Be Free & Find Your Way
It will inevitably happen that you practice parkour or any of the other branches without first taking your phone out of your pocket and the watch off. When you have to chase or escape, you don't have the time and possibility to put your belongings at a safe place. It may also happen that you come across a new spot during shopping or any other activity without an option to store your belongings safely or you just forget about them. When doing parkour with your belongings, there is always a risk that they take an impact. Think of a landing going wrong, falling out of the pocket, rolls, and so forth. Therefore it is wise to choose a rugged phone, watch, etc.
Under normal circumstances, darker-colored clothes are the preferred choice as they are less susceptible to dirt. However, when training in the dark, you want to wear some white or other brightly colored clothes. If people see a dark person in the dark and don't know what the person is doing, they can easily think that the person is doing something illegal eg. stealing, damaging things, etc. They may call the police. Visible clothes make it easier to spot you and see what you are doing. It evokes the trust that you are not doing anything harmful. This reduces the chance of difficulties.
Long sports pants that allow full range of movement are recommended. Long pants provide you with some protection from scratches, bruises, and other injuries. As some moves such as slides can wear down pants quickly, your pants should be affordable or you may want to have a special pair for this occasions. Abrasion resistance adds to the durability, but they might be heavier. Light-weight and breathable clothing allows for more freedom of movement and is more comfortable. If you chose lose fitting pants, you want a drawstring at the bottom to avoid stepping on the seem and falling. Having pockets with zippers that you do not feel during rolls and other movements is beneficial, especially if you wear them not only during planned training sessions. This way you do not need to carry a bag for your keys, phone etc. and you will not lose them while moving. Properties like quick-drying and water-repelling are a plus.
The footwear is the most important point to look at as the feet are involved in every movement. They are the first part of your body that touches the ground when landing; you use them during vaults, wall runs, and while balancing, too. For improving technique, it is best to train bare feet. That will give you the most feedback. In addition, the impact when landing and running on the ball of the foot is less than the heel strike that most shoes enforce. However, many people need to build up their muscles first after using shoes for years. Another downside of training bare feet is no protection. A sole with shock absorption offers protection in case of a hard landing. When choosing shoes, they should be lightweight and have a good grip on any surface in any condition. Many shoes have soles with different elements for improved performance. However, for longevity, the sole should be one piece.
As a beginner, you should wear shoes with good shock absorption. To build muscles and improve your technique, you should train bare feet or with minimalist shoes occasionally. The better you become, the more minimalist you want to go. The more minimalist your footwear, the more control and feedback you will have. It is of utmost importance to make the transition slowly to avoid injuries such as shin splints. No matter how experienced you are, when taking risks and/or are expanding your capabilities, you do want to have some protection, just in case.
A great choice in dry conditions is the Stealth Ultra from Take Flight. They have good grip in dry conditions, bare feet movement, are breathable, flexible, have a one-piece sole, and have some shock absorption in case it is needed. Unfortunately they have no grip at all in wet conditions. Even more minimalist are the Vibram FiveFingers Shoes. Two other popular shoes are the (MRL) 420 (SD) from New Balance and Feiyue.
During outdoor training, you may visit different spots. In the spirit of "being strong to be useful" and being prepared, you want to be able to move in any other situation, too. On many occasions, you have some kind of bag with you. Therefore, the bag should restrict as little as possible. The best option is a small backpack with a chest strap and a hip belt. In the beg should fit some water and other things you (have to) take with you. A drinking system with a water bag is very convenient during moving. With a good system, you can drink while having your hands free and can adjust quickly. The weight is better spread in comparison to a bottle, too. However, a drinking system requires more maintenance than a water bottle which may cause it to remain at home.
Parkour can be practiced without any equipment as it is based on body weight conditioning. However, adding gear can be useful. For example, a weight vest can be used to make exercises even harder. A very useful and recommended attribute is the lacrosse ball. The lacrosse ball can be used to massage muscles after an intense workout, speeding up the recovery.