If you attend kickboxing classes or see a professional bout, you’ll notice some people that wear wraps around their feet.
There are many reasons why foot wraps are worn by people that practice kickboxing. They provide protection, grip, and prevention of injury. In this article, we’re going to breakdown why you should consider wearing them, as well as how to wrap your feet and other precautions you can take to avoid injury.
Why wear a foot wrap for kickboxing?
Protection is one of the main reasons why kickboxers wear foot wraps. Kickboxing involves a lot of movement and footwork and ankle/foot injuries are very common in training.
Spraining your ankle is a common injury that takes place in kickboxing. There’s a lot of quick footwork involved in and one wrong step can lead to you rolling an ankle.
The risk of injury is higher when your ankles are weak or unconditioned. Wraps give your ankles extra support when developing strength in the conditioning process.
They keep the tendons and muscles of your ankles/feet warm during training. When you’re warm it is less likely to get injured, because there’s more blood flowing into the tendons/muscles.
Foot Wraps also protect your foot from potential bruising or broken bone from throwing roundhouse kicks. When you throw a roundhouse sometimes you hit with the top of your feet and this can bruise them up. That layer of support foot wraps provide can keep your skin from bruising up and make it hard to walk.
A potentially far worse injury called and syndesmosis injury can also occur in kickboxing. The syndesmosis is a tissue that holds the bottom of the tibula and fibula. When it is torn, your foot swells up and the ankle bones can actually widen it is torn bad enough.
This injury has similar symptoms as a sprained ankle and is commonly misdiagnosed as one. It can feel as painful as breaking a bone. The time off of training from a syndesmosis injury can actually be over six weeks and require physical therapy.
Your feet will be weak after coming back from this injury and the support of foot wraps will help the syndesmosis tissue get stronger as you are recovering.
If you want to hear more about this injury, then watch this man explain the recovery process he went through below.
Helps prevent plantar fasciitis
The constant movement and bouncing on the balls of your feet can lead to a nagging injury called plantar fasciitis. By wearing foot wraps it provides an extra cushion for the bottom of your feet to avoid this problem.
Depending on the surface of the kickboxing mats, you may need wraps to help grip the mat. If the mats have a slick vinyl surface, then slipping can be a common occurrence. It can lead to various leg injuries and possibly a concussion if you hit your head hard enough.
Wearing foot wraps can give you a better grip on the mat and prevent injuries from slipping. You will be less likely to slip and fall down with the extra grip support wraps provide.
Types of Foot Wraps
There are two different types of foot wraps. People either use cloth wraps or tape. Both have their pros and cons, so let’s take a look at a few of them.
Pros of cloth wraps
- Simple to use: The wrapping process is easy and straightforward.
- Convenience: It’s convenient to carry in your bag and it shouldn’t take more than a minute to wrap each foot
- Different sizes: The wraps come in different sizes depending on how big your feet are.
- Don’t have to buy tape: You won’t have to keep buying cloth wraps like you would if you used tape.
Cons of cloth wraps
- Need to be washed: You will need to wash them often to avoid a bad smell and chances of getting an infection if they’re dirty.
Pros of tape
- Good to learn: Using tape to wrap your feet is good to learn, because the wrapping process is similar to wrapping an injured foot/ankle. Also good to learn for supporting your feet for other sports or running.
- Don’t need to wash: You can just take them off and throw them away unlike cloth wraps that need to be washed.
Cons of tape
- It can get expensive: If you use tape, then you’re going to have to keep buying tape and it can get expensive.
- Time consuming: It can be time consuming measuring out the tape and going through the process of wrapping your feet before class.
- Different qualities: The quality of tape depends on the brand. If it is a cheaper brand, then the tape won’t stick and will fall off during training.
Both options will provide support and grip for your feet. It’s just a personal preference of which you will use.
How do you wrap a foot for kickboxing?
There are a few different methods for wrapping your feet with tape or cloth wraps. Below is a step by step of how to put cloth wraps and tape on.
Cloth wraps generally have velcro straps and a loop for your big toe and are similar to hand wraps. You start by looping your big toe and begin wrapping the cloth around your foot and finish at your ankle attaching the velcro strap. Make it as tight as you need to have better support for your foot/ankle.
Below is a video showing you how to wrap your feet.
There are a few different methods, but here’s a simple method. Start at your ankle wrapping around 1-2 times, then wrap the tape around the middle of your foot going around both until it’s tight. Don’t wrap your foot too tight to where it cuts off circulation.
(You can also start the tape wrap at the middle of your foot. It’s just a preference.)
Here’s a quick video of how tape can be used to wrap up the ankle.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of wrapping your feet, then there are also foot sleeves available for kickboxing. There is no process of putting them on like cloth wraps and tape. You put them on like socks and they provide good support and grip for your feet. These ones from Venum are particularly good.
What should I wear to kickboxing?
If you are reading this and asking about foot wraps, then chances are you’re contemplating starting kickboxing. One of the good things about kickboxing is that it doesn’t require a lot of equipment. All you need are:
- T shirt: It’s your choice if you want a shirt that’s with sleeves/without a shirt or have an Under Armour like texture. Either will work for kickboxing class.
- Boxing Gloves: Glove size depends on class requirements.
- Shorts: basketball, MMA, Muay Thai shorts will suffice
- Mouth Guard(optional)
- Shin Pads(optional)
- Hand Wraps
- Foot Wraps
- Gym Bag
The items with optional next to them depend on if you are going to participate in sparring. If you’re doing a class that is strictly for exercise with no sparring, then you don’t need them.
Do you wear shoes for kickboxing?
Generally no. You don’t wear shoes in a kickboxing class, because you’re going to be kicking and shoes usually aren’t permitted on the mats. However in a boxing class, you are supposed to wear shoes.
It also hurts a lot to be kicked by a person with shoes on and it isn’t very nice.
Can you wear socks for kickboxing?
Definitely not. Socks are not permitted on the mat for mainly two reasons.
- Safety Issue: Socks do not grip the mat. You will be sliding around the mat and could possibly slip and hurt yourself.
- Hygiene issue: Socks retain water and usually smell from use like working out. Nobody wants to get kicked, while you’re wearing dirty, smelly socks. It’s really gross and not polite.
Tips for injury prevention
It is good to take steps to avoid injuries and be able to train at an optimal level. Not only during training, but outside of training. Here are a few tips that will help you avoid foot/ankle injuries in kickboxing.
- Use proper technique: Learning how to throw kicks with proper technique will prevent potential injury. For example, when throwing a roundhouse turn your hips over and aim to hit with the bottom of your shin. If you hit with the instep of your foot it will wrench your foot and seriously injure your leg.
- Running: Running is a good thing to pick up and helps avoid injuries that happen in kickboxing. Many people that practice kickboxing pick up running to help improve their health and skills. It strengthens the bones and muscles of your legs/feet that help in the prevention of injuries.
- Stretching: Frequently stretching makes your joints more elastic and flexible. Stretching should always be done for 5-10 minutes at the beginning of training. Consider picking up a stretching routine to avoid injury and keep you training.
- Physiotherapy: Performing physiotherapy exercises can help strengthen tendons and prevent injury. Exercises like going to your tiptoes for reps of 10 and sets of 2-3 will prevent injuries and make your ankles/feet stronger.
Kickboxing is wonderful martial art that gives you a great workout. It is also a high impact activity, especially on your feet and ankles.
Using foot wraps or sleeves for kickboxing is a great way to take precautions against injury and keep you on the mat training. You will also have better grip on the mat and have protection if you have a mishap throwing a kick. So, before your next kickboxing class consider wrapping your feet to provide them with better support.