Racquetball Shoes Buying Guide
Before settling on a pair of racquetball shoes it is good to understand what kind of shoes would be ideal on a racquetball court. Racquetball is a high intensity sport that requires you to frequently switch from forward to backward to lateral movements. Inside racquetball is played on specific courts that have a protective coating of oil based polyurethane sealer. So a special consideration needs to be given to the kind shoes you use to play racquetball.
For example, running shoes are about the worst kind of shoes you can use on a racquetball court. They are designed for forward movement and provide thick padding at the soles to absorb the impact of running. There’s generally very limited ankle support, so you risk a high chance of rolling your ankle, if you play in running shoes.
There are shoes made specifically for racquetball, but you don’t necessarily have to only use racquetball shoes. Basketball and volleyball are both played on similar surface as racquetball and require a lot of similar kind of movements. So the shoes geared toward those sports work really well for racquetball as well. You might think that tennis shoes would be good for racquetball, but that’s not really the case. Tennis is played on a very different surface which has a lot of friction. So they will not grip as well on a racquetball court and can cause you to slip.
No matter what shoes you go with, it is very important to keep these designated shoes for indoor playing only and not use them outside. You will contribute additional damage that will lead to the gum soles wearing out prematurely. If you have a layer of dust on your shoes, you will lose a lot of traction and will start to slip. It’s also very easy for small pebbles to get stuck to the bottom of your shoes and then either scratch up the surface of the court or detach and get someone else to slip on them. So it is considered proper racquetball etiquette to have a separate pair of shoes for strictly indoor use only.
Although I said that basketball and volleyball shoes can work just as well, I personally still prefer to buy shoes specifically geared toward racquetball. I just find them to be more comfortable and prefer their looks over most basketball shoes. Shoes manufacturers have developed a lot of proprietary technologies focusing on a particular aspect of the shoe, such as stability, comfort, or traction.
|Ektelon developed their NFS (Natural Foot Shape) technology to focus primarily on comfort. These Ektelon NFS Classic II Racquetball Shoes are wide towards the front of the foot to avoid toe jam, but are narrow towards the back to increase stability. Their gum rubber outsole provides excellent traction on the court. These are my shoes of choice.
|This is another example of Ektelon’s NFS technology. But as you can see, these Ektelon NFS Attack Racquetball Shoes provide a midfoot strap for extra stability. Although this higher profile comes at the cost of more weight. For me, I didn’t feel it was a good trade off when I was trying these on, but you might prefer to deal with a heavier shoe for extra stability and ankle protection.
|Hi-tec decided to focus on traction with their Peak Force technology. These Hi-Tec Infinity Flare Indoor Court Shoes provide 6 times as much grip as other racquetball shoes.
|Another Hi-tec proprietory technology called 4:Sys features a multi density midsole which is softer in the middle. This allows force to be directed forward and slows down impact from a step. Overall, this works to reduce impact to your knees and avoid injuries. These Hi-Tec Infinity Flare 4:SYS Indoor Court Shoe (11, Grey Charcoal Lime) are a good example of this technology in action.
|Adidas developed their adiPRENE+ technology for forefoot propulsion and shock absorption. And their TORSION technology for midfoot support. These Adidas Stabil 11 Racquetball Shoes features both of those technology in one attractive package.
|Asics focused on developing a compound that contains more natural rubber content than traditional solid rubber with their NC Rubber Outsole technology for improved traction. And their IGS technology employs linked components that enhances the foot’s natural gait from the heel strike to toe-off, to reduce impact on your joints. Asics Gel Blast 6 Indoor Court Shoes feature both of these technologies, as well as 2 layers of memory foam on the collar for a more personalized fit.
Hopefully, you find this information useful to make a more educated decision when it comes to selecting your racquetball shoes.