7 Best Shoes for Calisthenics 2021

The best shoes for calisthenics should be exceptionally lightweight and promote natural foot biomechanics. Best Shoes for CalisthenicsMinimalist/ barefoot shoes are the most ideal for calisthenics because they extremely lightweight are meant to permit unhindered foot movement.

Simply speaking, what you need during calisthenics training is something to protect your feet from hazards such as stepping on debris.

This review takes you through some of the best minimalist/barefoot training shoes which guarantee optimal comfort and security for your feet.

Related: Best Weighted Vest for Calisthenics

Reviews: 7 Best Shoes for Calisthenics 2021

1. Inov-8 Barefoot/Minimalist Bare-XF 210 v2 – Calisthenics Shoe

This trainer comes with a minimal low-drop cushioning which is meant to deliver, barefoot sensation typical of calisthenics workouts. Because of its lightweight nature, you feel like you’re wearing nothing at all when training in this Bare-XF 210 v2.

Inov-8 Barefoot/Minimalist Bare-XF 210 v2 – Calisthenics Shoe

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Underfoot cushioning results from the power footbed insert whose 3-mm thickness keeps your feet close the surface to allow better foot control. Such level of cushioning is adequate for calisthenics training since no huge impacts.

A zero-drop outsole keeps your heels and forefoot at the same level which further contributes to better foot control. This also heightens your stability thus allowing you train with minimal strain on your joints and muscles.

The sticky rubber used on the outsole ensures you have a firm grip on surfaces. But since it’s thin, it’s advisable to train on even surfaces to avoid discomforts for pebbles under your feet.

Not only is the sole unit flexible, but it also comes with a Meta-Flex groove at the forefoot to allow unrestricted foot movement during planks and burpees.

The upper is completed with forefoot mesh and synthetic overlays which result in a breathable and supportive structure. However, the overlays are only meant to offer foot support and protection with hindering normal foot flexibility.

The rubber bumper covering the toe area provides effective toe protection during planks and burpees.

What’s more, the upper also features side panels which serve as protection and gripping aids during rope climbs.

Pros
  • Barefoot sensation
  • Excellent flexibility
  • Ideal calisthenics trainer
  • Good grip
  • Versatile
  • Toe-box bumper
Cons
  • Sliding footbed

2. Merrell Barefoot Vapor Glove-3

With Vapour Glove 3, you get a barefoot experience while protecting your feet from hazards during calisthenics training. It’s a comfortable and lightweight minimalist trainer which feels like you’re wearing nothing on your feet.

Merrell Barefoot Vapor Glove-3

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CMEVA cushioning is utilized as the midsole cushioning where it’s intended to offer adequate underfoot protection. Since the midsole platform is thin, Merrel also incorporates TrailProtect technology to guard your underfoot against debris and sharp objects.

Moreover, the midsole is meant allow sufficient foot flexibility so that feet can feel as natural as possible.

The bottom of Vapour Glove 3 is covered with Vibram rubber whose sturdiness allows it to withstand rigorous application. It’s purposely made thin to allow your underfoot to feel and conform to training surface. Thus you feel like you’re training barefoot.

The entire landing surface comes with numerous patterns which are intended to the make the platform more flexible. These patterns also add to the rubber’s gripping ability.

A synthetic mesh and mesh lining provides the foot cover where it’s meant to deliver optimal comfort and flexibility. The internal lining aids in absorbing moisture from your feet to keep them comfortable.

TPU overlays serve as reinforcement on the most vulnerable parts of the mesh. Plus they contribute to better foot support while maintaining the shoes structural integrity.

The sole unit extends to the toe-box to provide a guard for your toes. This is especially helpful when performing planks and burpees. Plus the shoe’s spacious toe area promotes ample toe-splay for enhanced comfort.

Pros
  • Protective underfoot platform
  • Adequate flexibility
  • Thin but durable outsole
  • Lightweight
  • Excellent traction
  • Nice colors
Cons
  • Durability issues

3. Men’s Xero Shoes Barefoot Prio

The lightweight and barefoot sensation exhibited by this minimalist training shoe is what makes it ideal for calisthenics exercises. It’s barely noticeable on your feet and it’s built to allow your feet to feel as if they are actually barefoot.

Men’s Xero Barefoot Shoes Prio

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The underfoot platform of this trainer entails a 5.5 mm outsole and 2 mm thick insole both of which are non-elevated. Though you don’t require a lot of cushioning under your feet, the thin insole ensures, you don’t suffer discomfort due to debris or pebbles. In addition, the insole features a curved heel which is meant to force the rearfoot to the center of the shoe.

What’s more, the insole can be removed to experience even better ground sensation.

Dubbed as FeelTrue, the outsole guarantees optimal underfoot protection while promoting ground feedback. Backed the V-shaped patterns the sole unit also delivers outstanding traction on both indoor and outdoor surfaces.

The upper is extremely flexible and it’s made of a lightweight synthetic fabric to keep your feet as free as possible. Presence of a mesh at the forefoot and sides contributes to the breathability of the foot chamber.

The lacing system is connected to the reflective straps in such a way that tightening the laces results in a perfect fit.

Pros
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Excellent flexibility
  • Ample toe space
  • Superb ground feedback
  • Secure traction
Cons
  • Runs small

4. New Balance Versatile Trainer Minimus 20 v7

If New Balance trainers are your favourite, then Minimus 20 v7 will definitely deliver the barefoot experience you need during calisthenics workouts.

New Balance Versatile Trainer Minimus 20 v7

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Although it’s categorized as a minimalist trainer, it exhibits adequate responsiveness that makes it ideal for impact-related workouts like sprints and plyometrics. However, the material used for underfoot cushioning is REVlite which is exceptionally lightweight. This is makes it good for calisthenics which require minimal weight on your feet.

A grippy and hard-wearing Vibram rubber is utilized as the outsole of this trainer. It provides secure anchorage on most indoor and outdoor training surfaces. The tread patterns on this outsole are the non-marking type, to you don’t have to worry about disfiguring your indoor surfaces.

Presence of forefoot traction nubs and multi-directional flex grooves contributes to your efficiency and comfort during calisthenics, plyometrics and sprints. Meanwhile, the heel area is purposely designed to be flat to keep your feet steady when doing lifting.

The nylon-infused upper unit works with the Meta support structure to provide sufficient foot support. This aims at keeping your feet stable during lateral movements. The mesh structure also permits foot movements especially during planks, burpees and sprints.

Pros
  • Minimalist design promotes barefoot experience
  • Adequate cushioning
  • Ample flexibility
  • Durable build
  • Excellent versatility
Cons
  • Runs narrow

Related: Getting Started with Calisthenics

5. Asics (Lightweight) Gel Fit Sana 3 Women’s Trainer

This is perfect trainer for calisthenics and workouts that involve high impacts. Extremely lightweight and flexible, Gel Fit Sana 3 feels like you’re actually wearing nothing on your feet.

Asics (Lightweight) Gel Fit Sana 3 Women’s Trainer

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The exposed midsole design aims at minimizing the amount of materials used in its construction. At the forefoot is GEL cushioning which is responsible for efficient and effortless toe-offs.

GEL cushioning is also extremely flexible which allows the forefoot to bend effectively during planks, burpees among other calisthenics.

GEL cushioning also guarantees outstanding resilience to wear and tear which allows it to be utilized as the outsole. However, the forefoot and heel area are equipped with rubber pods which aid in gripping.

A breathable and durable mesh covers the upper part on this trainer. A sock-like lining covers the inside of the mesh cage to deliver comfortable fit which is free from irritation.

This construction also exhibits ample flexibility especially at the forefoot to allow your toes to bend without restriction.

The light padding on the collar and tongue heightens inshoe comfort while aiding in foot lock-down. Plus the lace-up system allows you to achieve a customized fit.

Pros
  • Comfortable trainer
  • Versatile workout shoe
  • Lightweight and flexible
  • Roomy and protected toe-box
Cons
  • Little lateral support

6. Vibram Men’s Minimalist FiveFingers KSO-EVO

Thinner, soft and lightweight FiveFingers KSO EVO trainer is built to give you the barefoot experience that you need during calisthenics. Unlike other barefoot trainers, FiveFingers KSO EVO conforms to your foot anatomy including a compartment for each finger.

Vibram Men’s Minimalist FiveFingers KSO-EVO

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It makes use of a 2 mm EVA foam cushioning which allows your underfoot to have precise feedback with the surface. Although it’s a thin cushion, it keeps your underfoot comfortable and protected as opposed to when you’re training without shoes.

The midsole foam is lined with a Drilex nylon which minimizes microbial growth and moisture accumulation.

The bottom of this trainer is covered by Vibram XS Trek which is a sticky and highly durable. It’s meant offer a firm grip on surfaces and guarantee prolonged usage.

Offering a secure and snug fit is a polyester fabric which also keeps your feet well ventilated. A smooth and soft polyester mesh lines the inside of the upper unit to enhance inshoe comfort even when the shoe is worn without socks.

The easy to adjust lace-up system provides and an easy way of tightening or loosening your shoes.

What’s more, both the upper unit and underfoot platform are exceptionally flexible to allow unlimited foot movement.

Pros
  • Promotes natural ground feedback
  • Exceptionally lightweight
  • Ample flexibility
  • Snug fitting
  • Sufficient breathability
  • Good traction
Cons
  • Tightness on the toes

7. Merrell Women’s Barefoot Vapor Glove-2

The 2nd iteration of the Vapour Glove is intended to deliver superb barefoot experience. This results from the thin underfoot platform, ample flexibility and the lightweight configuration.

Merrell Women’s Barefoot Vapor Glove-2

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Underfoot cushioning comes from the CMEVA compound which guarantees optimal comfort. Though it’s a simply thin layer, it exhibits great sturdiness which enables it to withstand running or cross training hazards. Plus it’s exceptionally flexible to promote natural foot mechanics.

Additional cushioning is provided by the anti-microbial foot-bed which can be removed to create more foot space.

The use of Vibram’s TCI rubber on the sole unit results in outstanding resilience to hazards including ripping and abrasion. In addition, TC1 rubber is very sticky which makes it a good choice for traction.

The shallow groove patterns contribute to the flexibility of the shoe during workouts such as burpees, planks and running. Plus the extension of the outsole at the forefoot provides appropriate toe protection.

Air mesh provides a comfortable foot cradle. This construction results in sturdy silhouette which is durable and supportive. A TPU overlay is placed at the rearfoot to lock and support your heels. Plus the mesh keeps your feet ventilated to enhance inshoe comfort.

Pros
  • Minimalist trainer
  • Barefoot ground experience
  • Lightweight
  • Durable build
  • Breathable upper
  • Ideal for vegans
Cons
  • Does not protect you from impacts

Related: Best Shoes for Box Jumps

8. Xero Shoes Minimalist Speed Force Running/Workout Shoe

When you’re doing bodyweight training, you want to have a barefoot sensation as much as possible. This promotes efficient foot-brain communication which allows you to make accurate foot movements.

Xero Shoes Minimalist Speed Force Running/Workout Shoe

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Speed Force from Xero Shoes is one good sneaker that is designed to give you a barefoot sensation during calisthenics.

As the name suggests, the FeelTrue rubber outsole delivers the ideal barefoot sensation during running or workouts. This a highly flexible rubber compound which is intended to promote natural foot biomechanics.

The sole unit also delivers accurate grip on both indoor and outdoor surfaces. Plus it’s sturdy enough to withstand abrasive and sharp debris.

Underfoot comfort results from the thin footbed which can be substituted with custom orthotics.

With its zero-drop design the underfoot platform keeps you low to the ground thus heightening your stability.

Wrapping the upper zone is mesh fabric which is lined with a smooth fabric to enhance inshoe comfort. Printed overlays are strategically-placed to guard the mesh fabric against abrasion or tearing. The fabric also promotes air circulation to keep your feet cool and dry.

Pros
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Thin and flexible sole
  • Stretchable and breathable upper
  • Secure traction
  • Ideal for running and training
  • Stylish
Cons
  • Not for running on rough surfaces

9. Vivobarefoot Minimalist Primus Trail FG

Whether you’re running or training, Primus Trail FG will give the ideal barefoot sensation. Plus it’s exceptionally lightweight which allows you to do bodyweight training as if you’re barefoot.

Vivobarefoot Minimalist Primus Trail FG

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With its thin outsole and underfoot platform, Primus Trail FG allows your feet to feel the ground below. This is meant to promote good foot-brain communication so as to enhance your balance and coordination.

The sole unit is a sticky rubber compound which keeps you securely footed when running or during workouts. This is a hard-wearing rubber material which is meant to withstand abrasion. Owing to its flexibility, the sole unit allows your feet to bend without restriction.

The upper unit comes with different types of materials. First a breathable mesh is placed on specific areas to provide a means for inshoe ventilation. Secondly, printed overlays are placed on strategic areas to guard the mesh fabric against tearing or abrasion.

The overlays also aid in securing the foot and enhancing lateral support.

Pros
  • Barefoot underfoot platform
  • Lightweight sneaker
  • Excellent traction
  • Breathable and stretchable upper
  • Stylish
Cons
  • Sizing inconsistency

How to Choose the Best Shoes for Calisthenics

Minimalist/barefoot shoes will give you the best experience during calisthenics training. However, such shoes come in as either extremely barefoot or with a light cushioning.

Normally, exceptionally barefoot trainers are good for individuals who have had an experience in barefoot training. Barefoot training newbies might require the more cushioned minimalist shoes before they can transition to complete barefoot trainers.

Below are other factors to consider when choosing the best shoes for calisthenics.

1. Flexibility

During calisthenics workouts, you want your feet to feel as natural as possible. Therefore, when looking for the best shoes for calisthenics consider shoes that will accommodate natural foot biomechanics.

Notably, the forefoot should be exceptionally flexible to allow unrestricted toe bending when performing burpees and planks.

2. Lightweight

All you need is some something to protect your feet from hazards during your calisthenics training. Therefore, your typical workout shoes should not add significant weight on your feet. Due to the insignificant cushioning in minimalist trainers, these shoes are exceptionally lightweight and almost feel non-existence.

3. Foot-to-Ground Feedback

A zero-drop and close to ground configuration promotes the barefoot experience in minimalist shoes. With your feet communicating with the ground like you’re barefoot, then you are able to control your body movements effectively.

Benefits of Calisthenics

It’s a Full-Body Fitness

You don’t necessarily require workout equipment to achieve whole-body fitness. Your body weight gives you adequate resistance to push your muscles to extremities.

There’re various forms of science-backed bodyweight workouts which target major muscles groups in your body. If you combine these workouts, you’ll end up with a strong and well-toned body without using equipment.

Enhances Strength and Endurance

Calisthenics provides an excellent means of enhancing your overall strength and endurance. By making use your bodyweight as resistance, you build stronger muscles, connective tissues and bones.

Your endurance also increases when you do more repetitions of bodyweight workouts. That’s why you’ll see an experienced person do more push-ups or burpees than a beginner.

Improves your Balance, Flexibility and Coordination

If you’re experienced in calisthenics, you’ll find yourself making quick moves effortlessly. These are the results of the complex body movements and bodyweight resistance usually associated with calisthenics.

Not only do they strengthen your muscles but they also make them more flexible. Strong and flexible muscles and connective reduces the risk of injuries during athletics or physical activity.

Calisthenics Burn Calories

Calisthenics will get you sweating and your heart pumping hard. And since it targets major muscle groups, it results in optimal calorie burning. The more challenge you give yourself, the more calories you’re liking to burn.

Calisthenics are Convenient

Calisthenics is perhaps the most convenient fitness program you’ll find. Since you’re relying on your bodyweight as resistance, you can do most of these workouts at home. With just a small space at home, you can do push-ups, planks and squats.

You can buy a doorway pull-up bar for doing pull-ups and chin-ups. This a portable equipment which can be stored in a small space after use.

If you have extra space in the garage or outdoors, you can establish permanent pull-up stations for your bodyweight exercise.

As you can see, calisthenics doesn’t limit you to gym or studio exercises. You can do it in a small space at home with minimal or no equipment at all.

Calisthenics Exercises at Home

Calisthenics is the perhaps the most convenient training program you can adopt to enhance your fitness. You can do these workouts at home whether you have training equipment or not. In fact you don’t require any equipment at.

Calisthenics equipment becomes necessary when you want to increase resistance or do more variations of these workouts.

There’re several calisthenics (bodyweight) exercises you can do at home. It’s advisable to begin with the basic bodyweight exercises and then progress the more advanced exercises.

Here’s is a summary of the common bodyweight workouts you can do at home.

Basic Calisthenics Workouts

Push-Ups: Excellent exercises for upper body muscles including the chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders, serratus anterior. A typical push-up exercises will also engage the upper and middle back muscles.

Burpees: Burpees are effective exercises for both the upper and lower body muscles. They’ll strengthen and tone your chest, shoulders, arms, core, glutes, hips, legs among other muscles.

Pull-Ups: If you’re looking to build your back, arms and shoulder muscles, then pull-up muscles are the best.

Lunges: Lunges provide an effective exercises to strengthening lower body muscles. They engage your hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps and calves.

Squats: The standard bodyweight squat mainly works the hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, calves and glutes.

Planks: With plank exercise you’ll build stronger and more enduring muscles on both the upper and lower body. Since planks also engage the core muscles, they help in improving your balance and stability.

Sit-Ups: Doing sit-ups allows you train your abdominal muscles especially the rectus abdominis. They enhance your core strength thus giving you proper posture. Plus are responsible for heightened balance and stability.

Conclusion

Calisthenics is a universal name adopted to mean ‘bodyweight training’. These are the typical workouts you perform without the help of machines or equipment. You normally train against your body weight and the force of gravity.

Some common calisthenics include planks, lunges, burpees, squats, handstands among others.

When you’re looking for the best shoes for bodyweight training, consider minimalist training shoes. They are lightweight and allow your feet to perform as if you’re actually barefoot.

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  2. Best Shoes for Plyometrics
  3. Best Pull Up Bar for Calisthenics

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