How To Pick The Best Shoes For Boxing & Kickboxing Workouts

How To Pick The Best Shoes For Boxing & Kickboxing Workouts

Shoes can help or hurt your training. FightCamp Trainers Aaron Swenson and Coach PJ break down the best shoe options for your boxing and kickboxing workouts.

Published: November 3, 2021

Topics: Reviews, Boxing Equipment

Author: Aaron Swenson

You have options when it comes to choosing shoes for your boxing and kickboxing workouts. So if you are just starting to train and you don’t have boxing or wrestling shoes in your gym bag, don’t let it stop you from crushing your workout!

That said, it’s important to have shoes that are effective for training and keep you safe from injury. Boxing and kickboxing both require a lot of pivoting and twisting on your feet, so you need shoes that won’t hold you back from moving in proper form. FightCamp Trainers Aaron Swenson and Coach PJ break down what to look for in shoes for boxing and kickboxing.

What are the Best Shoes for Boxing and Kickboxing?

Here are the general options you have for boxing and kickboxing shoes:

Boxing Shoes

  • Boxing shoes

  • Minimalist shoes

  • Training shoes (back-up)

  • Running shoes (back-up)

Kickboxing Shoes

  • Barefoot

  • Barefoot with shin guards

  • Taekwondo shoes

  • Minimalist shoes

What Are Boxing Shoes?

Boxing Shoes

Most boxing shoes generally have two (2) signature features:

  • A higher supportive ankle

  • A good base for rotating and turn off the heel and toe

Not all boxing shoes are created equal, but good boxing shoes are worth the investment. Check out more on what to look for in boxing shoes if you’re ready to level up your workout gear.

Running Shoes – Boxing (Back-Up)

Running Shoes

Coach PJ did a great comparison on boxing shoes versus running shoes. He explains that running shoes don’t get a lot of use in the boxing gym for two (2) main reasons:

  • They have a lot of padding on the bottom

  • They don’t offer a lot of ankle support

Running shoes are usually made for running in a straight line, not for pivoting and turning. In Coach PJ’s opinion, running shoes should be the last option you choose, but if they are all you have available, use them.

Training Shoes – Boxing (Back-Up)

Training Shoes

Training shoes are another option to consider for boxing shoes, but not necessarily the best one. Coach PJ and Aaron both do CrossFit, so they have training shoes specifically for lifting that they don’t use for boxing or kickboxing.

Training shoes are designed to help you produce power and work on lifts, but not to transfer power by twisting or rotating. Again, if they are all you have, use them.

Minimalist Shoes – Boxing & Kickboxing

Minimalist Shoes

If you don’t have specific boxing shoes, Aaron says that any shoes without a lot of cushion on the soles are recommended for both boxing and kickboxing. Minimalist shoes are ideal because they:

  • Allow for more movement

  • Strengthen your feet

Be cautious of cross training shoes with a lot of cushioning on the soles. These can feel awkward and increase your risk of twisting an ankle.

*From Aaron’s reading list: The book ‘Born to Run’ chronicles some of the best long-distance runners in the world, many who train barefoot to strengthen their feet. This is the same philosophy behind going barefoot for kickboxing or using a more minimalist shoe for both boxing and kickboxing training.

Barefoot - Kickboxing


You generally kickbox barefoot. You don’t wear any shoes because when you pivot and kick you don’t want a lot of grip. Too much grip can cause injury to your knees.

Aaron explains that it is common to feel some soreness after kickboxing barefoot because it takes time to condition the muscles and bones. His tip is to get a pair of shin guards.

Shin Guards – Kickboxing

Kickboxing Shin Guards

We know that this isn't a shoe recommendation, rather a trainer tip for beginners...Aaron recommends getting a pair of thin kickboxing shin guards to start with conditioning. At first, hit the heavy bag lightly to allow your bones to calcify and get stronger. Slowly but surely, you’ll be able to “blast those kicks with bad intentions,” as Aaron says.

Taekwondo Shoes – Kickboxing

Taekwondo Shoes

Image Credit:

Kickboxers can also wear Taekwondo shoes for training. Aaron recommends Adidas, which makes a very light, minimalistic Taekwondo shoe.

If you are ready to start boxing but don’t have boxing shoes, or if you want to start kickboxing but aren’t ready to go barefoot, you do have options! What is most important is to have shoes that allow for free range of movement and aren’t too clunky in the sole. In kickboxing you want to be able to rotate and kick without any restrictions around your ankle or a lot of grip for the soles of your feet. Whereas in boxing, ankle protection is especially important for boxers to avoid injury as you move around.

For more expert tips on all your boxing and kickboxing gear, check out more of FightCamp’s blog articles on boxing equipment. Head over to FightCamp’s YouTube Channel for even more advice as well as workout videos for boxers and kickboxers of all levels. Get started on your at-home boxing and kickboxing journey today!

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Aaron Swenson

Aaron “Speedy” Swenson began in his family’s Chicago dojo. By 2013, Aaron had two National Kickboxing titles & a USA National Kickboxing Team spot. Aaron is a Founding Coach at FightCamp & USA Boxing Coach certified.

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