Best Fencing Shoes Reviewed and Rated
Having the right gear makes all the difference to your performance regardless of which sport you’re involved in. Apart from the gear that protects you from harm, footwear that you choose is just as important. Having the right footwear can make or break the game as it can improve things like stability, endurance, balance, and power. It also gives you the boost you need to be better in your sport. Having all this in mind, we have made a guide to the best fencing shoes, so check it out.
- ASICS GEL-Venture 4
- Gel Cushioning
- Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66
- ASICS Gel-Rocket 8
Apart from performance, many chiropractors say that good footwear is crucial as it affects your posture and your bone alignment. Constant stress on your feet without the proper footwear can lead to many foot problems that will continue to get worse if not treated properly. Playing a sport is considering high stress setting for your feet as you are not just walking around. Your feet are required to move and bend in certain ways that they do not normally need to. Because feet are an important part of human anatomy, it is beneficial to invest in a pair of shoes that will protect and support them. Without good shoes to support your feet, there may be a host of issues that will need your attention when you retire from your sport.
10 Best Fencing Shoes
1. ASICS GEL-Venture 4
Fencing is a sport that requires you to be light-footed. There are many leaps forwards and backward that put a strain on both your body and your shoe. The area that receives the most shock is usually the back of the foot. These Venture 4 shoes have a built-in cushioning system made of gel to absorb some of the shock. The cushion absorbs most of the shock which prevents injury and also decreases the transition time for you to bounce back and attack.
The Venture 4 has a rubber sole which gives fencers the extra bit of traction that they need. Along with the rubber sole, there are also ridges on the bottom that prevent slipping. In the sport of fencing, being able to stop and maneuver quickly is essential; which is something that this shoe can provide time and time again.
Cost and Value
This shoe is hugely popular because of the reasonable price. The Venture 4 has a price point that is easily affordable for beginners or experts alike. Although there are newer versions of this shoe, most athletes prefer this model because of the price. This shoe gets the job done on all levels of intensity and is reliable enough that it has made quite a name for itself.
- Absorbs shock using a Gel insert in the rear of the shoe
- Rubber sole that gives extra grip and traction on all types of terrain
- Mesh design to keep inside of shoe dry and free of condensation
- Well ventilated shoe to prevent mold and bacteria from growing inside
- Made of high quality synthetic material
- Requires more time to break the shoe in
2. Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66
Onitsuka Tiger shoes are very light. When picking them up, they are noticeably lighter compared to other fencing shoes. This gives athletes a very good advantage while competing as their movements can become faster. Because of how light they are, it also allows for swifter attacking and quicker recovery when changing stances. As fencing requires a lot of footwork and balance, these lightweight shoes will also decrease the amount of energy an athlete has to use, thus improving their endurance in a fight.
Shoes made by Onitsuka Tiger are very durable because of the material they use. Each pair is made with a mixture of synthetic material and leather which increases the bonds within the fiber. Not many shoe manufactures chose to use leather in a sports shoe, however, Onitsuka Tiger has created a recipe in which the synthetic material and the leather become perfect counterparts. These two types of materials compliment each other and make up for shortcomings that each single material on its own may have. As a result, the shoe that is created is built to be used and is not easily damaged.
Cost and Value
Depending on the design that you chose, the Onitsuka Tiger brand can run a bit expensive. For a basic pair, the cost is reasonable as these shoes will last longer than most other brands that you choose. These shoes can be considered as an investment as they will help win tournaments while protecting your feet from being hurt. They are reliable and made of a very high-quality material that other companies have not been able to replicate.
- Durable sole that can withstand constantly side to side movements from fencers
- Strong walls of the shoe that provide support for the ankle area
- Provides strong traction on wooden floors
- Deeper tread compared to other fencing shoes
- Flexible sole that provides more control
Run a little big
3. Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81
Flexibility is extremely important for any athlete. Having a flexible sole will offer extra control to an athlete. It can also decrease the amount of time needed for an athlete to change from an attacking or defending position. The flexibility of a sole will also determine how long a pair of shoes can last. The movements of a fencer put a lot of stress on the sole of a shoe. Having a flexible sole means that the sole can bend and adapt with the feet, thus preventing damage and cracks in the sole.
The Ultimate 81 comes with a built-in arch, which helps support your ankles and knees. Most shoes have a slight arch, however, the Ultimate 81 comes with a significantly higher arch. This arch helps realign the way you put pressure on your feet, preventing additional stress on joints throughout your body. The arch support also eliminates the need for any additional sole insert that may be bulky and uncomfortable.
Cost and Value
As with any Onitsuka Tiger branded shoes, the cost varies. The cost is dependent on the design you choose and if it is a limit edition or not. For a basic pair, these are great in value. Simply because these are genuinely shoes that not only aid your performance, but they protect your feet from injury or damage. The fact that these shoes are well known for their durability also adds to the value factor.
- Made of synthetic fabric and leather
- Provides extra arch support
- Grip support on all types of floor surfaces
- High quality and made to last
- Inner fabric can wear easily
4. Nike Shox NZ
The Shoz NX SL features a four-column heel support that absorbs more shock and impact than most shoes. The four columns are placed closely in the heel area to prevent a hard landing. The way the heel is designed is very beneficial as a fencer because it gives the foot more of a bounce, allowing for a quicker reaction time. The bounciness also helps prevent ankle injuries from hard landings as it supports the foot and keeps it in an upright position.
Nike has also added an extra cushion of support in the underlayer of the shoe. This is so that the bottom feels softer for the wearer and they don’t have to feel the hard rubber of the sole. The cushioning can also help improve the endurance of a fencing athlete. As fencers are always on their toes, having the extra padding throughout the entire shoe can help prevent the feet from tiring as easily. Another added feature the cushioning offers is increased durability of the shoe. The extra cushioning will take longer to wear through than your average shoe.
Cost and Value
Depending on the color and design, Nike shoes can vary in terms of pricing. Overall, the shoe has a fair price point. This is because Nike puts a lot of extra effort into the technology inside to create a good experience for any athlete that wears it. From the material that is used to finding new ways to help alleviate the stress on your feet, Nike shoes have many more benefits and features than what is advertised. The value which you receive from the shoe far surpasses the amount that you pay.
- Made of high quality mesh
- 4 column shock support
- More fitted design
- Good lateral stability
- May be on the heavy side
5. Nike Air Max Torch 4
With the exception of the rubber sole, the entire shoe is made of a high-quality mesh. The mesh is woven with carbon fiber into a honeycomb shape to improve flexibility and durability. The materials within the shoe are made to stretch so that it can withstand the movements an athlete is required to make in their sport. The ability for the fabric to stretch makes the shoe much more durable and prevents rips and breakage in the overall structure.
The Air Max Torch 4 has a lower design compared to other shoes. The top of the shoe is purposely designed so that it ends a few centimeters below your ankle. This is because many athletes are injured by their shoe when they are moving side to side. Shoes that have tops near the ankle tend to cause the person wearing to trip because they get in the way. The hard structure of the shoe is not quite enough to support the ankle fully and ends up hindering how quickly an ankle can rotate. Nike made a shoe specifically lower so that the ankle area is completely free of obstruction, allowing for complete control and stability.
Cost and Value
The price point of this shoe is very reasonable and allows easy access for beginners and experts alike. The synthetic fibers that are woven throughout the shoe add to the value of this shoe without adding to the price. There is also a reflective design painted onto the shoe so that it helps people see wearers in the darkness. There are many little things that were added to the shoe to greatly increase the value. Many people that purchase this shoe heavily promote the value of this shoe.
- Reflective for night use
- High quality mesh and synthetic material
- Extra mobility
- Good ventilation throughout the shoe
- Durable for everyday use
- Helps relieve joint stress
- Sizes tend to run smaller
6. ASICS Gel-Kahana 8
The ASICS brand has put a lot of research into the sole of the Kahana 8 shoe. Many brands worry and spend the most time improving the sole of their shoe. However, the Kahana 8 model focuses on the midsole. The midsole is often neglected, but the most important part of a running shoe. The Kahana 8 uses a material in their midsole that does not break down as easily as other shoes and that helps improve recovery rates in the user. The midsole also has an arch support that greatly improves stability, which is crucial for fencers.
The Kahana 8 is built for both the outdoors and indoors. The thick rubber sole of the shoe has ridges that work really well on all sorts of flooring. The ridges help prevent the wearer from sliding and gives a little bit of extra grip on the floor. There are also reversed blocks on the shoe that are known as lugs. The lugs designed on the Kahana 8 are in opposite directions, fanning out from the middle of the shoe. This allows for better traction climbing uphill and downhill but benefits any type of terrain.
Cost and Value
These shoes have an average price point that appeals to the general public. There are other shoes that are much more expensive but have the same functionality, hence many prefer to go with the Kahana 8. The Kahana 8 uses a synthetic material that can be costly to make, however, the benefits of this material are endless. One of the biggest benefits is that it strengthens the shoe and makes the shoe much more reliable and durable. As a result, you don’t need to purchase a new pair as often. The Kahana 8 is made to be used daily in all types of terrain so it can take quite a beating and is made to last!
- Indoor and outdoor use
- Dries quickly
- Traction on all types of terrain
- Great for hikes
- Takes time to break in
7. ASICS Gel-Rocket 8
Everything about the structure of the Rocket 8 is great. Firstly, the bottom of the shoe is made of a softer rubber sole that allows for the shoe to be more flexible on hard surfaces. The rubber also has a distinct pattern that works great for protecting against slipping and falls. Secondly, the gel cushion in the heel gives a better bounce back which relieves a lot of the stress on your joints and bones. Lastly, the back of the shoe is built with a higher lip, allowing for more support and stability to the back of your ankle.
The Rocket 8 is made to last. It is created with a synthetic material that makes the shoe tougher and stronger. The synthetic material is woven into all parts of the shoe and its only job is to prevent the fibers of other materials from breaking. A less likely to break shoe means that you can wear it for a longer time. Many users report that a pair strictly for indoor use can be worn for approximately three years on a day to day basis.
Cost and Value
These shoes have one of the best price points compared to other shoes. These shoes are one of the lower priced ones on the market but are one of the most reliable shoes. For many beginners that do not want to spend too much, this is the shoe for you. These shoes do the trick and will last for years to come. For others wanting to try something new, this would be a great recommendation as it will not break your bank. The amount of technology jam-packed into this lightweight shoe is incredible.
- Easy to break into
- Good heel and arch support
- Non-slip treads
- Extra padding to insulate the shoe
- Better suited for skinny feet
8. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34
This shoe was designed with comfort in mind. Although most athletes want their shoe to perform, comfort is also a very important factor. No one enjoys taking off a stinky and smelly shoe at the end of a long day. The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34 is made of a high-quality mesh known as flymesh. This mesh dries very quickly if your shoes accidentally get wet. But they also keep your feet cool and dry by having air constantly flowing through it. The positive air flow through your shoes helps prevent mold and odors from developing and staying inside the shoe.
A shoe that cannot support the person can cause lasting damages to the body. The most common injuries usually occur in your joints. This is caused by the jumping, leaping, and sudden stopping of momentum. These movements require a lot of shock absorption. If your shoe cannot do that, it will lead to inflammation and swelling of your joints. The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34 has a layer of premium foam built into the sole of the shoe. This makes the shoe feel extra squishy and softer when you walk on it. It is designed so that when there is some shock to your feet, the sole of the shoe will do its best to take away some of that shock.
Cost and Value
Like all Nike shoes, how much you pay depends on what design you chose. For a basic model of this shoe, it is quite affordable. These shoes have so many extra things added on to it the value of the shoe far passes the cost of the shoe. An additional feature of this shoe is that the shoelaces are designed to that they completely wrap the arch of your foot. This keeps your foot secure and in place, preventing any unnecessary injuries.
- Simple and stylish
- Extra padded insole
- Works on all surfaces
- Suitable for daily use
- High arch support
- May fit loose on skinny feet
9. Onitsuka Tiger Serrano
The Serrano shoes are one of the lightest shoes in the entire Onitsuka brand. They were meant for people wearing them to feel like they weren’t wearing them at all. Compared to other shoes, the Serranos are much lighter due to the sole being made of a thin rubber. The rubber that was used for the shoe is a type of synthetic material that removes a lot of the overall weight of the bottom sole. As a result, it is one of the lightest fencing shoes on the market.
The Serrano’s have an incredibly good grip on smooth flooring. The treads on the sole of the shoes have a type of pattern that almost creates a light suction on indoor floors. The grip on the rubber sole of the shoe is so strong that users often feel like they are walking on concrete despite actually being on a slippery surface such as wood or tiling. Good traction on a shoe is important as it allows users to have more control over the shoe. Without the grip and traction, the shoe becomes much more slippery, allowing for accidents and unwanted injuries.
Cost and Value
The Serrano’s are more costly than other shoes. But you are getting good value due to the extra boost in performance it can give you. The lightweight of the shoe means that you’re not using as much energy thus building endurance. It will also allow for your feet to move faster and decrease your bounce back time from an attack. For a sport such as fencing, it is important to stay as light on your feet as possible.
- Retro Design
- Made from quality material
- Strong grip and traction
- Comfortable insole
- Not suited to be used outdoors
10. Onitsuka Tiger Colorado 85
In the sport of fencing, there is a lot of back and forth movement. It is super important that a shoe is able to withstand the constant moving and support the heel of a user. Apart from just using materials to support the shoe inside, the Colorado Eighty-five Mt. Samsara has a thick piece of rubber that sits right above the rubber sole on the outside. This piece of rubber makes a huge difference for an athlete as the stiffness will help support the heel better and prevent competitors from losing their footing. The rubber piece also acts as extra reinforcing so that the shoe does not break as easily and is more durable.
The Colorado Eighty-five Mt. Samsara is a shoe that will really perform during a fencing competition. This is because of the way the treads of their bottom sole is designed. Unlike other shoes, the bottom of the shoe is split into two different sections, the outer sole tread, and the inside sole tread. The outer tread is made of lines of varying depth. The different depth of each line means that even if the ground was uneven, different parts of the shoe would still be able to grip the floor and allow users to stay upright. The inner tread is comprised of hexagon shapes in different clusters. The clusters are great as they work similar to minicolumns of support, so when a fencer uses side to side movements, the clusters grip the floor and prevent slipping.
Cost and Value
The price point on the Colorado Eighty-five Mt. Samsara is a little more expensive compared to other shoes. But between the design and features, it is well worth its value. Despite the assumption that having a piece of rubber on the outside of the shoe would look really odd, the Onitsuka Tiger brand has managed to incorporate the piece of rubber into the design so that it is subtle and barely noticeable. It is also a shoe that will be easily mistaken to be just a fashionable shoe as it looks quite nice. However, the performance of these shoes will give any opponent a great shock.
- Durable and reliable
- Reconstructed Stiffer heel
- Fashionable design
- Good Traction
- Accurate Sizing
Fencing is a type of sport that is incredibly taxing on your body and on your shoes. It is important to find a pair of shoes that will perform for you during a competition, while also ensuring they protect your feet as much as possible. Because fencing typically occurs inside, many other types of shoes can be easily converted and used for fencing. Similarly, when it is time to retire a pair of shoes from competitive fencing, the shoes can also be used for casual use at the gym or on outings. Because shoes for fencing are so versatile, you are almost always getting more value then what you are paying for. Many aesthetically pleasing shoes will run a little more expensive, but it is entirely up to the user in terms of how stylish they want their fencing shoes to look. Regardless of the cost, it is important to look for a pair of shoes that will be comfortable and will protect your feet.
Criteria Used To Evaluate Best Fencing Shoes
The midsole can be considered the heart and soul of a fencing shoe. Many people do not realize that when they try and shoe and the shoe “feels” right, it is actually because of the midsole. As the name states, the midsole is the part that is between the inserts that your feet touch inside the shoe and where the rubber meets the ground. It is usually comprised of a thick layer of foam and is meant to be cushioning against impact. Depending on the quality of the foam and the amount that is placed in the midsole layer, it will also affect your rebound time.
There is a common misconception that the rubber sole of the shoe is what protects your feet against sharp objects and dangerous items on the floor. While the rubber does prevent penetration of the object, the midsole is actually what prevents you from feeling those things when you’re wearing the shoe.
There are two types of foam that usually go into the midsole, it is safe to say that most large brands use one or the other type in their midsole. EVA is the most shoe brands “go to” material when looking to build a new shoe. This is because the foam is very light and extremely flexible. The flexibility is important to have as it will improve the durability and lifespan of the shoe. Over time, the constant use of the shoe will cause the EVA foam to flatten and lose its integrity. This is because EVA is a foam that contains a lot of gas bubbles. With each landing, the gas bubbles deflate to absorb the landing and inflate again when the pressure is released. Over time the foam loses its ability to stretch and rebound and users will feel the shoe feeling flat.
The other midsole material that manufacturers use is known as PU (polyurethane). This material is much denser which can be translated into a heavier shoe. The idea of the foam is the same as EVA where the foam uses compressed gas bubbles, the only difference is PU is a stiffer type of foam, which means it takes longer to compress and rebound. The benefit of a stiffer foam is that it can withstand a lot more stress and impact compared to EVA foam.
Most manufacturers try to incorporate both foams while making new models of shoes. This is so that they can have the benefit of both foams. When it comes to trying to figure out which one is better, it is really up to preference and the feel of the shoe. Whatever is more comfortable is whichever that is more suited to your feet.
An extremely important factor for fencing is how much grip and traction there is when they are being used. Typically, a fencing battle will occur in gyms and places with a wooden floor. Compared to a typical shoe, it is important that the treads are designed for more traction and grip. A shoe with a normal tread will be a little slippery and made not be as reactive on a wooden floor. The movement of fencers also makes a difference in terms of which shoe to get. There are many different types of treads for shoes, the key is picking the right one.
Most shoe treads are classified into three different categories; Road, trail, and terrain. Road shoes are usually the most versatile of the bunch and can be used for many different options. In comparison to the other shoes, the treads on the bottom of these shoes are not very deep.
Shoes that are specialized for terrain and trails have a much deeper tread pattern and offer much more grip and traction. Most of these treads also come in a mixed pattern, meaning the outside and inside of the tread are different. Most of the outside tread patterns are made of layers of rubber in varying heights, creating multiple points of contact to the surface of the floor. The inside of the tread is usually considered as the middle part of the foot. This area usually contains clusters of rubber of various designs, but the key is to leave a lot of empty areas where the sole does not even touch the ground. This is so that the clusters of raised rubber can act as columns or supports that create more friction, thus gripping the ground.
Tread preference is completely up to the user. If a user finds a pair of shoes comfortable and feels grippy enough for what they need it for, then it is the right pair. It is a recommendation that a competitive fencer purchases two different pairs of fencing shoes, one for competitions and one for training. Depending on how a fencer trains there is a chance the training pair may wear out quite quickly, rendering it useless for a fencing competition.
An ideal fencing shoe is one that has a flexible sole. In the sport of fencing, there are a lot of quick movements that require the shoe to be flexible enough to withstand the sudden movements. Some of the lunging and defensive movements can put the foot into extreme angles, which means that the sole needs to be able to bend properly. The flexibility comes from the outsole of the shoe. Many years ago, the outsole was made of a thin rubber material that was designed to bend and move along with your foot, the downfall was that the rubber wore down very quickly.
A sole that is not well designed will crack and break over time. The cracking is due to the rubber in the sole hardening, while the breaking and crumbling occur from the attempts to bend. With each movement your foot makes, it impacts the sole of the shoe differently. Over time, certain spots or certain movements will cause the shoe to wear out.
A flexible fencing shoe has a sole that is usually comprised of multiple layers. The inner layer is whatever gel or support system the manufacturer has decided, the middle layer is the aforementioned midsole, and the outsole is the rubber part that touches the pavement.
Shoes use many different types of materials to create the outsole. Some of the fancier shoes are made of leather or rubber made of resin. Most fencing shoes will prefer to either use rubber from a rubber tree, or a type of synthetic material that will last longer. In the ideal world, the bottom of your shoe should have a mixture of some of these materials. However, not all shoe manufacturers build outsole with multiple layers. Some manufacturers chose to stick to one material but process it differently so that it becomes more firm. The key to finding a good quality shoe is to look and see if there is an extra rubber plate built into the shoe. This rubber plate will give the shoe extra support and is meant to make the shoe more durable.
It is important for the fencer to get used to the fencing shoes prior to going into a competition. There is a delicate balance between the shoe and fencer, if either change, it can affect the outcome of the game greatly. The weight and the way the shoe is built can cause a fencer to change the way they fight. When people say balance or stability, people generally assume that it only means the way we walk and the forward motion. However, lateral stability is just as important. While there is a lot of forward and backward movements in fencing, there are also many times that a fencer is required to dodge. These dodging movements are often side-to-side and considered a lateral change in direction. A stable shoe needs to be able to accommodate those changes on top of all the other directional change.
Stability is not something that is usually measured by a number or a scale. A stable fencing shoe is a shoe that will keep you fencing pain-free and not add weight or stress to your joints. One of the things that really make a difference in terms of stability is how much arch support there is in the shoe. Many people do not realize the arch makes a large difference in your stability. It is a common misconception that the heel takes the brunt of the weight of our movements. But in reality, the arch of your foot is one of the most used and pressured areas on your foot. With each step you take, the weight could be translated to thousands of pounds being applied to the arch of your foot. Having good arch support will help take some of the weight off your arch, allowing you to have better endurance.
Another thing that will help the stability of your shoe is choosing the right structure for the sides of your shoe. Height and stiffness of your fencing shoes are two main things you should consider when you choose your shoe. In terms of height, most fencing shoes come in one of the three categories of low, medium, and high tops. The height of your shoe will make all the difference in stability. Most fencers avoid medium top shoes because the height of the shoe ends very close to the ankle bone. While this type of shoe supports the ankles in forward movements, the shoe greatly impedes the feet from moving side to side. Because of this irregular movement, there is a chance a competitor wearing a medium top shoe will clip the top of the shoe and trip, or their lateral movement is hindered and they sprain their ankle while trying to dodge an attack.
Low top shoes are good as they keep the ankle area free of blockage. This gives you complete mobility and the assurance that nothing you are wearing will trip you. Another benefit of low top shoes is that it can adapt and can go the extra mile during a lunge or bounce back. Because of how low they are, they can handle when your legs are at extreme angles and not get in your way. However, low top shoes tend to end about an inch away from the ankle bone. Because your ankle bone is not protected, there is a chance that the shoe will not support the person and keep them upright when they lose their balance. Because there is nothing to stop the ankle from rolling, there is a chance that you may trip when you are tired as the shoe is not helping support the weight of your body.
High top shoes are great as they protect the ankle. They make it much harder for you to sprain your ankle or trip. As they support your ankle and your weight, it can also increase how long you fight before getting tired. However, the downside of this type of shoe is that they can hinder your mobility greatly. These shoes are designed to hold your ankle in place to prevent injury, which is what anyone would want, however as a fencer there need to be more flexibility in how quickly the shoe can react. High top shoes tend to have a slower reaction time as they are designed to support your feet and are not designed to have extreme lateral movements.
Fencing already moves your feet in ways they normally are not required to, so it is even more important to ensure that the fencing shoes you purchase are comfortable and adapt to your feet. During fencing, while the foot in the back takes a lot of stress and damage we cannot forget about the front foot either. During a competition, it is important that your feet stay comfortable. This is so they can last longer in a fight, and can also help your performance. If your feet are already fighting to get comfortable, it will seriously affect how well you perform.
While selecting your fencing shoe, try to find a shoe that offers a padded lining inside. Having a softer inside will help lessen the shock and impact to your feet. Many people would not think of this, but ensure that the fencing shoe does not have a bit of a raised heel. Although it may not hamper your fight, over time that slight angle that you’re standing on will affect how quickly you tire out.
A general idea to measure how comfortable a shoe would be is to take existing shoes that you own and examine the bottom. When flipped over, take note of where your feet tend to grind and grip the floor. The areas where the tread is worn down or missing is where you normally put pressure on your feet. These pressure points will also show in any new shoe you purchase. Ideally, it is best to see if there are shoes that offer more cushioning in the areas you tend to wear down. For example, if you find the heel of your shoe more worn down than the front, it’s most likely best to get something with a gel heel. That way when your feet take a step, the gel heel absorbs most of the twisting and grinding motions, allowing the rubber sole of your shoe to stay intact. Alternatively, if the treads on the front of your shoe are more worn out, the extra padding in the front of the fencing shoe would be something that you would look for. If you notice that one of the sides of the shoe tends to have more wear, it means that the weight of your steps is on the sides of your feet. This is something easily correctable with an arch support insert.
Fencing is all about the constant flow of attacking, rebounding, and striking again. Because of the movements, it is important to look for good heel cushioning in a shoe. The heel cushioning needs to be able to absorb most or all of the impact your feet get. Because there is a lot of bouncing while engaged in a fencing fight, it is important that the cushioning goes deep into the shoe. Normal fencing shoes that do not have a gel insert will work as well, however, their ability to absorb the impact may not be as great. When a shoe is unable to absorb the impact, that means your body has to. When a body takes the impact, it means there are extra stress and pressure on joints, bones, and muscles. While it may sound like an exaggeration, having improper shoes can cause the smallest injury to become inflamed and turn into something that may require longer rest. A good gel cushioning in the heel area can make a huge difference to your fight and whether you leave pain free. The lack of gel cushioning can cause structural damage to your shoe and may make your shoes less durable. This is from the constant movements and motions that occur in fencing. Not only will the gel cushioning absorb the movement inside the shoe, but it will also mitigate the amount of rubbing on the sole and prevent it from getting chewed up as quickly.
Similar to any other sport, having a pair of reliable and durable fencing shoes will make a difference in your performance. Fencing has a lot of movements that will translate to sudden changes in direction. These sudden changes can exert a lot of extra force and pressure on the shoe. This will cause structural damage to the shoe. While we can only hope that an unbreakable shoe will be invented one day, in the meantime we have to settle on trying to find the best fencing shoe that will suit an individual’s needs.
Some of the main ways that can affect the durability of your shoe are how you walk, the way your foot strikes the floor and body weight. The wear pattern in simple terms is your gait. Everyone has their own gait and their own way of walking. Some of the commonalities found in most people’s gait are that there are extra stress and weight places on the heel and toes of the shoes. This is because of how humans walk. We tend to place our heels down first, then we lift up our feet using our toes to continue the next step. As each person balances slightly different, over time the treads on the shoes will show you if your gait falls within the average expectations. The way your foot strikes the ground also makes a difference in terms of durability. Some people are light on their heels and heavy on their toes. Meaning that when they walk, their heels lightly touch the ground, but there is some grinding when they are coming off the foot. Shoes, where people have heavier front gaits, will have quicker and deeper wear and tear in the toe area. Unfortunately, shoe manufacturers tend to make the heels more durable as people tend to strike the floor with their feet first. As a result, someone with a strong front gait will need to replace their shoe more often than someone that strikes with their heel first.
The amount of weight applied to a shoe will also affect its durability. Someone wearing a shoe who weighs more will quickly wear the tread out more than someone who is lighter. This is why women using fencing shoes usually do not need to replace them as often as men.
The weight of the shoe is one of the most important aspects fencers are concerned about in fencing shoes. Because fencers spend most of their time on one foot or the other, it is very difficult to use a heavy shoe. Especially when they attack and defend, their feet are required to hold certain poses at angles that are not your normal resting stance. As a result, weight is one of the major concerns for an athlete.
Ideally, a fencing shoe should be lightweight and hug your feet. However, this means that materials either need to be taken out or different materials need to be used in order to meet the weight requirement. Many fencers prefer indoor shoes as they are usually made of lighter material. However, they will not withstand long term use outside on concrete nor are they waterproof. Indoor shoes are a good choice as they are significantly lighter and more mobile, but the downfall is that they may not be as durable of a shoe.
One of the things to be aware of is that for a shoe to be light, there has to be a compromise. Many manufacturers may take out some weight by not having as thick of a rubber sole or have less insulation in their midsole. While this means the shoe becomes lighter, it can potentially affect your performance or cause injury while in a fight. Another way that a manufacturer may potentially reduce the weight of the shoe is to use very thin padding or have a thinner type of fabric for the shoe. This will result in a quickly worn down shoe that needs replacing.
In conclusion, when looking for a lightweight shoe, do not be deceived by how light they feel. Take into considering the padding, support, heel cushioning, midsole, and the rubber at the very bottom of the shoe.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Know Which Fencing Shoe Is The Right Size For Me?
It is frustrating, but fencing shoes only come in men’s sizes. This is because even in the present time, the majority of fencers are males. As a result, women need to convert their shoe sizing to find the right type of shoe. Regardless of gender, fencing shoes tend to be more narrow. The general rule of thumb is that a shoe needs to have a little bit of room in the front so that your toe is not hitting the fabric. There should also be a little bit of wiggle room inside the those. This is not to say that the shoe should feel loose, it should feel like a glove on your hand. When you put it on, it should stay on your foot even if it is not tied.
How Long Do Fencing Shoes Last?
The answer is that it varies because of many reasons such as training duration and wear pattern. It is recommended that you purchase two pairs of fencing shoes, one for training and one for competing. Training shoes tend to last approximately 500 kilometers (310 miles) or a year and a half to two years if you wear them four times a week. However, the type of floor you are training on will make a difference. If you are training outside on concrete, the shoes will have a shorter lifespan as opposed to if you were training inside. The way you train in them and how your gait is will also make a difference as to how quickly they wear down. Competition shoes can last for years as they do not get much use. However, they should be a pair of shoes that can enhance your abilities.
How Can I Tell If The Fencing Shoes Are Right For Me?
They are right for you as long as they are comfortable and have good traction on wooden or gym floors. Comfortable shoes mean an extra mile for your foot, and the traction will decrease your reaction time.
Where Can I Buy Fencing Shoes?
Fencing shoes can be purchased quite easily. They are usually found in large sports shops that have all kinds of sports equipment or specifically branded shops such as Nike, Adidas, etc.
How Can I Tell If There Is Enough Traction On My Shoe?
When you first try the shoe, take a few steps around. If you feel that they are grippy or make slight squeaking noises, then you know these shoes have traction. To find out if it will be enough traction for fencing, move your feet quickly side to side. If these shoes allow you to keep balance and you do not feel like you will slip, that means the traction goes all the way to the end of the shoe and will work well for fencing.
How Many Pairs Of Fencing Shoes Do I Need?
Realistically, if you are just starting out in fencing, one pair will be more than enough. However, you may want to consider investing in another pair as you progress. Most fencing athletes have at least three pairs of shoes, one for training and two pairs for competing. This is so if their competing shoes break, they have another pair to change into right away and will not have to forfeit the fight.
Can Fencing Shoes Be Used Outside?
Of course! Fencing shoes are similar to running footwear and can be used anywhere. However the more you use your fencing shoes outside, the quicker the treads may wear down. There is also a chance that the shoe may pick up a rock or the rubber on the bottom may get cut up. If you have another pair of shoes, it is recommended that the fencing shoes be kept as indoor shoes.
Must I have Gel Cushioning In The Heel Of My Shoe?
No, it is not a must but a recommendation. As mentioned, the gel works as a shock absorber and prevents extra stress and pressure on your joints. If you don’t like the idea of the gel, there are also many manufacturers that use other materials to give you some extra padding in the heel area.