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When you start poking around parkour videos, you'll start to see a trend of people wearing extremely baggy pants, often with the crotch hanging down to about knee level. This is particularly odd to me since you'll also find references to using duct tape to tape down baggy clothing to reduce air resistance, specifically taping down the cuffs to keep from tripping on them and to keep them from catching on obstacles.

The closest I've found to an explanation is this article, which posits that it's a combination of follow-the-leader (everyone else is wearing baggy pants, so it should be good, right?), hiding sloppy technique (baggy pants hide the fact that your legs aren't quite moving together by masking the outline), and comfort (when not doing jumps, baggy pants are just plain comfortable).

So, is there any particular reason why so many parkour practitioners wear extremely baggy pants?

2

I personally don't see any aerodynamic advantage. If anything, it would get in the way. But I do think it's good for other reasons.

If you look at practitioners like Timothy Shieff and Ben Jenkins, you'll often see them wearing these pants, and to a large extent, they are some of the biggest trailblazers in parkour and freerunning. They are idolized by many, and it's not uncommon to take on the clothing style of someone you admire.

As for practicing in it, I suppose it does have some "freedom" to it, as flexibility of the fabric is suddenly a non-issue (and it tends to be a limiting factor). Also, for warmer areas and intense workouts, having baggy pants would help with staying cool.

But then, there's the topic of how you look, or rather, if you look different. Many moves and techniques can get a completely new aesthetic to it if you do it in different clothing. And since many like to shoot videos of themselves and others performing moves, it's not unlikely that the visual effect is desirable.

As for hiding flaws in one's technique, as you mention, I don't think that's important. One of the key elements of parkour and freerunning is that you're supposed to do it in your own way, and that looking different is charming.

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  • I think yours is the best answer. – Sean Duggan Nov 19 '15 at 3:42
1

I've been practicing parkour for about seven years, and I of course have seen a huge amount of people wearing these oversized baggy pants. I think there's a few different reasons for this.

  1. It's kind of a fashion style. It started off with one or two famous parkourists adapting this style, and now it's the cool thing to do.
  2. It makes some flashy tricks look really cool. For example, aerials and other moves where you flare your legs, the baggy pant legs look pretty cool compared to regular pants.
  3. They're extremely comfortable to wear, and they give you a good amount of flexibility because they aren't constricting.

Overall theres a few more reasons, and I actually found a pretty cool article talking about it at https://thebestparkourgear.com/parkour-clothing-pants/

While you don’t exactly need too long pants, they are very uncomfortable. If you’ve ever trailed on rough concrete in shorts, you will exactly understand the same feelings. Also, on concrete or bricks, you’ll quickly accumulate scratches and corrosion. Longer length sweatpants protect your legs. In addition, a pair of loose, flowing long sweatpants seems cooler than your (likely hairy and bloody) legs do in athletic shorts. The moves look cleaner because the material of the pants tends to make your legs look straighter, which looks better and also let you play conveniently. Exercises will become rather difficult if you’re wearing the kind of dress for games like athletic/basketball which are usually in short length. The cloth tends to fall and gather around your area, as well as, you come to the picture. The jeans material isn’t good for Parkour. They’re too tight and strict to skin, although they do a good job of protection which is a reason not helpful for playing the Parkour.

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The French founders originally wore baggy pants because they wanted to emulate characters from Dragon Ball Z. After that, I think it's a combination of comfort/flexibility, style, and community influence.

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  • French founders? – Alec Nov 19 '15 at 8:40
  • @Alec "Parkour was developed in France, primarily by Raymond Belle, and further by his son David Belle and his group of friends, the self-styled Yamakasi, during the late 1980s" en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkour – Dave Liepmann Nov 19 '15 at 9:16
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    I think we need a citation for the DBZ connection. – Sean Duggan Nov 19 '15 at 10:58
-1

It's hides the pads underneath. You can't have tight jeans or shorts or the padding won't fit or look right.

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  • I don't know of anyone who common wears pads past occasionally knee and elbow pads, but it is an interesting thought. – Sean Duggan Jan 12 '18 at 17:57

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