The UFC and prominent kickboxing footwear supply company RingStar have partnered up to create a new revolutionary product: ‘The Ultimate Training Shoe’, which is the first mixed martial arts training shoe. This product seeks to not only improve performance and training efficiency, but most importantly increase the level of safety during training, which leads to less injuries and healthier fighters. How does this shoe stack up during real world testing? Since this is mixed martial arts, SwoleScience took this shoe beyond the narrow scope of stand up sparring and into grappling with full contact mixed martial arts sparring in order to give you the real world results. This is how the UFC Ultimate Training Shoe stacks up.
The UFC shoes currently come in two color combinations: Silver/White and Red/Black. The shoes combine the colors by featuring a predominant main color with mutliple contrasting color accents. This color scheme in addition to strategically placed UFC letter and octagon logos give the shoe the perfect feel of toughness and aggressive attitude, while still retaining a minimalistic appearance of function and durability. The features that are first noticed are the unique hook and loop padded top flap that covers the laces, and the slanted vents on each side of the shoe which serve to improve breathability. Overall this is a great and aggressive looking shoe that balances function with style in it’s appearance.
Features and Fit
The shoes are constructed out out of form-fitting sport leather with closed-cell foam padding, and a special EVA sole for protection and safety. The leather is tough and did not scuff or damage easily but was still soft enough to have a flexible fit. The best constructive virtue of this shoe is that it is padded but is no bigger than a normal shoe and remains incredibly light weight and is slim. The only place where it is evident that there is obvious padding is on top of the shoe with four linear pads that protect this sensitive area of the foot which also has the greatest chance of impact. The sole of the shoe is relatively flat and allows for excellent connection with the ground. One other great feature that is not immediately noticeable is that despite being a flat soled shoe, the shape of the shoe keeps the athlete on the balls of their feet in perfect fight stance. The shoes also have additional padding that rises up from the rear of the sole and protects the vulnerable achilles heel of the foot while training.
The shoes have a very short line of laces that cover only a few inches at the top of the shoe, which when tied are covered by the padded hook-and-loop padded cover. The reason for the coverage of the laces is that during sparring and training these laces can scratch, become caught and cause abrasions on opponents and equipment. The shoe comes up slightly above the ankle while still allowing for some flexibility.
During training one of the first things noticeable is that the sole of the shoe feels very tacky while being devoid of conventional grip technology and still allows unadulterated movement. This movement is further accentuated by the ability to rapidly shuffle and stop in place suddenly, thus forth successfully mimicking some of the qualities of being barefoot. During striking drills the shoe does not change the aspects or dynamics of the kicks or knees being thrown, which is attributable to the light weight and smoothness of the sole of the shoe. Upon impact the shoe renders clean and solid contact while greatly reducing the chance of injury due to the padding. There is a marked reduction of the overall ‘sting’ of the impact while still giving ample simulation of full training and sparing. The impact is comparable to the sensation of being impacted with shinguards or boxing gloves, the force and impact is still there but it is dissipated to reduce unnecessary injury and thus prolonging sustained training.
When used during grappling the shoe provides enough support and nexus with the ground that it can double as a wrestling shoe. This application greatly improves traction with the mats, reduces the chance of small joint injuries in the toes and protects the injury prone toenails.
Furthermore, due to the composition of the sole it is only to be used during indoor application, or the grip properties of the shoe will quickly wear out. It is recommended for use on grappling mats, cage mats, and boxing mats. Additionally, the shoes are approved for use during kickboxing competition.
At a price of $99.99, directly from UFC Training Shoe, this is on the upper average for a standard athletic shoe. Yet due to the obvious specialized features, cross training ability and competition approved application this shoe is considered a piece of mixed martial arts equipment. The price is inline with the average cost of most other mixed martial arts equipment, and the inclusion of this product can be beneficial if your training involves intense repeated sparring.
The first critique of the shoe is the tightness of the fit. Since the shoe lacks a lengthy set of laces, the shoe does not grip the foot as tightly as it could. This has nothing to do with the actual size of the shoe, but it’s reliance on the hook-and-loop system to help tighten the shoe. The shoe should have additional capacity to tighten its overall grip on the foot. While this did not hurt the actual performance of the shoe, it would greatly improve the confidence in it’s use. The second critique is the vented slits on the side of the shoe. These slits are very sharp on the edges and encompass the length of the shoe on both sides. When impacting the body or attempting to catch a kick, these slits have the ability to scratch the body due to their multiple cross directional sharp edges. An improvement to this system would be a smooth and seamless vented area.
This a great product that has successfully brought forth what was typically known as a piece of kickboxing equipment and adapted it to the dynamic world of mixed martial arts. This shoe allows the user to protect themselves, their training partners and continue safely training at a higher intensity.
Check out the new UFC Ultimate Training Shoes at-
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