What’s the most important piece of equipment you will invest in when playing squash? Your shoes! They are your foundation to plant, pivot, push, pull, and PLAY!
Squash demands a fast-paced environment, and sometimes longer than expected matches. This can be very demanding on your shoes! If your shoes can’t keep up with you…it might just cost you the game. Give your technique and power an advantage by wearing the proper shoes.
Top 8 Squash Shoes in 2017
What to Look for When Buying Squash Shoes:
The features of a Squash shoe has a lot to do with the sport’s culture, as well as gym or club regulations for their courts. Like other “gentleman” sports, Squash demands respect for yourself, your opponent, the court, and the game. A large factor to maintaining that respect is through your shoes.
One of the first, and easiest, ways to pick out a Squash shoe is by its color. Not the color of the shoe itself, but of the sole. Squash shoes tend to NOT have black (or marking) soles. Most gyms or clubs don’t want giant rubber streaks across their courts.
Look for shoes that are non-marking with gum rubber soles.
What are gum rubber soles? Since “rubber” is such a generic description, let’s define what Gum Rubber really is.
Visually, gum rubber tends to be a translucent, light brown/beige color. It is a softer rubber, which offers more grip on the court. The more the rubber can conform to whatever surface it is pressed against, the more quick-movement performance you can demand out of your shoes. Did you know rubber comes from trees? It comes from a type of tree known as Hevea Brasiliensis (a.k.a. the Rubber Tree).
This means rubber is a natural product. The rubber is extracted out of the wood by tapping into the tree. (This process is also used to gather maple from a Maple Tree.) When the raw substance collects, it initially resembles a latex consistency. A heat treatment is what breaks the latex down to turn it into various rubbers.
Just like most products today, there are both natural and synthetic versions. Natural material is gathered and treated.
Synthetic material is manufactured (man-made) and sometimes out of material completely different than the product it is attempting to mimic. In the case of gum rubber, the synthetic version is made of a type of “poly” that is gathered from processing oil. Look for the shoe listing “natural gum” or only “gum” for this distinction.
Regular Shoes VS Squash Shoes:
I’m sure you’re thinking Squash Shoe vs Regular Shoe. Why can’t I wear my running shoes? Aside from the reasons mentioned earlier – dirt and grime – each athletic shoe has a different purpose. The tread, cushion, and type of rubber on the sole all attribute to the shoe’s strengths and abilities (also its limitations).
Squash shoes, known as Volleyball Shoes or Indoor Court Shoes, are designed to be worn for a game in a limited space, on an indoor court, and moving quickly in every direction. You want a protective, durable, and supportive shoe for Squash.
Let’s compare a Squash shoe to another type of shoe, for instance, a running shoe.
Running shoes also tend to have reflective strips throughout the shoe, which is not needed for playing indoors. You don’t want to blind your opponent if your shoe catches the light just right…or do you?! Clearly, this shoe is NOT designed for the same movement that Squash will demand. Be sure to outfit yourself appropriately.
Each shoe is carefully constructed with a specific function in mind. You wouldn’t by ski boots to go hiking in, would you? If you’re able to, when you’re at the store, pick up a running shoe and a Squash shoe and compare them side by side. You should immediately see a difference between the shoes.
Squash Shoes Fitting Guide:
Because of the physical intensity of the game, you need to ensure you have a great fitting shoe. Good or Okay just won’t cut it. Consider this, as you move around and get your heart rate going, you’ll have increased bloodflow to your extremities (this includes your feet). This can result in sweating and swelling. If you happen to choose an improperly sized shoe, you can be looking at soreness, low (impact) support, blistering, and even toenail damage.
Your comfort and ability to play relies on your feet being happy and healthy (aka not cramped from shoes too small, or being rattled around from shoes too big). Try them on in the store! Jump around in them and do a lap around the shoe department (keep in might you might be on carpet, which will have a different feel than a court will).
Do a little mini-test in them to see how they will perform for you. Are they too stiff for your liking? Does the lace system allow for you to tighten (or loosen) any piece of the shoe you’ll need to? Look for areas of the shoe that will support your style. If you tend to drag your toes on the ground as you wind up, then you’ll want more protection on the upper and outer toe box.
Take away: trying them on! Other factors that can affect the fit of the shoe are socks, insoles, and shoe material. Make sure you are wearing appropriate socks, and be sure to try on your shoes with the exact socks you’ll be playing in. This will ensure a perfect match right from the beginning. Each sock is built differently (maybe another topic, to cover another time). It would be pretty poor form to try on shoes in thinner socks, then play in thicker socks which would be constricting.
This would cause the shoe to feel too tight. Vice versa, to try on shoes in a thicker sock, and play in a thinner sock would result in a floppy non-responsive feel. Insoles are another factor.
Some (and you may be one of them) have custom insoles for your fasciitis plantar. You can also purchase generic insoles for extra cushion, arch support, making them stiffer, etc. If you are looking to replace the shoes insoles;
- 1) make sure the shoe have removable insoles,
- 2) buy your insoles first,
- 3) then go shoe shopping.
Like your socks, putting in extra insoles, or replacing the existing ones, change the volume of the shoe (space to put your foot). Make sure you have everything with you to plan for a successful shoe shopping experience. One last thing to keep in mind is that shoes also “break-in.”
This means the top material can stretch, ever so slightly, the more you wear them. Leather breaks-in/stretches differently than synthetic materials do. Real leather will stretch more naturally and become more form-fitting, than synthetic will. Synthetic tends to stay a little more true to its form and size. This means if you have rubbing or issues out of the box, you might have those issues for the rest of the life of the shoe. Be sure to note what the shoe is made of and size appropriately.
I highly suggest trying any of these shoes on before you buy (instead of instantly buying online). All shoes, despite being the same size, will fit differently.
Squash Shoes Performance Guide:
Have you ever driven in snow, or on a gravel road? What’s the #1 thing you hear you need? …good tires! Why? Because they will provide the grip and traction you need. It doesn’t matter if you have a power engine if your tires are going bald. Similarly, your shoes need to have good wear-life left on them.
To avoid playing sloppy, you will need to replace your shoes over time depending on how frequently you play, your level of intensity, and even the amount of time that’s gone by. Material deteriorates on it’s own, even when left alone on in a closet or on a shelf. The rubber will slowly fade away, the cushion on the bottom will start to pack out (pack down and become dense), and the support structure of the shoe will become less sturdy and more flimsy.
On average, it’s recommended to replace shoes every year, or two.
Additional features to consider when looking at shoes are breathability, durability, and weight. Do you sweat a lot or like to play in the summer? Maybe breathability is important to you. Do you want lighter shoes so you can move quickly and easily?
Than something lightweight might be what to look for. Other influencing factors should be your size (body type & weight), skill level, comfort, and preference. Generally speaking, if you’re smaller-framed, you will be less impactful on your shoe than someone that’s larger in size. You might like a lightweight, less cushion, slim profile type of shoe.
If you are less skilled, you might be looking for a shoe with more ankle support and more substance. Usually the higher performing shoe also comes with a higher investment price.
Don’t worry, I found some good shoes for a great deal (listed below).
7 Best Squash Shoe Reviewed:
There are many makes and models of shoes out there. It’s hard to narrow down the list and know where to start. I can help you out by listing the The Top 7 Squash Shoes in today’s market. Each shoe has a similar design, but below lists features that separate that particular shoe from the rest.
ASICS Men’s GEL-Upcourt Indoor Court Shoe
This mesh-synthetic shoe offers rear foot gel cushion, for those long duration games on your feet. They also have a designed a pivot point on the sole of the shoe, for minimal resistance and friction with the court. This shoes offers breathability and comfort. This shoe is marketed as an entry-level shoe. For a light and comfortable shoe, these are what you’ll want to check out!
Prince NFS II Men’s Squash Shoe
This lightweight synthetic shoe offers a padded collar (ankle) for additional comfort. It also has a breathable mesh tongue, and a removable sock liner for easy of cleaning. They are very stable and supportive. Move with confidence in these shoes. They scream comfort and durability! Also, being black and white, these shoes cater to the clean fashion look – keeping it simple.
Head Men’s Speed Pro Lite Indoor Low Shoe
This mesh-synthetic shoe offers a shock absorption insole, which also assists in energy return – helps you bounce back from impact. It also offers great stability with its energy transferring midsole (transfers energy from the heel to the forefoot). This shoe tends to have a larger heel pocket than others. These shoes appear to have more overall protection surrounding the upper portion of the shoe than others. (The synthetic leather grids the upper portion of the shoe.)
Kelme Star 360 Men’s Michelin Leather Mesh Inset Soccer Shoes
This leather shoe offers a dual-density sole – specifically the outsole designed for greater surface resistance and flexibility. With superior sole design, this shoe promotes endurance and limits erosion/wear. If you’re looking for durability, these are it! They will fit like a glove. These come in a variety of different colors, so you can match them with the rest of your outfit and gear. Although these are designed more for indoor soccer, they can also serve you well on the Squash court.
HI-TEC Adrenalin Pro Men’s Indoor Court Shoe
These leather-fabric shoe offers superior foot support. It has a molded heel cup and a supporting arch design. This promotes better posture and comfort while on your feet. This shoe is more rigid and stiff, compared to other shoes. This shoe was designed to fit your feet and support them well. These primarily white shoes cater to the classic, clean design.
ASICS Men’s Gel-Domain 3 Volleyball Shoe
This synthetic shoe offers plush memory foam lining the collar and a molded heel for a custom fit. They are also made from a more natural rubber compound, lessening your carbon footprint on the earth. This lightweight shoe didn’t skimp on integrity either. They allow for a quick-response on the court, while giving you good arch-support. These shoes come in a couple of bold color options. Stand out with this bright design.
2 BEST WOMEN’S SPECIFIC SHOES
Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about the women athletes. Women are built different than men are. Generally speaking, they move differently, might play a different style, and have less weight to shift around. All these factors are considerations for what type of shoe is purchased. Below are a couple of women’s specific Squash shoes. In many brands, women’s specific shoes differ from the men’s shoes in three primary ways; 1) color – mainly pinks, purples, and pastels, 2) they tend to be more narrow, and 3) they sometimes have a lower “cut” for the ankle. Make sure to review shoe specifications for the women’s shoe (as they might differ from the men’s).
ASICS Women’s Gel Rocket 7 Volleyball Shoe
This mesh-synthetic shoe offers a molded-EVA midsole, and court specific gel cushioning. It also has increased gum rubber on the outsole for better traction. Its lightweight design doesn’t compromise durability. These shoes come in a variety of colors (including pink and purple), so you can match them with the rest of your outfit and gear.
ASICS Women’s Gel Upcourt Volleyball Shoe
This mesh-synthetic shoe offers rear foot gel cushion, for those long duration games on your feet. They also have a designed a pivot point on the sole of the shoe, for minimal resistance and friction with the court. This shoes offers breathability and comfort. This shoe is marketed as an entry-level shoe.
Although not the only factor, your shoes can be a direct impact on your performance. Be sure to get the right shoes for YOU! As you progress in Squash, and find your own playing-style, you’ll start to grasp what shoe features are more important to you. Those feature preferences might also change throughout your Squash playing career as you focus on different skills and play various opponents. Also note that shoe technology will change.
New ways to make rubber, synthetic materials, or even shoe design will be shaped by how the game is being played today and what payers are demanding out of their shoe. This is also why I recommend leaving shoe reviews (for the manufacturer to see) so they can advance their own products to better serve you and your needs.
I hope this information is useful to you as you hunt for the right Squash shoe. Keep an open mind to various styles, brands, and even prices. The average Squash player will need to replace shoes 1-2 times a year. Given this, you will have a chance to try out numerous shoes if you need to. It might also be good to see how a different shoe can promote a different set of skills.
Your shoes are only the beginning. They will fuel your search (and research) for other equipment. I’m excited for you to explore all that Squash has to offer. See you on the court…
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