Parkour is the sport of free-running through an area, typically an urban area, and navigating obstacles by running, climbing, or jumping over them. Parkour is generally considered a sport that doesn't require any equipment at all because athletes mainly utilize the space and objects around them. Many are attracted to parkour because of its lack of equipment, therefore making it one of the least expensive sports to start. However, when starting out, many experts in the field note that using protective parkour gear and very specific equipment help build strength and flexibility, while at the same time, boosting a novice traceur's confidence.
Traceurs can use a variety of equipment to help with their training, as well as with their recovery. Sweatpants, cargo shorts, or shorts made from a tough material will help traceurs move more fluidly while also protecting themselves during parkour. Some experts recommend the use of gloves to help prevent damage to the tracer's hand which allows them to run, jump, and climb for longer periods of time. In addition, shoes with a strong rubber sole are considered the most important piece of equipment for new tracers. However, before you start your first parkour run many recommend preparing your body by getting a pull-up bar to increase upper body strength, making it easier out in real environments. Additionally, it is important for traceurs to learn about the philosophy and technique behind parkour and by reading parkour handbooks, they can best mentally prepare themselves for the sport.
When used regularly, foam rollers can help traceurs increase mobility and improve tissue health. Foam rollers are especially useful in a process called Self Myofascial Release (SMR), where the user focuses on high pressure areas in the muscle to help maintain healthy muscle and connective tissue. Parkour can also sometimes be damaging to the body so foam rollers help heal any damaged muscle tissue. Foam rollers are typically priced anywhere from $20 to $40.
Because of the pressure that parkour puts on all of your joints, and particularly your hands, parkour gloves provide an extra layer of protection. Protective gloves help protect your hands and provide extra grip strength so you can endure longer stints of parkour and improve your skills in the process. The surfaces that a traceur encounters during parkour can also be rough on the skin, so gloves serve as a protective barrier that also increases control.
Not all gloves are effective in parkour and some can actually interfere with a traceur's game. You can differentiate between fingerless and full fingered gloves and each has their own advantages and disadvantages. Some experts recommend not using gloves because they don't provide the same grip strength as your bare hands and they tend to wear down very quickly. However, it is completely up to the traceur's preference on whether or not they want to wear gloves. Parkour gloves are typically priced anywhere between $10 to $25.
In order to become great at Parkour, it is important to both physically and mentally prepare. There are a wide variety of parkour handbooks on the market that teach the philosophy, culture, and technique behind parkour and give important tips on how beginning traceurs can get started. For those that truly want to master parkour and take it seriously, reading parkour handbooks are essential to truly understand the sport. Parkour handbooks are typically priced anywhere from $10 to $30.
Rubber band training is also critically important in order to excel at parkour. Training bands provide assistance in stretching and increasing flexibility, while also helping to make training exercises a bit more difficult. Training bands, depending on the quantity and quality of the material, are typically priced anywhere from $15 to $60.
A traceur needs to dress in a way that is comfortable and as least restrictive as possible. Depending on the user's preference, pants can be sweatpants, jeans, cargo shorts, athletic shorts, or whatever else makes the traceur feel the most comfortable without restricting their range of motion. A lot of experts in the field recommend the use of clothing that is lightweight and breathable. Heavy clothing will restrict movement and will trap sweat, only making the traceur more sluggish and uncomfortable. There are companies that provide parkour-specific pants that are lightweight and water repellant. Depending on the type of pants and the preference of the user, pants are typically priced anywhere from $15 to $70.
When a traceur is training alone, it is necessary to have a bag to keep all their belongings in while they train. Putting belongings in pockets can weigh the user down or they could fall out and get damaged. Many traceurs wear a lightweight and durable bag while they train to hold bandages, water bottles, and other common items. Some specialized bags have an adjustable waist strap, water-proof fabric, and a straw so the traceur can directly drink from the bag to provide hydration on the go. Most parkour bags are typically priced anywhere from $30 to $70.
For beginner-level traceurs, building upper body strength is crucial to improving their parkour skills. Traceurs will need to pull up their body weight all the time while doing parkour. Whether it's climbing stairs, walls, or other obstacles, solid upper body strength is extremely important. Parkour experts recommend finding a multi-grip pull up bar that can fit in your doorway so that you can use it at any time. Pull up bars typically retail for around $20.
Good parkour shoes are absolutely essential for the sport. They help provide control and flexibility for traceurs while running, jumping, and climbing. When evaluating what shoe a traceur is going to select, it is important to factor in a few things. First, the shoes need to have an appropriate amount of cushioning. If the shoe has too much cushioning, the traceur will not have a good response to the surface, but if the shoe has too little cushioning, the traceur could get injured on bigger jumps. Second, a shoe with breathable mesh is extremely important. Breathable mesh regulates air flow and repels any odor as well as keeps your feet dry. Third, traction on a shoe is a strong factor to consider. Traceurs must have as much traction as possible with the ground. Many experts recommend a strong traction pattern on the outsole that can withstand the wear and tear of parkour. Fourth, the shoe must be lightweight. When training, it's important not to have a shoe that is weighing heavily on the traceur and does not allow them to enhance their skills. Finally, flexibility is a key component in a parkour shoe. Not every surface a traceur lands on is completely flat so the shoe needs to be able to bend with a variety of surfaces like a rail or other curved surfaces.
Because parkour is supposed to be an inexpensive sport, many experts recommend finding a shoe that is affordable. Parkour shoes are typically priced anywhere from $50 to $75.