Despites its name, K-Swiss was actually founded in Van Nuys, California over forty years ago. Although they are typically known as a brand utilized for tennis, their Ariake III are one of the few shoes from a mainstream footwear company to be targeted at taceurs. This is not their first foray into making a parkeur friendly shoe and their relationship with traceurs certainly seems to have paid off in a shoe that looks amazing with results to match. K-Swiss’s Ariake III has been a very popular shoe that shows what the future might hold if more traditional shoe companies get onboard with marketing to the parkour crowd.

If they have any weakness, the Ariake IIIs are certainly not built for trail runs. Quite simply, their grip is not up to the task. Rather, these shoes specialize in traversing the urban jungle and in that arena, they are king, with a grip that is second to none.  The shoe combines high grip rubber in the front with durable Aosta rubber in the heel. The result is a flexible grip that is able to grab and react to whatever city surface you’re practicing on. No shoe can contest the Ariake IIIs ability to pull off a solid wall run.

The Ariake III was designed with the user’s personal comfort in mind by making its variable width lacing very easy to lace up to the height you like. This actually makes a huge difference in how the shoe fits and can make the difference between feeling too traditional and not being able to feel them at all. Of course, if you feel the need to tighten the feel up, K-Swiss has that option available. The shoe’s cushioning is reached through a dual density CMEVA compound in the middle of the soul. The company makes the bold claim that their Ariake III is the most comfortable parkour shoe on the market and independent reports from satisfied customers seem to agree that it’s a shoe that feels more like an extension of your foot. While all these comfortable components do not make for a lighter shoe, they do make for a shoe that is kinder on your joints and, for many, that’s a favorable tradeoff.

The shoe’s overall durability is also something that is ingratiated it to traceurs the world over. Even its famous grip doesn’t dull easily and that’s saying a lot given how much people use it. Even consistent training will take a good amount of time before it’s able to produce any real wear and tear on the Ariake IIIs. Even worn down, the Ariake III’s grip is far superior to most of its rivals. The seamless upper component of the shoe also makes it less likely for the duress of parkour to cause its threads to wither or fray. You get a great looking show with great performance that promises to keep both for a long time.

Being such a popular parkour shoe and being one of the few to come from a major player in the athletic footwear world, Ariake IIIs are not cheap. To experience what they have to offer, you’re looking at around a hundred and fifty dollars. That being said, they offer a far superior experience than most of their competitors and unlike many of them, the Ariake III aren’t designed to be worn through quickly.  Any traceur will have to put forth a dedicated effort in order to ruin these shoes.

If you’re serious about parkour, at some point you need to at least give the Ariake III a try. Anyone who isn’t confident a shoe can make much of a difference will be surprised at what K-Swiss’s parkour product can do. Of course with a price tag so high, you’ll want to make sure parkour is something you do regularly enough to make it worth it. This shoe is not recommended for traucers just starting out or unsure if they want to continue. It also wouldn’t be for people who enjoy practicing in the woods or along natural trails. But if you’re a dedicated traucer who enjoys the options available in the city, this is a shoe worth looking into.

This shoe is rated 9.7/10.