Buying a pair of the best tai chi shoes most definitely isn’t a difficult task when you have buyer’s guides like this that will cover a range of areas from benefits of buying tai chi shoes, factors to consider before purchasing tai chi shoes, along with how to choose the best tai chi shoes for your needs. In having an article as such, you can gain confidence in knowing you’ll make the best decision. After we cover the aforementioned, we’ll be discussing reviews on the best five, and give you our final verdict.
Why You Should Bu Tai Chi Shoes
Before we get into what you should consider before purchasing the best tai chi shoes, it’s always imperative to know the benefits. Without benefits, you’ll be sitting there and wondering why you’re purchasing in the first place. For tai chi shoes, it’s no different. Of course, every product has its advantages and disadvantages, and tai chi shoes are once again not out of the loop. Benefits of buying tai chi shoes include the following:
- Being able to perform to your potential: When practicing tai chi, it’s imperative that you have the shoes to perform. You wouldn’t go into cosmetology work and not have your own shears, now would you? Buying a pair of tai chi shoes is like buying a tool for your trade, and is imperative to the success of how well you perform during tai chi moves.
- Low-budget and affordable: Building off what we talked about the in the aforementioned paragraph, tai chi shoes are important in your personal performance. There’s no reason not to purchase an extra set, as they are typically extremely affordable. Using your money to invest in this sport is generally a good idea, seeing as how if you don’t, it may result in injury.
Before we head into the reviews, you may want to learn about the styles of tai chi shoes and what those styles can offer you while performing.
Factors to Consider Before Buying Tai Chi Shoes
We’ll state this upfront by saying you may not want to use your normal athletic shoes or running shoes to perform tai chi moves. We’ll discuss this below more in detail, but there are three types of tai chi shoes (general umbrella terms), for your activities. These types include the following:
All-cloth: The all-cloth version of the tai chi shoe allows you to move seamlessly, and is more aimed at those who want or who are already heavily into indoor training. With the appearance of slippers, not only are they generally comfortable, but you don’t have to break them in much and they allow superior flexibility. Cloth signifies your connection with the Earth and the ground, which is very important with tai chi. Generally, the most inexpensive, cloth shoes are easy to carry and not a burned. However, there are downfalls to this kind of shoe that include being able to get dirty rather quickly, along with wearing out easier because of the weaker material. Whether you train inside at a school or inside at your home, more advanced moves may seem more slippage with an all-cloth shoe. If you’re training somewhere with a rug or an area that provides a bit of traction on the floor for you, you’ll see benefits the most here.
Hybrid style: The hybrid style is a bit weirder, but is a hybrid between a possible athletic shoe and a tai chi slipper. Usually, this kind is made up of cloth with the incorporation of a rubber sole that grips enough to the ground where you won’t fall, but not hard enough to where you’ll injure yourself because of it being more like an athletic shoe. If you’re a woman practicing tai chi, the hybrid style is typically the “go to” because of the sizing options. Typically, those that are rubber sole tend to last much longer and are very inexpensive to purchase. While they aren’t an athletic shoe totally, they take the best remnants and make it work for the tai chi lifestyle.
Low profile: Last but not least, the other general umbrella term for a style of tai chi shoe is the low profile. With an appearance like a soccer shoe, you’ll have a range of mobility, while still being able to perform precise movements that stick. You may be confused as to how this style of shoe differs from a bowler shoe or just a low-profile skating shoe, and the answer lies within where you come from. If you want to get used to tai chi before investing, low profile shoes are great for those who have what is said to be a sider, western foot. A great transition shoe, you’ll find that once you master some techniques, cloth or hybrid shoes are a must.
Tips on How to Choose the Best Tai Chi Shoes for Your Needs
You may believe that athletic shoes will benefit you in tai chi simply because they’re noted as “athletic” shoes; this couldn’t be more wrong. While it may be okay initially and when you’re not going into more intermediate tai chi activities, the general sole of athletic shoes are designed with the idea to keep your foot in place, and not slide. With tai chi, you’ll see that your feet may be in a constant rotation during your moves. Wearing athletic shoes could actually harm and set yourself up for injury.
Knowing your actual size in men’s and women’s shoes may play an important role in purchasing tai chi shoes. Women tend to have to cave in and convert their sizes, as many athletic shoes come in men’s sizes, and it’s important to know how to do so. Unless otherwise stated, men’s shoes are always one to two sizes larger, meaning you have to reduce your normal shoe size by one or two full sizes. Some shoe descriptions will tell you what to get if you’re a female, but the two sizes down from your normal shoe is a general rule.
The Best Tai Chi Shoes
1) ADIDAS SM II SHOES
Manufactured by the world-renowned brand, Adidas, this pair of shoes is meant for those who are into heavy training, whether outdoor or indoor. Lightweight and extremely durable in architecture, features of the aforementioned include the following:
- Ideal for workouts that are heavy
- Construction using soft leather
- Very lightweight, durable
- Single lace design
- Pivot sole
Breakdown of Features
The general notes of this shoe offer a shoe that’s going to withstand the impact of a heavy workout, whether it’s a normal, cardio-infused workout, or a workout that’s going to be a little bit less high-impact in some places, like tai chi. The reason we mention this shoe for tai chi, even though it’s not tai chi specific, is because it’s lightweight and allows a lot of room for flexibility. The sole of the shoe allows pivoting for better mobility, which is essential in tai chi movements. In fact, these shoes are geared more towards tai chi than other sports it would be “great” for, despite not being geared directly for tai chi. Beyond this, they’re composed of soft leather to ensure that they’re going to be flexible and lightweight, along with a single lace design to further ensure said mobility.
There are a ton of advantages to this pair of shoes, including the single lace system. Beyond this, the sole that increases pivoting allows for better mobility, as we’ve mentioned. Having these two incorporated within the shoe allow said shoe to be great for tai chi. Without, we wouldn’t be recommending them.
There aren’t too many real disadvantages, but there are things to note before buying. With this pair of shoes, you’re looking at sizing down if you’re a woman. While there have been issues with the sizing in general with this pair of shoes, once you figure out the according conversion, you’re going to be smooth sailing. For women, you want to order a size down generally, as these are more slim-fit shoes. However, if you have wider feet, you may have to look elsewhere if sizing up doesn’t work. Sizing up too much can create a loose shoe in the front, causing you to be more immobile than mobile with them.
2) Martial Arts Shoes by Tiger Claw
Sleek in appearance and stunning in design, the aforementioned Martial Art Shoes is manufactured by Tiger Claw, and available at an extremely attractive price. Slimming and sleek in design, this shoe boasts quite a few features that others don’t, including the following:
- Composed of soft leather, ensures a better grip on the floor with the newly designed sole
- Features a “power pivot” structure
- Comes with a carrying case
- Women should size down by 1.5 sizes
Breakdown of Features
The power pivot aspect of this shoe allows for a better amount of traction, but not the same amount of traction that an athletic shoe has. When you have this specific amount of said traction, your foot can perform to its best, while not falling – no matter the exterior. Another feature of this shoe is that they are listed in men’s sizes, not women’s. We’ll touch base on this more in another section before the end of this review. These martial arts shoes are actually composed of a soft leather that enables flexibility, while providing a durable grip to the floor. It’s worth mentioning that said grip doesn’t grip so hard that you may harm yourself during your fluid movements, but there’s enough there that you don’t fall.
Mostly all of the features are advantages of the product, but we’ll pinpoint the power pivot aspect of this shoe that is said to have “yin and yang” pivot. Not only does it provide enough traction for you to successfully execute tai chi movements, but you won’t harm yourself, and it will “leave a good impression.”
We’ll start off by saying that there aren’t too many overall disadvantages, but moreso specific drawbacks to those who need particular sizing: like females. Unfortunately, this shoe requires you to size down by one and a half sizes, which has proven difficult for many, as it’s received a 58% for the “fit as expected” section of the internet. Once you figure out your sizing, though, it’s all smooth sailing from here! It’s also worth mentioning that those with wide feet will have to look elsewhere, as this extremely narrow shoe isn’t designed for wider feet unless you size up entirely. It’s worth nothing that if you do size up too much, you’re actually posing more danger to yourself than not, as the front end could be so long and big for your foot that you can trip during movements.
3) Tiger Claw Feiyue Martial Arts Shoes
Boasting a low-profile shoe for the newly exposed westerner to tai chi, these Feiyue martial arts shoes are manufactured by Tiger Claw and are available at an extremely attractive price in comparison with others we’ve shown you. Features of the aforementioned pair of shoes include the following:
- Durable canvas composition
- Lace up top
- Padded, light sole
- Great tread
- Used by Shaolin masters and monks
Breakdown of Features
The overall padded and canvas composition of this shoe is why it excels more than anything, despite the low-profile aspect of it being in the forefront. While low-profile shoes are typically favored by westerners, there are Shaolin monks and masters that also approve of these shoes, and where them regularly during tai chi activities. With a light sole for a hint of traction and a bucket load of mobility, these shoes by Tiger Claw are fantastic for the first timer, or for those who are so seasoned, that they’ve tried it all. The fit is mostly as expected, but you may need to size down if you’re a woman. We’ll discuss more on this below.
There are quite a few advantages to this product, including the exclusion of more traction. If you’re someone who’s more advanced and doesn’t care for or need an extreme amount of traction that others offer, then you would love this shoe. Light traction due to the padding and light sole, not only is this shoe much more lightweight and allows you to be more fluid, but it’s also durable and composed of thicker, lightweight canvas. Having the combination of two allows for seamless fluidity of movements.
A drawback to using this shoe would be that there isn’t enough traction for some people. There are other, non-low-profile shoes that have more traction, which may be more attractive to others depending on your movement style. However, it’s worth noting that these shoes have the maximum traction for the style they boast, and are definitely worth a second glance.
4) UNOW Chinese Traditional Kung Fu Shoes
Manufactured by UNOW, these traditional shoes are more geared towards ones who want to stick with traditional roots. Composed of black cloth and extremely inexpensive, these slipper-style shoes boast a number of features including the following:
- Can be used for both Kung Fu, Tai Chi, and other sports
- Style of shoe has been used for 3,000 years
- Cloth upper
- Rubber sole
- Cotton lining
Breakdown of Features
Great for both indoor and outdoor use, this style of shoes has been in use by those who practice traditional Chinese and Japanese sports for over 3,000 years. Composed of a cloth upper, along with a cotton lining, and a rubber sole, these shoes allow for optimal mobility and fluidity, while having a bit of traction. In the style of “slipper” that we mentioned, these are definitely shoes for those who want precise and pinpointed movement. Comfortable and flexibility, there’s no real “break-in” period for these shoes. Great for other sports other than tai chi, including parkour, hip hop dancing, and other martial arts, you can use this versatile shoe with ease and flexibility. Let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages, though!
There are too many advantages to this product to list all in this paragraph, but we’ll pinpoint a few that we think are deserving of some of the limelight. Well received by the general public, these traditional Chinese slippers are comfortable and practical for practicing tai chi to perfection. With the overall composition, design, and materials used, this shoe allows flexibility and comfortability all in one package.
The The Bad
Unfortunately, sizing is an issue with sport related shoes. Some people want them snug and tight, while others want them loose, so finding your size (despite knowing your normal size) may be difficult. The aforementioned pair from UNOW is no different. There have been conflicting reports of the sizing, so you may want to try researching or going with your general size tips beforehand. If you’re a female, order a size or two down, if you’re a male, try sticking with your normal size and see where it goes from there.
5) Black Belt Shop Rubber Sole Tai Chi Shoes
Created by the Black Belt Shop, these tai chi and kung fu shoes are another form of inexpensive slipper shoe. One of the most inexpensive on the market currently (and for sure on this list), this simple pair of shoes boasts a number of attractive qualities, including the following:
- Slip-on shoe, great for street and studio
- Rubber soles and a canvas upper
- Cotton lining
- For smaller feet
Breakdown of Features
With a rubber sole, canvas upper, and cotton lining, the general composition of this shoe is supreme. Simple and effortless to use, there is no real “break-in” time for these shoes, either. Easy to put on and easy to wear during precise movements, you won’t have any trouble wearing these once you figure out your size situation. While they are inexpensive, there are some disadvantages (as well as some advantages) you should be made aware of. The general composition of the shoe isn’t for those who want something more athletic, but it’s great for someone who wants a bit of traction with the ability to perform fluid movements.
A classic shoe with some sizing issues, you may have to do some research for the sizing of this shoe. If you have smaller feet, you’re in luck! The aforementioned shoe is fantastic for those who don’t have normal or wide feet, and it can cater to those with smaller bone structure. It’s tough to find well-fitting shoes for those that don’t have normal or wide feet, and these shoes excel at providing optimal comfort and performance. The overall design is yet another advantage, providing traction with the incorporation of mobility due to the structure of the shoe.
The advantage we put is also a disadvantage on this one. There isn’t much to this shoe, but for those who have a larger foot, you may want to size up drastically or find another shoe all-together. Aimed towards more narrow and smaller feet, while running a bit small in general, these shoes aren’t great for those who are looking for their specific size, and have a wider foot. However, once the size issue is gotten over, the performance is fantastic.
The Final Verdict
If you’re still discombobulated and have no idea which shoe to purchase, we’ll pinpoint one that we think is great for all those starting out. It’s a reliable and well-known brand, on top of providing a great pair of shoes available at a decent price. The Adidas SM II shoes is a great pair for those just starting with their tai chi performance, along with the fit being decent. While you may have to break these ones in a bit, they’re definitely a great starting shoe. Being lightweight, you’re able to perform as desired, and those who are into heavy training (whether outdoor or indoor) will find solace in knowing this pair of athletic shoes exist.