Tai Chi Shoes – What Is Best to Wear for Practice?

Unlike a lot of martial arts, Tai Chi, one of the many forms of Kung Fu, is typically practiced with shoes. So what are the best shoes for Tai Chi?

As a general rule, some of the best shoes for Tai Chi are rubber sole Kung Fu Tai Chi shoes, Osdream canvas Kung Fu shoes, traditional Beijing cloth shoes, and Dogeek Kung Fu shoes.

Don’t worry – Below, I go into a lot more detail on those with direct links to Amazon, so you can see the current prices.

Since the right shoes will positively impact your enjoyment of Tai Chi, in this article, we’ll find out what to look for in selecting shoes for Tai Chi practice. But we’ll also look at which shoes are the best and where to buy them.

And we’ll explore whether you need to wear socks with the shoes and if you can practice barefoot.

Let the fun begin.

What kind of shoes do you need for Tai Chi?

Now, your favorite sports shoes or athletic shoes may serve for a few days of Tai Chi class, but they are not ideal. You may wonder, what’s the big deal in getting the right footwear?

The fact is that next to comfortable clothing, choosing the right pair of shoes affects how well you’ll perform and the wrong shoe could cause you injury.

You need the kind of shoes that are comfortable, lightweight, flat-soled, and flexible so that your movements are almost effortless. You need shoes that will serve you for a long time. Because of how Tai Chi is sometimes trained, getting outdoor shoes that are also good for indoor training is ideal.

The first things we will look at are the key criteria for choosing the best shoes for you.

1. Flexible and Strong

Tai Chi involves a lot of footwork, precise moves, and coordination. You want flat shoes made with flexible material so that you can easily move and pivot, yet strong enough that you have a good grip and can easily maintain your balance. Its flatness makes for better contact with the floor.

2. The Sole of the Shoe

You want a shoe with a flat sole and enough space so that you can easily move even if you have wide feet. Avoid shoes with raised heels. Tai Chi shoes have soles that can be made of cotton, rubber, or hard plastic.

Rubber soles provide the best flexibility and adjustability. They support you when you have to exert more pressure on your forefoot and even when you have to execute a ‘turn and heel kick’. Rubber soles are ideal for outdoor classes.

A shoe that has a cotton sole would be great if you practice on a wooden floor or carpet. They are very comfortable. Hard plastic soles do not offer adequate grip. You want a shoe with a thin sole as this impacts the weight and the level of contact with the floor.

3. Breathability

Ideally, you want shoes made with breathable material that keeps the heat out. This way, you experience a great level of comfort as you practice. The last thing you need is for your feet to be sweating so much that you can’t concentrate on your practice.

Now, there are canvas and leather shoes that keep the heat out. But the leather variants often cost a pretty penny because extra steps have to be taken to make them breathable.

4. Weight

A lightweight shoe makes it a breeze for you to move and pivot as you like. Heavy shoes are never ideal for martial arts. And it goes without saying that you want shoes with a comfortable fit.

Best Tai Chi shoes by price range

The price range for these shoes is highly reasonable, $18 to $49, as of the time of writing. By the way, you can also use these shoes for Qi gong and other martial arts.

Let’s check them out.

Leather Tai Chi Shoes

This pair of soft leather shoes is fashionable footwear that is breathable and comfy.

It’s a tad pricey compared to canvas, but it is worth the price. Its rubber sole is specially designed for a better grip. It’s listed as “men’s” but will work equally well for men and women’s sizes. You can get it in black, white, and red.

CLICK HERE to see the current price on Amazon

Rubber Sole Kung fu Tai Chi Shoes

These Chinese shoes are loved by Tai Chi practitioners because of their comfort, light weight, and slip-on style. Many who use them enthuse about how light and comfy they are. They say it’s almost as if you’ve got nothing on.

Because of this, you can simply focus on Tai Chi practice. The shoes are durable and washing-machine friendly. The body comes in black, while the sole is a brownish red.

CLICK HERE to see the current price on Amazon

OSdream Canvas Kung Fu Shoes

OSdream is very attractive. As its name indicates, it’s made of canvas, so it’s comfy and lightweight. It’s not just a beauty; it’s highly performant and has great traction. It’s padded and has a light sole.

It’s excellent for Tai Chi, Kung Fu, jogging, and other sports. Some young fashion-conscious types also love it. It’s a great indoor and outdoor shoe.

CLICK HERE to see the current price on Amazon

Traditional Beijing Cloth Shoes

These traditional unisex shoes have been worn for 3,000 years! They are made of cotton, so they are soft, breathable, and comfortable. They are attractive (they’ve got some embroidery on them) and can be easily slipped on.

They are padded and flexible, and they have rubber soles.

Even if you don’t want to use them as regular Tai Chi shoes, you can also use them as slippers (or buy an extra pair). There is a size chart if you have wider feet or you just want to get a pair that fits snugly. There are sizes for men and women.

CLICK HERE to see the current price on Amazon

DoGeek Kung Fu shoes

It’s made of cotton and is breathable.

It’s comfy, light, and functional. It’s got an elastic band design, so it can be easily slipped on. Its soles are made of rubber. It can be used for different types of martial arts, including Chinese Tai Chi. And it can serve as slippers too.

CLICK HERE to see the current price on Amazon

Where can I buy professional Tai Chi shoes?

You can buy professional Tai Chi shoes in some offline stores that sell sports shoes or athletic shoes, but surprisingly, not places like Academy.

If you’re a stickler for trying shoes on before you buy them, this is the way to go. But it may take going to several places to find what you want.

Amazon is really the best bet as they have the largest selection, and returns are fairly easy and hassle-free if the fit isn’t right or they aren’t comfortable.

See my links above for the top-rated Tai Chi shoes on Amazon.

I doubt Walmart has much in their stores, but online, they have some good options in good price ranges. Check out all the options on their website here – https://bit.ly/3XVUj8p

Do you wear socks with Tai Chi shoes?

As a general rule, socks are not worn with Tai Chi shoes. You could wear them if they will help provide a better grip or if you have a wound.

The thing to watch out for is that socks can be tricky. At times, depending on the kind of shoes, your socks could be loose, making it easier for you to slip.

In addition to practicing Tai Chi for a few years, I also trained with a black belt in Aikido. Both martial arts are similar, but there are also key differences.

That’s what I explored in a recent article I published. 

I get into whether Tai Chi is good for self-defense and if Aikido is an effective martial art. But I also revealed the biggest differences between both martial arts.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Is it okay to do Tai Chi barefoot?

It’s okay to do Tai Chi barefoot if you’re in a flat, clean place where you can’t hurt your feet. And where there’s no risk of slipping. In fact, some folks prefer to practice the movements of Tai Chi without shoes.

Having said that, if you want to experiment with practicing in bare feet, it’s better to do it at the beach or at home, where there’s no possibility of getting hurt.

But the reality is that practicing with shoes on is better. You don’t have to worry about your feet. You can simply focus on your movements. And shoes actually make it easier to move and pivot with ease.

Another question you’ll probably want to know the answer to is whether you could learn Tai Chi on your own. Interestingly, that’s the theme of a recent article I published. I get into the best style to learn at home and how long it takes to learn if you’re practicing alone. But I also revealed if it’s difficult to learn.

Just click the link and read it on my site.


In the article, we found out what to look for in selecting shoes for Tai Chi practice.

Tai Chi, of course, is one of the many arts under the term Kung Fu. Kung Fu is really a catch-all term for all Chinese martial arts.

We also looked at which shoes are the best, where to buy them, whether you need to wear socks with the shoes, and if you can practice barefoot.

Image by franciscojcesar from Pixabay

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