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There are many ways to experience freedom and overcoming obstacles in life, but few are as fun, casual, and daring as Parkour. This popular discipline can help you conquer your fears and redefine how you perceive your immediate physical space.
Parkour is the acrobatic traversing of urban spaces, but there’s more to it than just leaping, spinning, and swinging over obstacles with as little equipment as possible. It’s also a discipline that teaches freedom of movement by developing strength, coordination, and agility to reach new heights.
Parkour is a sport as much as it’s an urban culture that welcomes the latest developments of clothing technology to help its practitioners (known as traceurs) to get from one point to another in different environments, the safest and most efficient way possible.
Parkour history originated in Paris suburbia during the late 1980s as an underground pastime. In reality, this sport came to be during one of the harshest and difficult times of contemporary history.
Parkour’s art of movement places its roots in the military tradition of physical training ahead of combat scenarios in perilous unfamiliar terrain. Not knowingly, French Navy Officer Georges Hébert developed his natural method (la méthode naturelle) to train World War I French regiments in running, jumping, climbing, balancing, and swimming by overcoming different obstacles courses.
These obstacles courses would be a daring trial for marines that would allow them to combat enemy forces in various terrains. Hébert would leave an everlasting mark on Parkour, as he believed that combining physical prowess with altruism elevates an individual. The latter following his life motto: Be strong to be helpful.
Georges Hébert’s teachings would later become both the French army and French firefighters’ core training standard. French firefighters would adopt a skillset that allowed them to navigate life-endangering scenarios with complete confidence.
In almost every way, Georges Hébert embodies what Parkour stands for today: he was known for his acrobatic athleticism and ability to safely move along ledges, scale buildings without using a ladder, and leap between building rooftops. His legacy inspired David Belle, who trained with his father (former French soldier and firefighter) and readapted the discipline into urban environments, forming the first modern Parkour group: the Yamakasi.
The Rise of Parkour’s Urban Culture
Today, Parkour uses carefully mastered techniques (without intermediary objects such as a skateboard, bicycle, or roller blades) to facilitate your displacement across the surrounding built environment. The sport’s practitioners, known as traceurs, apply techniques such as the cat-leap, the monkey vault, and the cat balance to defy our body’s limits.
Its reliance on urban environments does not make it a means to vandalize or damage buildings. Quite the contrary: true to parkour history, it has risen as an alternative sport culture with a positive social impact, helping young people engage in discipline and physical activity.
Parkour is all about overcoming and adapting to physical barriers, but its true power manifest by allowing its traceurs to familiarize themselves with overcoming mental and emotional obstacles.
While Parkour is traditionally independent of intermediary equipment, it can be enhanced by wearing light, non-restrictive clothing that amplifies your range of motion. Parkour gear can increase surface grip, tactile feedback, and impact absorption and allow traceurs to carry their everyday essentials without skipping a beat.
Parkour’s popularity and urban culture led many companies to offer targeted clothing for this sport, resulting in advanced garments that combine fashion and performance standards alike.
Let’s take a look at these parkour gear essentials and how they help traceurs achieve their flow.
The Best Parkour Shoes
The best parkour shoes rely on two major parameters: cushion and grip. Light running shoes provide excellent grip and flexibility for climbs and jumps, plus their lightweight allow for more natural and fluid movements. Some models specialize in high-impact aerobics and thus offer additional cushioning ahead of challenging jumps and drops. By incorporating high-performance fabrics, these top-class shoes are also considered fashionable additions to casual and sporty outfits.
The Best Parkour Pants
Parkour pants protect your shins and knees from rough surfaces and facilitate wall runs and challenging climbs. The best parkour pants come with ergonomic technology that dynamically adapts to your leg curvatures with abrasion-resistant, highly breathable fabrics. Fashionable and comfortable, these are a must-have piece for your parkour apparel.
The Best Parkour Backpacks
Parkour backpacks allow you to keep your everyday essentials safe without affecting your center of gravity. The best parkour backpacks combine ergonomic technology that protects your shoulders and valuables from impacts. Many adopt a trendy minimalist design that turns them into fashionable, super convenient accessories any traceur would love to use.
The Best Parkour Gloves
There are two schools of thought regarding parkour gloves: those who believe that their bare hands offer better tactile feedback and those who consider that rough terrain requires a higher level of grip.
From a safety standpoint, a trusty pair of parkour gloves can prevent you from losing grip at the wrong moment, especially when the rain decides to make your circuit extra-slippery.
On a more philosophical note, Parkour can redefine a person’s concept of physical borders. Parkour trains the body and mind to enhance spatial awareness and push our boundaries. By cultivating superior agility and technique, traceurs achieve what most consider impossible.
We’ve hand-picked the best parkour clothing pieces for this year to help you defy your limits. We hope that these garments help you reach new heights in terms of performance and style alike!