Practicing any sport carries a particular risk of injury, especially in martial arts and other contact sports. Kickboxing is no different, and you should always use protective equipment in training. Everybody knows about the mouthguards and gloves, but hand and footwraps might be the most essential part of your equipment to avoid the most common injuries. So, what are Kickboxing foot wraps?
Kickboxing foot wraps are a piece of equipment that is very similar to hand bandages but wrapped around the ankles. They protect your feet and ankles from injury and give you extra grip and stability in the ring. There are various types, used in different circumstances.
Some people argue that foot wraps in Kickboxing do you more harm than good, but that’s completely wrong. Not only do they help with stability and injury prevention, but they can be awesome when you’re just beginning your training, and your legs need some time to get stronger. However, it would be best if you learned how to wrap them yourself and avoid any possible adverse effects of wearing them.
Why are foot wraps important for Kickboxing?
It is hard to say which piece of equipment is more important than others, but one thing is for sure: wearing foot wraps will reduce the risk of the most common Kickboxing injuries. That includes ankle sprains, dislocations, Achilles tears, foot bruising, microfractures, etc.
Beginners often have problems learning how to strike with their legs properly, which leads to injury. If you hit somebody full force with the ball of your foot, you may experience severe pain and damage, especially if you hit a hard spot like the shin, an elbow, or a knee. Wearing protective foot wraps can help you distribute the blow and soften it, making bruising and getting hurt a lot rarer.
And there is more to it than just impact protection. Kickboxing requires a lot of swift, explosive moving on the feet, with many jumps, rotations, and lateral movements. That’s why it’s not rare to see an ankle sprain happening in Kickboxing, especially when training barefoot.
Make sure to work on your lower leg strength and stretch regularly before and after practice to avoid sprains and similar injuries. Also, wearing foot wraps is excellent to provide your ankles with more stability and strength, preventing severe sprains from the start.
One more reason why some fighters prefer wearing foot bandages is the extra grip it provides you. Sometimes, the ring can be slippery (especially in later rounds or on an event with many scheduled flights) due to sweat, blood, etc. So, the wraps can serve you as an extra stability tool, allowing you to attack more confidently.
Some downsides can happen when overusing the foot wraps. When beginning practice, they can be instrumental when practicing to help your ankles and feet get more muscular. But, if you use them all the time when practicing, even while running, doing strength workouts, and bag work, it can hurt you in the long run.
Your ankles will rely on having extra support all the time when experiencing any exertion, so they can eventually get weaker and more injury-prone. A straightforward way to avoid this is to use the bandages only when doing contact training: combinations, sparring, etc. That way, you’ll put some exertion to your ankles alone and provide them with extra support only when needed the most.
Types of Kickboxing foot wraps
There are several types of Kickboxing foot wraps you can choose from, depending on what goals do you want to achieve with the training. Also, in-competition foot wraps are regulated and limited, just like hand bandages, so you won’t be able to use just any type of foot wraps you might be wearing in practice.
There are three main types of Kickboxing foot wraps cloth wraps, tape wraps, and gel ankle guards. Each has their perks, but are used in different situations.
For instance, tape wraps are almost always used only in competition because they aren’t reusable. You tape your feet up just like you would with cloth wraps, providing yourself with excellent protection and comfort during the fight.
After the match is finished, you take them off and dispose of them. There is a limit to how much tape can be used, just like for hand wraps. Most competitions allow only tape wraps. Some allow both tape and cloth wraps but rarely does a match enable fighters to use gel wraps in combat.
The gel wraps (ankle guards) are the most modern version of foot wraps. Most people call them ankle guards because you don’t wrap them around your foot, but they serve the same purpose as traditional wraps. You just pull them on like socks, and they protect your ankles from injury. They don’t provide the same grip and ankle stability as cloth wraps because the tightness usually isn’t adjustable.
They are great for training because of convenience. It’s effortless to put them on and get them off, and they do provide significant protection, so you should consider these if you’re not planning on competitions on the highest level.
Finally, the third type is the traditional, elastic cloth foot wraps. You can never go wrong with these. You regulate the pressure they apply on your ankle and foot, depending on how tight you wrap them.
Most fighters who choose to wear foot wraps opt for this version because it’s convenient, reusable (machine washable), and highly effective as injury protection. We recommend using this option for your training, as it has the most upsides of the three. And, the best part is that they are even simpler to wrap than hand wraps.
How do you wrap your feet for Kickboxing?
Wrapping bandages around your feet for Kickboxing is even more simple than putting on hand wraps. The principle is similar, but you don’t have to wrap around the thumb as you do on your hands. We’ll go through the process step by step, although it’s pretty straightforward.
First, find the end of the wrap that has a loop for the thumb. Put it over your thumb to ensure the wraps will stay in place while fighting. If your wraps don’t have a thumb loop, start wrapping your foot from the top, right next to the toes. That way, you’ll avoid the end slipping out when performing strikes and moving around.
Next, start wrapping your foot from the fingers to the ankle, covering both the foot’s base and the instep. The top of your foot (instep) is where most of the injuries and microfractures happen. So, make sure you wrap the bandages tight enough for protection but not too tight to prevent proper circulation.
When you reach the heel, leave it unwrapped, as wrapping it will only bother you and limit your movement. Instead, wrap the bandages around your Achilles tendon and around the ankle, just a bit up your lower leg to stabilize the ankle completely. Stick the end to the bandages or tuck it underneath if your bandages don’t have velcro ends.
In the end, your wraps should look like cloth boots with no fingers and no heels. They should be tight enough for you to feel them holding your foot in place, but not too tight to stop blood circulation or limit mobility.
Best foot wraps for Kickboxing
Sanabul Elastic Professional Wraps
The Sanabul Elastic Professional Wraps come at a nice price and will do the job more than well. The wraps are 180 inches long, but the length can vary depending on what you need. You can choose between numerous colorways, and the best part – they are extremely well-made and durable.
Plus, they are machine washable, so you don’t need to worry about bad odor or sweat. The only downside, though, is that you have to wrap them yourself. If you think you won’t feel like wrapping them around for each practice, you might be better of with gel wraps.
Sanabul Battle Forged Striking Gel Ankle Guard
Sanabul Striking Gel Ankle Guard is a product designed to provide the same things that traditional bandages do; only these take a second to put on. You just pull them up like socks, gaining instant ankle protection.
They are also very well made, and their durability is unquestionable. They also come with a no-slip system on the bottom to help you with grip in practice. The size varies, though, so you should make sure to pick the right size when buying.
Jupiter Foot Sleeves
JUPITER Foot Sleeves are used by athletes not only in martial arts but many other sports as well. They are very well made to compress the ankle, and they also have belts to adjust the tightness according to your own needs.
However, it would help if you were careful when striking with them because the belts are made out of a little sturdier material, so you’d want to watch out to avoid cutting or chafing your opponent during the fight.
Venum Ankle Support Guard
Finally, if you just want something simple that’ll get the job done and not bother you, then you should check out the Venum Kickboxing Ankle Support Guards. The guard’s design allows it to fit around your ankle comfortably and effectively pressure all the key points.
You’ll gain optimal stability for your ankles, not compromising mobility at the same time. The price is also very affordable if you opt for pull-on protectors instead of the classic wraps.