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06-04-2005, 07:32 PM
Does anyone know if it is appropriate to wear mat shoes when training? My toes are absolutely SHREDDED and tape just does not stick to sweaty feet in an unairconditioned dojo . . . :eek:

If it is appropriate, does anyone know where I could purchase such an item?



Holly Nesbeitt
06-04-2005, 08:51 PM
Socks, maybe?

06-04-2005, 10:10 PM
My issue with socks of any type is that they stretch out and slide around on my feet - this not only does not help, but it makes the matter worse . . .

I have seen a style of mat shoe that is in the traditional Japanese tabi cut, but I have no clue if this is acceptable to wear on the mat or where I would be able to find it . . .

06-05-2005, 12:00 AM
I saw kung fu shues with soft soles and I know a guy who weares ninja soks!


06-05-2005, 01:55 AM
How long have you been training?

If your feet are getting shredded then you may be moving on them incorrectly. It sounds dumb but ask your sensei. I've been training for 3 years now and can't say my feet were ever "shredded"

Maybe you just need to break them in more, let them get calloused?

Good luck.

06-05-2005, 02:10 AM
HI Anne,

I agree with Nathan, it's unusual to see feet shredded, I certainly haven't in the 13 or so years I've been doing this. Get a few mat burns and such, but like Nathan says, these callous over after a while.

In most dojo's you'll find shoes to be a definate "no no", although there may be one or two out there that like to train with them. For the most part this is to protect the mats and preserve their longevity since they cost the earth to replace.

Aside from normal socks, which don't work for me, Japanese tabi are the best thing you can use, there are a couple of links to suppliers in this thread


Use the tabi whilst your feet heal, then go back to bare feet again.

kind regards


06-05-2005, 07:30 AM
i recently started going to class 4 times a week (3 "regular" classes and 1 weapons class) . . .

i have weird feet - extremely wide with very short toes - and have always had issues with the 2nd, 3rd and 4th toes splitting horizontally across the pads at the first joint . . . my big toes are heavily calloused, but i have the issue of the callouses splitting, tearing and peeling vertically . . . while my toes do not bleed, it is extremely painful to move in bare feet on the mat . . .

thanks for the information on where to find the tabi shoes . . . i will ask my sensei if these would be acceptable . . . i know in the winter we are allowed to train with socks, so maybe it will be alright . . .

thanks again!


06-05-2005, 09:21 AM
Try Moisturizer before bed every night, a good one, something like absorbase (most pharmacist have it behind the counter and no prescription is required).

Morning and night would probably help a lot, your feet sound like my hands used to be!


06-05-2005, 09:36 AM
i have an excellent moisturizer that i use with a base of 4 different oils, no alcohol involved . . .

i'm wondering if it may have something to do with the shape of my feet and the way i move because of the way my feet are shaped? like i said earlier - i have weird feet - from heel to the front of the arch, i measure a size 8, but the actual length of my foot is only a size 6.5 . . . they look like someone chopped off my toes at the first joint . . . i used to get teased that when i buy shoes, i throw the shoes away and wear the boxes :s

i have tried having the callouses removed, but they only seem to grow back thicker . . . its very frustrating . . .

i refuse to give up training, though . . . i have lupus and a degenerative disc disease in my back and the physical benefits that i receive from training 4 times a week have been absolutely phenomenal for my pain and fatigue issues . . .

i'm just looking for options that will alleviate the shredding issue i have started having on my toes . . . i will look to see if i can find something along the lines of absorbase . . .

06-09-2009, 10:18 PM
Hi, I just began studying Aikido and I too have foot issues. In my Case my arch is too high which makes my foot curve slightly. Any rotating movement in bare feet hurts. I explained my situation and have been allowed to wear mat shoes.

Nafis Zahir
06-10-2009, 01:35 AM
Does anyone know if it is appropriate to wear mat shoes when training? My toes are absolutely SHREDDED and tape just does not stick to sweaty feet in an unairconditioned dojo . . . :eek:

If it is appropriate, does anyone know where I could purchase such an item?



I am a disabled veteran. I have to wear special stockings that are made from lycra spandex. They are very slippery and need to be covered. I use to wear cotton socks when I trained at a dojo that had a canvas mat. But since I left there, I have been training on tatami mats. The mat was too slippery for cotton socks, so I spoke with my instructor about it and I started to wear tabi boots. They were better, but my instructor noticed that I wasn't able to plant myself firmly when I needed to. Then one day he gave be a pamphlet for a pair of sports footwear that comes in different styles and made for all sports. The soles are made by vibram and are non-skid. You should speak with your instructor about it first, and if it's OK, then give them a try. They are a little costly, but very much worth it. I hope that this helps. BTW, I got the black KSO's. They are a solid color and go with my hakama. Go to this link:


Nafis Zahir
06-10-2009, 01:37 AM
Hi, I just began studying Aikido and I too have foot issues. In my Case my arch is too high which makes my foot curve slightly. Any rotating movement in bare feet hurts. I explained my situation and have been allowed to wear mat shoes.

I wear the ones from the previous post. What style do you wear?

Timothy WK
06-10-2009, 08:56 AM
Does anyone know if it is appropriate to wear mat shoes when training?
Why are you asking here? The only person that can answer that question is your instructor, as that sort of thing is going to differ from school to school.

Rather than shoes, though, one idea would be a pair of those non-slip socks (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_hpc_1_9?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=non-slip+socks&x=0&y=0&sprefix=non-slip+).

06-10-2009, 10:04 AM
I often have the same problem and when I have a cut foot I have been using: MMA MARTIAL ARTS HY FIGHT SOCKS They are available on EBay for about $22.

They are superlight weight, stay on the foot, and do not slip.

Check them out.


John Furgerson III
06-10-2009, 09:28 PM
It depends on what type of cover is over the mats. When I trained in the States I had no problem with my feet, but here in Mexico City the cover is very different and I would hurt my toes every time I got up after watching a technique.
My Sensei told me that he sells something one can wear. I can't remember the name but they are from Japan and they work beautifully. Check with your Sensei. If he/she doesn't sell them ask them if you can buy something. Check at a martial arts supply store.
I also recommend that everyone buy some type of expensive knee pads. You'll appreciate it in the future.

06-11-2009, 09:36 AM
I think it would be best to ask your sensei both whether it would be appropriate, but more importantly, whether he/she thinks mat shoes are the solution. It really depends on why it's happening. Training on aikido mats, I don't find that I ever have any problems, but in years of karate training (different footwork, and a lot more of it, on a different surface -- hardwood floors), I saw/experienced a lot of "foot-shredding" problems. Even people with multi-year dojo calluses tended to get problems when the hot weather first came on every summer. The solution that a number of people recommended to me was to make sure your feet were dry. If possible, wear sandals during the day; if not, remove shoes when you get home at night (especially if you have hardwood floors). Let your feet breathe rather than sweating; if they're clammy, you're much more likely to shred skin off them as a result of friction.

06-11-2009, 10:09 AM
My feet sweat like crazy and I have yet to find a good solution for this problem. On tatami mats its not too bad for me but when I switch to hardwood floors for my iaido practice I end up slip sliding around as if I were skating. I do, as Mary states above, try and air my feet out as much as possible - sandals during the day (when not at work) and barefoot around the house. It helps but still....

Walter Martindale
06-11-2009, 01:17 PM
Please don't be offended...
Is it possible that Athlete's Foot or some other fungal infection is wrecking the integrity of your skin?
Is it possible that nutrition might not be up to snuff? Lots of dark green veggies (spinach, broccoli, things like that) is supposed to provide lots of nutrients that the skin needs (one being "vitamin K", whatever that is).
I had a bout with some pretty bad AF once, and my feet were a mess. "tinactin" powder for a couple of weeks did the trick. On other occasions if I haven't been eating enough green (or other coloured veggies - I get lazy in the kitchen) for a while I start getting splits between my toes.

06-11-2009, 01:19 PM
Dan, there's a trick to reduce foot-sweating. Get an aerosol antiperspirant and spray your feet every morning. It will have an immediate effect, but more importantly, after a few weeks you will actually have trained your feet to sweat less. You can then go without using the antiperspirant for some time (weeks or months) before they'll start getting sweaty again and you'll have to treat them again. This really works, honest to god.

Carl Smith
06-11-2009, 01:37 PM
Keeping up with foot maintenance is a constant issue. My feet tend to be very dry on average so I moisturize often. When I practiced on tatami mats I didn't have many issues, after a few years of practice my callouses are thick enough that i don't have issues with mat burn or anything of the sort anymore.

These days we practice on a gymnastics tumbling floor that is springy and really nice (almost too nice) for ukemi but it's kind of rough since it's designed for grip. Dragging my feet across it has sliced right through the callouses on the big toe of one foot. That being said I've been experimenting with different kinds of socks trying to find some that both allow me to still feel the mat and protect my feet at the same time.

Sy Labthavikul
06-11-2009, 02:40 PM
I used to have issues with my feet getting beat up, but they went away when i started picking up my feet when I moved instead of dragging them about on the mat. I know some people say to slide your feet when you move to remain grounded with the floor, but now I realize thats just a shortcut to really learning how to stay grounded while still being able to pick up and move your feet. Taijichuan people pick up and move their feet all the time, but their entire art is based around being grounded.

Also, if you practice outdoors (which you should imho, nicely cushioned mats covered up my sloppy ukemi; falling on uneven grass or rolling on concrete forced me to to really have a soft, relaxed touch), dragging your feet can trip you up if you find uneven ground; at the very least it'll screw up the outsoles of your shoes.

06-12-2009, 11:32 AM
Mary - Thanks for the tip. I give it a try.


06-15-2009, 10:59 AM

I also have sort of a "stubby toes" problem: My little toe is the same way as you describe your toes. So stubby that I don't have a real nail there.

I also tend to get the tear in the crease of my toe joints, on the smaller toes generally.

In fact...

*takes of shoes to check*

I've got one healing up on my pinky toe and middle toe of my left foot right now.

I don't know so much how to avoid them, but I can give some suggestions on how I treat them/live with them.

During summer camp last week, The tears flared up again. I just put strong tape or a good band-aid over the tears, and they lasted ok until I took a shower.

That seems to work the best for me. Then, once I get home from class, I soak my feet, clean them off with some nice exfoliating scrub, and dab some triple antibiotic ointment (aka Neosporin etc.) on the areas to make sure they are clean and protected.

Definitely talk to your sensei about what you can do to take care of your toes on and off the mat. He or she may have suggestions on treatment, prevention and maintenence.

Also make sure to talk to your doctor, too. If you have any circulatory issues, for example, or diabetes, you may not want to wrap your toes.

But in the meantime, if it's ok for you medically, you may just want to tape them up during class and take a footbath on a regular basis. Perhaps treat it like pampering, not pain management. Maybe put some epsom salts in there, a couple drops of a favorite essential oil, and have a glass of something tasy as you soak your feet.

06-15-2009, 11:39 AM
The only thing you have to watch with tape is that you're not leaving adhesive on the mat. Generally speaking...you will be...so make sure to clean up after yourself.