Author’s Note: I am not a podiatrist, nor am I an orthopedist. The recommendations in this post come from common sense and anecdotal experience. For the best recommendations on shoes specific to you, discuss it with a medical professional.
The other day I was leading a footwork class. I looked down. I stopped. I called halt. I vomited. I cried. For a young lady was wearing Uggs. I asked her if she had a pair of sneakers to change into. She did.
But the next class, she came back wearing Crocs. Rinse and repeat with the vomit and tears.
Parents: what are you doing? Your kids’ footwear is important.
Do you climb Mount Kilimanjaro wearing a Speedo? Do you go into a knife fight with a rubber chicken? Do you take a prom date to Long John Silver’s for a fancy dinner? Do you go to couples’ therapy with OJ Simpson?
The answer (I hope) to these questions is a resounding no. Your kids’ shoes they wear are about protection. They’re about making sure they’re fit for the purpose of the activity they’re doing.
Here are some common shoes I see your kids wearing, with explanations as to why they are bad for fencing.
|The Shoe||Why It Sucks for Fencing|
|Uggs||Because it is a furry boot that provides your feet as much quality support as Comcast customer service|
|Crocs||They have holes in them. They’re wobbly plastic. Try taking a foot shot from an Epee in those.|
|Running Shoes||When you’re running, you’re going in one direction: forward. Running shoes are not conducive to sudden changes in direction and dragging your back foot with a lunge, because they usually have a flexible top. I had a student who insisted on wearing them despite my warnings, and that they “helped.” Said student got stress fractures and was in a walking boot for a period of time. So while they’re demonstrated to reduce shock, they aren’t great holistically.|
|Wrestling Shoes||Wrestling is done on a padded mat, so when you try to use these on a metal strip, you’re going to have a bad time. These shoes are made with a thinner material, they have a flat insole and absolutely no arch, foot, or ankle support.|
|Rain Boots||Rain boots are great for walking in the rain. They’re not good for high impact activities like fencing. They’re thicker, heavier, and clunkier, like Justin Meehan.|
|Vibram Toe Shoes||Because they are ugly.|
Shoes That I Like:
The best foot support I’ve gotten from “Fencing” shoes came in the form of Court Tennis Shoes. Unlike Fencing shoes which are lower to the ground and (most) don’t have a removable insole to replace with custom inserts, I’ve liked the feel of court tennis shoes—and they’re often cheaper than fencing shoes. The Adidas Barricades have been my go-to for the last 5+ years. They’ll run you $100-$125, and with frequent use + wear & tear, they’ll likely last you up to a year and a half per pair.
I’ll be doing some shoe reviews in the coming months, but if I were to tell you what my gold standard is right now, it’s court tennis shoes.