This means you can better grip surfaces and ultimately push yourself further while training.
Top 3 Best Fiver Finger Shoes For Parkour and Running
Five finger shoes have now grown in popularity and there’s more choice than ever before. While it’s great to have more selection, it can be quite a daunting prospect to try and find the right pair for you.
When considering your options you’ll want to first look at the quality and determine, if possible, they will be suitable for your needs. For parkour you need durability as the shoes will come under considerable strain. Secondly you’ll want to see if the level of protection being offered is good enough. Finally you’ll want to consider the style and design of the shoe because, let’s be honest, we all want to look good.
There are only two companies currently producing the five finger shoe, Vibram and Fila, but even so there are still a lot of shoes to choose from. To make it easier we’ve identified our top picks for both of the producers based on the qualities outlined above. Both of these are great quality, good value, and certainly worth considering.
We’ve started with the Vibram Men’s V Trail Runner which is potentially the best known of all five finger shoes. This shoe has been designed to be useful for all manner of outdoor activities and isn’t specific to any discipline. Made to be durable and survive even extreme conditions the Vibram Men’s V Trail Runner is a practical but effective shoe which is available in 4 different designs.
Vibram themselves are well known for their wide range of five finger shoes, with several different pairs that deserve a spot on our list. The company has been operating for over 80 years and was initially founded by the famous climber Vitale Bramani who was also the inventor of the first rubber lug sole.
Vibram know their craft and understand the needs of the customer with a wide range of specialist outdoor gear. They have thrived for 80 years by putting quality into their products and making shoes that last even in tough conditions.
The Vibram Men’s V Trail Runner has made it onto the list because of a number of key features:
- Added Comfort
A well designed shoe that anticipates the needs of the user, the Vibram Trail Runner has an added insole which gives an extra layer of comfort. This also helps absorb the impacts of any jumps or falls, preventing injury to your body.
The Vibram Trail Runner has been made with quality materials that make them robust. This means the material should stand up to heavy wear and shouldn’t deteriorate, meaning a longer life and a better investment.
- Odor Control
A unique feature of the Vibram Trail Runner is the antimicrobial inner sock. This layer helps stop any nasty odours that can come from sweating and helps prevent any infections on your feet.
- Easy Clean
It doesn’t matter how dirty you get these five finger shoes because they’re easy to clean. Completely machine washable you can just throw them in and forget about them, with no need for expensive specialist cleaning products.
So what are the users saying about this shoe? Well given the popularity of this shoe there’s a lot of information out there, however it is pretty much all positive. Customers seem extremely impressed with the quality of the materials and how well the shoes fit:
“my first time with the trail running 5fingers. remarkable grip. great feel.” – Stanley Y.
The only criticisms of the shoes seem to be sizing issues. If you’re ordering internationally make sure you’re aware of the conversion from EU sizings or you might have some problems.
Overall the feedback seems to give this shoe 4.5 stars which is a well deserved positive rating.
The Vibram Trail Runner is a well made, solid five finger shoe that meets the needs of the customer. It’s practical but not simple in any way with some integrated features that are well thought out. Durable and reliable it’s definitely one to look out for.
The Fila Men’s Skele-Toes are another extremely well known product internationally with thousands of users worldwide. This shoe has been designed with protection in mind and features a thick rubber sole. This not only helps with landing and impact but also provides more impact against the elements. Suitable for wet environments and the sea, these shoes are quick drying and lightweight making them very practical. They’re also available in 8 different colour designs to fit your personal tastes.
Even though there’s more range of five finger shoes than ever before, the only two companies producing them are Vibram and Fila, so it’s unsurprising that a Fila pair are next on the list. Fila themselves are an Italian company with a long history dating back to 1911. They not boast a huge range of sportswear which is popular around the world and known for its quality.
The Fila Men’s Skele-Toes have a number of key features which have set them apart from the competition and earned them a place on the list:
- Added Protection
The signature element of these shoes is the thick rubber sole. This is not only because it provides extra protection to your feet, but also because it makes walking on hot sand or cold surfaces no problem. For parkour and other outdoor activities this added protection is extremely useful.
- Quick Drying
The materials used in the Fila Skele-Toes are very quick drying and suitable for use in a range of different environments. The hook on the back lets you hang them up handily until they’re dry.
- Range of Styles
With over 8 different styles this is pretty much the most versatile five finger shoe you’ll find on the market. The colour ranges make it easy to match these with your existing parkour clothing.
Priced at under $100 these five finger shoes are some of the most competitively priced for the quality they offer. However, please be aware that the price can vary depending on sizing.
The reviews for the Fila Skele-Toes have been unilaterally positive with very few negative reviews out there. People seem to appreciate the minimalist design but also the practical nature of the shoe. Users seem to really appreciate the grip, fit and versatility of the shoe in particular:
“Comfy, and sturdier than I expected, proving very useful indeed (particularly good to drive in)” – Charly K.
Some negative reviews seemed to be linked to specific one off issues with delivery, which is unfortunately to be expected with a company this big, however overall the feedback is 4.5 stars out of 5. A well deserved score for a well made shoe.
Fila have created a sturdy and reliable five finger shoe which is durable even in wet conditions. Reasonably priced and stylish, this makes it a very attractive five finger shoe for anyone involved with outdoor activities and definitely one to consider when you’re browsing.
Choosing Your Five Finger Shoes
Five finger shoes are the latest development to help aid performance and once you try them you won’t look back. Whether you’re looking for a replacement pair or for your first pair take your time and see what’s available. Personal preference will have a role to play of course, but you really can’t go wrong with any of the shoes listed above and they are definitely worth considering.