Parkour is a sport that consists of overcoming obstacles in the environment using only the body itself. In most cases - although it does not have to - it is practiced in urban environments. Therefore, these obstacles are usually fences, walls, and slopes of all kinds. Running, climbing, jumping in static and running, precision jumps, rotations or vaults are some of the things that a traceur (the name they receive Parkour practitioners) usually train. On a physical level, it is a very balanced practice that involves the whole body and provides agility, balance, strength, proprioception, and improvisation capacity, as well as constant mental challenges.
In Parkour, the main objective is self-improvement. This largely defines the training method and target selection of the traceurs. Since the objective is not to make a specific jump or another but to improve and progress in our abilities, Parkour focuses on technical excellence, progressive improvement, and safe practice. In other words, Parkour is not learned by falling. The objective is to know our own limitations, train within them, and gradually expand what we are capable of achieving without taking risks.
Within the family of practices derived from Parkour, we find Freerunning. This, in addition to incorporating elements of Parkour, aims at aesthetics and personal expression through movement. For this reason, in Freerunning we observe acrobatics, somersaults, and dance movements among others. Freerunning, therefore, emphasizes creativity and the beauty of movements.
In practice, most Parkour practitioners also do Freerunning and vice versa. To what extent what one trains is more Parkour or more Freerunning is a matter of each one, although the objectives pursued are different.
One of the many methods traceurs use to improve their technique and precision is to force the need for such precision. That is, instead of working on bigger or more difficult jumps, add difficulties to challenges already assumed. For example, landing on finer obstacles, doing the same challenge barefoot, or training with minimalist footwear.
What type of footwear is used in the practice of Parkour?
Typical Parkour footwear is already much lighter than many belief. To place your feet with a margin of error of millimeters, you need to be able to feel the ground and obstacles with your feet. In addition, it is essential that shoes have the best possible grip, thus eliminating unnecessary risk factors.
That is why it is natural that minimalist footwear has always been used to improve technique in Parkour. In my personal experience, and that of many, the use of appropriate minimalist footwear, such as Nummulit sneakers, improves the effectiveness of technique workouts and, in general, accuracy and confidence. In addition, Nummulit Terra -which I use daily in my Parkour gym- stands out precisely for having an outstanding grip, something difficult to find in other types of sports shoes.
Parkour training with minimalist shoes should be done with care and knowledge. This is suitable for intermediate and advanced practitioners and highly recommended for beginners in controlled environments, such as specialized gyms, or generally under expert supervision.