Best Taekwondo Shoes Reviewed & Rated

For most people, the mental image of an Asian or Southeast Asian martial arts class always involves students in their bare feet or in minimalist slippers. It is true that many of these martial arts branches do encourage their students to practice barefoot, including Taekwondo. This is not a rule that applies to every style from that region, however. The preference could even vary within a particular style, depending on what substyle is being practiced or even what school or instructor is leading the students. Whether the student is encouraged to practice barefoot, in shoes, or a mix of both, there are some key factors that must be kept in mind when choosing martial arts shoes. It is those factors that helped develop this list of the best Taekwondo shoes.

Last Updated: April 23, 2018
By Alexa Sooter:

The top 10 list has been updated with current products and current links to relevant pages that may be of interest to readers.

Featured Recommendations

Mooto Wings
  • Mooto Wings
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Lightweight
  • Sturdy Construction
  • Price: See Here
Mooto Drive3
  • Mooto Drive3
  • 4.4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Lightweight
  • Neutral arch support
  • Price: See Here
Timebus Traditional Martial Arts
  • Timebus Traditional Martial Arts
  • 4.1 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Lightweight
  • 100% Money Back Guarantee
  • Price: See Here

It is important to check with the instructor or manager at your particular martial arts school prior to purchasing a pair of martial arts shoes. Not only will the instructor tell you if the shoes are allowed inside the practice area, but they may have specific requirements for the kind of shoe or the appearance of the shoes that can be worn. Some teachers do not allow shoes in the practice area because they can potentially damage floor mats or the feet of other students who may not be wearing shoes. The teacher may also require that, if shoes are worn, a pair be dedicated solely to use inside the school so that outside grime and debris is not tracked in on the soles of the shoes.  If the teacher or school is focused on uniformity in the dress of its students, they may have style guidelines that govern what the shoes can look like. though this not likely to be as widespread a concern as the safety of other students or the longevity of the school’s equipment.

Once the teacher or school has approved the use of martial arts shoes, it is important to find a pair that fits with the school’s requirements and is a good match for the specific student. The shoes on this list come in a range of weights, prices, colors, and styles. Some would be better for practice and others would be better for competition, though the competitions may have their own rules regarding shoes. With those guidelines in hand, you are ready to look at the top-rated Taekwondo shoes listed below and find the pair that is perfect for you and your family.

 

10 Best Taekwondo Shoes

 

1. Mooto Wings

Mooto is a South Korean company that provides quality products for tae kwon do practitioners around the world. They have a reputation for stellar customer service and products that are worth the buyer's investment. Their martial arts shoes are no exception. Styled with clean lines and minimal detailing, they are good looking shoes that will not stick out during practice.
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Lightweight
A key element in many martial arts shoes is the weight. Heavy shoes will make it harder to kick and slow down the student as they move between stances. Some people enjoy the added weight but others want a lightweight shoe that allows them a greater level of agility and will not weigh them down. Mooto's martial arts shoe is lightweight, both visually and physically. It will allow the student to move quickly without drawing attention to the motion of their feet.

Sturdy Construction
Mooto has a reputation built on quality products that hold up to the wear and tear of regular martial arts practice. Their martial arts shoes are designed with a strong heel to prevent the back of the shoe from becoming misshapen. The body of the shoe hugs close to the foot to prevent slipping and the rubber soles provide consistent traction.

Cost and Value
The price may seem high but the quality of the product and reputation of the seller more than make the investment worth it.
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Sturdy Construction
  • Available in two colors
Cons
  • High price point

2. Mooto Drive3

It is a mark of Mooto's popularity that the brand dominates the top two positions on this list. Their reputation for quality and customer service extends to every product they sell. The Drive3 martial arts shoe is similar to the Wings shoe in that it is lightweight and durable with minimal decoration and simple lines. The differences between the shoes can be found in the shape of the heel and the arch support inside the shoe.
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Durable and Lightweight
Like the Wings martial arts shoes listed above, Mooto's Drive3 martial arts shoes are built to last with durable synthetic leather and a rubber sole for improved traction. They are lightweight to allow the student more agility, unlike heavier shoes which would make the feet feel heavier during kicks.

Neutral Arch Support
Proper arch support is particularly important during for those with an active lifestyle. Many martial arts shoes have some arch support to them, but the Drive3 has almost none, making it an excellent shoe for those with neutral arches.

Cost and Value
Mooto's products are somewhat expensive, but their quality and customer service make the shoes worth the investment.
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Neutral arch support
  • Quality Construction
Cons
  • High price point

3. Tiger Claw Martial Art

Tiger Claw is another company that has dedicated itself to the sale of quality martial arts products. They offer everything from uniforms to shoes to belts, all of which are reasonably priced and most of which come highly rated. Their martial arts shoes are lightweight and durable, available in both black and white, and offered at a range of sizes, including half sizes. The shoes also come with their own carrying case, making transport to class a little easier.
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Lightweight and Durable
Tiger Claw's martial arts shoes are lightweight for maximum agility and durable so the wearer can get months or even years out of an affordable pair of dedicated practice shoes.

Easy to Care For
Synthetic leather uppers and rubber soles make these shoes easy to care for. They need only to be wiped down and then, occasionally, rubbed with polish or stain to keep them in show-worthy condition.

Cost and Value
These shoes come in a huge range of prices. At the low end these shoes are among the most affordable on the list, but at the high end, they are by far the most expensive. Double check where your selected pair falls before completing your purchase, as the shoe is not worth the investment of the higher cost.
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Available in a range of sizes, including 1/2 sizes
Cons
  • Narrow width

4. Vbestlife Martial Arts

4. Vbestlife Martial Arts
Vbestlife is a company that is best described as a Jack of All Trades. They offer products ranging from housewares to toys to sports equipment, most of which all come with reasonable prices and high ratings. Their martial arts shoes follow in this tradition and seem to be a quality product featuring lightweight and breathable synthetic leather, reinforced stitching, and rubber soles.
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Reinforced Stitching
Vbestlife might have a diverse range of goods for sale, but that does not mean that they lack insight into what makes a good martial arts shoe. These martial arts sneakers feature reinforced stitching at key stress points to ensure that they hold up to the pressures of repeated use.

Breathable and Lightweight
In order to allow you to move swiftly and easily, these shoes weight next to nothing. Their lightweight nature is welcomed both on and off the mat, as they keep your feet cool and far less sweaty than other options.

Cost and Value
These martial arts shoes come at a reasonable price, only slightly higher in cost than our Best Value choice. They are stylish and well made, making them well worth the modest price.
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Reinforced Stitching at stress points
Cons
  • Determining the best size might take some work

5. Timebus Traditional

5. Timebus Traditional
Timebus offers a range of products, most of which fall into the sports or self-care categories. Most of their prices are affordable and their products highly rated. Their business might not be built on specialization but they take pride in their products, even going so far as to offer a full refund. From the looks of their reviews, however, no refund will be needed!
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Anti-Skid Soles
These martial arts shoes were designed with a non-skid rubber sole to prevent slips and spills. This may make some movements more difficult, but it will also make certain positions easier as the wearer's feet will not slip.

Fashionable Styling
Made with lightweight cloth uppers, matching laces, and red accents these martial arts shoes are casually fashionable. While it is not recommended that training shoes be worn as street shoes, this pair is cool enough that they would go with most casual outfits and nobody would think anything of it.

Cost and Value
These are the most affordable shoes on our list. With their high rating, low cost, and money back guarantee they are a great option.
Pros
  • Anti-skid
  • Lightweight
  • 100% Money Back Guarantee
Cons
  • Only available in one color

6. Tiger Claw Feiyue

6. Tiger Claw Feiyue
Feiyue is a common sub-brand of martial arts shoe with designs that vary from seller to seller. Tiger Claw's version is a casual black canvas sneaker with a snug fit, padded insole, and rubber sole making them the perfect option for training in style.
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Padded Insole
The padded insole is an element unique to Tiger Claw's Feiyue model. Martial arts can be hard on the feet and the cushioned insole will leave the wearer's feet a little less sore than other shoes would.

Rubber Sole
No-slip rubber soles will keep the wearer's feet from sliding on the mat during practice. This might caught problems during certain kicks or spins, but for others, it will give the student an added layer of stability.

Cost and Value
These shoes come at a range of prices, none of which are unreasonable. At the low end of the range, they are affordable enough that it is possible to have one pair for practice and one pair for daily wear.
Pros
  • Padded Insole
  • Lightweight
  • Rubber Sole
Cons
  • Some Issues with fit

7. Otomix Original Lite

7. Otomix Original Lite
Otomix takes a slightly different style track with their martial arts shoes. Their Original Lite martial arts shoe is styled after the high-fashion basketball sneakers. Otomix is also known for their high-quality products, explaining the relatively high price point for these shoes.
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Designed for Indoor and Outdoor Use
Not only are these shoes stylish enough to wear on a daily basis but their rubber soles and solid construction make them excellent for training both indoors and outdoors. It's best to check with your school before planning on using the shoes both indoors and outdoors, however. Some schools will not allow outside shoes to be used inside for the protection of school property and the feet of other students.

Slightly Raised Heel
One of the upsides to training with shoes on is that it more closely simulates the kind of footwear a person is most likely to be wearing if they have to defend themselves. These martial arts shoes from Otomix have a slightly raised heel, making them more similar to most street shoes in terms of foot placement and heel angle, both of which will affect the delivery of kicks and the strength of many foundation positions.

Cost and Value
These shoes have a high price point. Otomix is known for their quality, but unless the style and raised heel are key to purchase of these shoes, another pair on this list might be a better value purchase.
Pros
  • Thin flexible sole
  • Designed for indoor and outdoor use
  • Rubber sole
Cons
  • High price point

8. Star Sports Martial Arts

8. Star Sports Martial Arts
Star Sports Corp is a company that specializes in sports equipment, most of which is specifically designed for martial arts use. From gloves to shoes, their products have a uniformly high rating and a middle to high price point. Their martial arts shoes come in around the middle of this list's price range and their quality seems to back up that cost.
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Reinforced Stitching
Athletes of almost any sport will tell you that practice causes incredible wear on their shoes. When the wear and tear become too much and the shoe finally gives, it is almost always along a stitched line. Star Sports Corp reinforced the stitching on their martial arts shoes to help avoid this problem, prolonging the life of their customer's investment.

Slightly Raised Heel
This martial arts shoe is another offering that features a slightly raised heel. A slightly raised heel helps the martial student get a better feel for what it will be like if they have to defend themselves while wearing street shoes because the heel on street shoes will cause foundation stances and kicks to change slightly from the flat-foot style in which they were learned.

Cost and Value
These aren't the most expensive shoes on this list but they do still represent a bit of an investment. If a raised heel is important, however, then these shoes may be worth the slightly higher price point.
Pros
  • Reinforced stitching
  • Slip-on design
  • Slightly raised heel
Cons
  • High price point

9. Adidas Martial Arts

9. Adidas Martial Arts
With such a reputable brand name, it is no surprise that these shoes show up on our top ten list. Featuring fantastic traction as well as increased durability, these long-lasting shoes will be great for both practices as well as competition.
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Soft Leather Construction
The soft leather uppers of these shoes allow them to give and move a little as the wearer's foot moves. This will increase the wearer's comfort and allow the student to practice longer before their feet become uncomfortable.

Pivot Sole
Adidas designed their martial arts shoe with a pivot sole. This pattern of treads makes it easier to turn on a dime, which can help the wearer complete certain Taekwondo maneuvers more easily.

Cost and Value
These popular Adidas martial arts shoes have a relatively high price point and can be hard to get your hands on as they are frequently sold out. For those who want Adidas quality, however, the price will be worth it.
Pros
  • Soft leather construction
  • Pivot sole
  • Lowcut Adidas sneaker
Cons
  • Often sold out

10. T.O.P. Feiyue

10. T.O.P. Feiyue
Feiyue's self-marketed martial arts shoes take a style cue straight from Chuck Taylor with canvas uppers, rubber soles, and a classic casual style that make them a great option for practice or daily wear.
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Fashionable Style
These martial arts shoes could pass for All Star's at a distance. Available in a range of color, these canvas martial arts shoes are both stylish and breathable, making them an excellent choice for practice as well as day to day wear.

Water-Resistant Rubber Sole
Feiyue designed their martial arts shoes with a rubber sole, making them both waterproof and skid proof.

Cost and Value
These shoes come in around the middle of the price range, though their style and versatility will make the cost more than worth it to some people.
Pros
  • Fashionable Style
  • Rubber Sole
  • Average Price
Cons
  • Not many reviews

Whether you’re looking for shoes to wear for practice or just for competition, there is something on this list for everyone. Most are lightweight, favoring agility over strength and making them ideal for both practice and competition. These martial arts shoes also help simulate more realistic self-defense scenarios which give them an added appeal to those who favor martial arts for their applied uses as well as the art form itself. Whatever the reason, there is sure to be a perfect Taekwondo shoe out there for you.

 

Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Taekwondo Shoes

Sole Material

Not all martial arts shoes for sale feature a non-slip rubber sole. Such a feature is important, however, and the results were filtered to ensure that all the shoes listed featured a non-slip rubber sole. A few of them have special features such as pivot points on the heel or waterproofing in addition to the non-skid nature of rubber soles.

Upper Material

Upper materials are important, particularly with athletic shoes. A rigid upper could cause discomfort and may not stand up as well to the bend and shift of a student’s footing in a martial arts class. The shoes on this list were chosen for the supportive but flexible uppers. Soft leather, synthetic materials, and canvas are the most common.

  • Soft Leather: Soft leather is a highly durable option for shoe uppers. Leather is, in general, somewhat naturally waterproof which can be useful id a student is practicing outdoors. Leather requires more care, however, such as conditioning or chemical waterproofing and can cause the shoes to cost and weight more than shoes made with other materials.
  • Canvas: Canvas is a highly breathable option for shoe uppers and is one of the most popular options for martial arts shoes.  They are less durable than leather or synthetic materials but often make the most lightweight shoes.
  • Synthetic Materials: Synthetic material is the most inexpensive choice for a shoe upper. The shoes may be mildly waterproofed depending on the nature of the material and the durability will fluctuate from material to material.

Lace Up or Slip-On

The fastener method of an athletic shoe is important. Most athletic shoes have laces but martial arts shoes tend to favor short lace-up segments or slip-on styles. This is likely because martial artists have to slip their shoes on and off frequently during practice as well as when they have to change from their practice shoes to their street shoes.

Versatility

Most martial arts schools will not want a student’s practice shoes to double as their street shoes. For those that don’t mind, however, we wanted to provide shoes with a range of styles that were versatile enough for the student to wear during practice without sacrificing style in their day to day wear.

F.A.Q.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How will I know if shoes are necessary?
A: It is best to ask your instructor directly before buying equipment for your Taekwondo class. The teacher may not allow shoes or, if they allow shoes, may have guidelines on what the shoes must look like or if they must be shoes dedicated solely to indoor tae kwon do practice.

Q: What are some benefits of wearing shoes during training?
A: Wearing shoes during practice gives a more realistic sense of the conditions that self-defense outside of class will feel like. This includes the angle and position of feet within shoes instead of bare and the difference in foot weight caused by wearing shoes.

Q: Are there drawbacks to wearing shoes while training?
A: Some schools will not allow students to wear shoes because they can damage the floor mats or carpeting in the school. Shoes can also slip on the student’s feet and cause injury or cause the student to lean the foot placement for certain moves incorrectly.

Q: Is there a specific color I should get?

A: The specific color may or may not be important to your instructor so it is best to ask them. Some schools prefer that students below the rank of black belt wear all white aside from their rank belt. Other schools may not care. The only way to know for certain is to ask your instructor.

Q: Can I wear my training shoes outside of practice?
A: Most schools that allow shoes are very adamant that shoes worn for training be dedicated solely to indoor use. This is to cut down on the amount of outdoor grime and debris that is tracked into the training area and to keep dangerous debris such as sharp rocks and bits of glass from getting into the training area and injuring someone.

Q: Is there a shoe style specific to Taekwondo?
A: Shoes are generally not worn for Taekwondo practice so there is no set style special to the tradition. Martial arts shoes, in general, are slip-on with sleek lines and a tight fit to keep the shoe from slipping on the student’s foot, but the appearance of the shoes can vary widely.

Q: How do I determine right size to order?
A: Most of the companies listed here include sizing charts. It is always best to measure your foot from the tip of the longest toe to the back of the heel and apply that measurement to the size chart to find the best size for you.

Sources:

http://www.indiana.edu/~iutkd/faq.html

TaeKwonDo Shoes

http://www.martialartsbusinessmagazine.com/martial-arts-training-shoes-4-compelling-reasons-to-wear-them/