Do You Wear Shoes in Boxing?

Wearing the right footwear for your sport is important, this holds true for boxing as well. I train in a gym that has a few dedicated professional boxers that are regulars that train in the striking classes. I noticed that some of them wear shoes to training and some do not, so I asked them why they train barefoot or in shoes.

Boxers should wear boxing shoes for both training and fights. Boxing shoes provide good traction and augment a fighter’s ability to move in and out of striking zones during a match. If you do not have a boxing shoe, a wrestling shoe can be temporarily worn until you get a pair.

Now that we know that most boxers wear boxing shoes in training and fights, let’s take a look into some more details and look at some of the other situations we see where they opt to train barefoot.

Do You Wear Shoes in Boxing Training?

In a traditional boxing gym, you will need to wear shoes. If you are looking to maximize your performance in boxing, it is a good idea to wear boxing shoes since they help you to move around and plant your feet with greater effectiveness while boxing.

If you are doing simple cardio boxing classes at your local commercial fitness gym, most participants are simply expected to wear athletic shoes to class. If you want to make your cardio boxing class more effective and enjoyable wear cross-training shoes instead of running shoes since running shoes only have front-to-back traction and do not allow optimal pivoting.

For boxing classes done in an MMA gym, being barefoot can be acceptable. Typically, if training is done on soft mats, it is usually okay to choose to train barefoot.

What Does a Boxing Shoe Do?

A good boxing shoe provides traction and ankle support while being lightweight, comfortable, and sturdy. This results in a boxer being able to pivot and plant their feet more effectively and virtually eliminates the potential of hurting an ankle.

When Did Boxing Shoes Start Being Used?

The exact date boxing shoes became typical wear for boxing is unclear, but they were originally made of leather and smooth-soled. Virtually all boxers use boxing shoes in training and matches and the shoes are now designed to provide maximal traction and movement.

Bring Shoes or Flip Flops to Wear Off the Mats

While you shouldn’t wear outside shoes on the mats or training area, they are necessary for wearing outside of the training area. Bringing a pair of shoes that are not your boxing shoes is a good idea to keep your boxing shoes or bare feet from bringing potential mat disease germs into the training area.

Do You Wear Shoes in Boxing Matches?

According to the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports, shoes are required as a part of protective equipment and approved ring attire. Some forms of boxing may be done without shoes, but they will not be normal mainstream boxing.

For the best value, I like these boxing shoes that are available on Amazon since they are comfortable and have been durable enough for my personal use.

Final Thoughts

Boxing shoes are a significant piece of required equipment for a boxer and they provide a host of performance benefits for those that are training to be traditional boxers. The norms for boxing shoes only change if the setting changes. In cardio boxing, rules are lax and athletic shoes are sufficient. In MMA gyms and training areas with soft mats, it is more common to train boxing barefoot.

For more about what is worn in boxing check out Why Do Boxers Wear Their Shorts So High?


Hi, I'm Andre and I am the author of this website. I currently train primarily in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but supplement with other grappling martial arts as well as help to coach my kid's blended grappling program.

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