K-swiss Ariake Parkour Shoes
Review by Drew Taylor
I recently got a pair of the new K-Swiss Ariakes, designed specifically for parkour. Of course, I took them out for a test run as soon as I could, to see how they would cope.
Even before I took them out of the box, I noticed that the shoes are incredibly light. They only weigh 400g! This really helps with jumps, precisions, etc, because your feet seem almost weightless, compared to when you're wearing normal trainers. And flips are so much easier because you don’t have to take off your shoes to do tumbling, standing backs and the like.
On the day of my test run I had several cat leaps that I hadn’t done before, and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to test the grip. The flat sole is misleading as it looks like it would be quite slippy, but actually the grip they have is amazing. Your feet stick to the wall like glue! I believe that the soles are made out of the same rubber as climbing shoes, and it shows.
Another point about the Ariakes is the shock absorption. They have five hollow tunnels through the sole of the shoe which collapse on impact to provide a soft cushion for landing. This works well but gets better the more it is used because the rubber takes time to soften. The entire sole is very thick and I assume this is to make sure it doesn’t wear out quickly.
The shoe is made out of extremely strong materials that I don’t see breaking or falling apart anytime soon! The way the Ariakes is constructed ensures that there are no places for leather to be pulled off or caught on anything; it is like it’s made out of one solid mould. Another useful feature is the lace-hiding tongue. The tongue has a pouch to put your laces in, so as not to trip yourself up with them.
Overall, they're comfortable, durable, and definitely suited to the purpose. And they look good too. I particularly like the lime green insole and the grey, white and black colour scheme that I bought, but I’m not too crazy about the more vibrant colour mixes you can get.
In summary the K-Swiss Ariakes are the perfect freerunning or parkour shoes. I highly recommend them to any traceurs serious about improving their performance. Having the right shoes can really impact on your ability and attitude to training, and these are undoubtedly the right shoe.