As a new skydiver, you have your work cut out for you buying skydiving gear for your newfound obsession. You want to get it right from head to toe–and, as it turns out, the “toe” part is important!
There are lots of ways to address the “skydiving shoes” question. For us, the key factors are ankle support, durability and–obviously!–style. Of course, skydivers have opinions about these things. Here are a few of ours (and our high-flyin’ friends’).
One of our favorite skydiving athletes–the awesome Jeannie Bartholomew, competitive swooper and coach with Team Alter Ego–swears by the high-top version of Osiris’s beloved skate shoes. Designed for hardcore skaters, these kicks offer a nice combination of ankle support and ineffable style. Jeannie suggests making sure that the pair you go for are sewn for sport, not glued for looks.
Air Force! Get it? As cool as the name is, Nike’s Air Force design has been around since the early 80s, much lauded for its classic lines and supportive ankle strap. Meant to protect ankles from rolling on the courts, the Air Force helps keep lower legs in line on landing, too. Bonus: Colors to match any kit. (The suuuuper-high, double-strap version is a bit much, but the “regular” high is just right.)
Converse’s classic Chuck Taylors make regular appearances on the dropzone, and for good reason: They’re lightweight, but they protect ankles from minor scuffs–and their flat bottoms slide in smooth, if swoopin’s what you’re into. We suggest playing around with the way you lace them up to reduce free-flapping shoelaces, but there are plenty of ways to keep yourself busy in that research process.
Skydiving is all about customizing your kit, right? Well: You can doll up some just-for-you shoes to match the rest of your gear just perfectly. Try designing a pair of high tops on Nike’s system. It’ll take five weeks for them to get to your door, but that’ll probably beat your new container to the mailbox, right?
Skydiving doesn’t always require that you have the newest, coolest, best gear known to dropzone-resident man or woman. Often, the gear that you know best will keep you happiest and most comfortable. That goes for shoes, too! Any pair of flat-soled shoes in your closet that lace securely to your feet, don’t have line-snag-hazard hooks for the laces and give you the confidence to run out a landing are just fine. Bonus: If you end up splashing around in the mud, you’ll still have a smile on your face!
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