Best Boxing Training Shoes Reviewed & Rated
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Pivot and grip are two of the most basics things to look after in a boxing shoe. This will directly affect the quality of your boxing footwear; both pivoting and grip are essential basics of this sport. The thing about pivot and grip is that they’re somehow opposites. In simple words, the stronger the grip, the weaker the pivot. We’ll briefly explain the concept of pivoting for further understanding.
Basically, pivoting comes down to moving yourself around the same spot. It’s usually a rotation movement, and the “spot” you’ll move over is determined by the pivot foot (generally the front foot in your stance). It serves multiple purposes; dodging in a manner in which you can counterattack, or simply rotating to create an attack angle.
The movement consists of sliding your non-pivot foot to adjust your posture and angle. As you can guess, this whole concept of sliding and rotating isn’t too efficient when the outsole texture and grip don’t allow these motions. This means that too much grip isn’t convenient in a boxing shoe. Thus, it’s important to keep an efficient balance between grip and pivoting ability in a boxing shoe.
Generally, the outsole pattern includes a destinated area for pivoting motions. This area has a different texture or pattern, an area which is not so affected by the grip. Thanks to this design, athletes can increase their grip without hurting their pivoting ability.
This also means a regular shoe won’t provide you decent pivoting properties; a running sneaker, for example. However, there’s no standard to how much pivot or grip you should have. Some boxers prefer more grip on their shoes, some prefer greater pivot, and some prefer an equal balance. It ultimately comes down to your style, and how your performance gets along with these two factors.
For hybrid designs (a pivoting spot on the outsole), keep in mind that not all manufacturers are the same. The thing about these spots is that you need to learn how to move around them. Given that there’s only a specific zone of your shoe that is proficient for pivoting, you need to “memorize” that spot. Switching your shoes, later on, may require you adapting to a different outsole design.
It seems silly at first hand until you find yourself trying to pivot around the spot that you had in your old pair of shoes. This is one of the scenarios you want to avoid during a boxing match.
Aspects of the sole, and it's thickness or minimalist approach in design, can be one of the most critical, but overlooked elements in a boxing shoe. People tend to forget how important it is to find the right thickness for you. We’ll tell you one thing about performance shoes; everyone has a unique feel they want to attain. This is why you see so many different types when it comes to sole thickness and texture.
Thicker soles put some cushion between your feet and the ring surface, which adds up to better protection. Although, you want to make sure that they aren't too thick, like many running sneakers have for shock absorption. The more distance there is between the ring’s surface and your feet, the less stable you can be.
Thin soles, on the other hand, provide a closer barefoot feel, and can grasp the surface better. Barefoot performances by some, are considered the most optimal, but it’s a matter of preferences. The facts are though, that the slimmer the sole, the greater the balance. It’s the opposite case as a thick sole. The main downside to a thinner sole can have your feet feeling raw and less padded.
Like we previously mentioned, some users prefer thick soles, and others prefer slim ones. We can’t tell you which one is right for you. We can, however, help you find the most adequate for your unique style and preferences.
A thin sole provides much more mobility. We mentioned before that some old school boxers preferred to go barefoot (not including competitions). While this isn’t necessarily the most efficient method (in terms of endurance and heel stress), we can guarantee one thing; better feet control.
The closer you are to the ground, the better control you’ll have over your motor coordination skills, especially your footwork. This greater agility, however, comes at the cost of endurance. This is because of two reasons. The closer you are to barefoot, the better control you have, but this also implies a greater muscle activation, and thus earlier fatigue. The second reason is simple; shock stress on the heels, toes, and calves, which also leads to earlier fatigue.
The texture on the outsole is also a factor to keep in mind. Most people completely ignore the outsole design, not knowing how it can completely affect their sole and performance. These patterns are not decoration; they serve a very functional purpose. The shape, orientation, and thickness of this pattern can increase/decrease your grip, and thus increase/decrease mobility.
Just like sole height, the shoe height is a delicate subject. We’d like to start off by clarifying that no specific shoe height is the best one; they’re simply different approaches to the same target. Don’t forget that it all comes down to how each design feels on your feet and how it impacts your performance.
People often forget this one big factor that can mark the difference between good performance and an outstanding one. This factor is called personal preference. Now, functionality is hands down an elemental part of the shoe. No matter how good a pair of shoes sits on you, you shouldn’t lack grip, or flexibility, or ankle support. But offering the right features don’t necessarily make them the right pair for you.
Unfortunately, this is something you can’t always get right off the bat. You’ll likely have to try a couple of shoes before you know what’s your style. This doesn’t mean that you’ll never reach your peak if a shoe is not of your preference. However, the preference and comfort factors have a huge impact on performance.
Take as an example any of the greatest elite boxers that existed. Those boxers used by no means a generic retail store boxing shoe (and we say generic as in the base model). The greatest boxers had their shoe especially crafted based on their height preference and other factors. We can guarantee you one thing; it wasn’t for the looks. Professional athletes, not just boxers, know the importance of personal preference when it comes to their equipment.
This example is on a bigger scale, we’re not telling you to go get your shoes crafted to your perfection. Though, it should give you a hint about the importance of finding the right kind of equipment for you. We’ll provide you further insight on each kind of shoe height below.
The low top: The most mobile design. The low top build resembles the size of a normal shoe; average height and uncovered ankles. This design provides more ankle space and mobility for activities like training, which are not necessarily comfortable in high shoes. A low top is a great option while endurance training, weight training, rope jumping, and so on. However, these are not your best buy when going in the ring.
Medium top: The most popular option for actual boxing. You usually don’t wear this except you’re going to specific boxing action. Medium builds completely cover the ankle and generally go up to 1/3 of the shin. Though, as previously stated, height may fluctuate around both manufacturers and user preferences. If you’re going to train strictly with the sack or going in the ring, this is a solid choice. But, medium tops usually suck for aerobic training and anything that isn’t direct boxing.
High top: Similar to the medium top when it comes to functionality; it’s strictly a combat boot. These are by no mean a good choice for jumping or exercising unless they’re exercises that resemble a boxing fight scenario. High top builds generally cover half of the shin and the complete shin in some cases. They may look like they’ll restrict your motions, but they’re engineered not to.
During the last decade, there has been a large decrease concerning the weight of shoe constructions. This, of course, had a big impact on athletic shoes. It makes sense to assume that a lighter build is more comfortable and easier to move around than a heavy one. Now, boxing shoes have always been lighter in general, or at least more so than other sports shoes like running sneakers.
There are multiple key points behind the importance of a shoe’s weight. In boxing, the most important one is really basic; lighter feet can move much faster. This is another of the reasons why the closer you are to barefoot, the better agility you’ll have. Modern boxing shoes try to mimic barefoot performance with ultralight materials with great athletic qualities. These materials are mostly synthetic, and some are specifically synthesized to deliver lightweight features in athletic shoes.
Heavier shoes contribute to muscular fatigue much more than most people think, tiring you out, and making your moves impaired. You may see manufacturers competing over who has the lightest shoe, offering some grams more or some grams less. Although every bit counts, 10 extra grams in a boot usually don’t decide a boxing match.
Technology today has allowed manufacturers to develop lightweight fabrics, still sturdy and durable, but that won't slow you down. The main thing to consider is that the shoe's build and fabrics can withstand your fights, practices, and overall use in the ring. Materials consisting of synthetics are lighter, but perhaps not as durable as a full-grain leather build, for example.
Luckily for us, technology has developed access to fabrics and synthetics that are both durable and lighter in weight. The most common materials for athletic shoes include , vulcanized, traditional, and blown rubbers, PU and vinyls.
Each element of the shoe contributes to its weight (midsole, upper, etc). Thus, the boxing shoes should consist of light materials that can deliver appropriate features for their respective element.
For the upper build, you’ll need something flexible, durable, breathable, and that holds your feet in place. This is a great job for mesh and synthetic leather. On high-top shoes, it’s even more important for the upper to be lighter, as it composes most of the shoe.
The midsole is usually the heaviest element in a shoe. It’s often equipped with the thickest or more resistant materials to diminish shock and provide comfort. Although, EVA technology has made this possible at a much lighter perspective than ever before. EVA stands for ethyl vinyl acetate.
This is a factor that can give you the upper hand on your opponent. It can also make you the underdog if you or your footwear lack it. A stable shoe is necessary to provide a solid stance and a strong base, that goes out of the question. However, each motion can be greatly responsive, or inhibited by the level of flexibility of shoe materials.
Flexibility has a much greater impact than most people would normally think. It’s the very base of every rotation, every motion, every step forward and backward. It’s what allows you to move naturally; the flex of the sole should mimic the shape of your natural foot as they flex and move. Both your speed and impulse need to feel as natural as possible for optimal movement.
You would normally think flexibility is something that is found at the shoe's base, in the sole. The sole is only one element that requires flexibility, as it is the foundation of every one of your movements. However, flexibility is something that should be found throughout the shoe completely. This includes the uppers, midsole, and ankles.
The most important areas that require flexibility are the arch (around the toe box) and the ankle. Think of it as if you were a runner. When you step, your heel peels off the ground and followed by the arch and toes. At this last point of a step, you use flexibility and momentum to propel yourself forward. Try running or walking with rigid feet, and see how that turns out for your form.
Although this is the principle of running, it pretty much applies to every single discipline that involves footwork. No flexibility translates into a huge reduction of impulse and speed. Those are the two things you can’t lack in a boxing match.
Keep in mind that while the arch and ankle are critical areas, they’re not the only ones. Your shoe should be able to provide flexibility for as high as it extends. This is particularly important in high-top or medium-top boxing boots, where the shin is somewhat concealed by the upper.
The shin may not be the key point to rotation or impulse, but it’s also affected by inclination. You can’t lean forward properly without bending the shin and knee. You simply can’t lean forward for a punch if you can’t bend your legs freely. The higher the top, the more important flexibility comes into play.
Top 10 Shoes for Boxing
1. Venum Elite
The Venum Elite doesn’t only win all the points for the most fashionable design in this guide, but it is also one of the top contenders we have ever come across. This product is the result of two years of meticulous research, development, and testing, and it is nothing short of outstanding. Everything from its honeycomb mesh upper to its anatomical midsole to the incurved outsole is built to provide you with more power, more dynamic, and more success in the ring.
The Venum Elite is made for both ventilation and support, and adjustability thanks to its lacing system. However, the key component of this design is its outsole. It represents the perfect balance between pivot and grip and allows you to move more freely around your opponents. Not only that, but the curved forefoot part means you will be able to throw yourself forward with ease, and the flexibility of the outsole allows you a greater range of motion. Lastly, the reinforced heel and lateral parts absorb impact, giving you more than enough protection.
In short, we are in awe of the Venum Elite. It is a design made specifically for this type of sport, tested over countless sparring matches and crafted to perfection. It is not only the performance design to beat, but it also looks damn fierce when you step out onto that ring and know that you’re walking away with a victory.
2. Otomix Stingray
Otomix's Stingray is one of the best multi-sport approaches for activities on the mat. These boxing shoes are engineered specifically for martial arts performance; boxing, wrestling, and grappling. It includes innovative outsole technologies that support sudden rotation and sliding, providing you with a solid grip. Thanks to the very light approach, the design is very easy to move around in and utterly comfortable during the performance.
A slippery upper build makes it much simpler to slip off your opponent in wrestling. It also makes it harder for them to get a hold of your feet. Keeping in mind the multi-sports use, this feature doesn't affect boxing performance. The Otomix Stingray is a multi-sport option which can be worn for activities on the mat. This model is engineered to cater to many martial arts activities. Its flexibility and supportive structure allow for versatility in several sports where sole grip and feel become important for performance.
If you’re looking for a multi-sports approach to avoid buying 2 or 3 different pairs, the Otomix Stingray is a good shot. Its solid construction, easy escape design, and minimal thin sole make it ideal for veterans to the sport, or for those looking to upgrade their performance and time in the ring.
3. Title Speed-Flex Encore
While it comes from a lesser known brand, the Title Speed-Flex Encore is no less abundant in features for this sport than any of our other boxing shoes. It is constructed for footwork and speed, and everything about it spells lightness and ease of movement. You will have no problems dancing around your opponent as your feet will feel light and breezy no matter what round you’re in.
The Encore has an upper made from synthetic leather with nylon for strength and security. Its laces are a bit difficult to get right, but once you do, they will keep you locked inside the design until you decide to take them off. Your ankles will be supported, and making quick turns and changes of direction will never be as easy as in the Encore. What’s more, they’re great for those who have slightly wider feet thanks to their customization features.
The downside to the Title Speed-Flex Encore is that it is not a very durable option. Of course, that also means that it is affordable, so if you’re looking for something low cost and you don’t mind that it will unglue sooner rather than later, then definitely go for it! But if you’re looking for durability, it might be better to reach for a different design on our list.
4. Asics JB Elite 2.0
These are another boxing training shoes designed for wrestling but which offers performance perfect for the boxing ring. ASICS presents the second edition of the design resembling the two-time world champion and Olympic Jordan Burroughs'. The JB Elite 2.0 comes with a split sole of a greater rubber compound, delivering both rear and fore radial traction specific for this sport. A mesh upper build comforts with both breathability and mobility, ideal for an optimal performance and fit.
ASICS has once again applied the rubber traction pods on the outsole of the JB. These pods augment the grip considerably, allowing you to rotate and pivot with great stability and flex support. No slipping in this pair! The JB Elite 2.0 meets the competition standards delivering a tongue slimmer version of the Lace Garage technology. This lacing system provides the optimal fit to reach maximum performance.
ASICS delivers quality footwear at an affordable price. The JB Elite 2.0 is yet another great performer that goes as one of the lowest prices on our list. It has a great cost in relation to its quality.
5. Asics Aggressor 4
An update on the Aggressor 2, the Asics Aggressor 4 is a wrestling design that has its place in the boxing ring as well. It comes with a tough sole for durability and grip, meaning that it lacks pivot, but is incredibly lightweight at the same time. Asics wouldn’t be Asics if it didn’t incorporate several different technologies into their construction, for better support and breathability when you’re in a clinch.
The Aggressor 4 has an escaine upper that is seamless, meaning that no seam will be digging into your feet or causing you any discomfort. There is ample padding in the ankle area which provides support but doesn’t restrict movement. Inside, the EVA sockliner is there for cushioning and responsive shock absorption and the outsole is made with the DuoSole technology. This system reduces the weight of the sole but increases its flexibility, while not compromising on grip or longevity.
The Aggressor 4 may not be a specifically boxing design, but it hits all the right marks for a solid option. It will keep you light on your feet and secure in your footing, and your ankle will have more than enough protection as you pivot around your opponent and land those deciding blows.
6. Asics Matflex 5
Asics Matflex 5 looks like minimalist boxing training shoes at first glance, and that is indeed what it is. While it does come with some technologies and special features characteristic of the brand, it is mostly focused on being a well-rounded choice that doesn’t stand out too much in any way. However, with that also comes the affordable price, so if you’re looking for a starter design with good traction and plenty of ventilation, then the Matflex 5 is your deal!
This option is all about comfort and support. It has breathable zones in the upper which keep your feet cool and prevent excess sweating. The laces can be easily tucked in and hidden away thanks to the Lace Garage technology so that you don’t have to worry about them as you’re working on your speed and agility. Finally, on the bottom, there is a full-length gum rubber outsole for superior traction.
The Asics Matflex 5 may not sound too thrilling, compared to other options on our list, but it is a solid, reliable design. Its ventilation will come in handy when things get heated, and you will love the traction it provides, as you will be able to focus on your punches and not worry about whether or not you will somehow lose your balance. An overall easy choice!
7. Reebok Boxing Boot
Move fast and more efficiently with the Reebok’s Boxing Boot. Engineered for round-after-round performance, this pair will endure what you put them up to. The synthetic sole flexibility and the leather upper mobility make this design suitable for both training and competitive use. An incorporated foam midsole offers much more comfortable wear.
The foam insert in the midsole makes each step much lighter, making it considerably easier to move around. It also assists in delivering fast and strong movements thanks to its compression design. This model includes a full-rubber outsole that is not only durable but also very efficient. The grip is adequate for the surface of a ring, providing you with a firm grasp of the floor.
Reebok’s option offers the most optimal materials for professional-level performance, but it comes at a high price. This item is considerably above the average cost of the list but stands up for every cent.
8. Ringside Diablo
The Ringside Diablo offers a modern design of high-speed performance in a ring or on a mat. A patent leather vinyl finish works in combination with a low-top ankle for smoother movement and rotation. The breathable nylon mesh upper makes the design utterly breathable and fresh, protected from slipping by a strong rubber sole grip.
The Ringside Diablo is engineered after combat performance. These boxing shoes come with the necessary features for proper development in mat sports such as wrestling, MMA, boxing, and others. The reliable grip is precise and efficient in all of the above-mentioned practices. Ankle support allows free rotation and movement at all times without loosening the fit. Thanks to this ankle mobility, motions from all kind of martial art disciplines are much smoother and comfortable. You’ll be able to maneuver fancy footwork, dodging, lunging, and grappling in this pair.
The Ringside Diablo sits around the average price of the list, which is a fair deal considering its performance is well above average. Great for those newer to the sport or veterans on a tight budget, it’s well worth considering.
9. Otomix Ninja Warrior
Otomix makes another appearance in our top ten list with their Ninja Warrior. Built with multiple sports applications in mind including MMA, parkour, martial arts, and bodybuilding, it’s a versatile option if you’re in search of a new boxing design. The high top silhouette gives ample ankle support, and the updated construction allows for extra room in the toe.
For sports that benefit from a thin sole, the Ninja Warrior gives a nearly barefoot feel, while maintaining a grippy sole for traction. Lightning fast transitions can be accomplished in the blink of an eye, so your opponent can be caught off guard! The thin sole also helps keep a flexible element for pushing, pulling, grappling, and other toe-off movements that require less restriction at the bottom of the foot. This version of the Otomix design has been updated to include a wider toe box, so those who need a little extra room will find this a great option to the original. Extra ankle support in the high top design with a full lace-up closure will keep you snug and supported throughout the match. Lightweight polyester uppers provide durability so they can take some wear and tear in the training ring.
The Otomix Ninja Warrior is a great option for those with wider feet or those who prefer the lightweight grippy feel of a thin sole. Perfect for quick changes in tempo, lunges, or pivots, your footwork will outpace the onslaught and have you stepping your way to victory. A sure win for those looking to invest in a new quality pair of footwear.
10. Adidas Box Hog 2
The Box Hog 2 offers high-class performance without sacrificing comfort. An open-mesh upper permits the flow of fresh air through the boots while the suede overlays secure a strong fit. A cushioned heel delivers extra comfort alongside the EVA midsole, reducing shock and stress. Lastly, the gum rubber outsole is an outstanding element when it comes to traction.
Adidas embraces a less-sticky compound for the sole of this model. The gum rubber sole provides a much better grip for indoor performance, excellent at preventing sliding and slipping. A low-profile EVA midsole reduces the amount of stress placed on both the heels and the toes while moving around quickly. The cushioned heel plays a big role in improving both endurance and comfort during practices or competitive performances.
Adidas has quite a reputation for quality-performance athletic footwear. The cost of this pair might be high, but their durability and efficiency are undeniable. The Box Hog 2 is made for the ring and will deliver performance at all cost. Great for veterans looking for an upgrade in their ring footwear.
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