I've been spending a bit of time catching up on all that I have missed during my week long absence, and while scouring the Chatroll parkour archives I stumbled across a conversation between a newer traceur and my friend Francis. The newer traceur Jyuun ask whether or not wearing gloves was a good idea. I have also recalled seeing conversations elsewhere in the past where someone will ask what types of protective gear should be worn. There are protective pads and helmets and gloves available all over the market for sports, but which are suited for parkour?

Prior to getting into the different forms of protection, something should be clarified. When training, everyone is prone to injury, it happens; but it's not about how many times you fall, but how many times you stand up, and it's standing up that takes some effort. If you feel that you need certain protection and I say don't use it, by all means use it; do what feels best for you. Not everyone is the same and not everything that I say or suggest will work for everyone, that's just how it goes. The following are simply statements and opinions of my own, and it is up to you to use your judgment and decide what you will do, for there are no definitive right or wrong answers. If you wish to wedge yourself amongst a small bundle of pillows, that is your choice. I always mean to emphasize safety, but trying too hard to be safe can occasionally be detrimental to your cause.

I have seen people suggesting that traceurs wear helmets while training, and that is just silly. While there are always opportunities to injure your head in parkour by means of a fall or bad maneuver, a helmet would likely be more of a hindrance than anything. When you make to attempt such maneuvers as shoulder rolls and moves through smaller areas such as under-bars, a helmet could sacrifice the integrity of the move and possibly even cause injury. Furthermore, if you feel you need a helmet this early into your training, chances are you are going too fast and are trying things that you aren't yet ready for. Remember mommy was right, it's better to be safe than sorry; take your training slow, you have your whole life ahead of you.

One of the most common responses that I have seen in regards to questions about protective gear for parkour training has been knee pads. Actually, it is very rare that your knees will come in contact with anything if you have been training properly. Knee contact could occur in a slip on a wall run, or if someone fails to execute a proper landing, but even those are minor and are usually the fault of the traceur. You will find that the majority of precautionary equipment for knees and other joints in any sport just involves support and compression braces for people with bad joints. It is as such that you can wear braces on your knees for helping them in landings, rolls and jumps; but you should not need to cover them in order to avoid scratching, as it is quite unlikely that you will injure them if your technique is good.

Some people in response to the question of protective gear have replied by looking at the gear some people in "extreme sports" wear, having not practiced or tried parkour properly before. It is that reason that they suggest such inane things as elbow pads for parkour. How many times while training parkour have you injured your elbow? Maybe you got a little scratch when you fell backwards and landed on your arms, but other than that there aren't many circumstances where elbow pads are beneficial. By no means do elbow pads interfere with regular maneuvers and they can certainly be worn if you so desire, but if you don't own any it is definitely not worth the money to go buy a pair.

I've seen other traceurs wrap handkerchiefs around their wrists to prevent scraping on wall runs and turn-vaults on thick objects among other things; I wouldn't do any more than that as anything thicker could compromise movement and would just be irritating. The wrist however are quite likely to scrape if you are doing any wall runs or vaults and if you wish to prevent scrapes and scarring, it is ideal to wrap them with a handkerchief or a sweat band type wrist wrap.

I would avoid covering up your hands for a few reasons. First of all, though you may scrape them a little bit you need to condition them somehow to thicken and toughen them. If you wear gloves, you will always need to wear them because you will never give your hands the chance to adapt to the change in activities. If you are wearing gloves to protect yourself in an area with broken glass or the likes, you may want to consider cleaning that area up if not training in a new one; for while in a real life situation it may be unavoidable, there is no reason to injure yourself while training. Another reason you want to avoid covering your hands is that gloves are often slippery and they can't provide the grip a good pair of hands can. Sure some gloves have some grip, but no glove is as versatile in gripping different materials and terrain as a hand (unless they are mighty expensive and include suction cups). Also, parkour emphasizes interaction with your environment, you are constantly working with it and exploring it in many ways. Your hands are where the majority of your touch senses are, and it would almost be a crime to cover them up with gloves, as you lose all that interaction with your environment and that sense of feeling what you are working with.

While it is up to the individual to decide for their self what they will or will not wear I believe that provided good technique and practices, no traceur (unless for some medicinal reason) absolutely requires any protective gear. If you are a beginner and train by yourself, you are safety conscious or just want to be careful then by all means wear them; the choice is all yours.

24 comments and questions

  1. Anonymous // 26/3/09 20:41  

    as a personal opinion i use half finger leather palmed weight lifting gloves with wrist support(walmart) and 6inch underarmor sweatbands to protect my wrists and forearms. and they work great for my purposes, the leather on the gloves isnt the smooth belt like leather its a fuzzy kinda leather, so in most cases(almost all) it provides better grip then bare hands. and the half finger still allows me the same "tactile feedback" as bare hands would without cuts or blisters after long days of climbing stucco and brick walls...its like sand paper for the hands :/

  2. adam // 1/4/09 01:45  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  3. Anonymous // 1/4/09 01:56  

    they have a very nice leather(i think) inside not the kind you find in normal like bike gloves, its very soft strong and doesnt slip when sweaty(wrist bands increase sweat too), but my hands almost never slide inside the gloves, and the gloves are even slightly larger than my hands would would usually mean slipping inside....so imo for cheap gloves at walmart, they are the best i have found thus far, and i have been through about 8 all different pairs/kinds of gloves... here is the link to the gloves i use.

  4. Anonymous // 1/4/09 02:00  

    they are the "Wrist Wrap Glove"
    i think the 2nd to last row, or the last pair listed.
    hope i helped :)

  5. JamesRobin // 30/7/09 12:28  

    i have done parkour for 10 years, i am now 17, i started with out even realizing it, i would just copy movie and stuff, but now i am really good at it, all the advice i can give is that you wrap your wrists(easy easy to break) go buy a pair of soccer pads for your shins, because if you hit your calf while doing parkour, you will injure your self further from falling because it hurts twice as much as everything else. If your are into the whole glove thing, put on a pair of light leather gloves, they are very protective, but scraping your self is part of parkour, so don't be afraid of it.

    Good Luck to all of you free runners.

  6. Anonymous // 23/11/09 01:55  

    About head protection, I agree about the fact that anything bigger than a winter hat would hinder your performance. But what if you could have head protection in such a hat??? Well, maybe a year ago I found a hat with ribs in it, where they harden on impact. I bought one, loved it. I had a friend punch me in the head and impact was minimized and didnt hurt at all.


    Works great, not to expensive. Protection in minimized form.

  7. Anonymous // 8/12/12 18:40  

    Ha ha now in this year ther are glove spesherlised for this they are super thin so u can feel your surroundings but grate with grip

  8. Anonymous // 28/2/13 05:51  

    With havin so much content do you ever run into any
    issues of plagorism or copyright violation?
    My site has a lot of unique content I've either authored myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my authorization. Do you know any ways to help reduce content from being ripped off? I'd certainly appreciate it.

    Feel free to visit my blog post; external hemorrhoid treatment
    My site > thrombosed hemorrhoid treatment

  9. Jenny Summer // 10/3/13 03:24  

    Thanks a lot for sharing the article on this topic. That's an awesome article. I enjoyed the article a lot while reading. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful article. I want to say very thank you for this great information's. Now I understand about it. hard hat

  10. Anonymous // 23/3/13 21:34  

    Michaels Crafts Store has some great foam visors made by Creatology Brand or you
    can purchase foam visors at any craft store near you.
    Therefore your needs will change in a supplier to purchase your goods from.
    Check with a good search engine to find a free
    website that permits you to post photographs and videos.

    Also visit my webpage: michaels coupons

  11. Anonymous // 23/3/13 22:11  

    Michaels offers a large variety of yarn, thread, floss, kits and cutting tools.
    Old Maid Cards and Uno are also perfect options. Check with a good search engine
    to find a free website that permits you to post photographs and videos.

    My web site :: Sweetenedbykagi.blogspot.com

  12. Anonymous // 24/3/13 23:25  

    Fine way of describing, and pleasant paragraph to take
    information about my presentation topic, which i am going to present in institution of higher education.

    Also visit my blog ... Gynecomastia withinside Puberty and also Later years

  13. Anonymous // 25/3/13 13:07  

    Have you ever thought about writing an ebook or guest
    authoring on other sites? I have a blog based on the same topics you
    discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information.
    I know my audience would appreciate your work.
    If you're even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an email.

    Here is my blog post; using gynexin regarding natural Management of gynecomastia

  14. Anonymous // 25/3/13 13:18  

    I comment when I especially enjoy a article on a site or I have something to add
    to the conversation. It's caused by the sincerness displayed in the post I looked at. And after this article "An overview of protective gear for parkour.". I was actually excited enough to drop a comment :-) I do have a couple of questions for you if it's allright.

    Could it be simply me or do a few of the responses come
    across like coming from brain dead individuals?
    :-P And, if you are writing on other online
    social sites, I would like to keep up with you. Would you make
    a list all of all your public sites like your twitter feed, Facebook page
    or linkedin profile?

    Feel free to visit my site; Alcohol consumption – One of the main Cause of Moobs

  15. Anonymous // 29/3/13 10:58  

    But having bought such an expensive product there are some
    care instructions hat needs to be followed to derive the maximum benefits.
    Why bother going to the department store when everything you need is right in your kitchen.
    In addition to the honey, the Organic Purifying Masque contains rooibos
    tea extract, aloe juice, jojoba oil, vitamin E, oat extract, rosemary, and neem oil (don't ask on that last one; it's a plant, that's all I know.

    Here is my webpage - organic honey new zealand

  16. Anonymous // 29/3/13 12:37  

    Battery-operated air compressors are pretty nifty gadgets.
    If you spray a product into the core, it is necessary
    to first drill a tiny hole into the top of the plastic heater box
    under the hood. Take the hanger and untwist it, or cut it,
    so that it is just a straight rod.

    Check out my weblog tchwork.com

  17. Anonymous // 29/3/13 17:53  

    Do not try stunts like brushing teeth with baking soda, because this only irreversibly abrades the surface of your teeth.
    Do it little by little and cautiously because
    the bleach might get accidentally on your clothing or nearly anything that is bordering you.

    Do not expect any sort of teeth whitening strategies to work the 1st time, even bleaching them.

    Visit my web-site; Low income dental care Austin tx

  18. Anonymous // 29/3/13 18:16  

    The only problem I see with this Braun Series 7
    is that it is quite expensive for most. I have sideburns and I even them out
    quite nicely with the regular razor that I use (which is not a Fusion any longer).
    It can also be utilized in the shower as nicely and fully eradicates scattering hair all over the bathroom.

    Stop by my web page; wet dry electric shavers

  19. Anonymous // 29/3/13 22:57  

    5. kill' a zombie. Watch the movies'there is always strength in numbers.

    Stop by my web page ... monsters vs zombies

  20. Unknown // 25/4/13 06:16  

    Boobies growth. Gynecomastia surgery you want to be. How mezdeği a doctor from Turkey

  21. Anonymous // 18/7/13 12:39  

    On the point of gloves, I wear fingerless york brand weightlifting gloves, they fit tight to my hand and absorb any sweat very quickly. I only wear them though if im unsure of the area or theres a possibility that I may damage my hands on metal, in the summer it can heat up enough for second degree burns, that put me out for two weeks, in winter 2012 I froze my left hand to a railing practicing turn vaults, I had to rip the skin from my hand to get off the railing, that really hurt.

  22. Anonymous // 28/10/13 20:44  

    Very useful information thanks for the info

  23. brian odea // 28/2/16 21:59  

    I think a great place for pads would be back of the hips and shoulder blades! I was thinking a football girdle.. I'm not sure about most people but for high jumps -> then rolling onto concrete I always bruise after a while. Padding on hips and shoulders ( really light padding ) might allow for more intense rolls haha

  24. John Adam // 25/10/16 10:31  

    What is the difference between mittens and gloves?
    Waterproof Finger Gloves