How to choose the best boxing boots
The best boxing boots are designed to provide specific benefits to the wearer, allowing maximum performance in the boxing ring. They have unique qualities compared to other types of training shoe that make them functional to boxing and boxing training.
Our guide will cover the features that distinguish them from other training shoes and answers some commonly asked questions relating to boxing boots and boxing training.
Features of boxing boots
What are the specific features designed to make boxing boots effective for boxing and boxing training?
They are built from lightweight material
Boxing boots weigh less than your average training shoe. They are light because that makes it easier to stay on the balls of the feet, to move around the ring swiftly and to change direction quickly. Ideally boxing boots should be so light it barely feels like you are wearing boots at all.
The most common materials used are lightweight leather or suede. These materials make them breathable, which is ideal as it stops sweat adding additional weight. Many pairs of boots also have areas that are constructed from forms of mesh covering. This makes them even lighter and more breathable.
Boxing boots do need to have thick soles to absorb impact like those for some other sports like tennis or basketball. They do not need thick uppers and tongue to protect the feet from impact such as in football boots. This further aids in keeping them light.
The soles are designed to provide grip whilst allowing you to pivot
The sole of a boxing boot will be slim and made from non-stick rubber. The thread on the sole will be designed to allow for grip when moving around the ring but also to make pivoting easy.
The surface of the ring is flat and smooth, it can also become covered in sweat after intense training or a fight. This makes the grip provided by boots key, as it’s not a surface that provides any traction itself. Non-stick rubber is a material that naturally provides grip.
Although it’s important that the boots hold against the ring surface, the grip must not prevent pivoting movements. A punch relies on body movements that include pivoting motions on both feet. This is where a key difference between boxing boots and other training shoes comes in. Although many other forms of training shoe have good grip, the tread on the sole does not have a specific design allowing pivoting movements, in fact it will normally prevent them.
Boxing boots will also provide greater flexibility in the sole between the balls of your feet and your toes. As a boxer will move around on the balls of the feet, this makes doing so easier. It also makes it easier to make the explosive movement that starts in the feet when a punch is thrown.
They provide support to the ankles (or not)
Boxing boots come in three heights:
High top boxing boots are constructed to cover the whole ankle up to the mid-shin. They provide the greatest amount of support to the ankle. Lacing the boots all the way up tightly holds the ankle and lower leg firmly together. This type of boot allows for the least amount of flexibility around the ankle joint. This flexibility allows for the small, jerky, side to side motions of a boxing stance. Therefore, while you gain with support you lose flexibility.
Low top boxing boots are made so that they cover the ankle but not the shin. They will provide greater ankle support then a normal pair of training shoes, but less support than the high top ones. They allow for greater flexibility around the ankle joint, giving a greater range of movement.
Mid top boxing boots unsurprisingly fall between the high and low top boots in terms of both support and flexibility of ankle joint. They are effectively a compromise between the two extremes.
The height of the best boxing boots for any individual comes down to personal preference and fighting style. A fighter that likes to move around the ring a lot using footwork to evade his opponent will often prefer mid or low tops. While a boxer who wants to fight in close and dominate the opponent may value high tops. However, this is not a hard and fast rule and much comes down to what each finds comfortable.
So, there we have it, the best boxing boots are designed with unique levels of comfort, manoeuvrability, support and grip aimed directly at providing functions required by the sport.
Some commonly asked questions:
Are any brands of boxing boot better than others?
It is very hard to define “better”. There are certainly differences between boxing boots, and the qualities outlined above vary from boot to boot. One person may place a greater emphasis on an individual element than another. Therefore, better, really is a case of personal preference in a lot of cases.
It is fair to say that the more expensive boots are usually made from higher quality materials, so they may be lighter, or more durable or even have better grip.
There is not really a brand that stands out as being consistently better than others. When choosing a pair of boots judge them by their qualities rather than the label on the box.
Do I need boxing boots to train as well as spar or fight?
It depends on the type of training that you are doing. If it’s specific boxing training recreating a fight such as sparring then wearing the boots you would wear in a fight is advisable. More general training it comes down to personal choice.
If you are road running for fitness then wearing running shoes is ok, probably even preferable as they are designed for the task in hand. If it’s drills like punch bag or sped ball then boxing boots are better as they are designed to allow you to make boxing specific movements such as pivoting.
Many fighters will have a pair of low top boots for training in the boxing gym where freedom of movement is more important than support. Then have another pair they use for sparring and fights that give that little more support.
Can you wear boxing boots outside?
It’s not illegal…! But not advisable. Boxing boots are designed to be worn indoors in a boxing ring. The material they are made from is breathable which lets air in and sweat out. Therefore, it will let water in if you wear them outside.
Why would someone be wearing them outside, probably to run in. They are not designed for running. The soles are designed to move around a ring, not pound concrete street. This means they will provide inadequate cushioning and ware out easily.
Outdoors they are likely to come into contact with dirt and grime. This will stick to the soles and damage the canvas of a boxing ring if you tread them into it.
Are boxing boots good for weight lifting?
Boxing boots are for boxing and boxing training, not weight lifting. The soles do not have much support for your arches and there is little to no padding. Simple cross fit trainers are a better option.
Are boxing boots worth the additional outlay?
An average pair of boxing boots range in price from £30 – £60. A really good pair may cost upwards of £100. We are not talking huge money here but it’s not insignificant either.
The answer to the question really lies in the intent of the person asking it. If you are just starting out and do not know if boxing will be a long-term thing then there is no harm in wearing trainers for the first few training sessions. If you are serious about boxing training then boxing boots are important.
You wouldn’t run a marathon in hiking boots, why would you not wear boxing boots to box?
Are wrestling boots okay for boxing?
Superficially boxing boots and wrestling boots look very similar. They are made of the same lightweight breathable materials. The design is very similar and looking at them from a distance you may not spot any difference.
The key thing that differs between them though is the construction of the sole. Wrestling boots are designed to grip on soft mats, whereas boxing boots are designed to grip on the canvas of a ring. Wrestling shoes will have firmer soles with less flex and more grip. This makes the pivoting movement of throwing a punch less efficient when wearing wrestling shoes.
Again, if you are just starting out boxing and have wrestling shoes there is no harm in wearing while you are making up your mind if boxing is for you. But once you decide you are serious about boxing then get the tools for the job. Even a cheap pair of boxing boots will be far better than any wresting shoe. It’s horses for courses.
Conclusion – the best boxing boots
Choosing the best boxing boots is a subjective decision. Each person will have a set of criteria that is unique to them. The key is too understand the options available and then choose the best boxing boots for you in relation to those factors.
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