Should You Buy Gymnastics Shoes?

Footwork close up of gymnast Vasiliki Millousi (GRE) as in action on the balance beam during the Women's All-Around Final of the 44th Artistic Gymnastics World Championship in Antwerp (BEL), October 4th, 2013. (Gerlach Delissen/Corbis via Getty Images)

Gymnastics shoes (sometimes just called beam shoes) are tight slippers, often made of leather with some traction on the bottom to keep you from slipping. They are worn by gymnasts, usually at the higher competitive levels, to help protect their feet from the pounding of tough skills on the balance beam, and sometimes when tumbling and ​vaulting as well.

Should I Get Gymnastics Shoes?

They are a matter of personal preference.

Pros

Gymnastics shoes can really help to cushion your feet if you perform a lot of flipping skills, leaps and jumps, or are practicing beam almost every day. If you take a hard landing on the beam or land on the edge of the beam, a shoe will protect your foot and make the landing less painful. The same is true, though to a lesser extent when vaulting and tumbling. Gymnasts often love the way gymnastics shoes protect their feet.

Cons

Some gymnasts dislike having something on their feet or think they lose the “feel” of the beam or floor if they wear a shoe. Also, wearing a shoe can attract more attention to your feet in general. If flexed feet are a problem for you, wearing shoes can make it that much more obvious.

Before You Buy

Check with your coach before you purchase a pair of shoes. Some coaches dislike the way they look in competition and would prefer their gymnasts to perform with bare feet.

Others have a brand they would like their gymnasts to use.

The Best Brands

These three brands of shoes are the most well-liked among top gymnasts:

  1. Tiger Gym 10 Shoe: This is probably the most widely-used and favorite shoe of competitive female gymnasts on beam. These shoes are flexible and move with your foot, but have enough cushioning to protect as well.
    Price: $30-40
    Fun Fact: Dominique Moceanu wore these shoes at the 1996 Olympics!
  1. Bleyer Elite Gym Shoes: Another great shoe. This one is a little bit bulkier but offers great protection.
    Price: $25-35
  2. Pegasus Beam Shoe: A very solid and sturdy shoe that lasts for a long time.
    Price: $35-45
  3. Pro Gymnastics Shoe: Especially geared to vaulting and tumbling, these shoes are made for both males and females.​
    Price: $50-60