Footwork is one of the most important skills when playing netball. It makes sense to wear shoes that will give you safety and comfort. General sports or running shoes are not going to be adequate for the particular needs of the netball court. So if you’re serious about performing to the best of your ability, here’s some tips to help you find the perfect shoe:
1. Movement. Think about your motion during netball practices and games: a lot of running and quick stops, lateral movements and sudden changes in direction. The support your shoe offers needs to reflect these ranges of motion. Regular running shoes are designed for straightforward motion, providing support that focuses on your heels and toes. Netball shoes need to offer an all-round support as well as maximum comfort and cushioning for the sides of your feet.
2. Stability. When you’re jumping and stop-starting often, you’re going to want a shoe that can handle the conditions. When you catch the netball and pivot, you want to know that your shoe is going to support you and keep your balance.
3. Outsole. Running shoes need to be flexible, especially in the area under your forefoot. not so with netball shoes. The outsole needs to be able to be punished by the court or asphalt of the netball court. For this reason it needs to be stiffer and thicker than a regular running shoe. Often the souls of netball shoes will be made of a different material altogether than regular running shoes – a harder compound of rubber.
4. Profile. A netball shoe is going to have a shorter profile. This means that it will be lower to the ground which allows for a great range of movement and flexibility. Also, with your foot on a lower platform, the risk of rolling one’s ankle is greatly reduced.
5. Netball shoes are, quite simply, designed for netball exercises. They are made to be durable and tough against the fearsome demands of the netball court and your swift legwork. Many indoor netball players still insist on playing in general sports or running shoes for their games. This is admissible as running shoes are generally lighter and provide more comfort than the average netball shoe, plus indoor courts are usually constructed with wood, not asphalt.
Of course, when it comes down to it, the shoes that fit you well and are the most comfortable are the ones you need to go for. You may indeed have found some running shoes that you’re comfortable with wearing on the court and that’s fine – as long as you’re okay with them wearing down faster than usual. The bottom line is that netball shoes are simply that – netball shoes. They’re designed with the game and you, the player, in mind.
Source: Holiding Court (http://www.holdingcourt.com.au)