When it comes to sports shoes, no name looms larger than Nike. Nike has shoes for basically every sport out there except parkour. While this may come in the future, the Nike Dart 10 is probably the closest thing there is to a parkour shoe from the footwear kingpin.
Like just about every shoe from Nike, the Nike Dart 10 looks great with its streamlined design and sleek features. The outside is a combination of synthetic fiber and mesh. Although this material provides for a comfortable experience, don’t be fooled into thinking it can’t take the kinds of beatings parkour can dish out. The Dart 10s come in 2 different colors, black or gray, and both versions have a white sole. This is not ideal because they will get dirty easily but other than that they make for a nice looking shoe.
Although the grip is a traditional waffle pattern, the foam between it and the sole provides the give necessary to “grip” things like rails with your foot. The Dart 10’s arch is also rubber which helps support any awkward landings. The waffle grip also makes for a secure run on grass, something that is often sacrificed when traceurs pick more popular “parkour shoes” that highlight overall flexibility with a minimalist design. If you only ever practice on concrete and metal this might not be an issue for you, but as these are often surrounded by grass, the waffle grip makes switching from area to another a breeze. For versatility, you’ll have a tough time finding a shoe that beats the Nike Dart 10.
Again, while the phylon rubber adds a little extra weight it makes up for it with a durable bottom shoe that is able to grip a multitude of surfaces. Although these shoes were created for the track or the concrete of sidewalks, these shoes are remarkable on brick, rails and other terrain.
The Nike Dart 10 is a comfortable shoe, but it’s not one that caters to minimalism. There are arch supports, so if that’s something you often have issues with, this isn’t the shoe for you. Like any shoe, wearing them in will help. Its padding is also more than you would receive from a barefoot running shoe, but it’s not excessive and a lot less than in running shoes from even ten years ago. While your foot will notice the added cushion, it will still be able to feel the ground beneath it, something every traceur looks for. Even after being sufficiently broken in, the comfortable feel remains. Again, if you’re looking for something closer to barefoot running, this would not be your shoe as the cushion keeps it from having the “barefoot effect” you might be looking for.
The sole of the shoe, which is made from Nike’s phylon rubber, is also extremely agile which would make sense for a shoe that is built for running. The stitching is solid and will hold up to quite a beating. Furthermore, Nike was more than generous with the glue which, while adding some weight ensures the Dart 10 will not be falling apart on you anytime soon.
One benefit you might not assume would come from a Nike brand shoe is they’re very affordable, especially when considering other shoes recommended for parkour. These shoes can be found for as little as forty or fifty dollars. This is a bargain, especially if you’re shopping for your first parkour shoe, as Nike is a well-respected name brand who consistently makes shoes that don’t disappoint. Worst case scenario, if you’re completely unhappy with them and unable to return them, there will be a market certain to buy them from you.
Those accustomed to Nike being a more mainstream shoe company will be pleasantly surprised by the Nike Dart 10s. Though from the outside they appear to be a rather traditional running shoe, after closer inspection they can really come alive for a traceur. The outside is quite durable and will be able to stand up to the extremes of parkour for quite some time. On the inside they are comfortable and don’t go light on support. While you sacrifice some flexibility in that regard, the waffle grip on the bottom should make up for any issue you might otherwise experience with grip. If you’re thinking about switching parkour shoes, the Nike Dart 10 also comes at an affordable price that will help cushion a blow to your wallet if it turns out they’re not right for you.