Best Kickboxing Shoes – 2021 Guide

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Ringside Diablo
Test Winner: Ringside Diablo
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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.

Standout Picks

Ringside Diablo
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.
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.
Century Lightfoot Martial Arts Shoes
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.
adidas Unisex-Adult Box Hog 3 Sneaker
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.
Mooto TKD
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.
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adidas Adi-Kick 2 Tae Kwon Do
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.
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Criteria Used for Evaluation

Outsole

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.

Protection

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.

  • Ankle Protection - First and foremost, if you have any preexisting conditions such as ankle injuries, you might want to train in shoes to provide your ankle with a higher level of stability. If the muscles in this area are not strong enough, a higher shaft may help with preventing sprains and twists, while still allowing you to keep your stamina at a high level.
  • Cushioning - As kickboxing involves a lot of bouncing on the balls of your feet, you may want to consider a layer of shock-absorbing material underfoot that’ll disperse the impact generated on every landing. Ideally, the cushioning will be located under the ball of the foot (unlike most running shoes where it’s concentrated on the heel). This can also help with reducing fatigue, both in the muscles as well as in the joints and back.
  • Lateral Stability - moving side to side requires footwear different from that made for forward movement, so a pair of footwear that hugs the midfoot and ensures a snug fit is crucial. When shopping, ensure your selected model isn’t too wide, as this will allow the feet to move inside the shoe, leading to unwanted injury risk.
  • Materials

    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.

    Support

    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.

    Midsole

    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!

    Top 6 Kickboxing Shoes

    1. Ringside Diablo

    Overall best

    Where to buy
    Ringside Diablo
    Ringside Diablo Boxing Shoes
    Amazon Link

    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

    Best traction

    Adidas Combat Speed 5
    Adidas Combat Speed 5
    adidas Men's Combat Speed.5
    Amazon Link

    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

    Lightest option

    Century Lightfoot Martial Arts Shoes
    Century Lightfoot Martial Arts Shoes
    Century Lightfoot Martial Arts Shoes
    Amazon Link

    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

    adidas Unisex-Adult Box Hog 3 Sneaker
    adidas Unisex-Adult Box Hog 3 Sneaker
    adidas Unisex-Adult Box Hog 3 Sneaker
    Amazon Link

    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

    Where to buy
    Amazon Link
    Mooto TKD
    Mooto Wings Korea TaeKwonDo Shoes TKD Competition
    Amazon Link

    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.

    Amazon Link

    6. Adidas Adi-Kick 2

    Where to buy
    Amazon Link
    adidas Adi-Kick 2 Tae Kwon Do
    adidas Adi-Kick 2 Tae Kwon Do
    adidas Adi-Kick 2 Tae Kwon Do
    Amazon Link

    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.

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