How to find the best racquetball shoes
Racquetball is an incredible, fast-paced sport that offers a tremendous, full-body workout. As you play a match, you’ll be running forward, back, side-to-side, and every direction in between. But for a variety of reasons, it is very important that you make sure that you have a dedicated pair of racquetball shoes.
Because racquetball involves so many changes in direction, your racquetball shoes must offer ankle support and an inner shoe structure that facilitates quick bursts of forwarding motion. Not every shoe can offer those things.
For example, running shoes aren’t made to facilitate changes in direction so they aren’t ideal for racquetball. On the other hand, basketball involves many similar movements to racquetball, so basketball shoes can work fairly well on the racquetball court.
But what makes a good racquetball shoe? Should you have a pair of shoes that you only use for racquetball?
Elements of a Great Racquetball Shoe
Though different shoes have different designs and features, the best racquetball shoes have a few things in common. We touched on ankle support already, but perhaps even more important than that is the sole of your shoe.
Gum-soled racquetball shoes are the best choice. Racquetball courts are coated with oil-based polyurethane sealer. Gum soles get great traction on that kind of surface. And with all of the changes of direction you’ll be making during a game, the last thing you want to do is slip.
Additionally, gum soles don’t leave skid marks on the court. Racquetball courts are shared spaces and you want to leave the court in good condition for the next person. Scuff marks from dark soles or little trails of rubber left on the court are unattractive and have different properties than the floor around them. This can lead to players slipping and injuring themselves during play.
Good midfoot cushioning is also very important for racquetball. Midfoot support helps reduce impact from footfalls while accommodating a transfer of energy forward for an explosive burst of movement.
This is a feature that separates racquetball shoes from traditional cross-trainers or running shoes. For many people buying street shoes, the heel and toe are the areas they focus on. For racquetball, it is the middle that puts in the work.
Find Your Preference
We know the three elements found in the best racquetball shoes — gum soles, midfoot support, and ankle support — but what else should you look for? The answer to that question is both simple and complicated. In short, look for whatever you like.
Some players prefer heavier shoes for more stability. Some go lighter for maneuverability. Some like a wider toe area to prevent jamming, some like a narrower fit. Some people go for a low-top shoe, some like the way a higher top feels.
It is ultimately up to the player. Racquetball shoe manufacturers have developed amazing footwear designed to augment a variety of feet and play styles. The proprietary tech that these brands have put into their shoes ensures that no matter how you play, there is a shoe out there for you.
Keep them Inside
Before looking at some examples of racquetball shoes, it is important that you remember one thing — when you get your shoes for the court do not wear them outside.
When you walk around outside, your shoes are collecting stuff from the ground beneath your feet. That could be something relatively like tiny rocks or something gross like a wad of chewing gum. And if you’re coming to play racquetball after taking your pet to the dog park, who knows what you’ll track onto the court!
In all seriousness, though, bringing shoes with little bits of grit embedded in the soles is bad form. The polyurethane sealant on the court can be damaged by those tiny pebbles. And if running back and forth dislodges a rock from your shoe, it instantly becomes a tripping hazard.
Once you have decided to buy racquetball shoes, make sure they are only used for racquetball. It’s best for the court and also best for player safety.
When shopping for racquetball gear, buying from people who know the sport inside and out is important. If you have questions, you want them to be answered by someone who knows what they are talking about.
A website like Racquetball Warehouse is a great resource when looking for racquetball shoes. You want to shop from a business with deep knowledge and a wide range of quality merchandise.
Men’s Racquetball Shoes
Babolat Shadow Tour: High-quality construction makes this light-weight shoe a must. Featuring a combination of mesh for breathability and leather uppers to keep the shoe in place. Michelin gum rubber soles keep you from marking up the court while DCS technology keeps your foot stable and supported.
Ektelon T22 Low: A slightly heavier shoe, the T22 uses TPU forefoot straps to keep your foot in place. This shoe’s construction is focused on maximizing stability and comfort. It features an injected wYshbone shank to maximize stability on lateral movement.
Prince NFS Attack: This shoe uses a Natural Foot Shape design. The high abrasion toe cap helps keep your feet protected when you make sharp cuts on the floor. The gum sole and TPU midsole shank mean great traction and stability.
Women’s Racquetball Shoes
Mizuno Wave Lightning Z5: Packed with proprietary tech, the Wave Lightning Z5 is lightweight, stable, and supportive. Dura-Shield protects your toe while the Parallel Wave Plate disperses impact across the sole of your foot to enhance stability while effectively cushioning your feet.
adidas Women’s Crazyflight: The boost cushioning, integrated TPU fibers, grippy outsole, and mesh uppers result in a shoe that is perfect for speedy players. This shoe is tailor-made to make the most of your pace on the court.
Salming Kobra: This shoe features some of the most innovative design elements on the market. High walls on the rear mid-sole wrap around the heel. This benefits the player looking to augment their agility. Additionally, ExoSkeleton construction gives a great, stable fit.
All of the above styles come in a wide range of colors to match your personality. If none of these is exactly the shoe you’ve been searching for, keep looking! You’ll find the shoe for you soon enough.
Step Up Your Game
Whether you are new to the sport or you are looking to take your game to the next level, the first step is finding the right racquetball shoe. A basketball shoe can serve as a stop-gap for a while, but there is no substitute for the real thing.
Whether your priority is cushioning or stability, there is a shoe out there for you. Look for gum soles and ankle support and pay attention to how the midfoot construction feels and works. Your shoe should protect your foot while helping you to make the most of your movements.
The unique movements and quick pace that make racquetball such an incredible sport can be tough on a normal shoe. If you have never played with a dedicated racquetball shoe, you owe it to yourself to experience the difference. You won’t ever want to play in a stop-gap shoe ever again.
Are basketball shoes good for racquetball?
Because basketball and racquetball feature some similar footwork, basketball shoes can be decent racquetball shoes. They can be heavier than the shoes that most racquetball players prefer, though. Also, you’ll want to be sure that the soles don’t leave marks on the court.
Are indoor soccer shoes good for racquetball?
They can be. But you need to be aware of how they are made. If your soccer shoes feature black rubber soles, you do not want them on the racquetball court. They will leave marks and skids, which can make the playing surface dangerous for other players. If you aren’t sure, bring the shoe by the facility where you want to play and ask if they are ok.
Are skate shoes good for racquetball?
Not really. While many skate shoes have gum soles for great grip, the shoes themselves don’t offer as much stability or support for the quick directional changes and short sprints in racquetball. Additionally, skate shoes are typically worn outside, and you should not bring shoes that you have worn outside onto a racquetball court.