Boxing boots are typically one of the last pieces of boxing equipment people buy.
Most people start boxing training with just a pair of regular running shoes or gym shoes, and don’t think about investing in boxing boots until they start sparring, or joining classes with some high-level footwork drills.
That’s actually a poor approach, as a good pair of boxing boots will add a lot to your training and help you advance your boxing much quicker than you might think.
It’s no different to any other sport. You can play football and basketball in a regular pair of sneakers, but upgrade to a good pair of football boots or basketball shoes and you’re bound to see a difference.
We would argue in boxing it’s actually more important than other sports, as good boxing boots help you move faster, cleaner, with better control and more explosion. In a sport where half a second is literally the difference between being untouched and getting knocked out, a pair of boxing boots can be pretty darn important.
Why do you need boxing boots?
If you’ve been doing footwork drills in your training, you’ve probably noticed how important foot control is in boxing.
Good coaches will tell you it’s more important than hand control.
Positioning is done with your feet. Movement is done with your feet. Defense starts with your feet. The power in your punches comes from your feet. Your feet are the foundation for everything in boxing. Your hands just deliver the final package.
The reason boxing boots are effective is because they improve everything you do with your feet, and therefore everything about your boxing.
The best boxing shoes are lighter than normal shoes. They give you better grip on the canvas, better ankle stability, better movement, make you more comfortable in classic boxing stances, and in doing so give you more speed and more power.
Things to look for in a good boxing shoe
Start with the sole
The sole is the key feature of a good boxing boot. You want to ensure the sole grips the canvas so you don’t slip when you transfer power to your hands.
However, the sole mustn’t be so grippy that it “sticks” to the canvas. Being able to pivot is essential in boxing, so you want to be sure the ball of the foot has enough freedom to pivot easily.
This means the sole should have the right balance between gripping and sliding. The amount of grip you want on your sole will largely depend on your boxing style, and is determined by how the rubber on the sole is grooved and placed.
The next thing you want to look at is the ankle. Boxing boots generally come in three types – high top, mid top and low top.
Low tops go as high as the top of the ankle (think basketball style shoes), whereas high tops extend halfway up your calf. Mid tops fall somewhere in between.
In theory, the higher the shoe rises the more ankle support it gives you. The lower down it is results in more freedom of movement, but less support.
Materials and construction
Materials determine how the shoe will fit, but also the weight of the shoe. Ideally you want a shoe that is light and snug that allows you to float freely around the ring.
Obviously a thicker soled boxing boot is going to be heavier and you’re going to feel the canvas less.
Generally you want your boxing boots to be thinner soled than your regular running/gym shoes. In boxing it’s important you can feel the canvas underneath you, whereas most running shoes do the opposite and try to cushion your feet from the ground as much as possible.
Our Reviews: Best Boxing Boots UK 2020
Adidas Box Hog 2
Adidas Box Hog boxing boots are common on the boxing circuit and you’ll likely see them quite often in the gyms.
The Adidas Box Hog 2 is a very classic mid top boxing shoe and one of their best sellers.
The upper mesh on the shoe is only single layer making it very breathable and non restrictive on your feet, as this particular shoe values mobility more than anything.
The top extends up above the ankle to cover the achilles, but the materials are thin enough that the impact on your movement is minimal to none.
The rubber sole provides great traction and grip and you should find your pivots are very clean with just the right amount of snap.
The Box Hog is a time tested series of boxing shoe and has been around for years, and is affordable enough that it’s a great choice for both newbies and experienced fighters alike. We like it a lot.
- Single layer open mesh construction.
- Synthetic suede overlays for durability.
- Low-profile midsole to keep it lightweight.
- Gum rubber outsole for great traction and grip.
Adidas Box Hog 3
The flashier cousin to the Box Hog 2, this iteration of Adidas’ Hog range is a sleeker looking shoe in the same mid cut design.
It comes with a knit mesh making it nice and lightweight, with a thickened toe cap for extra support and reduced abrasion.
The thin EVA inner midsole allows you to feel the canvas intimately, while the rubber outsole ensures your grip and pivot is quick and accurate. The mid top rise also ensures you get great ankle support, while the knit finish means your lower leg still moves free without any restrictions.
We think you’ll feel very light and agile in these – they can be a little tight to get on and off, but generally stay true to size and will be comfortable once they’re on. A great choice for those looking to upgrade from the Hog 2’s but not wanting to spend a silly amount of money. They just look awesome too!
- Regular mid cut.
- Knit mesh with suede overlays makes them both lightweight and durable.
- Gum outsole for traction and grip.
- Thin insoles so you can feel the canvas.
Adidas Speedex 18
The Speedex 18 fits like a regular sneaker and is extremely comfortable. This is impressive considering it’s built to satisfy all the needs of a boxer and does so quite well.
The topside is made from reinforced mesh which is durable but also extremely soft and movable, and your foot is further secured with stability straps around the ankles and the back of your foot.
The midsole is made from EVA, which is thin enough that you will feel the canvas and have maximum responsiveness when moving around the ring. The outer sole is made from Adidas’ Adiware for extra durability.
Most noticeable about this shoe is it has a “freer” feeling than the Box Hog, with a slightly lower top and a more giving construction. Both builds have their loyals, but if you prefer the looser “sneaker” feeling rather than a tight boot fit, the Speedex will be a good choice.
- Super lightweight.
- Glove-like fit.
- Reinforced mesh upper.
- Durable Adiwear outsole.
- Thin EVA sole for greater contact with canvas.
Reebok Men’s Boxing Boot Buck
Most Reebok boxing boots are quality and these are no exception. They do everything right, and for a pretty good price as well.
The topside is made of mesh which is well ventilated and lightweight, ensuring your feet stay dry and comfortable and move reasonably freely. It’s a mid top shoe and the laces run right up to the shin. There’s an extra wrap around strap that further secures the top to your leg.
The shoe is made with a faux leather which makes it a little tougher in some areas but much more durable (though it still doesn’t feel restrictive) and the soles are made of rubber to increase grip to the canvas.
Overall it’s a great quality shoe, and if you’re Reebok loyal we’re sure you won’t be disappointed. Quite a lot of pro boxers have been seen training in these, so you’ll be in good company too!
- Durable synthetic leather upper.
- Cushioned mid sole (but thin enough for a good feel of the canvas).
- Mid ankle strap for extra support.
- Rubber sole for better grip and traction.
- Vented mesh on the topside for breathability.
Venum Unisex Elites
These boxing shoes from Venum not only look impressive but are made with some serious love for the sweet science.
Starting from the ground up, you have a standard grooved rubber sole for grip. It’s omnidirectional, allowing you better control in all areas of your footwork.
The front of the outsole is also incurved, which allows you to throw forward more easily in those power punches. This gives the shoe a particularly offensive design, good for fighters who are explosive and like to counter and move forward.
The sole is thin, giving you a good connection with the canvas. Most good boxing shoes do this, as it has been shown to improve your coordination, control and movement.
On the topside Venum uses a honeycomb mesh material to give the shoe as much breathability as possible. Relentlessly tested with the Venum team of fighters, the lateral reinforcements in both the front and back has shown the shoe holds its own not only in everyday training but professional fights too. We didn’t expect to love it that much, but we do. Right now the Venum Elites tops our list of favourite boxing shoes. Just a little pricey, but if you can afford it they’re pretty darn nice.
- Honeycomb mesh for breathability.
- Lateral reinforcements on both ends.
- Omnidirectional rubber soles for greater grip.
- Incurved outsoles for more explosiveness.
- Fighter tested.
Lonsdale Contender Mid Tops
These Lonsdale boxing shoes are part of Lonsdale’s Contender range, and a top quality boxing shoe that we’re happy to recommend. This particular version is the mid-top version which gives you slightly more ankle freedom and looks more like a regular sneaker. You’ll also notice the ankle is quilted and padded which allows for the perfect combination of breathability and comfort.
Also comes with the EVA midsole which is pretty regular on good boxing shoes, with a sole thin enough that you feel the canvas right beneath your feet. The outsole is heavily gripped with synthetic rubber to keep you in control and ensures your pivots and turns are clean and fast.
Overall a good basic shoe by a reputable brand that looks pretty slick as well.
- Quilted and cushioned ankle.
- EVA midsole.
- Good grip on outsole.
- Midcut for greater freedom.
Lonsdale Contender High Tops
These Lonsdale boxing boots are the high top iteration of the Lonsdale Contenders described above.
With a top that extends up the shin, these shoes offer greater ankle support and are perfect for those with weak ankles, or those who simply enjoy having the extra bracing. It comes with the same quilted and padded ankle collar, with lacing that extends right to the top.
Note that this also provides extra support to the calf, with the higher top giving you that extra anchor in defense positions and against the ropes. If you’ve never worn a high top shoe we strongly recommend trying it, it’s a nice feeling have such strong support laced right up your shins, while still being lightweight enough to bounce around and feel the canvas beneath your toes.
And of course, they’re Lonsdale. What better way to support British boxing, right!
- Quilted and cushioned ankle.
- EVA midsole.
- Good grip on outsole.
- High top design for greater stability.
Our top picks!
For a mid top shoe, we really like the Venum Elites. They’re a perfectly crafted shoe that does absolutely everything right – great constructions, good materials and excellent grip and control. The one thing we don’t like is the price – they’re a great shoe, but just a tiny bit expensive for our liking.
For a high top shoe, we like the Lonsdale Contender high top edition. We did check out a few others but nothing actually came close at all. Lonsdale specialises in boxing and makes great kit – if you’re after a high boxing boot, we think you’ll love it.
Overall, our top pick is the Adidas Box Hog 3. It’s not quite as good as the Venum Elite, but it’s less than half the price, and for that, we think it’s the optimal choice for 90% of people. Of course if money was no issue we’d take the Venums all day, but we don’t think it’s worth the 2x price tag. Still, a fantastic shoe if you can afford it, of course.
We really hope this has helped you pick out your perfect boxing boot. Let us know what you decided to get in the comments. Other than that, enjoy your shoes and train hard!
Looking for more gear reviews? Check out the rest of our boxing section.
Last update on 2021-01-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API