Kung Fu Shoes
The kung fu shoe, also known as a “Tai Chi shoe” or as a “martial arts slipper”, is a type and style of cloth slip-on shoe that is traditionally made in China, and was originally worn while practicing kung fu and other martial arts, and also while performing Tai Chi. Variants of this shoe are now mass-produced for general-purpose wear, and there are several slightly different styles. These shoes are inexpensive and are available worldwide.
One common kind is cheaply produced and is typically black, with minimal lining; it has a low-sided cloth upper, and a pale brown hard plastic sole. One variant is made as a lace-up shoe rather than a slip-on shoe. A version of the shoe for girls and women has a buckle strap and resembles the Mary Jane shoe. Some varieties of the kung fu shoe have reinforced cotton soles instead of plastic ones, and some have rubber soles.
Tai Chi Slippers
I can be a martial arts superstar and wear slippers? Yes!
Cloth shoes are very practical for some practitioners. The chief benefit is that you have immediate connection with the ground. Second to this, they are really cheap and they pack up flat so they are easy to carry.
Tai chi slippers can wear out on pavement, get dirty, and don’t protect you from rocky ground. Additionally, if your school has a gloss/slick floor your feet can start to slide out from under you when you begin entering deeper postures.
Cloth shoes are ideal for indoor training where the floor has a rug or provides some sort of traction. Note that these shoes stretch a bit because they are made of cotton. Choose shoes with elastic at the entrance and/or heel.
Rubber Sole Tai Chi Shoes
Rubber sole tai chi shoes are a hybrid of the cloth shoes and sports shoes. They are often one of the best tai chi shoes for women because of the smaller sizes.
All of the rubber sole shoes seem to be the same regardless of where they come from. They are very comfortable, last a long time, and are cheap.