Non-martial artists may have never heard of Feiyue, yet they are one of the most iconic brands for Kung Fu shoes in the whole world. They have been worn in China by the monks of the Shaolin temple for more than 50 years, and now they are hitting a resurgence of sorts as more and more people discover the brand.
Because of their popularity with the Shaolin monks, Kung Fu practitioners have become particularly fond of Feiyue karate shoes. It’s not just because of the brand recognition however. Some of the features that make Feiyue Kung Fu shoes so popular include:
- They are very light – easy to kick with and don’t cause fatigue moving around with them.
- Durability – the soles are rubber and the tops are tough canvas. They aren’t the longest lasting shoes around but they’ll take a beating!
- Style – the retro style that Feiyue uses has never changed and has a very classic Chuck Taylors / throwback feel.
- Price point – let’s be honest, the low price of Feiyues may be what first intrigues a lot of people when shopping for karate or Kung Fu shoes.
With all of this in mind, here are some of the options that Feiyue offers. Click any of the products to find out specifics about those shoes.
Brief History of Feiyue
Feiyue shoes have been manufactured for nearly 100 years in Shanghai China by Da Fu Rubber Company. The original martial arts shoes are still manufactured today in China by Da Fu, but the brand is also owned by a French company that makes the shoes for casual use. The French Feiyue shoes for casual use are made to a different standard and carry a much higher price tag. They partner with designers and even have a Peanuts version of the shoes featuring characters from the comics and movies. The French Feiyue company is completely separate from the original Feiyues made in China. They are separate companies that use the same brand and styling.
Much of the history of the company is shrouded in a bit of mystery. For one there is the language barrier. Their main website is in Chinese. Also, much of the industry in China was kept quiet for many years. There just isn’t a lot of public information about the history of Feiyue. One site says that the original manufacturer was Top One while others say Top One is a secondary brand. I can’t say positively one way or the other but I tend to think that other co-branded Feiyues more closely resemble the Top Ones with the Da Fu shoes looking a bit different.
Different Types of Feiyue Shoes
There are two manufacturers in China that make the Feiyue shoes for martial arts. Da Fu, the originator, still make the shoes, along with a company called Dabowen. Dabowen will generally make the Feiyues co-branded for other companies such as Tiger Claw Feiyues or Top One Feiyues.
The Da Fu Feiyue shoes will generally have a round symbol on the bottom sole, while the others will have a triangle symbol in the middle of the sole. The co-branded shoes will also have the co-brand logo on the tongue of the shoe. They are all very similar, however, those manufactured by Da Fu will be a bit more expensive but also a bit more well made and more durable. In reality there will not be a huge difference in price and they are still considered original Chinese Feiyue shoes. They aren’t knock-offs or anything like that.
The French Feiyue shoes have gained in popularity in recent years as they’ve really stepped up their marketing efforts and tried to sell them as a fashion statement more than a Kung Fu shoe. The price difference is substantial, as the Chinese version will sell for somewhere around $20, while the French version is closer to $70. There are quite a few differences between the French and Chinese Feiyues however.
For one, the French version has a flatter sole on the bottom, but more cushion and insole inside. They also use stiffer canvas, which provides more support around the ankles. While these are all great features for casual shoes, they don’t server the martial artist at all. The Chinese versions have less cushion, so you can be more grounded, while having much thinner, more malleable canvas. This allows for greater foot movement and more flexibility with the shoes on. There are no French versions made for martial arts. Only the Chinese Feiyues are made specifically for martial artists.