BOXING BOOTS – YES OR NO

Do you need boxing shoes for your boxing training or just for a bout?

You have just started boxing for fitness at the local boxing gym and you are loving it, love the training, love the environment and they are a great bunch of guys and girls that you train with. You have been using the gloves out of the box, the one that most gyms have in the corner where that has some of the original gloves the gym started with and the gloves that people have left there by mistake or have been retired after they reached their use by date. They are usually smelly, dirty and should not be used without wraps or inners, to protect your hands from the nasties that may lurk inside the gloves.

Buying new equipment every time you take up a new sport can cost quite a lot and it's tempting to skimp on items such as specialized boxing gloves and boxing shoes at least until you're sure you're going to enjoy the sport. You could start with a budget pair of boxing gloves and by wearing you gym shoes or sneakers during training.

Wearing boxing boots during training is not essential if you are training for fitness and conditioning but if you want to take it to the next level with your footwork, partner work and eventually sparring, boxing shoes are an essential part of you boxing kit and will help your boxing footwork skills improve.

Boxing shoes are used to help you move more quickly, safely and smoothly, they should feel like a second skin, but with support and should feel like you're not wearing shoes at all.

Boxing shoes need to weigh a lot less than most athletic shoes, Boxers need to stay lightly on their feet for up to 12 x 3 minute rounds of high intensity boxing, changing direction and moving constantly, so any extra weigh on a boxer feet is unwelcome and will slow a boxers legs which will make the punches slower over the duration of a long bout.

Design

Boxing shoes are design are quite different from you standard gym shoes, the soles are narrow and should not protruded outside line of the boots upper material, this is so if your foot lands on a slight angle on the ground there is less chance of the sole edge gripping the ground and causing you ankle to roll causing an injury.

 The toe area, usually is inside or wraps up over the toe area this is to stop the toe area of the sole from peeling back with use, one of the reasons for this is that most boxers tend to drag the rear foot to a degree and it is the toe area of the boot that tends to take the extra wear. If a pair of boots is ever brought back with a sole faulty, having a slight peel I can usually tell if the boxer is an orthodox boxer or a southpaw boxer, because it is always the rear boot that has a fault.

So having the sole glued on the inside of the outer material at the front of the boot will help stop this problem, Adidas boxing boots does this very well.

Boxing boots need to have a sole that is solid with grip but without slowing movement, the shoes soles have two main purposes, allow the boxer to move fast in any direction and change direction instantly without slipping.

Traction

Most boxing shoes have a thin gum style rubber sole that is very light which give you great traction without holding you too firmly to the ground, the soles tread is usually designed with very small thin and slightly raised lines of gum rubber material boxing shoes may not have a built-in arch, like many athletic shoes.

Support

Boxing boots come in both high-top, mid-top and low-top versions. The high-top shoes may provide a little extra support and protection to your ankle. Some boxers prefer the low-top shoes for workouts, as they are easier to get on and are even lighter than high tops. The amount of support the some boots actually give to the ankles is debatable, modern boxing boots which are made from almost 90% thin light weight breathable nylon material to allow for complete breathability and coolness. This material above the ankle offers very little support to a boxer’s ankle. Up until the 1980s boxing boots used to mainly be made from leather both the upper of the boot and even the sole was leather, which did offer a higher degree of ankle support, but they are very hard to find these days.

Breathability

As mentioned above modern boxing shoes allow sweat to evaporate from the feet because they have

Sizing

In general, men’s boxing shoes are sized similarly to regular gym shoes, although they tend to feel slightly smaller because they are made narrower than running or gym shoes and sometimes ordering half a size up work for correct sizing. I don’t know of any manufacturers that have different sizing for women’s boxing shoes in fact if you are a woman looking for boxing shoe’s you will have to order a men size, the best way to order is to use Europe sizing and convert it to US sizing because all major manufacturers are using US, UK or EU sizing. It is always advisable to go a boxing equipment specialist that has a bricks and mortar shop that you can sit down and try them on the shoe before purchasing it. If you cannot visit a store order them from a local store where you can return them and exchange them without too much postage.

Pricing

The pricing of boxing shoes is usually set in Australia at price points that retailers feel will be best for sale $149, $199 and $249 are the most common price points, the difference between the prices of the boots will be slight in the $149 to $199 but usually look better but the difference between the $149 and $249 can be quite a lot. For example the Nike Machomai and the Nike HyperKo is quite a lot, starting with a thicker more supportive upper material, strands of fly wire running through the extra layers or reinforcement and a strap and extra material over the ball of the foot which I do believe may help to deliver the boxer power through to the punch.  

While your boxing gloves are the most important piece of boxing equipment, the shoes that you choose will have an influence on your speed and agility in the ring. Boxing shoes are a must if you plan on boxing competition or competitive sparring. I would say though, I would never run in boxing boots, avoid skipping on hard surfaces as they do not have any support of shock absorbing material in the soles so, older knees and shins will not like the constant shock.

Boxing boots are made as light as possible to give a boxer any advantage he can get in a bout, this being said they are not made to last under heavy work load and I would keep them in good condition by only using them for sparring or competition. So if you are just punching a bag and doing a bit of pad work then there is no need for boxing boots but if you are sparring and are planning to fight, yes you should definitely use boxing boots for your sparring and bouts.

 

Written by Richard Davis owner at Ringsport and head coach at Premier boxing club