The best materials used to make gymnastics shoes for tumbling should be soft yet durable but also elastic enough to handle intensity. They should fit well but not be too tight or too loose. There are other factors to consider as well. Regardless, anything meant for yoga or dance will do nicely for gymnastics.
Having said all that, sometimes it isn’t necessary to wear shoes and gymnastics meets are usually barefoot. This is especially true for newcomers to gymnastics so they can buildup the right amount of strength and flexibility in the lower extremities. However, hard surfaces and wintery cold conditions will necessitate having a pair of shoes for tumbling practice.
Ideal Materials for Gymnastics Shoes
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The best kinds of materials that comprise gymnastics shoes for tumbling are those that are durable and elastic yet snug and soft. Things like leather, felt and faux suede are all ideal as well as microfiber, cotton, nylon and elastin. Usually, manufacturers combine several of these materials in one shoe.
Never use tennis shoes or footwear with a stiff sole. This will include shoes designed for football, wrestling, track-and-field, skateboarding or any other such sport. The manufacturer should advertise their shoes as appropriate for things like ballet, yoga and dance. Shoes with a stiff sole aren’t flexible enough to perform gymnastics in and don’t allow the same free movement as tumbling shoes do.
The Size and fit of Gymnastics Shoes
Size and fit are other factors to consider when looking into a good, solid pair of gymnastics shoes for tumbling. They should fit well but not be too tight around the toes. In fact, it may be better to get a ½ to one whole size larger. This will help accommodate swelling after intense practice and breakdown of the shoe in general.
But, every brand is different and should have a sizing chart comparing your regular shoes size with their brand and making you aware of any adjustments in size you might need to make compared to your regular shoes.
Wearing versus Not Wearing Gymnastics Shoes
But, also keep in mind you may not always have to wear tumbling shoes for gymnastics. For newcomers to the artistic sport, wearing no shoes at first helps build muscles and endurance in the feet, heels, ankles, legs, thighs, lower back and buttocks. These are essential areas requiring strength and flexibility for tiptop performance.
However, when concrete or other non-porous material will be the practice surface, shoes are essential. These kinds of surfaces have the potential to induce shin splints along with excruciating knee, joint and tendon pain. This is because such materials have no give and the shock goes back into the body rather than the surface.
Also, the time of year will determine whether a gymnast should wear shoes or not. Spring, summer and the early parts of autumn are okay to not wear shoes. But, when temperatures drop below 60°F, shoes are imperative to wear. The cooler temperatures increase chances of injury, especially in the feet.
Types of Gymnastics Shoes
To get the best understanding of what makes a good shoe for gymnastics, let’s compare Capezio with Beck.
Capezio Daisy Ballet Shoe
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Capezio is a long-time trusted brand for all things dance related, specifically ballet. Their Daisy Shoe (#205) is not only ideal for their intended purpose but also tumbling in gymnastics. This is because they comprise 100% leather. The sole, upper and outsole are all leather or suede and provide the utmost durability.
They also have an inner lining of cotton with a daisy print on them, making them comfortable and light while also being able to take a beating. These ballet shoes by Capezio are so lightweight you hardly know you have them on, even with the crisscross elastic over the top of the foot.
While many people praise these shoes, there are a few problems people sometimes experience. The elastic bands covering the top of the foot do tend to break rather easily and it seems the stitching is inconsistent. Most pairs have solid stitching while others fall apart too easily.
Beck Unisex Gymnastics Shoe
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The gymnastics shoes offered by Beck are perfect for tumbling. They offer a huge line of shoes for children and adults. They’re the slip-on style, so you don’t have to worry about elastic bands breaking. Plus, the soft rubber sole allows you to grip the mat or floor with ease. They’re made of synthetic textiles intended for durability, so they will last a long time. Plus, their design is good for short-distance walking. This means you won’t have to change your shoes right away if it isn’t convenient.
However, as with everything, there are a few pitfalls. For instance, some users report huge holes developing in the sole after a handful of uses. Other say they don’t like how much the rubber sole grips the tumbling area and tends to make some gymnastic techniques difficult.
Final thoughts – Gymnastics shoes for tumbling
When buying a pair of gymnastics shoes, it’s a good idea to touch and feel them before you buy. This way you can ensure the perfect fit and that the style will be right for tumbling. Remember, they should be soft and pliable yet durable. If you are buying shoes online be sure to read reviews and check that other people have also used them for tumbling and found them to be comfortable and suitable for the tumbling skills you will be performing.
Tumbling competitions are usually barefoot because there is no restriction on the flexibility and movement of your feet. However, training and learning tumbling skills takes a lot of practice in the gym. Tumbling shoes can protect your toes and feet from the intense movements you’ll be performing and reduce the chance of injuries like shin splints.
Gymnastics shoes are important because they provide the grip and support needed to safely execute tumbling passes. There are many different brands and styles of gymnastics shoes, so it is important to do some research to find the right pair for you. The most important thing is to make sure that the shoes fit well and provide adequate support.
If you are a beginner, gymnastics shoes for tumbling are not required but recommended. That being said, if you are serious about the sport and plan on competing, then you will need a pair of good quality gymnastics shoes to help you through the long gym sessions.