From Toe to Toe: Why Investing in Quality Squash Shoes is a Smart Move

Squash is a high impact, fast-paced sport and wearing the correct shoes will not help you to move better, but also reduce your risk for injuries.  There are quick movements, lots of turning and short sprints!  But what makes squash shoes different from other trainers?  Should you really spend the money and invest in a pair of squash shoes?

Squash is a high-intensity sport, that requires players to move quickly from side to side, forward and backward.  There is a lot of pressure on the joints and muscles, and grip is vital so that you don’t slip and injure yourself.

Key Characteristics of a Squash Shoe

Let’s have a look at the characteristics of a squash shoe that makes it different from other trainers:

  • Squash shoes have non-marking rubber gum soles. This is a non-negotiable. Non-marking soles are required to protect the squash court floor, while the rubber gum soles provide grip so that you don’t slip.  If you look at the sole, you will see the words “non-marking” printed on the sole. The soles do not have cleats, are not so hard and are more flat.
  • Squash shoes are also designed to provide excellent shock absorption, good cushioning and to provide support for the aggressive turns and twisting that you do in squash.
  • Squash shoes are lighter than other trainers to support mobility and movement. Tennis shoes are generally heavier, and are not designed for swift acceleration.

You can also have a look at this video by Bettersquash:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NBErRs5A_Y

Can you play squash with tennis, cross-trainers or running shoes?

Unfortunately, no.  Neither tennis, cross-trainers or running shoes are appropriate for squash.

Let’s start with tennis shoes.

The problem with tennis shoes is that they are usually heavier than squash shoes, which restricts mobility.  Also, tennis shoes are not designed for swift acceleration, constant running, and the lunges that are required in squash.  You will likely damage the squash floor, risk injuring yourself and you may not get the shots right.

Tennis shoes also do not have the correct soles for the squash court.  You may think that the soles are white, so it should be fine.  But unfortunately, it is not.  Tennis shoes, even though they can be white, are NOT non-marking and they do not have a rubber gum sole.  You risk damaging the wooden floor of the squash court (leaving marks), as well as slipping because of the lack of grip from the tennis shoe.

Cross-trainers and running shoes are also not right for squash.

The soles of these shoes are not non-marking, and you will likely leave marks on the squash floor. Most clubs and facilities will require that you wear squash shoes and will fine you and remove you from the facilities if you are wearing the incorrect shoes.

The main issue however is grip.  Squash shoes do not have cleats like cross-trainers and running shoes, and this is to provide grip so that you don’t slip.

Running shoes are raised at the back because of the forward-motion of running. This posed a risk for injury – such as twisting your ankle – when you suddenly turn and the sole of the shoe is higher.   Running shoes also have no lateral support on the sides of the shoe, so these shoes are not designed for the twists and turns that you do in squash.

So who makes squash shoes?  And where can I buy the right shoes?

Feet are weird.  What fits for one player, may not fit for you.  It is therefore important that you try on different brands and see which brand or model of shoe works the best for you.

There are brands that offer squash shoes.  The most common brands are Asics and Wilson, and Salming and Harrow are also a popular brands.

Where can you buy squash shoes?  You will most likely find squash shoes at the club facilities that have a shop.  You can visit these squash shops to try on and purchase squash shoes:

  • Uitsig Squash Club (16h00 to 20h00, Monday to Thursday), 159 Panorama Rd, Rooihuiskraal, Centurion
  • Baseline Racquets, Shop 2, Brooklyn Centre Cnr Jan Shoba Street &, Lynnwood Rd, Brooklyn, Pretoria
  • Parkview Squash Club, 5 Emmarentia Ave, Parkview, Randburg.

Conclusion

The best shoes for playing squash are non-marking shoes that are designed for squash.  The shoes should fit you comfortably, are lightweight and provide ample support to help prevent injuries.

The best shoes for playing squash are non-marking shoes that are designed for squash.  The shoes should fit you comfortably, are lightweight and provide ample support to help prevent injuries.