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.
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.
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;
- Make sure the shoe have removable insoles,
- Buy your insoles first,
- 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.
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 whereas 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.
Squash Shoes And Performance:
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.
Advanced Features To Look For:
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?
You can also checkout our list of top squash shoes that you can get.
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.
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.