I was looking up parkour shoes, because mine right now aren't the best for parkour, and I read somewhere that going barefoot is the best. If I go barefoot, though, there is the risk of scraping my feet and getting minor injuries, so I thought that these would be the next best. Are they?
Depends on your parkour, I imagine. I doubt you're going to be taking big drops or doing really explosive moves in these, but I bet they're great for really technical, precise movement and navigating natural areas.
On the other hand, you probably go "barehanded" all the time. Why treat your feet differently? Scrapes and blisters turn into calluses, right? I'm a fan of training barefoot, I think you can learn a lot. But I'm honestly getting kind of sick of all these barefoot advocates pushing their $80 specialty shoes. 5-Fingers are to the barefoot movement what Priuses are to the zero-emission car movement.
In that case, I really think you should start with your favorite pair of cross-trainers. Unless you're already running cross country or playing soccer barefoot on concrete, you're going to have to work up to doing pk barefoot. I've never heard of anyone starting out barefoot. Whatever you decide to do, please just be careful.
I use the KSO's, but mostly for conditioning. I think barefoot forces you to land softly, but it doesn't necessarily make you a better traceur. For Parkour, I believe that the shoes you use on a day to day basis are the best shoes - because those are what you'll normally be in. KSO's are great because they stick, provide some protection, and change how you walk and run.
I just got a pair of these and wore them around one day so far. Didn't seem like a big revelation, YMMV depending on what your gait is like. I haven't done parkour in them yet. The grip on the top of the toes is disconcerting- it feels like I'm dislocating my toe when it slips off the end of my toe (usually only when I'm dragging my feet, like while coasting on a shopping cart). Had I not had a big coupon and store credit, I would not have bought them since $85 is not a small amount for such a limited piece of footwear. Fun for a change of pace, but regular running shoes are still going to be my choice for parkour.
...that is a good point! ("The grip on the top of the toes is disconcerting- it feels like I'm dislocating my toe when it slips off the end of my toe")
I was staying out of this, because I have had the KSO probably longer than anybody else here (maybe 2 years), but I used them for PK only ONCE (!)... actually that's not completely true, since I've used them -ideally to protect a slightly jammed toe- while training barefoot in the gym and INSTEAD I SPRAINED IT really bad at least a couple of times, delaying tremendously the recovery. This because of the reasons explained by Seng (and I never thought about it...)
The top grip, which is probably ok for bould-/buildering, canyoning or trail-running, is a major hindering if one allows it to catch and grip on sticky surfaces (i.e.: gym pads and flooring), with the additional disadvantage that it over-leverages the -independent- big toe.
Now that I think about it, the worst sprains weren't mistakes (=catching on something) -even if that did happen-, but simply pop-vaulting and over-bending the toe due to the extended shoe grip. :(
My toe sprain got better only when I went back to training barefoot (indoors), and started taping the big and second toe together for enhanced support when applying pressure to it, ...
Also (and again agreeing w/ Seng): when you start an explosive sprint (like a basketball first step), you are leaning so forward and keeping your foot so close to the ground that it's very likely to slightly drag the front/top of your toes on the ground; anything catching or tripping you at that point could be responsible for an ankle/knee injury (used to happen all the time while playing "ball" with old conceived running shoes, which had a bit of a "tongue" to facilitate "rolling"...).