1The ongoing debate about whether it is better to train with shoes or barefoot has been going on for years. Of course many traditional martial arts have always insisted on it’s students training barefoot and certainly they are not permitted in the UFC octagon. However this is changing with martial arts like Tae Kwon Do and some forms of Karate allow practitioners to train with shoes. Though certainly part of this change is due to the development of specialized shoes made especially for practicing martial arts with big brand names like Adidas Taekwondo uniforms getting into the market.
Those arguing for the traditional way of training without footwear of course have several valuable points. Not only is it just about tradition, which probably also has something to do with the values of respect taught in traditional Dojos but also several practical reasons. Training barefoot can greatly increase your foot strength.
In turn it has been proven that having strong feet improves core strength and can enable you to lift more weight. Additionally of course there are obvious concerns with having shoes in competition. This would cause a number of problems for Ultimate Fighting Championships bouts, not only limiting some locks and potential submissions but increasing the damage of kicks which would likely result in further regulatory restrictions. Then there would be more difficulties for officials needing to check footwear for regulatory compliance or cheating. Imagine someone sneaking on some steel toe caps the the octagon!
However those that prefer to train with shoes and even insist on it have some powerful arguments as well. Firstly hygiene is a big concern. If you have spent any length of time training in martial arts you have probably had someone in class with some seriously scary toe fungus or athletes foot, and who wants to catch that? Not only can if be transferred to your feet extremely easily, but grabbing someone’s sweaty foot or catching one to the face or mouth is anything but pleasant. Then there are those who argue that training with shoes just isn’t realistic. After all, how often are you walking down the street barefoot?
True self-defense and fight training that is meant for practical use should definitely be practiced as realistically as possible. Savate, the French kicking martial art even uses the fact that they always train with shoes as a way to differentiate themselves from other styles. The bottom line is that it is really a personal choice and both sides have great arguments. May be the best thing to do is train both ways?
Shoes of the Week: Adidas martial arts shoes
You can also follow The MMA Zone on Twitter here.