There are quite a few elements that have to come together to make a quality pair of boxing shoes. Traction and support are two of the most important factors to focus on. There are a lot of others as well, which we’ll be going over in this article. And just to clear things up, boxing shoes are different from wrestling shoes. Although they may look very similar, boxing shoes have a bit more traction than wrestling shoes. However, that’s not to say you can’t wear wrestling shoes while boxing. They’ll work just fine although more seasoned boxers might want some better shoes when it comes time for serious business. But for those who are having a hard time finding boxing shoes, wrestling shoes will work in a pinch. To each their own, but with that said, let’s learn how to choose boxing shoes today!
How to Choose Boxing Shoes
Focus on Traction First
The most important factor to consider when choosing boxing shoes is its level of traction. Boxing shoes should have sufficient grip on your feet so you don’t slip and slide around. But, you don’t want too much grip to the point that it impedes on your ability to pivot on your foot. You should be able to maneuver in boxing shoes comfortably and with control. So, when learning how to choose boxing shoes, look for soles that are neither too thick nor too thin. You’ll also want to try them out in person and make sure they allow comfortable movement. You’ll also want to try out a variety of movements, whether it’s moving forward, backward, side to side, pivoting, or staying on your toes. You don’t want to be worrying about a shoe’s grip while wearing them, so make sure they feel solid and secure on your feet.
Mid-Tops vs High-Tops
The two most popular cut lengths–mid-tops and high-tops–each has its own pros and cons. What you’ll need will depend on your preferences. Mid-tops offer greater mobility at the cost of ankle support. Most mid-tops will sit right around your ankle, some below the ankle, and some a little above. High-tops have more ankle and lateral support but may restrict movement. That’s because high-tops cover the ankle but offer that feeling of security. So, those who are prone to ankle sprains and injuries should definitely opt for more ankle support.
How to Size Boxing Shoes
- Try on shoes in person (or make sure you can make free returns if you order online!)
- Start with your regular shoe size and go down half a size if you can
- Boxing shoes should be narrow and tight-fitting (more lateral support and foot control)
- There should be no rubbing, irritation, or pain. Heel should be locked down
- Move forward, backward, and side-to-side in them to make sure they are comfortable
- Walk, run, pivot, and bend in them to make sure they feel comfortable when moving dynamically
- Boxing shoes should fit snugly width-wise; your feet should not be able to move inside
Other Essential Criteria
Besides traction, cut length, and proper sizing, here are a few other elements to consider when learning how to choose boxing shoes.
- Weight – The lighter a pair of boxing shoes, the more agile you’ll be. Lightweight materials such as mesh keep sweat out well, keeping you light.
- Breathability – Most boxing shoes are either suede, leather, synthetic leather, or mesh. Mesh is extremely breathable, while suede and leather are also breathable but less so than mesh.
- Closure System – Most boxing shoes use laces for adjusting tension, although zippers and velcro are available too. However, laces allow the most customization in tension while velcro and zippers are quick to adjust.
- Material – As we’ve mentioned, most boxing shoes are either suede, leather, synthetics, or mesh. How tough a material is will help to increase its durability and support as well.
- Support – Lateral and ankle support are crucial for feeling stable on your feet. Although ankle support is largely dependent on whether a pair of shoes cover the ankles, lateral support can be found in a pair of shoes that fit you snug width-wise. If you are prone to ankle injuries, find a pair of shoes that focuses on ankle and lateral support.
- Budget – Top tier boxing shoes can easily run over $100, but do you really need expensive shoes yet? Save the more expensive shoes when you’re in need of performance, but cheaper boxing shoes have a nice balance of quality, comfort, and affordability.
- Durability – Generally, full-grain leather is the most durable followed by suede, synthetics, and finally mesh.
*** Tips on How to Choose Boxing Shoes ***
- Understand the various parts of a boxing shoe first
- Go for mid-tops if you value mobility over ankle support
- Choose high-tops if you want more ankle/lateral support or are prone to ankle injuries
- Mesh is an incredibly breathable material. Find shoes that have mesh if your feet overheat quickly
- Boxing shoes should have just the right amount of grip. Enough so that you don’t slip, slide, or trip but not too much that you can’t pivot on the ball of your foot
- Most shoes use laces, although some have zippers and straps which are quicker to adjust
- Spending more money doesn’t mean you’ll always get a more durable shoes. Oftentimes, more expensive shoes means better performance at the cost of durability. However, you don’t want to spend too little as very cheap shoes are oftentimes not high-quality
- Your heel should feel locked down and your feet should fit width-wise
- Boxing shoes should be tighter and narrower than your street shoes
- Soles can come in different thicknesses. A thicker sole is heavier but more stable, while thinner soles are lighter and more agile