Parkour is a discipline of movement which emphasizes efficiency and simplicity. Naturally, your parkour gear should match those values. Whether you’re vaulting over a fence, making a cat leap to a wall, or landing in a roll on the grass, you’ll need to wear clothing that keeps you comfortable and — most importantly — safe.
I’ve been practicing with the parkour and free running team Fluido Urbano in Brazil for about a year. Although all of us have our own styles and preferences for parkour gear, we understand that safety and efficiency are most important. If you are new to parkour, you may be thinking that the running outfit in the back of your closet will be just fine. While that can work, it’s not the best option. Here are some general guidelines about what you should wear to practice parkour:
DO wear loose-fitting clothing. Mobility is crucial in parkour, and there’s nothing worse than a pair of ripped pants in the middle of a practice session.
DO wear tennis shoes. I don’t care how many videos you have seen of people training barefoot. Unless you are very experienced, it’s a bad idea. Your feet are your biggest asset in parkour, but they are also extremely vulnerable. Wear running shoes with support and a good grip to protect your feet.
DO wear light-weight materials. They are easier to move in, and you will stay cool while training.
DO express your personality in your parkour gear. I wear a pair of neon-orange pants to practice, and why not? Parkour is about self expression, and that doesn’t have to be limited to just your movements.
Now that we’ve looked at what you should wear to a training session, I’d like to mention a few things to avoid.
DON’T wear jewelry, especially rings, long necklaces, and bracelets. They can easily get broken or damaged when you’re performing movements.
DON’T use glasses, if possible. Switch to contact lenses if you have them. If not, consider tying a string onto the ends of your glasses that can wrap around your head during practice to keep them from falling and breaking.
DON’T wear clothes with a lot of strings, buttons, straps, or anything else that could get caught on something while you’re performing movements.
DON’T wear anything that could inhibit your sight or mobility during training. For example, try to avoid hats with large rims or tight-fitting clothing.
These guidelines for parkour clothing aren’t set in stone, but many parkour athletes, including myself, follow them in order to stay safe and train efficiently. Now, nothing should be stopping you from getting up, grabbing your gear, and having a great training session.