Why do Parkour Wear Baggy Pants?
Man doing parkour in baggy pants

Parkour is a unique urban subculture presenting agile and sporty people, who love extreme sports. Because of their habits and interest, they wear sports clothes. People may not be able to tell the difference between a skater and a parkour for example until they go into active mode.

You can see these guys all around town (not just in parks) jumping around and performing activities that don’t even seem possible to the average person. The extremer guys will jump from building to building and have adrenaline-pumped fun.

But have you ever wondered why do parkour wear baggy pants?

Parkour lifestyle requires a specific dress code, and you will see parkours wearing all kinds of interesting fashion combinations. The practical design of baggy pants allows parkour practitioners to perform comfortably all of their tricks. They like loose clothes that can provide comfort as well as protection.

Read on to learn more about parkour as a subculture, the people, their fashion sense, and perception.

Table of Contents

Parkour 101

To put it simply, parkour is a body training method, that predicts efficient movements no matter the obstacles encountered. The basic philosophy behind the discipline is that life is made out of obstacles and challenges one should overcome. It is still considered an extreme sport, so there are more sportsmen than women, but almost anyone can learn parkour. In the past decades, more and more people have shown some interest in the sport, so the majority of European countries have clubs or groups of people practicing it.

Definition and Origin

Parkour, as defined in the Merriam- Webster dictionary, is the sport of traversing environmental obstacles by sunning, climbing, or leaping rapidly and efficiently. The name for this urban sporting activity was first used in 2002, and the word itself is rooted in the French, and Medieval Latin words paracours/ percursus meaning to route/run.

This training discipline evolved from military obstacle course training. Found and developed by Raymond and David Belle at the end of the 20th century. This sport is also known under the term ‘freerunning’, created by Guillaume Pelletier. He was involved in the production of a parkour documentary ‘Jump London’ in 2003. The name was created so that the non-French audience would get a sense of what type of this sporting discipline is.

As a sport, parkour is a non-competitive physical activity. The general idea is to move over or through any terrain using only the body’s abilities such as running, jumping, climbing, and quadrupedal movement. Parkour training aims to develop physical attributes required for such movement and include fitness, agility, coordination, precision, space awareness, etc.

How to Parkour?

The body is the only tool you need to start parkour training, as well as regular practice, discipline, and perseverance. You do require a safe but open space for practicing. Look up online if there is parkour training being held somewhere near.

Physical endurance is the base. Training push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and similar exercises will help you with that.

Along with regular muscle maintenance, all beginners need to start landing and rolling. With this, beginners start discovering specific moves they enjoy doing more than others. This is the beauty of freestyle disciplines, as each parkour develops his or her style.

Parkour practitioner wearing baggy pants

Parkour Fashion

The rise of freestyle sport-like activities that engage in urban, concrete-filled areas, has ignited the urban-streetwear style. Specific parkour or freerunning clothing brands target young runners with their clothes specifically aiming to provide good looks, security, and comfort all at once.

Newly emerged categories after urban, parkour, or freerunning are known even as spiderman. Entire outfits are similar by their purpose, but what can significantly differ is the choice of pants or shorts.

Clothes and Equipment You Need for Parkour

Being an outdoor sport, there may be some equipment that can help the training, or lessen the pain parkours experience every day.

To some people, parkour is more than training. It has evolved from a philosophy to a lifestyle. A great benefit is the leisure outfits they wear on a day-to-day basis.

Their outfits are not primarily fashionable. Their style is free, as are their activities, and often include some comfortable wear & tear equipment.

Here is the list of the clothes and equipment you will need to gather in order to do parkour safely.

  • Parkour Shoes need to be sturdy and flexible, preferably shock-absorbant.
  • Gloves and Protective Wear is a necessity for beginners. Fingerless or climbing gloves provide sufficient protection, as well as elbow pads until they learn the movements and how to fall.
  • Parkour Shirts should be layered and loose. A T-shirt is the best option if you are training and getting your body temperature elevated, while a nice hoodie will preserve your heated body after training, or on windy days.
  • Parkour Pants need to be loose enough to allow free movement, and wear&tear ready, but can be protective or supportive to some parts that are maybe too exposed during training practice.

Do Parkours Wear Baggy Pants?

Becoming a subculture on its own, parkours have developed even a specific sense of style. Parkour outfits can be described as freestyle, but when it comes to bottom wear, there is some discussion going on.

Traceurs (another name for parkours) love to wear loose things. Any type of bottom that allows freedom of movement can be sufficient. There are different opinions on whether they wear baggy pants as apparel (if they wear them at all).

Shorts or Pants – Is It Just a Preference?

According to people who are high on the scale of proficiency and acquainted with parkour activities, there is a generally applied (but not official) dress code. It is based on practicality for training and is known by the acronym AWP. This stands for Always Wear Pants.

This ‘rule’ is a warm recommendation for beginners from seniors. Wearing pants instead of shorts protects the entire leg, especially the outer part of the ankles during slides. Besides, the length of the hem on shorts is likely to get caught on different materials during slides, jumps, skips, or other moves.

Others will agree on the functionality of the pants, but will still swear in shorts. As in all other sports, shorts are primarily used so that your legs are minimally restricted by clothes. It is a great perk on a hot summer day when the concrete is so hot… or is it?

Pants Are a Practical Choice for Parkour

Let’s think about concrete cities in the United Arab Emirates for example. There, people are fully covered for practical (and religious) reasons. To maintain their body temperature more easily! With the summer temperatures going up extremely high in any city in the world, training outfits on the concrete should cover up the skin as much as possible.

Imagine jumping up and down a set of stairs, and then doing a backflip to stand on a metal bar. You will have to repeat the same movement hundreds of times before you nail it flawlessly. During this process, you will tumble, fall and scratch your skin. Would you rather be wearing shorts or a pair of long baggy pants that cover your entire legs, tuck your ankles and still allow you the freedom of movement?

The Becoming of Baggy Pants

Fashion lovers just might see a common characteristic among churidars (harem or Indian pants), saggings, and baggy pants. All of them allow movement of the body, but some of them are made out of harder or lighter materials.

Androgyne and Urban Streetwear Fashion are inspired by segments of each. In today’s world, culture crosses from one part of the planet to another or evolves among generations and traditions.

Be it Indian traditional wear, or a habitual way of wearing pants coming from the USA subculture, or the state prison system, the ‘model’ of clothes is wide and comfortable to wear.

There is even a great myth how duck-tape was used to pin down baggy clothing around the waist and ankles to reduce air resistance. Of course, there is no real reference to it, but it does come from the time when extremely baggy clothing was trending and parkour lovers tried to express their urban lifestyle with this fashion.

The model of baggy pants associated with parkour usually has a tightening around the waist and ankles and is a tad loose around the hips with some pants pockets. As already mentioned, the narrow or tightened segments of the cut are used as a layer of protection during training. The loose parts allow the skin to breathe, and the pockets are practical as they can fit some necessities you always have to have by your side (no one is ever without a cell-phone today).


Parkour is an extremely interesting subculture that is a reflection of modern times, representing a civilization and generation way of life in specific surroundings. Not all parkour lovers will jump around in baggy pants, but they will be hanging out together with those who wear them.

To sum it up, parkour baggy pants are worn for a few reasons:

  • Practicality
  • Additional protection
  • Aesthetics

The practical design allows parkour jumps, keeps the phone safely tucked away, and still looks awesome on videos. It also provides additional protection for everything below the knees and gives a certain visual appeal on those performance-worthy jumps.

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