Importance of footwear in boxing can never be downplayed. Be it movement or power generation, everything comes from a boxer’s feet. While gloves and mouthpiece are often given due consideration, that’s not the case when it comes to boxing footwear. People think they can box while wearing any shoes and that’s absolutely false.
In boxing, you want shoes which are firm and solid on the ground which can help you generate the power and maintain stability in the ring. Good movement can never come through with poor-quality boxing shoes.
Everything from comfortability to flexibility makes the difference. In a sport where the offense is landed and blocked within a split second, you need to wear shoes which can keep up with the pace. Boxing from a viewer’s perspective might look simple but it’s far from it.
Constant body movements, cutting the ring, feinting, transferring weight from heel to the toes, generating power, creating distance deception are few of the many techniques which require active footwork.
Ideal boxing shoes have to be snug fit and nothing short of it. There’s no compromise in this area as even the minutest of difference can cost you a round or perhaps the match. From the comfortability to overall movement, right boxing footwear will add to the confidence and help you move freely across the rings. However, that’s not it. There’s much more to a pair of boxing shoes than you currently know and if you’re interested in learning about it, keep reading.
Don’t jump on the bandwagon
Brands out there are marketing products thereby making them seem must-haves. One such bandwagon effect can be seen as wrestling shoes being marketed in the boxing world as the ideal shoes. If you’ve taken the same decision, there’s a need for you to read this blog until the end.
Don’t just follow what you see on google and bank on wrestling shoes as a boxing shoes substitute. Both are very different and though they are often used interchangeably as part of training or while participating in local tournaments, these do not work at a professional level.
Anatomy of boxing shoes
When you’re selecting boxing shoes for yourself, you need to consider the points mentioned in the table below. Some of these points are extremely important when you’re selecting a pair of boxing shoes and thus, I’d urge you to take a look at it before advancing further.
Low-Cut, Mid-Cut, High-Top
Not present in every boxing shoe but helps with ankle support
Holes which hold your laces
Lacing determines tension adjustments, alternative there are zippers and straps available as well
The upper portion made of lightweight leather, synthetic leather, accompanied by mesh or ventilation holes
Improving durability during movements
A standard feature in all boxing shoes
The footbed of your shoes. Sometimes removable. Essential for comfort and overall support
Usually, a thin layer which provides cushioning and added support
An aspect which keeps your heel steady and intact in one place
Extended support to the heel which comes in the form of a plastic insert which ensures the structural shape of the shoes
Boxing shoes are ideally narrow to ensure a snug fit
A thin sole which provides grip and ensures stability in movements
Having understood the anatomy of boxing shoes, let us move towards understanding the important features in a boxing shoe.
Boxing Shoes Features that you must know
Weight & Thickness
Each individual falls in a particular weight category, based upon that, the size of everything we wear differs. Especially, in case of shoes, where one size doesn’t fit all, it’s important to buy boxing shoes which have the perfect weight and thickness as per your body.
Weight & Thickness of boxing shoes largely relies on the material with which it has been manufactured. The material ensures the overall mobility of the shoes and separates light shoes from the heavier ones. Thin soles and upper construction make lightweight footwear which allows great freedom in movement. On the contrary, a thicker sole with lots of upper material and fabric makes the pair of shoe heavy which restricts the overall movement.
Now, I’m not suggesting that lightweight boxing shoes are better than heavyweight. Ultimately, that decision is upon you. While lightweight shoes offer mobility and flexibility, heavier boxing shoes provide more support and stability. With heavyweight shoes, you would certainly feel the cohesion between your ankle, knee, and foot on every movement which helps you control your movements.
Personally, I’d suggest you choose boxing shoes which are light and agile yet they’re thick enough to provide stability and power transfer when required.
Whether it’s boxing, football, basketball, tennis or any other sport, the primary objective of any shoes is to protect your ankles. Without proper shoes, your entire foot including your ankle is susceptible to injuries.
Especially in boxing where you’re constantly changing angles vying for that opening or transferring weight from one end to the other, your footwear should provide great support to your ankle. Thus, ankle support is one feature that you simply cannot overlook.
When it comes to boxing, you can choose from either of the three types of shoes – Low, Mid and High. These low-cut boxing shoes reach till your ankle. Mid-height shoes go a few inches above that whereas the high-tops can go as high as your calves. Conventional belief suggests that higher the length, better the support. Thus, if you want ankle support in abundance you can go for high tops if not, you can also go with low-cut which provides less support but improved freedom in movement.
If you’re a boxer who often experiences painful conditions due to sprain, high-top boxing shoes are meant for you. On the contrary, if you have a strong ankle and would love to enjoy increased mobility than you can go with low-cut boxing shoes. If you want a balance of both, you can go for the mid-top. Ultimately, all of this boils down to personal preference and also your fighting style.
Though we have segregated shoe height in three changes, you must know that there are subcategories for each of this height. For instance, in low-cut you’ll get many options to choose from, some might be above or below the ankle whereas others might just touch the ankle. Each of this low-length shoe size makes a major difference.
Personally, I’m quite susceptible to strain and thus I like to protect my ankles and not take any chances. Thus, I prefer high-top boxing shoes. At the end of the day, everything boils down to your personal preference and you should consider a variety of factors when looking for ankle support, these include your leg size, your calf size and ankle build as all of these things will ultimately affect your footwork.
Ideally, ankle support could’ve easily been a subpoint in this section. However, I felt the need to emphasize the importance of ankle support separately. In any shoes, sole construction has a huge role to play in boxing shoes. Soles single-handedly can affect your pivoting, movements, balance, weight transfer and comfortability.
A quality sole allows you to maintain your balance and make you feel comfortable on your feet. On the other hand, a poor-quality sole construction might make you feel off-balance and can disrupt your movements. For boxing shoes, grooved rubber soles are the best option in the market. Rubber, being lighter allows great flexibility in movements and also offers a great grip. As opposed to leather construction, they cannot generate as much power but can help with speed.
Furthermore, when it comes to sole construction either with rubber or leather, you must ensure that you’re not feeling as if you’re leaning forward. Similarly, you shouldn’t feel that your feet are angled in the outwards direction, pushing the normal range. Many times, we see our feet pushing the upper part of our shoes on each side which makes it look flatter. In such a case, you must know that your sole is not the right size. You can easily solve this problem by opting for a custom sole.
A lot of boxers like to stay connected with the ground and thus they prefer thin soles. However, thinner soles have the tendency to wear quickly and that’s the reason why pro-boxer do not use their boxing shoes for more than 40-50 rounds. If you’re an amateur boxer or just starting out, even shoes with thinner soles can last up to 8-12 months.
Personally, I don’t prefer boxing footwear with thick soles is because they make you feel disconnected from the ground. Cushioning in the sole and other add-ons which adds to the comfort takes down the rooted stability. Thicker soles don’t allow you to generate great power as there’s a limit to which you can press and launch.
You must have noticed that many shoes with flatter surface make you feel as if you’re standing on the ground bare feet. Similarly, most of the sports shoes also have ridges and textures which are purpose-built. For instance, cleats in soccer are absolutely different in terms of design and dynamic. Similar can be said for basketball footwear.
When it comes to boxing, you can choose between a flat pair of shoes or the one with ridges and pattern. Flat boxing shoes keep you rooted to the ground thereby providing more balance whereas one with ridges and padding make you feel further away from the ground which results in less balance while you’re standing or moving.
Majority of the boxing shoes manufactured today are made of synthetic materials. Though leather boxing shoes are still available, they are nowhere near as popular as they once were. As specified earlier, material determines the weight of your shoes along with other dynamics.
More materials result in more weight which will wear your legs and result in fatigue. On the contrary, fewer materials are equal to less protection and less stability. Thus, you have to find the perfect match for yourself.
Leather boxing shoes are sturdier but heavier. Synthetic materials, on the other hand, are lightweight but not so durable. However, with the recent advancement in technology, manufacturers are designing shoes with synthetic leather which are lightweight yet durable.
We can see that in the current crop of boxing shoes feature synthetic leather as the upper is designed with flexible, durable and breathable items. Synthetic leather allows you to add cushioning element for comfort along with features such as shock absorption. What adds to the durability is the stitching process.
Comfort should not be an afterthought but rather a priority. You shouldn’t settle for anything less than a snug fit. So basically, when the boxing shoes are perfect for your feet, you’ll get that feeling instantly as you won’t have to adjust your foot. With that said, never choose shoes which are longer. Comfort aspect of a boxing shoe completely relies on its fitting. And fitting in boxing shoes is quite different as compared to the other forms of footwear.
While usually, we opt for a bigger size than usual, when buying boxing shoes, we need to go the opposite way. You want your shoes to fit perfectly. If you enter the ring with loose shoes, your performance is going to get affected. Not only will your balance but overall stability will depend on the size. Thus, take your time and ensure that you pick the right size. New shoes at first might feel a bit tight, however, they slowly conform to your feet as times passes.
Benefits of wearing boxing footwear
Many people are totally cool with boxing using athletic shoes. For the majority of the people, playing all sports with a single pair of shoe approach works fine. However, that’s a wrong approach if you’re serious about the sport. Each of these shoes is designed specifically for a particular sport. Yes, you can play soccer with converse on a football field, but is it ideal? Absolutely Not. Similarly, boxing shoes are important as they will instantly improve your overall performance.
Wearing boxing shoes will help
- Improve speed
- Improve stability
- Generate power
- Maximize comfort
- Provide better ankle support
- Offer durability
- Enhance performance
Boxing shoes are rugged and are designed for extensive movements whilst maintaining a low center of gravity. These shoes allow you to get a perfect balance in terms of power, speed, and stability.
For people using other athletic shoes for boxing, I have nothing negative to say except that if you’re serious about the sport, you should not hesitate while spending money. It’s money well-spent and certainly a decision that you absolutely won’t regret.
Best Boxing Footwear
If you’re not dead-serious about boxing, you shouldn’t even consider spending on these shoes. These are premium shoes that are preferred by professionals. These are the flagship shoes available in the market and are extremely expensive. Thus, if boxing is just your hobby or time-killing activity, you shouldn’t give this list a thought.
Winning Boxing Shoes
If you’re at an advanced level, you should consider buying these shoes. If you’re on that level, you can no longer afford to compromise your performance because of a pair of boxing shoes. Thus, if you’re at that level where you feel you can compete at a high-level, it’s time you spend some amount on quality boxing shoes.
Otomix Ninja Warrior
Reebok Boot Snucker
If you’re just starting with boxing, your best bet would be to start with budget shoes. As you progress, you can upgrade later. However, you shouldn’t spend over $40-60 if you’re buying shoes for boxing for the first time, that’d be insane, more so if you’re not even serious about the sport.
Can you use wrestling shoes for boxing?
If you’re just starting out, you can use wrestling shoes in boxing. Too many people ask this question as to whether they can do it or not? Yes, you can. If you’re training or just starting out with boxing, wrestling shoes are fine. However, as you progress, it’s wise to switch to proper boxing shoes so you’re well-versed with the dynamics beforehand.
If I were to follow my earlier statement, I’d suggest no. Though wrestling shoes possess the same or perhaps even better dynamics, I’d still suggest you opt for boxing shoes. With wrestling shoes, you might get a better grip and durability, however, boxing as a sport is not as rugged as wrestling and thus original lightweight boxing shoes are a better option.
I hope I was able to cover the important aspects of boxing footwear which may help you make a better decision. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter if you’re a novice or an experienced boxer, it’s important that you spend your money well and get bang for your buck.