Best Kickboxing Shoes – 2021 Guide
When kickboxing, keeping your balance is super important, which is why you really need a good pair of kickboxing shoes.
These shoes need to be lightweight to help you zip around the ring, and provide a good deal of flex to help you stay light on your feet and make quick movements. A modest layer of foam also helps protect your joints as well.
We made sure to include high-cut and mid-cut options to provide extra ankle support and low-cut designs for snappy movements. Whether you are a novice or a veteran, there are designs out there to accommodate your specific needs.
In this guide, we have compiled a list of some of our very favorite kickboxing shoes to keep your movements zippy while providing protection and helping you stay balanced.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 12 hrs of research
Breathable, nylon mesh upper
Patent leather vinyl finish
Top 6 Kickboxing Shoes
1. Ringside Diablo
Breathable, nylon mesh upper
Patent leather vinyl finish
These are built to give you greater mobility while providing ankle support. Simply, the tighter the laces, the more ankle support you will gain, as these are designed with this in mind.
A patent leather nylon finish gives a professional, yet contemporary aesthetic appeal to them. And the non-slip, rubber outsole is an ideal choice when evaluating ring performance.
The outsole is non-slip and made of rubber; thereby, allowing you to plant firmly before that next devastating punch or kick. This is a must-have safety feature and something to consider before your next purchase.
With your body in full-blown workout mode, you will need a pair that can cool those feet down; albeit, they may still be on fire with a winning kick in place. This upper allows your feet to breathe, as you work out the bag, a sparring partner, or competitor.
2. Adidas Combat Speed 5
With a breathable mesh upper, rubber sole and sleek design, you’ll find yourself eager to get into the ring, if only to show off your new shoes.
The Combat Speed 5 is the latest iteration of Adidas’ Combat Speed line, designed for kickboxers and wrestlers in mind.
The upper is made of breathable mesh, meaning your feet won’t get hot and sweaty, and the sole is rubber for great grip and traction. Weighing around 2lbs, it’s light enough to be nimble but heavy enough to transfer power with each kick.
Available in cool colors, such as Core Red and Royal White, you’ll look good and feel good when landing that perfect blow. At a mid-price point, these are available to most kickboxers on a budget.
3. Century Lightfoot
Another pair that is readily available and frequently used is the Lightfoot’s, by Century. Creatively designed with aesthetics and functionality in mind, these are great for anyone and everyone.
Being made from synthetic leather, the Lightfoot’s shoes are great for using in kickboxing, since they will bend and flex with your feet while you pivot and spin. The leather is, also, ridiculously durable and so lightweight; no worries about your shoes falling apart after a few sessions.
Anyone that exercises frequently knows the importance of a rubber outsole for traction and grip. Without this feature, one leg kick can send you falling back on your rear end, and no one likes a bruised tailbone.
Added bonus, the enhanced pivot points in between grips ensure your fancy footwork stays fancy. Therefore, you can keep the perfect form with every kick, spin, and takedown.
4. Adidas Box Hog 3
Thin EVA lining
Responsive EVA midsole
It’s hard to find anything negative to say about the Box Hog 3. While the frame, fit, and cut of this design is very similar to previous iterations, the biggest change in this latest version is in the fabric used in the upper.
We love that this mid-cut design is super lightweight, and provides extra cushioning and support where you need it most.
The upper of this design is composed of an incredibly durable mesh material. While previous versions use a similar mesh for their upper, the Box Hog 3 has a slightly thicker mesh that heightens the overall durability of this shoe, which will boost your confidence in the ring. Inside, it has a super-thin layer of EVA for a more contoured and comfortable fit.
This design also boasts a thin midsole that gives you an excellent ground feel for those quick and snappy movements. It is important to note that while it looks like a minimalistic trainer, it provides a thin layer of EVA foam in the midsole for great energy feedback and shock absorption.
If you are in the market for a great mid-cut trainer that is built like a tank, these Adidas shoes are a great choice. It offers excellent flexibility for snappy movements, yet still boasts supportive features to protect your joints while keeping you in tune with the ground beneath your feet.
5. Mooto TKD
240g avg. weight for pair
Can stick on mats
These shoes are lightweight, flexible, and perfect for the minimalist athlete; that is if you think the Ringstar Fight Pro’s are too flashy. On the outside they look like regular shoes but don’t be fooled, they’re made for kicking and balance.
If you want to get rid of the laces and Velcro altogether, go with the Mooto’s. Their design is made for snugly fitting your feet to ensure you can stay on your feet during training and fighting.
Mooto knows that safety is #1 and kept that in mind when building their competition shoes. The tongue is made from a spandex textile to stretch and fit perfectly in place once on.
These TKD shoes have a 30-degree angle at the forefoot for increased balance to make bopping around easier.
6. Adidas Adi-Kick 2
Pivot point rubber outsole
What users love most about the Adi-Kick 2 is that it is composed of tough materials that hold up quite well over the years, and it boasts a lightweight frame that provides a little extra protection and stability in all of the right places.
Plus, the PU leather outsole is a cinch to wipe down when needed to keep them looking like new for years to come.
One of the most notable features of this design is that it boasts an exterior shell that is composed of durable synthetic leather that is a cinch to clean. It also providers users with a little extra padding along the collar for added protection without hindering your full range of motion.
This design also provides users with a smart rubber outsole to keep their movements light and snappy. It is built with internal pivot points that make quick turns sharper without hindering your full range of motion. We love this design because it won’t weigh you down with thick and heavy materials, but boasts slight padding to protect and comfort your feet while training.
If you are in the market for something that is incredibly durable and made from high-end materials that provide ample protection without hindering your full range of motion, this design is a great choice. The best part? It comes in at a super affordable price point that won’t break the bank.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Purchasing footwear for this contact sport requires a bit more research than running or basketball where you have a wide selection of options, and you can choose the model that fits and works for you best.
Kickboxing can be taught in local boxing clubs, martial arts schools, but there are also classes offered at regular gyms, so the flooring may differ greatly. There’s a number of people who even prefer to do it barefoot, as this reduces weight (and thus fatigue), and lowers the risk of injuring your sparring partner.
But, if you’ll be working out at a gym, you’ll definitely need some sort of footwear. The outsole on said shoes needs to provide you with adequate grip in order to allow you to do all the moves without losing your footing and risking injury.
The best way to go is rubber, preferably non-marking, that won’t damage the floors and leave marks. You won’t need a thick outsole, as it would only weigh you down, and the best thing to go with is a minimal drop so that your natural balance is not impacted.
There are several ways in which kickboxing, whether done as cardio exercise or in full-contact combat mode, can be hard on the body.
Not only does it require precision, strength and flexibility, but it also includes a lot of bouncing, jumping and movement in all directions. Your designated shoes need to allow for all of this but still ensure optimal protection. There are several ways in which this protection will be ensured.
Like most sports, kickboxing requires footwear that combines durability and protection, while remaining as lightweight as possible.
Unlike in running footwear, you don’t need too much of a midsole or a thick outsole to protect you from pavement and pebbles, so this makes it a bit easier to make your choice, but there are other factors that can influence weight as well.
The upper in these shoes will often be made with leather, which is a great material in terms of comfortability and durability. Its downside, however, is reflected in the fact that it can often weigh a lot, and may lack breathability.
Synthetic is a more lightweight alternative, but it will often lock moisture in, leading to bad odors, as well as moisture retention that may cause foot health problems.
A great way to combine the durability of these materials with lightweight breathability is to look for breathable mesh inserts that’ll allow hot air and sweat to escape the shoe, while still allowing you to be protected in key areas. Shoes made entirely out of mesh, however, can be expected to last shorter, as it’s a thin material that doesn’t stand up to wear and tear.
In terms of durability, how you treat your footwear can greatly contribute to a happy-wearing experience. It’s important that you properly maintain, clean and dry your shoes after every wear, especially if you don’t wear socks.
Air your sneakers our after every use and clean the insoles every couple of months to prevent bacterial and fungal overgrowth.
You may want to consider the type of support that’s offered by the model you chose.
If you’re planning on joining a cardio class, you’re most likely to train in regular sneakers, which will often allow for custom insoles and personalized levels of support that are required by those with low arches, flat feet, as well as pronation issues.
If possible, go with a model that has a removable insole, which will allow you to insert your own orthotics. A good amount of arch support can correct overpronation, which, in turn, properly aligns your feet and prevents shock from negatively influencing your ankles, knees, hips and back.
Additionally, this will make cleaning your footwear easier, giving you the option of changing the insoles every three months, as is recommended by podiatrists.
Other areas to look for support include the heel, which, just like in any other activity, needs to be securely locked into place, preventing unwanted movement that might cause an Achilles injury, or blistering.
Furthermore, a secure closure can greatly contribute to how a pair of shoes perform, and always ensure that your laces are tied well and tucked away.
The midsole is designed to provide cushioning and shock absorption to the shoe, nestling the foot in comfort.
Whereas running shoes tend to have thick midsoles, flats and thinner shoes not designed for high-impact activities often have thinner midsoles.
The reason for this is simple: you need more shock absorption and vibration dampening during high-intensity movements or activities to maintain comfort and prevent foot injury than you otherwise would with a regular shoe, flat or sandal.
Midsoles are often made from EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate), a synthetic plastic also used to make insertable orthotics. A firmer type of EVA for the midsole will make the shoe heavier, but more durable; whereas a softer type of EVA, like those found in running shoes, improves shock absorption, but wear much quicker.
Podiatrists tend to prefer firmer midsoles for those suffering from orthopedic conditions, such as plantar fasciitis. A higher score on the “midsole” criteria means that the midsole is of a firmer nature. Whether or not this is beneficial for you depends on your foot type and orthopedic issues!
Expert Interviews & Opinions
There are plenty of ways to get started in the sport, many of which involve taking a few lessons at the local gym. Your desired level of competition can dictate what kind of classes you take, whether it be just for fitness, or for the final goal of competing in a ring.
First and foremost though, make sure you get the proper instruction on kicks, stances, and hitting the bag if you plan to make the sport a passion!
Your footwear is to protect you from cuts, scrapes, even broken toes during training times, especially if you're more advanced with the sport. While not always a recommended thing to do, sometimes it's good to feel contact barefoot with the bag or ground.
If you plan on going barefoot, just remember to lessen the power with which you kick, so you can avoid accidental injuries, bruises, or worse!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What features do I need in a kickboxing shoe?
Above all else, be sure that you select a design that is lightweight and able to move. For kickboxing, you need to be in tune with the ground beneath your feet, so trainers with heavy and bulky midsoles just won’t do. You also need to ensure that the rubber outsole is free of heavy lugs to keep your movements snappy.
Be sure to take a look at the weight of the shoe. With many other sports, the weight boils down to a matter of personal preference. However, kickboxers need to keep their feet to stay light and snappy, which is why weight is so incredibly important.
q: Why can’t I just wear my running shoes?
While you may be tempted to don your old and reliable running shoes, they aren’t ideal for kickboxing. For kickboxing, you need trainers that are lightweight and boast simple and leg-free outsoles for quick and snappy movements.
Overall, even the lightest running shoes may prove to be just too heavy for effective kickboxing.
q: How do you clean shin guards?
If you want to prevent any kind of smell in your shin guards, it is recommended to wash right after you get home from the gym. Otherwise, they’re more likely to absorb your sweat and emanate the odor later, once it’s dried into the fibers.
q: What are the benefits of a high-cut and low-cut design?
Before you take the plunge on a new pair of shoes, take into consideration what features are most important to you. High-cut designs help to lock your ankles in place to give them extra support and prevent you from rolling an ankle. The downside to these designs is that you won’t have a full range of motion.
Low-cut designs fall below your ankle and provide wearers with a full range of motion in all parts of their foot. While these designs are great for speed and quick footwork, you are a little less stable than when wearing high-cut designs.
q: Why do most fighters go barefoot?
The simplest answer is that no one wants to be rolling around on dirty mats from people’s shoes. The more complex answer would be that wearing shoes or anything on your feet can prevent the development of your muscles and affect your performance.
Without shoes, you have more control of yourself and can feel whether you’re doing things right or not by the grip you have on the mat. Footwear can be more of a hindrance than a help.
q: Can I still train if I have past injuries?
Of course, you can. That’s exactly why there are braces and supports. That way, you can train and participate in kickboxing without worry that you will re-injure yourself in the same place.
Don’t let anything get in the way of being healthy and exercising. Kickboxing is a great way to stay in shape and can be done safely.
q: What's the difference between kickboxing and cardio kickboxing?
Cardio kickboxing is more like an aerobic workout, rather than regular kickboxing which is a contact sport. If you’re looking to just get in shape, people recommend cardio because it focuses more on the fitness aspect.
Now, if you want to actually learn how to fight, then go with regular kickboxing, because it focuses on form and properly teaches how to kick, strike, and block.
q: Where can I buy kickboxing shoes?
It’s important that you are able to try on your shoes before you buy them. The good news is that most sporting goods stores have a section specifically for these styles of shoes. If you don’t have a sporting goods store near you, you can also buy them online.
Be sure that you measure your feet and compare your measurements to the sizing chart provided by the manufacturer.
These styles are built a little bit different than standard shoes, so you may be a size smaller or larger than your average pair of trainers.