Although there's a risk of personal injury in every contact sport, some body parts are more susceptible to injury than others. For example, there are 26 bones in the human foot, making it particularly vulnerable, and recovery from fractures typically takes six to eight weeks. Therefore, it just makes sense to protect your feet—injuries will pull you away from training and keep you out of competition. Make sure you arrive equipped with all the recommended protective gear, including quality foot guards like AWMA ProForce® Thunder Sparring Kicks. Knowing what to look for in quality gear for engaging in Karate, Kung Fu, Muay Thai, Savate, Tae Kwon Do, and other full-contact martial arts, is an integral part of ensuring your safety.
Demand Quality Construction
All AWMA gear used in combat sports like martial arts and kickboxing sees a lot of action, therefore good quality construction is imperative. Although you can find cheaper gear, you can't count on it to last or protect you for very long. Some pieces may begin deteriorating after only a few uses and may fail you when you need them most. Pay close attention to the high impact areas of the sparring kicks that you consider, as well as the strap or fastening loop. These areas and parts are under constant pressure and are the most likely to experience wear over time.
Protection vs. Convenience
Different types of footgear offer different levels of protection. Ultimately, you want protective footwear that remains securely fastened to the foot but is still easy to slip on and off. You want to spend more time in the ring than gearing up for the fight.
ProForce® Thunder Double Layered Kick, for example, has a base layer thickness of 7/8-inch, but the high impact areas provide double layered padding of 1 ¼-inch. It's well-ventilated and flexible for comfort and ease of use. Available in sizes that accommodate adult and children competitors and students, it features the traditional wrap-strap, which allows wearers to customize the fit for their desired snugness and security.
The ProForce® Thunder slip-on boot, however, does without the wrap-strap in favor of a small hook-in-loop tab. This option provides a wide opening, enabling wearers to easily slip their foot in and out, which makes gearing up a breeze. The toes fit into a special pocket, allowing the foot to be in contact with the floor for stability while the instep is shielded by a double layer or protection.
Get the Proper Fit
When considering different types of footgear, you should favor those that are comfortable and fit securely. If they slide or shift around when you're wearing them, they not only provide insufficient protection, but the lack of support may actually lead to injuries from falls and slips. ProForce® Thunder footgear is available in the following sizes:
Size - Shoe Size - Length - Width
Child XX-Small 12 to 13 6.75-inches 4.5-inches
Child Small 1 to 2 8-inches 4.5-inches
Child Medium 3 to 4 8.5-inches 4.5-inches
Child Large 5 to 6 9-inches 4.5-inches
Small 7 to 7.5 10-inches 5-inches
Medium 8 to 8.5 11-inches 5-inches
Large 9 to 10 12-inches 5-inches
X-Large 11 to 12 12.5-inches 5-inches
XX-large 13 to 14 13-inches 5-inches
Be advised that the sizes are listed in adult men's; women should purchase a size smaller than they would otherwise wear.
Buy, Borrow, or Share
Although safety equipment can be a bit of an investment, especially if it's for children who are likely to quickly outgrow it or may become disinterested in the sport after a short time, the protection it provides is worth the cost. Buying previously owned gear, borrowing from the gym or club, or sharing with another participant has several drawbacks. First, there are hygiene concerns that accompany wearing guards that were recently on someone else's feet. Second, equipment that sees extensive use is likely to deteriorate more quickly than privately owned pieces. If you have your own kicks, you know exactly how much action they've seen and when they might need to be replaced. The ProForce® Thunder pieces are available in multiple colors, so they're easy to personalize; you can even add your own logo.
Keep Them Fresh
Over time and especially when you train hard, your sweat will come in contact with your kicks often. To keep your kicks smelling fresh, consider purchasing the ProForce® Glove Guards “GG” Deodorizers, which can be used for your kicks.
Kickboxing and martial arts are full-contact sports and participants in these activities subject themselves to risk of personal injury. Proper use of sparring kicks and other recommended equipment offers protection that reduces—but does not eliminate—this risk. ProForce® Thunder is a good choice for footgear and is available in different options to meet your needs and preferences. Sparring kicks are no substitute, however, for hours of practice, proper form, and alertness.