The only necessary piece of equipment that you'll need is a good pair of shoes. However, not every pair of shoes will do. Support and impact cushioning must be the primary consideration with any shoe. Most of our landings are on asphalt (very hard) and sidewalk concrete (even harder). Stress fractures can develop very quickly without the proper landing technique and impact cushioning.

Since I started training Parkour, I've gone through a lot of shoes. I've got a bit of a shoe graveyard now including 3 pairs of Ariakes, 1 pair of Lite Mesh Ariakes, 1 pair of Inov-8s, and 1 pair of FiveTens. They all have their strengths and weaknesses.

FiveTen FreeRunner
(worn smooth)


KSwiss Ariake



Inov-8 F-Lite 311


Feiyue Low

While the FiveTen Freerunner is clearly the most durable and robust of the shoes I've used, the stealth rubber is only useful on brick/stone/concrete surfaces. They're quite slippery on every railing I've stood on, with the notable exception of a sand-blasted handrail prepared for painting. I enjoy this shoe for street training, but avoid precision landings onto rails. I found that the traction improved greatly after the circle tread wore off smooth.

The KSwiss Ariake had two major design flaws: the plastic lacing system and the toe top folds. I solved the lacing system problem by running the shoe laces in parallel instead of traditional criss-cross fashion. This distributed the pull evenly instead of focusing it at the corner of the plastic loops and eventually causing breakage. I solved the toe fold problem by dipping the entire toe of the shoe into Plasti-Dip. This prevented toe tearing and made my Ariakes incredibly robust. I still enjoy these shoes from time to time as they have served me well for years. Unfortunately, they have been discontinued and their replacement comes with a 50% price hike!

The Inov-8 F-Lite 311 seems to have the best grip on any surface, including the most difficult I've experienced: painted metal playground poles. This was my first minimalist shoe and it took me a while to get used to it. I had worn the Ariake for so long that I had to improve my landings significantly when I switched to the Inov-8. I also noticed that their grip improved greatly after a bit of wear. They're virtually smooth now, much like the FiveTens.

Recently, the Parkour community has embraced the Feiyue Martial Arts shoe. I've heard it has superior grip on railings as it is a minimalist and very flexible shoe. Best of all, you can't beat the price! While KSwiss raised the bar to $150 for the 2nd Gen Ariake and FiveTen and Inov-8 inched their prices up to "match", the Feiyue's cost between $15 and $20. I can't wait to try them out!

In terms of clothing, I prefer loose-fitting pants which allow my legs to move without restriction. Poly/Cotton Ripstop BDU Pants are light-weight, durable, and affordable. When I started training Parkour, these were available on the internet for less than $20!!! As I practice my rolls repetitiously on roads and sidewalks, I find these pants hold up very well. The waistband is adjustable which allows for good sizing. Safety pin or hand stitch the waist tabs to keep them from loosening up.