If you are reading this then you’re either new to the game, had some trouble with your past purchases and looking for some advice or you’ve never really thought about it before and now your spikes resemble a furry creature burrowing down at the bottom of your bag and you need a new pair, sharpish!
So where to start
Well if you are only looking for one pair of spikes to cover all your cricketing needs then you must consider firstly what those needs are. Do you bat and do little else, Keep wicket, bat and bowl some spin. Bowl some medium pace and bat a little, bowl some aggressive Steven Finn stuff but bat rarely..or something else? It’s worth noting as the varying disciplines of cricket can put very different stressors on your body and require a range of attributes from your footwear to appropriately assist performance and prevent injury.
These variable demands are why there are so many cricket spikes available, so to help you whittle them down consider the fact that most cricket footwear manufacturers develop their shoes on a spectrum from minimalistic, light weight batting shoes up to (relative) heavy weight, supportive bowling boots. Providing you know which shoes are which, you should be able match what you do on the field with the right shoes.
To make things easier we have grouped this cricketing footwear spectrum into four distinctive categories based on the players requirements in which they were built to accommodate. Hopefully you will find yourself falling into one of them.
Batsman – Spikes designed for batting alone are generally very lightweight, have a low profile midsole that offers greater balance and responsiveness. Host additional short grass traction systems for sprinting between the wickets and boast extra protection around the toe box. Look to the likes of the Adidas SL22, ASICS Gel Advance, New Balance CK10, Gray-Nicolls Omega Pro and Puma EvoSpeed models if you do little else other than bat.
Batting All-rounders – If you bowl a little but generally bat more than you bowl, then spikes that take the light weight and responsive elements of the out-and-out batting spikes but add some extra bulk to the midsole to cushion and support your foot if you do turn your arm over, would be a suitable option. Try the Adidas Vector, New Balance CK4030, ASICS 100 Not Out, Gray-Nicolls Velocity or the Kookaburra Pro Players cricket spikes.
Bowling All-rounders – Generally worked in the opposite direction to the batting half of the spectrum, these are trimmed down bowling boots. So if you bowl at a good speed with a fair amount of force going into your planting foot then these will offer you the required amount of mid-foot support and cushioning. They also tend to omit some of the specialist bowling features such as ankle straps, so that you still get the flexibility you need to contribute with the bat. If this sounds like the type of shoe you need then look to the Adidas Vector Mid, ASICS 220 Not Out and the New Balance CK4040
Bowlers – These spikes are designed for high impact, with cushioning and support systems incorporated to help you pound the crease over after over. They have many additional features such as internal foot braces and ankle straps to prevent your toes slamming into the front of your shoes with each delivery. Plus extended spike plates, torsions control systems and medial posts are just a few of the technologies incorporate to keep the shoe and your foot as stable and protected as possible while you are doing what you do best. If you need this level of specialism then look to the ASICS Gel Speed Menace or the New Balance CK4050.
If you don’t feel that you fit into one of these four player types then you may need to take the slightly more costly approach, but an appropriate one for any serious level cricketer. That being to have a pair of spikes for batting and one for bowling/fielding, so that you can be confident that all your needs are met.
Cautionary Note: If you often experience pain in your feet, shins, knees, hips or even your back when playing cricket then there is a chance that you ‘overpronate’. It can be a painful and debilitating condition and is most commonly noticed in the form of ‘shin splints’. Shin splints is simply damaged tissue around the shin area generally caused by excessive rotation of the shin bone, due to the arch of your foot dropping with each step you take. This dropping of the arch can have a chain effect throughout your body, not only effecting your shins but can cause stressors and strains right up to your spin. Around 75% of the UK population have it and thankfully it can be rectified with the right pair of shoes. Unfortunately not all cricket spikes contain a ‘medial post’, which is the main arch supporting technology that can prevent overpronation from occurring. So if you do experience this and you don’t need the specialist bowling boots that do have medial posts, then we would suggest you look to the likes of the ASICS 220 Not Out. We would also recommend you seek medical advice if you are experiencing such pain in other day-to-day activity or if the symptoms persist after using spikes with arch supporting technologies.