I did not get my first pair of Tai Chi Shoes until I was into my second year of training. In the first two years I had turned up to classes in an array of different style footwear to train in, quite a lot of the time big clunky shoes with nice big grips. I used to wonder what that massive smile I was blessed with at each class I went to in them from the instructor.
I found in my learning the instructor really did not tell us what to do a lot or how to do it, or at least this was how he tried to practice. He would show us and anything else we learn if that was about Tai Chi, our own personal development or anything else that could be learnt would only be through discussions about personal or another's experience. Those with wide eyes and open ears and heart to the spiritual non invasive lessons of this great art tend to develop the most.
I was the youngest and the only student from 12 to own a pair of Tai Chi Shoes , the others in the end adopted to take their shoes off and train in socks, then when their training advanced a bit they decided to be in bare feet, This is probably the best way if you are not going to take a trip to your near martial arts stockists usually many miles away.
The trouble with training in socks is quite often because the floor in the halls where you practice has been polished or have tiles you will risk sliding making your steps too long or for some even falling over. You will have no real grip on the floor when you are finishing one of the movements, it will not help with the following of one movement into the next, your mind will be thinking mostly about not slipping or I am slipping.
The main issue people may find about going bare foot will be quite often the floor of the hall may not be clean from all the people choosing to wear their door door shoes, or from previous class bookings. One member in our class actually had cut their foot on some unseen glass, as the church hall had been used for a wedding reception and not properly cleaned.
Tai Chi Shoes For A Training Aid
There are many good reasons for wearing Tai Chi Shoes when training, but I would like to suggest that they really are an aid in your training and not just something that is fashionable to the art or just to protect your feet. One of the first warm up exercise we would do is the tai chi walk, it used to be quite funny as sometimes we would have a race to see who could walk flowing but the slowest, the last person over the finish line so to speak was the winner.
Tai Chi Shoes will help you grip the floor with out being stuck to it as normal shoes with hard or soft soles usually will. When practicing the walk or doing steps in your Tai Chi Form the shoes will allow you to learn to keep your feet close to the ground and sometimes feel where your feet are above the ground. For those that may believe in it or one of the lucky few, you may well feel the energy emanating between that of your foot and the ground.
Be careful when buying your shoes not to make the mistake that many do. You will want to buy tai chi shoes with cotton soles, you may find a shop saying that they stock this kind of foot wear but when you get them they have rubber soles, these are actually kung fu slippers and you may as well wear your normal shoes. Tai Chi Shoes are made from cotton and so are the soles, usually the soles will have a cross type of thread which aids in their durability and helps in stopping them to slide on slippery surfaces. Like most things in Tai Chi the choice is yours.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article, I hope that it has helped make up your mind to whether you should indeed splash out for a pair of Tai Chi Shoes to aid in the development of your training and your steps.