Free running is a term coined to bring the sport of Parkour to an English speaking audience. Parkour is a French discipline where participants attempt to get from point A to B as quickly as possible, leaping over staircases and other large objects if necessary. Free running combines elements of Parkour with stunts and acrobatic tricks. The right free running shoes are important in order to get started in the sport. Free running shoes should be lightweight, durable and have a good grip.
Regular running shoes are not the same as free running shoes. A person who plans on running marathons wants the lightest possible shoes so that she can run as quickly as possible. Free running shoes cannot be super lightweight or else the person will risk injuring her foot. The shoe must provide support when she goes to leap or flip.
A person should also look for a pair of free running shoes that fit her feet well. Her toes should fill the top portion of the shoe and there should not be gaps between her foot and the shoe's material. In addition to a snug fit, the shoe should be made of a durable material, such as canvas, that will resist wear and provide support to the runner's feet.
The best free running shoes should also have rather thin soles. The thick soles found on regular running shoes can injure a free runner. Thick soles are liable to make a person twist her ankle since she could tip over in the shoes. The cushion of a thick sole can also disrupt a free runner's technique, as she is unable to feel her landings from a jump effectively with a thick sole.
In addition to being thin, the soles of free running shoes should ideally consist of one piece of rubber. A sole made of multiple pieces of rubber is likely to wear down unevenly. Pieces of the sole could come off, exposing portions of the inner shoe and giving the free runner less grip on the pavement.
Since a free runner often uses her toes to push off the pavement or to climb walls, a sole that comes up and wraps around the toe of the foot is ideal as well. The soles of the best free running shoes extend high up the heels and sides of the foot and feature a built-in arch. Built-in arches protect the runner's foot during landings. It is important to check the bottom of the arch and make sure it has the same grip as the rest of the shoe or else a runner could slip when landing.