Art of Fencing, Art of Life

7 Tips to Finding the Right Fencing Shoes

Fencing ShoesIn almost every sport, the footwear you choose can greatly affect your performance. Your feet can take a lot of abuse and it’s important to have the right support where you need it. This is especially true when it comes to fencing. provides this fantastic guide to fencing shoes. It is important to find the right shoes to treat your feet well because an athlete needs to take care of every part of their body. Beyond just comfort and support, your quickness and responsiveness can really affect your bouts. Slip a little and you’re off your game and giving your opponent a chance to attack.

All that being said, you don’t need to rush out and buy an expensive pair of fencing shoes specifically designed for the sport if you’re just starting out.

So what should you be looking for, exactly? What shoes will work best for you? The answer can change a lot from person to person and foot to foot. There are several different things you will want to consider before taking the leap and making an investment. The options can vary greatly in quality, appropriateness, and price. Here’s a handy list of tips to help you find the perfect shoe whether you’re purchasing your first pair or you’ve been fencing for years.

  1. Don’t waste money on specialty fencing shoes for a child who is still growing (unless you want to). Many parents may feel they need to buy shoes made specifically for their child’s sport, but this just isn’t necessary. Fencing shoes can run well upwards of $100 a pair and you don’t want to be replacing those expensive shoes every six months as your child’s feet grow. However, if you feel like spending the extra money, then it’s certainly an option. Just know that they will probably do just fine with a less expensive choice. My best advice is to buy cheaper shoes as they grow, and invest in fencing-specific shoes once growth has slowed or stopped.
  1. Another important thing to consider if your child is relatively new to the sport, especially in the younger age categories, is that they are likely to spend most of their competition time in local clubs. This means that the wear and tear of their shoes will be prolonged because they won’t be competing on the metal strips used often at higher-level competitions like nationals. Because of this difference, the lifespan of the shoes will often be longer than for older or more experienced fencers. With this is mind, it makes a lot less sense to spend over $100 on your child’s shoes—they will probably outgrow them before they out-use them! Of course, if money is no issue, feel free to splurge.
  1. If you choose to buy non-fencing shoes, avoid regular running shoes with a thick heel and a body that is too flexible. They will not provide the support that your fencer needs on the strip, especially for the inner sole. Volleyball or badminton shoes made specifically for the court can work great! They are soft-soled and designed to withstand the side-to-side and back-and-forth movement found in quick court games. They help you stop quickly and move more precisely. They also tend to be available at much more reasonable prices than fencing-specific shoes. If you can find a pair of court shoes you like at a price you like, this option is easily the best alternative.
  1. When trying shoes on, make sure to do some fencing lunges in the shoe to ensure that they are supportive and stay put. No matter how many articles you read or tips you get, there is no substitute for going in and trying them on. Make sure your child experiences firsthand how the shoes work with their feet while actually doing fencing footwork and techniques. To get a better idea of what will work best, take a look around your own club before you go shopping. Find out what shoes your most competitive teammates use.
    • Most of the junior competitive fencers in our club wear the Adidas D’Artagnan IV, which is also my shoe of choice. But there are also some that are perfectly happy sticking with volleyball shoes.
    • People love to share opinions and thoughts about their gear, so don’t be afraid to ask a few questions about the pair of shoes you’re thinking about purchasing.
  1. For more advanced fencers (both in terms of age and skill), the specialty shoe is almost a must. Fencers at these levels will go to a lot of competitions, including national ones that overlap in age, and they will most likely be competing every other week, if not weekly. In addition, they will train a lot, both in terms of hours per training, and training days per week. Because of this, having a good, durable, and dependable shoe is imperative to their success.
    • When choosing a shoe for an advanced fencer keep in mind that well-known, brand-name shoes such as Nike and Adidas will tend to last longer than their cheaper counterparts.
    • My personal preference is Adidas, and given that their retail price is $115 it makes them a great price for performance item.
  1. Whatever type of shoe you decide on, be sure to wear them only in the fencing area. Your shoes are among the most expensive pieces of fencing gear you own, so you want to protect them! Soft-soled shoes are not meant to be worn in parking lots, on driveways, or on any surface that can create significant friction. One run around the parking lot can really do some damage Plus, you want to take care not to track in any small debris from outside. It’s easy to bring in some small stones or gravel in the grooves of your shoe and then damage the fencing floor when you come inside. Or worse, you can cause a safety hazard for yourself and other fencers.
  1. Expect your shoes to last about a year or one season. Avoid wearing old, worn shoes from last season as it will affect your performance and can lead to injuries. Old soles lead to slipping, which can be dangerous. So, before you go spending hundreds of dollars, keep in mind that you will be buying another pair next year. And if your child is growing, it may be even sooner than that. So be sure to think about how much those shoes are worth to you before rushing to buy the nicest, most expensive shoes on the market.

With these tips in mind you should have no problem finding the perfect shoes for your level, your budget, and your style. Don’t forget that what’s best for someone else isn’t necessarily best for you or your particular needs. You will find what you like best as you continue fencing and then you can stick with your choice and even help others find their perfect shoe! Some fencers, even at the highly competitive levels, choose to continue buying volleyball or other court shoes even after they finish growing because they just like them better! No two fencers are alike and your shoe choices are your own.

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1 Comment

  1. There is no simple answer regarding the performance or quality of a shoe. It is very hard to measure as there is no such standard to evaluate it.

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