Mixed martial arts has been called the fastest growing sport in the world. Because of the popularity in viewing the sport, it’s no wonder there’s been an increase in participants as well. Whether you are training to fight competitively or simply practicing mixed martial arts as a way to stay fit and active, you’ll want to use the right equipment, have an experienced trainer, and wear the proper footwear.
The Importance of Proper Footwear
Regardless of what sport you are playing, the design of the footwear you’re wearing is essential for success. Athletic shoes are designed especially for the movements anticipated in whatever sport they are made for. For example, a basketball shoe is markedly different from a running shoe. A running shoe will be designed to be lightweight and to facilitate forward movement only, while a basketball shoe will be designed side-to-side ankle support. When it comes to MMA, a boxing shoe is made for the quicker movements required in the sport, and increased ankle support allows for side-to-side movements. Additionally, boxing shoes are constructed from a lightweight material that allows sweat and heat to evaporate quickly so you can focus on your fight, not on your feet.
Shoe manufacturers hire engineers and designers to design shoes that will allow for proper movement, while simultaneously supporting the foot, and the rest of your body, and helping to prevent injuries. Unlike shoes designed for aesthetics alone, athletic shoes are made for performance in high stress environments. If there is one place where you spend money in your sports practice, it should absolutely be on proper footwear.
Choosing MMA Footwear
For MMA, you want a good boxing shoe. Keep in mind that you want a boxing shoe here, rather than a wrestling shoe. Boxing shoes and wrestling shoes may look similar, but there are significant differences that make wrestling shoes unsuitable for MMA fighting. Wrestling shoes are often made of synthetic materials, while good boxing shoes will be leather or suede, which provides more support for standing movement. The soles of wrestling shoes are rigid, allowing wrestlers to dig into the mat and hold their position. Boxing shoes are smoother, with texture for gripping with easy movement.
Finding Your Perfect Shoe
Boxing shoes range in price from approximately $75 to $150, so as far as athletic shoes go, they aren’t the most expensive by any means and you can easily find something in a reasonable price range. You’ll of course need to identify your own personal needs before you choose the proper shoes. For example, you may want to research a shoe with good arch support. The best way to find the perfect shoe for you, is to find a store that sells multiple styles and try them all on to see what feels best. If you don’t have a store near you that sells boxing footwear, order several pairs (make sure they are returnable!) and try them on at home.
Whether you are training at a specialized gym or in your own home, you’ll want to make sure you have the proper equipment. Since a foot or ankle injury can be detrimental to your MMA practice or any fitness routine, proper footwear is of the utmost importance. Be sure to do your research, ask any other MMA practitioners for their opinions, and compile all your research to choose the shoes that will work best for you.
Jess Walter is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets.