When your opponent squares off to you and is attempting to take jabs at your head with every blow, you have no time to lose. You have to be able to move, and move quickly! An effective movement starts from the ground up—with your shoes, specifically. You are the strongest when you are well-grounded, and a fighter who cannot get his footing would be annihilated in a match. Footwork and footwear become crucial when the competition heats up. One false step can lead to dis-balance, which can expose you and turn the tide of the fight.
While wrestling shoes are often marketed to boxers, don’t be too hasty to jump on the bandwagon. Both sports are vastly different and, therefore, each type of shoe is built differently to meet the demands of its respective sport. Don’t let your boxing shoes cost you a fight. Let’s discuss some of the most important features to look for in your boxing footwear:
Look for protective boxing shoes that are constructed with lightweight material. Heavier shoes tend to slow boxers down and will cause them to fatigue quicker. In order to pull off slips and other defensive tactics, you should be as light on your feet as possible. Mobility also helps to allow boxers to dictate the pace of the fight and how closely the bout is fought. For fighters to move in and out of their pockets comfortably, their movements must be quick; your boxing shoes should not prevent quick movements, they should enhance them.
The sport of boxing is very demanding on the ankles. Punches like a cross and hook depend on pivoting your body to generate enough power for a forceful strike. Without adequate ankle support, excessive pivoting can expose you to the risk of ankle sprains or worse.
Stabilizing the ankle is important during rapid movements such as punching in order to avoid injury. The ankles are connected by thin ligaments that carry the weight of your entire frame. Make the right choice. Choose boxing shoes that offer plenty of ankle support.
As a side note, there are both high-top and low-top shoes marketed to boxers, but the high-tops tend to offer more ankle support, so it is best to go with them. Some high-tops offer a hook and loop ankle support. This is a great way to get a custom fit and a bit more support; if you can find these, we would highly recommend them.
Grooved Rubber Soles
Rubber is, arguably, the best material for the soles of boxing shoes. Rubber is a lightweight material that offers a decent grip, yet still allows for fast footwork. While some soles are constructed with leather, they tend to offer less traction; this may help in the earlier rounds to allow a fighter to move quickly, but they won’t help the fighter generate much power in his strikes, and it may increase the chance of slippage.
As mentioned previously, balance is crucial to boxers. Your boxing shoes should offer enough traction against the ring to avoid any slips that can cost you a fight.
The upper portion of the shoe should be a mix of leather, suede, and synthetic materials. Make sure to look for breathable nylon “windows” within the shoe that will help your feet breathe a bit. This can help prevent your feet from sweating and reduce the chances of your feet slipping within the shoe.
You will spend hundreds of hours training in your boxing shoes, so you’d better feel comfortable in them! Avoid stiff materials in the upper portion. Your shoes should be constructed with pliable materials. They should also be devoid of any stiff logos or any materials that dig into your feet when your shoes bend (finding the right size can also help prevent this).
You don’t want any pesky equipment like uncomfortable shoes to cause a distraction for you. During a boxing match, all it takes is one second of losing focus, and you may end up lying on the mat while watching the referee raise your opponent’s hand.
Choosing your footwear is a big decision, given that so much relies on your feet during boxing. From footwork to the power of your strikes, a lot is riding on your shoes. Choose carefully, and good luck!