Really Sturdy Barefoot Shoes for Boxing?


For years I've used Vivobarefoot shoes. I've been very happy with them. Recently I started playing with the Corbag, which included lots of pivoting, shuffling jumps, and sudden changes of direction. All that on rough-ish concrete. Within a few days, my Aqua looked like this:


I switched to the Dharma, and this was the result in less than one hour:



1) The Dharma are sold as lifestyle shoes, not exercise shoes.
2) For the past years I wore them more than any other pair of shoes.
3) They'd suffered from my walk under a sudden downpour in Italy.

Still, that makes two pairs destroyed in two days. :'( That makes me a little afraid to invest in another expensive pair of shoes, since I'd like to keep training with the Corbag. Is there a really, really sturdy pair of barefoot shoes (zero-drop flexible soles, wide toe boxes) that would make the investment worthwhile?


  • I think your choice of surface over which to mount the Corbag will destroy any foot covering in a relatively short period of time....  The motions associated with the bags use should be able to be done even barefoot on a surface even like semi smooth concrete or paved surfaces with proper pad conditioning....  I don't have any good suggestions... Sorry......
  • Wooden clogs. With nails in the soles.  ;D
  • Barefootin: My "choice of surface" isn't much of a choice; I've no other place to hang the Corbag. Well, no, yes, I do: I can also hang it from a branch when the weather allows it -- there's a circle of dead grass under one tree that proves I've already done just that -- but if I want to practice daily ...

    I did consider "Corbaging" barefoot. I already got three blisters since I started, and they'll start turning into calluses. My training space is also someone else's workshop, however, and is only closed to the elements by a plastic curtain. I took precautions (the concrete floor is now covered with a layer of resin and I bought a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner), but there's still a risk.

    nowster: Hm, yeah, if I were in a manga, maybe wearing wooden clogs would make my training harder and turn me into some kind of boxing genius. In our boring reality, though, I'm more likely to end falling on my ***.  :P

  • Understood... Just glad you are active unlike so many others...  Keep in mind that blisters aren't necessarily a good thing...  It's about taking your skin to the limit, letting it recover, and repeating that process...  Eventually the skin will thicken and it will be better than localized callouses...  It is gradual and sometimes hard to see the long term benefit from the slower process, but once you are there you will have more uniform protection vs localized.
  • barefootin:

    I still have to decide if I want to try exercising barefoot on a floor where things like nails could have rolled from the nearby workbench and shelves. The surface is uneven enough that I might not see it and that a broom would not easily remove it. I'm not sure the heavy-duty vacuum cleaner would suck it in, either.

    Well, there's no perfect solution. But if I decide to go barefoot, I'll probably start with something less sole-wrenching than Corbag training. My recent blisters were clean, and healed well, but if I rip one off on uneven concrete, it's over with barefoot training until it heels -- er, heals.
  • From the damage to your shoes, I can see you're doing a lot of scuffing with the balls of your feet. Is this due to you spinning on the balls of your feet?
  • Yes, nowster. When you hit the Corbag and it swings back toward you, you can either parry and strike, jump out then jump back in to strike, or pivot to dodge and strike at the same time. I mostly do the latter, but most any motion requires that I stay on the balls of my feet. In an actual, full-contact fight, or when working a heavy bag, I might want to root myself, dug my heels in, when I deliver a strong blow, but the Corbag is very light. And even then, there wouldn't be a lot of scuffing on the heels. The scuffing is due to all the pivoting, as your surmised, and to the shuffling jumps (horizontal jumps very close to the ground, to facilitate sudden changes in direction).
  • What about putting a rug down on that rough floor?  Maybe some rubber flooring or a stall mat?
  • on 1441760983:

    What about putting a rug down on that rough floor?  Maybe some rubber flooring or a stall mat?

    Nice lateral thinking there. I like it.
  • I weighted several options, including a wooden floor (hard to install, not cheap) and a rubber coating (very expensive, since the concrete floor would need to be equalized first). I'll look into a rug, but my guess is that it won't work, for two reasons: the space is only protected from the elements by a plastic curtain (so any kind of bug can crawl inside and humidity would ruin the rug) and the floor is too uneven to simply affix a carpet on it (and an unfixed carpet would slide, like the stall slabs and yoga mat I do have).
  • Howabout some old rubber car floor mats or something similar? Stick down some old linoleum?
  • Nothing will stick on that uneven surface. It would need to be equalized first, and that's beyond my skills. I'll talk to someone about linoleum, though. Maybe large enough sheets wouldn't need to stick perfectly not to slide. But I doubt it. Linoleum is light, lighter than carpeting, and shuffling jumps and sudden changes of direction would make it slide under my feet. That's why, when I thought of covering the concrete, a wooden floor seemed to be the most realistic solution. But my wallet laughed at me.  :'(
  • Definitely not linoleum.  It will be way too slippery...  Something to consider would be 1/2" thick or thicker stall mats.  They come in various sizes, most likely wouldn't slide around on you, could be rolled up when you are done, and would provide a little cushion if gravity one out on you...  I have them in my barn, garage/work shop floor, and even cut one up to cover the firewall and floor of my farm truck to cut down on some of the noise and heat in the cabin.  I'm not sure where you are located in the world, but here in the "States" a Tack Shop, Tractor Supply (TSC), Farm and Fleet, etc. usually stock a few sizes.   
  • Ah, but I already have stall slabs. They don't stay put.

    I checked since my last post and carpeting wouldn't work:

      [li]Since my workout space is an open (if covered) space, dust would accumulate.[/li]
      [li]Since my workout space is an open (if covered) space, dust mites and other insects would colonize it.[/li]
      [li]Since my workout space is also someone else's workshop, thinks like fallen nails would be even harder to spot.[/li]
      [li]I would soon do to the carpeting what I did to my shoes -- i.e. pierce holes in it.[/li]

    As for linoleum, should I even find some kind that isn't too slippery, I don't know how I would fix it to the uneven concrete floor. It wouldn't hold by itself (too light), nailing it to the concrete wouldn't work (it would soon tear out), and using some kind of glue is out of the question (the floor is too uneven).

    Maybe I should learn to levitate.
  • on 1442168720:

    Ah, but I already have stall slabs. They don't stay put.

    You wouldn't move mine..  They are close to 85lbs each.  I can't slide them to adjust them on a smooth wood floor when fully unrolled.

    If you master levitation, let us know... 8)
  • Given everything you're saying, perhaps the problem is not with your shoes but more with your choice of practice area?
  • Since I started this thread, I owe "everyone" at least a short update.

    I tried training barefoot on the uneven concrete floor. It sorta worked out, with some caveats.

      [li]I was slower and clumsier, less fluid, when training on the Corbag, though I got better toward the end (I started with 40 instead of 60 minutes).[/li]
      [li]I couldn't properly execute exercises like the fencing lunge or the lunge switch, both of which require that you stay very close to the floor.[/li]
      [li]I couldn't do a proper long jump, for fear of slipping and hurting myself.[/li]
      [li]I'm afraid high-impact exercises, such as squat jumps with dumbbells, may hurt the ligaments, after a while. But I can just use my thick yoga mat for those; strictly vertical jumps won't make it slip.[/li]
      [li]I walked on the tip of a structural wire that pierced the concrete. Whoever made that floor really did a botched job.[/li]
      [li]The concrete kept my feet cool even though the rest of my body was hot from moving around. Comes winter, I don't know if I'll be able to train barefoot at all.[/li]

    In addition, I'd like to mention the Feiyue shoes. They're zero-drop shoes with thick, grippy soles, designed in China for martial arts, and very cheap (in New York and Taipei, at least). I considered using them as throwaway shoes, but they do have a problem: a small toe box. My little toe ends rubbing a hole through the canvas (a problem I had with other shoes, too). That shows how much pressure the toes are subjected to by the shoe.

    [Edit:] I hadn't seen there was a second page to this thread already, and missed two answers. Sorry. So ...

    on 1442187209:

    on 1442168720:

    Ah, but I already have stall slabs. They don't stay put.

    You wouldn't move mine..  They are close to 85lbs each.  I can't slide them to adjust them on a smooth wood floor when fully unrolled.

    Ah. I haven't weighted mine, but they sure aren't that heavy. They're 50x50-cm hard slabs (that can't be rolled) my sister originally bought for one of her horses.

    on 1442187209:

    If you master levitation, let us know... 8)

    I have! I can stay about 5 cm from the floor, now, for about one second. My friends insist on calling that "jumping, and pitifully low, too," but they're all imaginary, so what do they know?

    on 1442214029:

    Given everything you're saying, perhaps the problem is not with your shoes but more with your choice of practice area?

    That's not really a choice. That's all I have available.  :-\
  • Fast and Easy The order was perfect in every detail. orthofeet had no way of knowing that I have used a heel support or Viconic shoes for years, so all of the instructions were really nice but I didn't need them I was looking for comfy slippers not slip ons with no back and I found them. Will be buying from these folks again. I'll be happy. I've ordered three pairs already from other dealers and had to send them back because they didn't fit my feet
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