View Full Version : Shoes for practise (on tatami mats)

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09-30-2015, 12:34 PM
Hello everybody.

I am pretty severely flat footed and get pains in my knees when practising barefooted. So after 8 years of practising Aikido (and a knee surgery) it is about time to find some solution. I have been looking at:

But I just don't know what would be a good choice. Does anyone have the same problem? Or know of good shoes I can use along with an inlay for practising on the mat?

Thanks for your input.

10-01-2015, 10:31 PM
I am recovering from Achilles tendonitis. A good friend, fellow student, and physical therapist told my wife (who outranks me) that I must never go barefoot ever again. (Not feeling the gratitude.)

I was able to find an inexpensive pair of non-marking shoes that provides some of the support I am needing now. Modern Wushu and Tai Chi shoes are also much along these lines. I paid about $16 at Target.

Some shoes will leave marks on the mat, and no one will thank you. Don't wear shoes that go anywhere else, and never shoes that go outside. Another reason to buy an inexpensive shoe.

Tread makes you stick to the mat moreso, so Tenkan and other movements feel very different. I found this can be hard on my knee if my foot sticks suddenly.

I don't notice when I step on my partner now, but my partner sure does.

The stiffer the sole, the more changes for Suwari waza or some pins. It can be harder to bring the toes underneath. Standing pins are easier, but I can't feel as clearly if I am standing on someone's hair.

The more prominent the heel cup, the more it digs in to the Achilles for seiza.

I need to keep my hakama a little pulled up - the rubber sole catches the hakama more tightly.

Keep the laces short.

I find myself thinking I am supposed to be able to do Aikido movements throughout the day, so why not train in footwear? Even for those people out there with good feet, I recommend trying a practice on different surfaces or dressed how you dress for the rest of your life.

I hope this helps.

Janet Rosen
10-02-2015, 03:34 PM
To John's excellent reply I add:
1. an alternative, if you have patience and time and someone to teach proper taping technique, is to athletic tape the foot as done for active plantar fasciitis, then wear toe sox or tabi - this will avoid the marking problem and the gripping/catching on mat problem
2. never say never. In about 1982 I was taped that way for several months, both feet at same time, then given custom orthotics, told I'd never walk without an orthotic again, etc.....long story short, I did self-graduate to OTC orthotics after a few years, started testing myself in less supportive shoes without those for short periods of time after a few years....when I started training in aikido in 1996 I was able to go barefoot with no problem. I have worn "minimalist" shoes including Vibram 5 fingers and Soft Stars for over four years now, only sometimes reverting to an unstructured shoe (like slip in sneaker) with OTC orthotic. Not saying everybody will have the same outcome. Only that health professionals tend to take a static view of peoples' conditions (and yes I am a h.p. so know this tendency intimately) and ignore that things change over the years. Having proper bodywork done, improving one's structure through budo, etc can very much change the need for external splinting or support.

10-06-2015, 01:29 PM
Thanks for the feedback.

I will try different solutions. Unfortunately I don't know anyone capable of taping my feet up.

Just ordered a pair of Nike Machomai Mid boxing shoes just to try something out. But they are too small. Will go to the store instead of ordering from the internet and see what I can find.

Think I will also order these: http://budoshop.dk/shopp/sko-stvler/1798-mtte-sko.html
Should be made for training on the mat.

Larry Feldman
10-08-2015, 01:05 PM
When I practiced Ju Jitsu we were on a canvas mat and you could easily get a mat burn on the top of your foot.
I noticed my teacher had some very light weight canvas 'slippers' that he wore to protect against the mat burn.

Many years later one of my students had trouble catching her toes in the edges of the folding mats we use, so I got in touch with my old instructor to ask where he got those cool 'slippers'. Turns out they were ballet slippers! Not sure they will give you much support - but something to look at.