Can You Do Parkour With Flat Feet? 
A man practicing parkour.

Parkour is a discipline that puts a lot of strain on your body. Particularly your feet. They basically carry the weight of your entire body through different obstacles. So, can you do parkour with flat feet?

The good news is that you can parkour with flat feet. You would be surprised at how many professional athletes have flat feet. Even though you can parkour with flat feet, you need to pay special attention to proper footwear. You need to find shoes that provide both cushion and arch support to your flat feet. 

Loose clothing and a good pair of shoes are basically all the equipment you need for practicing parkour. More on the parkour shoes and the issue of flat feet shortly. Before we dive deeper into today’s topic, check out what the best age to learn parkour is.

Table of Contents

Do flat feet make it harder to run?

Running is a big part of parkour. Your flat feet won’t necessarily make it harder. Flat feet can be a completely asymptomatic condition for some people. On the other hand, it can also create pains in your feet, knees, hips, and back. Your parkour shoes and the proper technique will be key in reducing pain and the risk of injury. 

Having flat feet basically means that you have a low or no arch in your feet. This condition can occur in one or both feet due to genetics and injuries to the foot or ankle. It can also be due to medical conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, pregnancy, obesity, and aging. Read our blog to also find out if you can parkour with asthma.

How do I know if I have flat feet?

It is usually very easy to determine whether you have flat feet or not. When you put your feet on the ground you can notice that they are flat. The inside part of your feet won’t be raised off the ground, as it should be. Flat feet can’t be left untreated if they don’t cause you any pain. However, if you experience any of the following conditions, it is advisable that you see a podiatrist:

  • The pain and discomfort in your knees, legs, pain, and back
  • Swollen bottoms of the feet
  • Sore or achy bottoms of the feet
  • Feet that feel tired

What type of shoes is best for parkour?

In order to practice parkour safely, you need to choose the appropriate footwear. Your parkour shoes should provide you with traction. That is why you should look for shoes that have soft rubber soles.

Durability and weight are also crucial when it comes to parkour shoes. For example, leather and suede are durable materials. However, since they add a lot of weight, they shouldn’t be your first choice for jumping around when doing parkour.

You might think that basketball shoes are perfect for parkour. Well, think again. While basketball shoes are made for jumping, they are also heavy and not flexible enough to be responsive. Take a look at our blog to find out if you can safely parkour in boots.

Can you use running shoes for parkour?

What you need from your parkour shoes is that they are responsive and athletic. They also need to protect your feet, ankles, and joints. Those are exactly the qualities of a good running shoe as well. You just need to make sure that the running shoes that you will use for parkour also have one-piece rubber soles. Here is why soles matter when it comes to parkour shoes, and what else to look for in them:

  • Soles – having one-piece rubber soles on the bottom of your parkour shoe will increase your grip. The grip is probably the most important factor in a parkour shoe. Rubber soles will also decrease the inevitable wear and tear. Steer clear of foam-soled shoes, as they are slippery and can hinder progress at wall runs.
  • Flexibility – your toes will bend a lot when you do parkour and your shoes should bend with them. You will jump and balance too, which is another reason why the flexibility of your shoes is important. Also, remember that your ankle shouldn’t suffer from a limited range of motion. You should be able to move your ankle around freely. This will help you avoid injuries and keep more control.

Can skate shoes be used for parkour?

Skate shoes were popular in parkour in the early 2010s mainly due to their grip. They typically feature flat rubber soles that can maintain a high friction point of contact. These are all qualities that are important in a parkour shoe, too. However, skate shoes are still primarily meant for skating. They are not the most suitable choice for parkour since they can feel heavy, unresponsive, and clunky.

Can you do parkour in Vans?

Vans is primarily a skateboard shoe brand. However, the Vans Ultra Range line of shoes offers some features that may be useful for parkour athletes, as well. Remember that wearing Vans for parkour is largely a matter of personal choice.

While some people love them, others despise them, so it’s best for you to be the judge of how much you like or don’t like them. We will now present you with some of the features of these shoes:

  • Durability isn’t great – if you climb and leap to surfaces often, chances are that you will end up with holes in the mesh. The rubber will also start to peel off after two or three months of training on rough perforated surfaces.
  • Flexibility is the strength of these shoes – they can bend and twist in just about any direction. This means that they can endure any type of flexion that your feet may experience during parkour training.
  • A decent grip – Vans offers a decent grip on most wood, concrete, and brick surfaces. It takes some getting used to the bumpy texture due to the waffle pattern rubber and foam middle of the shoes.
  • They have a ton of padding – this can be both good and bad. Newbie parkour athletes should stay away from shoes with a lot of padding simply because relying on the foam can cause problems with proper technique and particularly landing.
  • Looks are a big selling point for these shoes – you can find them in a wide variety of styles and colors.

A man doing cat leap in parkour.

What are zero drop shoes good for?

You may have come across the term “zero-drop” shoes in reference to parkour and running. What exactly are these shoes and what are they good for? More importantly, are they good for parkour?

Zero drop shoes refer to your feet being truly flat when you stand on the ground. In other words, there is no difference between the heel and forefoot height. They are in a level position when it comes to these shoes.

Since zero-drop shoes imitate natural barefoot position on flat surfaces, many parkour purists swear by them. Many parkour athletes believe that putting too much trust in your shoes for protection doesn’t build good training habits.

These shoes encourage ankle mobility in every movement, which increases balance and control. Zero drop shoes might be a great choice for beginner traceurs, as they help develop proper technique and make feet stronger. If you are a newbie in the parkour community, you may also want to check our tips on how to do parkour at home. These are some further benefits of zero-drop shoes:

  • Improved posture – these shoes typically improve posture since they keep the spine properly aligned.
  • Improved balance –  because they keep feet in a natural position, they maximize the sense of position, motion, and equilibrium.
  • Increased stability – zero drop shoes offer more stability when traceurs land on their forefeet. These shoes generally have a wider toe box design which enables easier bend, stretch, and roll of the toes and feet.

Can you do parkour barefoot?

Doing parkour barefoot is not for everyone and it’s not for everywhere. You can face possible injuries and we would definitely not recommend it if you have flat feet. Even seasoned traceurs have to ease into doing parkour barefoot. It requires your skin, muscles, and joints to grow stronger.

When doing parkour barefoot you have to be mindful of the type of terrain, as well as the temperature of the surface. Read our blog to find out how to do parkour in the woods. When you are barefoot, your toes definitely have a better grip. However, you need to be extra careful not to bang up your toes while running or precision jumping. While climbing can easily be done barefoot, doing big jumps on concrete barefoot can lead to serious injuries.


When done right and with proper training, parkour is a safe discipline. You can do it with flat feet provided that you wear the right kind of shoes. We hope that this article has given you plenty of useful information on the condition of flat feet, parkour shoes and even training parkour barefoot. For more parkour-related info make sure to check our blog and also find out if anyone can learn parkour.

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