Do You Wear Shoes in Muay Thai?

Some forms of kickboxing allow shoes and some require you to be barefoot. So when I was thinking about attending my first Muay Thai class I investigated the rules and norms about wearing shoes in the sport of Muay Thai.

Both Muay Thai training and fights are done without shoes. This is because Muay Thai training is combat sports-focused and the rules of Muay Thai as a combat sport require fighters to be barefoot.

Now that we know that Muay Thai is done barefoot in both training and fights, let’s take a look into some other information about the use of shoes in Muay Thai.

Do You Wear Shoes in Muay Thai Training?

Muay Thai is practiced barefoot in almost all cases. Sometimes training can happen outdoors, in which case sometimes a martial arts slipper or shoe similar to those worn in Taekwondo or Kung Fu might be worn depending on the school.

Kicking bags and other equipment while wearing a normal shoe can cause some damage to the equipment over time, so it should be avoided whenever possible.

If a fighter needs to protect an injury during training they will usually use athletic tape to support an injury or cover up cuts and abrasions that might be uncomfortable or be an infection risk.

Bring Shoes or Flip Flops to Wear Off the Mats

Bring shoes or flip-flops is a must for use off the mats. This prevents you from bringing germs and fungi onto the mats and helps to reduce the chance of mat diseases during training. Keeping your training area clean and healthful is just generally a good idea.

Do You Wear Shoes in Muay Thai Tournaments?

In International Kickboxing Federation, no shoes are allowed. Muay Thai fights and tournaments are all done barefoot and footwear is only allowed for use outside of the fighting space.

Why is Muay Thai Practiced Barefoot?

Aside from tradition, Muay Thai is a kicking-heavy martial art, having shoes can cause extra damage in the form of cuts and abrasions to fighters, leading to it being practiced barefoot. It also has some physical benefits like building better posture and balance.

For details on the benefits of barefoot training in martial arts check out 7 Benefits of Training Martial Arts Barefoot.

Final Thoughts

Since Muay Thai fights are all done barefoot, training in Muay Thai is also done barefoot. If an athlete wants to support an injured ankle or foot they have the option of using athletic tape to support or cover an injury. Barefoot training also provides some physical benefits to the fighter in training.

If you are interested in knowing about shoe use in other martial arts take a look at Do You Wear Shoes in Martial Arts?


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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