Best Karate shoes, karate fighting shoes, martial arts shoes, best martial arts shoes

The Best Karate Shoes 2024 to Conquer Your Foes

When we think of Karate practice, the first thing that comes to mind are people wearing a white Gi, with a belt holding the jacket in place, barefoot, in an academy that usually uses those puzzle mats in red and blue colour. When you try to alter the picture a little bit, the last thing that comes to mind is picturing people practicing karate wearing shoes for martial arts.

Best karate shoes: Instructor’s top picks

ProductAdi-Kick 2 SneakersWei-Rui LightweightChinese Traditional Kung Fu Shoes
MaterialPUSenior MaterialRubber, Cotton
Sole MaterialPolyurethaneN/ARubber
Suggested User GenderUnisexMenWomen
Sport TypeMartial ArtsMartial Arts, TaekwondoMartial Arts

To be honest, when it comes to traditional martial arts training, it is an area where you usually do not expect a practitioner to wear shoes, but there is indeed a whole market pushing to manufacture and sell the best martial arts shoes possible.

If you ever saw a professional Karate competition, you probably noticed that the fighters are fighting barefoot, which is the common practice in most dojos, but there are more than a few reasons why many practitioners opt to train in shoes. There are specially designed shoes that can benefit you for so many different reasons, so you should definitely at least consider practising in them.

If you plan to compete in Karate, you won’t be able to wear the shoes in competition, but training in them can help you avoid many possible problems and injuries. It can also help you get a feel of what it would be like in a real self-defence situation, because it is very improbable you’ll be attacked bare-footed.

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We need to take into consideration that there are multiple combat sports and martial arts that opt to use shoes, but of course, these are not your normal street shoes, as most martial arts training sessions take place over mats, and you need special shoes with rubber soles in order to be able to train without damaging said mats.

You’ll need a pair of these special shoes to train Karate in. Unless you are at a park training out of the norm, it’s not usually possible to train in your regular outdoor sneakers, both for practical and hygienic reasons. Before you just jump into the store and start looking to buy Karate shoes, though, you should be aware of what you’re looking for, and what other options could also be a good fit to bring into the dojo.

If you are interested in finding the best martial arts shoes for your regular training sessions, or simply to protect your bare feet from the dreaded mat burn, we have you covered. Take the time to check out the little details as we will not only point out some good options for you, but we will share some insight on the details you need to know when you go shop for shoes for martial arts.

Best Karate shoes Complete list

  • Adidas Adi-Kick 2 Sneakers (High Quality Option)
  • Vbestlife Wei-Rui Lightweight martial arts shoes (Best Overall Option)
  • UNOW Traditional Kung Fu Shoes (Best Traditional Option)
  • Traditional Kung Fu – Apika
  • Mooto Wings Taekwondo shoes
  • Adidas Adilux
  • Century Lightfoot

1. Best Karate Shoes High Quality Option

Adidas Adi-Kick 2 Sneakers (High Quality Option)

These Adidas Adi-Kick 2 Sneakers are a must-have for any martial arts enthusiast. With their lightweight construction, good fit, and grip rubber outsole, they offer unparalleled performance. The short lace ensures a better fixation on your foot, while the updated version of the Adidas Adi-kick is made from high-quality PU material. The rubber soles feature pivot points that provide superior traction and stability. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced martial artist, these sneakers are the perfect addition to your training gear.

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  • Comfortability
  • Durability
  • Flexibility
  • Slip-on style with elastic gore for easy on and off
  • Stylish design that can be worn both in and out of the gym


  • May run small, so some customers may need to order a size up
  • Not suitable for activities that require a lot of lateral movement or quick direction changes, as the sole may not provide enough grip or support for those types of movements.

If you want the best of the best, choose well-known, high-quality shoes. Our best overall pick is Adidas Adi-Kick 2 Sneakers. It’s an improved version of the Adidas Adi-Kick that provide you with stability and comfort while performing even the most complex techniques. These are originally meant to be taekwondo shoes, but they went past just being a good pair for their discipline, and becoming one of the best martial arts shoes out there.

These lightweight martial arts shoes provide a good fit thanks to a short lace order and a great grip from an excellent rubber sole that gives pivot points. With the focus on Taekwondo, you will be able to rotate freely when kicking, and thanks to them being such an excellent lightweight option, your kicks will not slow down, an there is a chance that once you get used to them, you won’t even notice you are wearing them while practising.

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They are made with high-quality polyurethane materials, which enable the flexibility and durability of the shoes. They are single-laced with a protective cap over it, meaning that you can still adjust how tight you want them to fit, but be sure that both you and your opponent are safe, and there is some extra padding for the top of your foot, which means that you can do not have to worry during sparring with a partner.

The rubber soles are made to improve friction and stability, but they are made so well that there is no negative impact on your feet pivoting on kicks, and they have additional support on pressure points such as the heel and the base of your toes, the only thing you need to be aware of, is that it offers little to no arch support. Be careful to get the right size, because it’s crucial for your training to have shoes that aren’t too loose or too tight, and it seems like the sizing runs just a little bit small.

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As for the price, the range goes from $40 to $60. That cost is slightly higher than some other models for martial art shoes, but you can rest assured you will get top quality for your money. Adidas is a well-known sports equipment brand, and these shoes are no exception.

2. Best Karate Shoes Overall

Vbestlife Wei-Rui Lightweight martial arts shoes

Experience the perfect combination of function and style with Vbestlife Wei-Rui Lightweight martial arts shoes. Made with high-quality materials and innovative design, these shoes offer excellent durability and performance. Choose from 19 sizes to find the perfect fit for you, and enjoy a comfortable wearing experience with the thicken and non-slip rubber soles. Perfectly suited for Taekwondo, Boxing, Kung Fu, and TaiChi, these classic and stylish shoes are a must-have for any martial arts enthusiast.

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  • Comfortability
  • Durability
  • Stability
  • Breathability


  • May run small, requiring customers to order a size up
  • Some users report that the shoes lack adequate arch support, which can lead to discomfort during prolonged wear

If you want good quality and support, but have a tight budget, then you should take a look at the Vbestlife Wei Rui Taekwondo Shoes. Priced between $22 and $40, will get all the support you need for your training for half the price of some more branded models, and these are our best overall pick, as these lightfoot martial arts shoes also adopt the rubber sole, thick and non-slip, with slightly elasticated sides, keeping enough softness to give you a comfortable wearing experience, and keeping things safe during sparring.

The materials are of the same kind as the previous option, with soles made of rubber, so you can avoid slips due to their nice grip. The shoe itself is very soft and light, and even though there are no common laces, they fit well and won’t slip off. One more great part about this model is the double stitching, which is crucial on pressure points, so they will endure any training session at the dojo, even at the highest intensity.

Basically, these shoes are the budget friendly version of the before-mentioned Adidas model. Even the design is similar. They are of a bit less quality than Adidas, but still give you everything you need when it comes to Karate and pretty much any martial art practice – durability, stability, comfort, and they are lightweight. If you are looking for a good shoe, but wish to spend less money, this is definitely our pick for the best martial arts shoes without breaking the bank.

3. Best Karate Shoes Traditional Option

UNOW Traditional Kung Fu Shoes

For those looking for traditional Chinese shoes with a rich history, the UNOW Traditional Kung Fu Shoes are a perfect choice. With 3,000 years of history, these shoes feature a cloth upper, rubber sole, and cotton lining. They are comfortable, simplistic, durable, and flexible, making them the perfect footwear for martial arts, kung fu, tai chi, hip-hop, parkour, rock, wushu, and other fashion-conscious young people. These shoes are also casual and suitable for indoor and outdoor use, making them a versatile addition to any wardrobe. Choose the UNOW Traditional Kung Fu Shoes and experience the comfort and style of traditional Chinese footwear.

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  • Traditional design
  • Comfortability
  • Durability
  • Versatile


  • Limited sizing options

Old Beijing cloth shoes are chinese traditional shoes, which have 3,000 years of history. They keep things simple with cloth upper, Rubber sole, and Cotton lining, which makes up for what I believe are some of the best shoes out there, as they are made from breathable material, which also offers a lightweight build.

Never in my life did I expect that the shoes that we get to see in all of those Kung Fu movies were going to be as comfortable as they are. The shoe fits excellently and they are basically the regular shoes that people used to wear back in the day, which is even more impressive.

After discovering these shoes, I started bringing them to my bag to wear around the academy. As I prefer to do my training sessions barefoot, I do not use them that much inside of the mats, but it’s always good to have a light shoe to simply put on and off when you get off the mats, and these are my go-to options, as it feels like I am not wearing shoes at all.

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These for me are some of the best martial arts shoes, as they are pretty comfortable, simplistic, quite durable and flexible enough, which means that you can’t go wrong, and to be honest, the sole is a little bigger on the back, allowing for a lot of extra comfort on the heel area, which is greatly appreciated, especially as they only cost $20.

4. Best Karate Shoes Budget Traditionals

Traditional Kung Fu – Apika

Looking for comfortable, durable, and stylish shoes for martial arts or casual wear? Check out Apika’s Traditional Kung Fu shoes! Made with canvas and an anti-slip rubber sole, these slip-on shoes are perfect for indoor and outdoor activities. With a 3000-year history and representing Chinese culture, these shoes are a great choice for Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Wushu, and more. Plus, at an affordable price, they’re a favourite of fashion-conscious young people.

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  • Comfortability
  • Durability
  • Flexibility
  • Represents a rich history of 3000 years of Chinese culture
  • Affordable price point


  • May not provide enough support for some users who require more cushioning in their footwear
  • Sizing may run small, requiring customers to order a larger size than usual.

Apika’s option also falls in on the traditional footwear category, and these lightfoot martial arts shoes are a pretty comfortable option. They have all the simple details in mind when it comes to their build. They offer a synthetic upper sole and keep comfort while keeping the traditional Old Beijing style that we just mentioned in our previous choice.

They look casual, which allows them for indoor and outdoor use, and offer great flexibility and decent durability which covers all the points that you want in your training footwear.

Apika in my opinion is just a little behind UNOW when it comes to being the best shoes out of the traditional options, due to little details in the stitching and materials, but they do have one thing in their favour. With UNOW at the $20 price point, Apika is the best budget option as they go out between 14 and 17 USD.

If you want to get a good martial arts shoe option, but you also want to have some footwear to casually wear around town on the way to your martial arts classes, then you should look into these traditional shoe options.

5. Best Karate Shoes Option for Kickers

Mooto Wings Taekwondo shoes

Looking for high-quality martial arts shoes that provide support and flexibility? Look no further than MOOTO’s shoes! With a specialized outsole for dynamic movement, these shoes feature a 30-degree design to make hopping and stepping easier, while also minimizing heel shock. The arch-supporting shank helps reduce tiredness, and the high-density spandex textile ensures a perfect fit. Available in two-tone or black colours and sizes 235 to 315. Remember to wear one or two sizes larger than usual for maximum comfort.

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  • Designed specifically for Taekwondo, with a 30-degree angle to aid in hopping and stepping.
  • High-density strong spandex textile holds the foot tightly and provides a perfect fit.
  • Breathability
  • Comes in two-tone (White & Black) or Black, with 5 unit sizes available from 235-315.


  • May not be suitable for other martial arts or general use due to their specialized design.
  • The need to wear them one or two sizes larger than your regular shoe size may be inconvenient.

The Mooto Wings is an excellent option for those who want a pair of martial arts shoes that work excellently for pivoting and sliding, which allows great performance while kicking. These shoes will protect your foot like no other during intense workouts, as they are durable and offer excellent gripping when you are on the mats.

You can be kicking a heavy trainer pad with ease using this pair of shoes during martial arts practice, as they are quite resistant and they are offered in both white and black colours if you want to look sharp with them.

They offer a little arch support, and they are easy to clean up, but you have to make sure you have enough to spend, as a pair of these babies costs between 67 and 75 USD, which is not bad, as we are going into the higher end options to finish the list off; and these balance an excellent performance while not skyrocketing on the cost.

These shoes allow you to go on and off the mats with no issues, and they are easy enough to simply take off if you are like me and would instead train to be bare foot. From what I have seen, these hold up well over time, showing no signs of cracking in the leather from constant kneeling.

You can always use inserts for support if required but initially, the shoes may feel tight across the top and ball of the foot. Just be patient, as they will stretch to accommodate the inserts without ruining the appearance of the shoes.

6. Best Karate Shoes Premium Choice

Adidas Adilux

The Adidas Adilux is a must-have for martial artists. With a soft leather/faux leather upper and padded heel, it offers ultimate comfort. The thin footbed ensures a barefoot feel and close ground contact, while the three-part sole provides a soft rubber forefoot and heel, plus a hard plastic insert for mid-foot support. Designed as a slipper, this shoe is easy to wear and has no laces. Available in a narrow width, it’s perfect for training and competition.

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  • Durability
  • Flexibility
  • Comfortability


  • Some users may prefer a shoe with laces for a more secure fit.
  • The narrow shoe width may not be suitable for those with wider feet.

The Adilux option is an odd pair, and they come into the list as the most expensive martial arts shoes on the list, hitting the $90 Mark, but we do not mean odd as anything wrong. These shoes are shoes great indoor training Slippers without lace, which come with a 3-part “Torsion Sole Support”, along with their non-markable sole pivot points under the front foot and heel.

These are some high gradehigh-grade shoes that you can rely on, but we have already mentioned the Adi-Kicks 2 variant, which offers a ton of the details that the Adilux was made to cover back in the day, and the Adi-kick is around 25 USD dollars cheaper, which makes them a better choice for a tight budget.

The one thing to watch out for if you decide to spend your money on a pair of these high-end shoes is to get the size correctly, as the size is usually a bit off, due to the remade model being wider a bit widder (and yes, the current Adilux is a remodel from the original design).

As they are slippers with no laces, take the time to make sure that you will get them on a good fit, as it has been the issue with this model, if they are not quite tight they tend to fall off.

7. Best Karate Shoes Option for Kata Work

Century Lightfoot

The Century Lightfoot is a lightweight and pliable martial arts shoe designed for optimal performance. The rubber sole is optimized for floor gripping and features a pivot point for enhanced footwork. With a breathable design, this shoe keeps your feet cool and comfortable during training and competition. Made of durable synthetic leather, it’s built to last. The Lightfoot features rubber soles with pivot points and a breathable, pliable design for ultimate performance.

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  • Comfortability
  • Optimized outsoles provide excellent grip on various surfaces.
  • Rubber sole features a pivot point, enhancing footwork and agility.
  • Breathability
  • Durability


  • Some users have reported that the shoes may run small, so it’s important to pay close attention to sizing when ordering.
  • The synthetic leather material may not provide the same level of breathability as natural leather.
  • The shoes may not provide enough arch support for individuals with flat feet or other foot conditions.

Century went out to make a lightweight and pliable shoe that works for martial arts training, but also comes out looking quite classy. The shoe outsoles are optimized to provide excellent grip when you train. This due is to trubber-made the sole that features pivot points for enhanced footwork, and keep a breathable design for good ventilation and comfort.

Century made an excellent shoe, and the synthetic leather provides a durable and reliable option for you to take over to the mats. Still, with their cost going around $68, they enter the fight but are not quite close enough to make it into the top spots of our list.

They are however the most stylish option in my opinion, and they come in 3 colours, white, black and a black/pink mix which I find to be quite interesting, and have no right to look as good as they do.

Quality, durability and reliability are all over the place on this list, which is pretty much the only reason that this excellent option made by Century ended up at the back of the list. Still, to keep things clear, that doesn’t mean that these shoes do not get the job done but take into consideration that a lot of people in the reviews are recommending getting these a size lower than you’d normally wear, as the elastic materials will allow it to provide excellent fit, and using your same size might make them feel like they are running big.

Karate shoes Buying Guide

The reasons why karate shoes are important

Multiple details about using footwear for martial arts bring to the table that tons of people do not give them credit.


Karate shoes offer protection to the feet during training and competition. They help to prevent injuries from impact, such as bruising, cuts, and scrapes. Additionally, they provide support to the feet, which can help reduce the risk of sprains and strains, and beats what grappling socks could offer.

In cases where you deem it necessary, you can always use ankle wraps under the shoes to get extra ankle support. This should help you train comfortably without worrying too much about the twists that could damage your joints and strain your leg muscles.


Karate shoes provide traction, which can help prevent slipping and sliding on the mat or floor. This is particularly important for fast movements and sudden changes in direction during training or competition.

That is one of the reasons that these shoes are used in multiple arts, like krav maga and even muay thai, as the practitioners want to make good use of that same traction to keep their feet steady.

MMA fighters do not have specific mma shoes, but you can see them using grappling boots or boxing shoes to get some extra grip during training, as they will ultimately have to be barefoot when they go into the cage.


Karate shoes help maintain good hygiene by preventing direct contact between the feet and the training surface. This can reduce the risk of infection and the spread of bacteria and fungi, while also providing that aforementioned extra traction in the case that the training area is covered in sweat.


Karate shoes are designed to be lightweight and flexible, providing maximum comfort and mobility during training and competition. They allow the feet to breathe and can help prevent blisters and other foot problems.


Karate shoes are an important part of a karate practitioner’s uniform and can add to the overall aesthetic of the sport. They come in a variety of colors and styles to suit individual preferences and can also help differentiate between different levels of practitioners.

The Vbestlife Wei-Rui Is the Best karate shoe option to get.

As we mentioned earlier, we strongly believe that VBestlife Wei-Rui is the best option on the list, as they offer outstanding performance, just like what you woud get from either the Adi-kicks or any other higher cost alternative, without breaking the bank.

They are comfortable, reliable, and durable and the black and white design on them makes them look good with any Gi you decide to bring to class. They may be slippers but they feel tight and comfortable, as they simply should, and we encourage anybody to test them out.

Types of martial arts shoes

As we mentioned multiple times, most Karate dojos practice barefoot. However, that doesn’t mean that your Sensei will prohibit you from training in shoes. There are, however, a few things that you to consider before you do it, though. First of all, you shouldn’t use these shoes outside of the gym. That way, you’ll keep them clean and avoid soiling the mats with dirt, especially if other practitioners are bare-footed.

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Secondly, you need to know what kind of shoes you need. They should be thin, light-weighted, and most of the time, shouldn’t have or have pretty short laces. Laces can cause injury to your opponent when taking a hit, so most gyms don’t allow sparring in laced shoes unless they are short enough to be tucked into the shoe when you are training. In the case you have long laces on your shoes, you can always practice in them without sparring, but it would be a lot more simple to get ones without laces.

Laceless sneakers

These are the most common type of karate shoes and come in many different models. They offer good protection and traction while still allowing for comfort and mobility. As it was mentioned a few times in the list, you do need to make sure they fit well so that they do not slide and remain comfortable.

Kung Fu shoes

These shoes are designed to provide a more traditional martial arts feel and are often in the form of slippers. They offer good grip and protection, while still maintaining comfort and mobility. The fabric they have offers barely adds any layer of protection on top, but the sole will keep you quite comfortable during practice.

Consideration about other martial arts shoes

Boxing boots, grappling/wrestling shoes and ninjutsu Tapi shoes are designed for different types of movement and skills, and for that reason, these types of shoes are NOT recommended for karate practice. They may limit your performance when practising karate or harm your sparring partner upon impact.

Features to Look for when buying martial arts shoes


The main thing to focus on is for your Karate shoes to be comfortable and fit well in order to toavoid injury during practice. Look for shoes with cushioning and support in the insole and heel, and ensure they are the right size and shape for your feet.


Good traction is important for stability and preventing slips or falls during practice. Look for shoes with a non-slip sole that offers good grip on the training surface, usually, rubber is the way to go.


Karate shoes should be flexible and allow for a full range of motion in the foot and ankle. Look for shoes with a lightweight and flexible construction that allows for easy movement.


Karate shoes should be durable and able to withstand the rigours of training. Look for shoes made from high-quality materials that are designed to last, as well as protect you and feel good.


Good airflow is important for keeping feet cool and comfortable during practice. Look for shoes with breathable materials or ventilation features to promote airflow and reduce sweating. Traditional style footwear is an excellent choice for this.


While not strictly necessary, many practitioners prefer karate shoes that are stylish and fit with the overall aesthetic of their uniform or personal style. Look for shoes that come in a variety of colours and styles to suit your individual preferences

Common Questions About Karate Shoes

How do I clean and maintain my karate shoes to ensure their longevity?

The first thing to keep in mind, is to only use the shoes on the mats, as this will keep the soles clean, and as it won’t cause impact as concrete does, it will help towards making the shoes last longer. Cleaning them is quite simple, all you need is a disinfectant tissue, hich you can run all over the shoe to keep the top it clean, and in case required, just clean the sole with some wet papper or tissue to take of any dirt.

You should feel the shoes as if they were kind of a glove, you want them to be slightly tight, without restricting movement. If they are loose, they might just not stay in their place (in the case of slippers, mostly) and that may cause issues.

Karate competition does not allow you to use shoes, but you can still use them for training and sparring at class without any problem.

This comes down to how good your shoes are in the first place. If you got good quality shoes, you can use them for a longer period before they start tearing down. Once you start to notice that the shoe is starting to break down, that’s when you need to consider looking for a replacement.

No, there are no requirements, and you can get any type of martial arts footwear in case you are looking forward into this investment.

When it comes to Karate shoes especifically, there are no brands that stand out, but a lot of brands manufature shoes for multiple arts, like taekwondo, and those can be used without issues.

Some of the brands in this article are known for being good manufacturers in combat sports, and you could always follow that tendency, like in the case of Century and Adidas, but you may want to open your mind and test brands you haven’t heard about before.

Enjoy Your New Karate shoes

Adidas Adi-Kick 2 Sneakers (High Quality Option)

These Adidas Adi-Kick 2 Sneakers are a must-have for any martial arts enthusiast. With their lightweight construction, good fit, and grip rubber outsole, they offer unparalleled performance. The short lace ensures a better fixation on your foot, while the updated version of the Adidas Adi-kick is made from high-quality PU material. The rubber soles feature pivot points that provide superior traction and stability. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced martial artist, these sneakers are the perfect addition to your training gear.

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  • Comfortability
  • Durability
  • Flexibility
  • Slip-on style with elastic gore for easy on and off
  • Stylish design that can be worn both in and out of the gym


  • May run small, so some customers may need to order a size up
  • Not suitable for activities that require a lot of lateral movement or quick direction changes, as the sole may not provide enough grip or support for those types of movements.

If you are about to hit the shop and pick up a brand new pair of Footwear for your Karate sessions, make sure to keep in mind all the little details in order to make the most out of them, while keeping them clean and sharp.

If you found this article to be helpful, why don’t you take the time to share and recommend it for any other practitioner in your school to check out, in clase they are interested after seeing you branding that great pair of shoes right into them during sparring sessions.

Keep yourself training and have some fun while you do it; we will be expecting to see you on the mats soon!

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