Gear used in Parkour and Free running ranges from shoes, clothing, gloves, etc. Almost all pieces of clothing or gear are used on the basis of personal preference on the style of training and the environment in which the Traceur or Traceuse is training in. The uses of many pieces of gear are a common spot for debate in the communities.
Most traceurs and traceuses train with light weight clothing for obvious reasons. Clothing should not slow down your training or limit your mobility. Clothing can also add an extra layer of protection. Thus, many prefer to wear pants (often sweat pants) instead of shorts, as it helps to keep knees and legs scratch and contact free. Pants, shirts, sweatshirts, as well as all the rest of clothing a traceur or traceuse may wear is fully optional, and is based on his or her preference.
Though any kind of shoe can be used in Parkour, shoes which prove more effective are those with strong durability, form, and grip. Since there are few shoes branded for Parkour or freerunning, many use simple running shoes, for their slim form, or even skateboarding shoes, for their high durability. Shoes generally should be form fitting and not too large. The foot movements used in Parkour are greatly effected by how well one's shoe fits.
Preferably, shoes should not have thick heel as this prevents the wearer from feeling the force of their landings, which can result in poor technique and eventually injuries.
Many traceurs and traceuses eventually experiment with barefoot training as they become more advanced. Bare feet have many advantages and disadvantages. Walking and running barefoot is healthy for one's stride and the skin develops a stronger grip on many surfaces, but bare feet are prone to get scraped and injured due to the fact that the feet are among the least conditioned areas of the body. Barefoot training also increases the risk of ankle injuries. One should condition his or her feet before beginning barefoot training. Improper conditioning and/or poor form while training barefoot will result in injuries. The Méthode Naturelle promotes the use of barefoot training.
Gloves are another common type of gear used, most commonly for protection or warmth. They are especially useful when one's hands have been injured. However, their use in Parkour is a controversial issue. Bare skin often has a better grip, and many argue that gloves should not be used if the hands are to be conditioned to Parkour. Some argue that beginners can wear gloves but advanced practitioners should not.