The match of racquetball is a match of speed, mobility, and quickness. You must be agile in order to win a point, whether you are moving forward and back or from side to side. Because of this, it has its own challenges that are presented when it comes to selecting the right footwear. Racquetball shoes are a very necessary part of the equation if you are going to be playing the match as they will protect and support you better than any other shoes will be able to do. Because of that, we are going to take a look at the specifics on this type of shoe in our buying guide today. We’ll be answering just about any question you might have about them to help give you a better understanding of what to look for and why you should be looking for a racquetball shoe. Then, we will review some of the most popular pairs currently being sold. Let’s begin!
Why a Racquetball Shoe?
This question is asked about just about all sports and activities at some point. Why do I need a shoe for this sport? Aren’t they all the same. The answer is a resounding no. Not all shoes are created equal, not even close. The most common thing you see all across the internet is for someone to believe that a running shoe can be used for anything. Running shoes are light and protective, those will work for me, right? The answer to that is a clear no, just as we stated earlier. Running shoes do a great job at supporting the foot, but that support only goes as far as you are running in a straight line. Once you start to make lateral movements, you are toast. Furthermore, running shoes do very little for you when you are standing still. They won’t give much support, and they won’t help you push off from a set position at the start of a point. Because of that, they do not make good shoes for racquetball. Could you use them when you start out? Sure. No one wants to buy a pair of shoes before they try a sport. You might not like it, or you might not play all that often enough to make it worthwhile to buy a pair. But they are very necessary if you are going to be making it a habit. The same guidelines go for tennis shoes, or sneakers as well. Those do a good job a lot of the time for various uses, whether it’s for basketball or cross training or just casual use, but the support will be lacking compared to a true racquetball shoe. Basketball shoes give a ton of protection, but they do so at the cost of being very heavy in comparison to true racquetball shoes. They also bind you down more and reduce your freedom to move, which is going to be frustrating for you when you are going from anaerobic to aerobic and back again.
Top Racquetball Shoes Comparison Chart
|Product||Material||Type||Price||Where to Buy?|
|Asics Women’s Gel-Rocket 8||Synthetic||Low-top||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|Asics Women’s Upcourt 2||Synthetic||Low-top||$||Check Price On Amazon|
|Adidas Essence 12 Women’s Court Shoes||Synthetic||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|Babolat Women’s 2018 Shadow Spirit||Textile||$$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|Mizuno Women’s Wave Hurricane 3||Synthetic & Fabric||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|HEAD Men’s Grid 2.0 Low||Synthetic||Low-top||$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|Python Men’s Deluxe Low||Leather||$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|Ektelon Men’s NFS Attack||Synthetic & Mesh||$$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|FashionTown Men’s Non Slip Court Shoes||Synthetic & Mesh||Mid-Top||$||Check Price On Amazon|
|Pasztaza Men’s Non Slip Court Shoes||Synthetic Leather & Mesh||$||Check Price On Amazon|
Racquetball Shoes Buying Guide
This part of the guide is an interesting one, but it’s well worth noting. Court shoes refer to a range of sports’ shoes that could theoretically all be used. Court shoes should always have a non-marking bottom and should probably be using some sort of gum rubber material. They also all have decent lateral support as well, making them useful. For example, the sports of racquetball, squash, badminton and volleyball all can fall under this category. This is not to say it is encouraged to use volleyball shoes, however. You might find them to be useful, but you might also not like them. They are a little heavier, because of the usual high top design that they use, and thus more bulky. Unless you are a bigger player that needs the added support, you might find them cumbersome and not want to go with them. They will weigh you down more and more throughout your match, so it might be something to avoid. However, if you play a multitude of sports, they could prove very versatile. We could be seeing some of these types on our list, so this is why we had to mention them!
Gum rubber needs more of a mention here. The reason why basketball shoes, besides the bulk and heaviness of them and occasional lack of flexibility afforded, also do not have gum rubber soles. Gum rubber helps you maintain grip and traction on wooden surfaces unlike any other shoes are capable of doing. This is a big part of the reason that it is an absolute must to have. Gum rubber is easy to spot, as you just have to look at the bottom of the shoes. They are usually yellow or a brown color, and they have a lot of designs in them to make sure that you have the best traction possible. Those little designs and marks also keep stuff from getting lodged in them, which is a plus, too. A reason why gum rubber is used is the non-marking feature we noted earlier. Because the floor is so expensive, these shoes are required at most venues you would be able to play at.
Etiquette and Taking Care of Your Shoes
Racquetball might not be as well known for etiquette as the match of squash is, but that does not mean that you should throw all of that out of the window and ignore it. In squash, most clubs do not allow players to wear their shoes in off the street. Racquetball isn’t as harsh with this, but you should enforce this. Not only does it show respect to others, but it also helps you out in the long run. The dirt and dust collected on them will make you slippery, as it will end up making others slip, too. It’s just a good idea to counter this by starting out making a statement that you won’t add to it. Slipping is never a good thing. It can cause you serious injury. It won’t just be about you losing a point all of the time, it could be about getting hurt. You can avoid that, or at least greatly reduce your chances of that happening, by just not wearing your shoes in and out. Bring a change of shoes and change out before and after. You will see results. Another reason to not wear shoes outside of the court is because of the durability. Gum rubber is really awesome for giving grip, but it does come at a cost. While it is durable for a lot of play, it can be grinded down quickly when you walk around on them a lot. Pavement and other hard surfaces will kill them, so you need to be careful about this and avoid it at all costs. Maybe when your shoes are ready to be retired from the court, you can wear them as your cool street shoes! If you see black bottoms, you might want to avoid them. There are some gum rubber soles that are black, but in all likelihood, they will not be gum rubber if they are this color. Some squash clubs outlaw this color, and it might get you looked at in a negative way if you wear this color on the racquetball court as well, particularly if you are playing with someone that has played squash in the past.
Getting the Right Fit
The fit of your shoes is absolutely essential in racquetball, or any sport for that matter. There are some truths that are the same no matter what sport you are in, and this sport is included in that. The main reason we wear shoes is to keep our feet and ourselves protected. Without them, we would be injured. It might take a while for that to come on, but if you do something wrong for long enough it will eventually add up and take its toll on you. Got a pair of shoes that don’t fit right, but you just don’t want to trash them? We’ve all been there, but at some point you will pay the piper. Please don’t do that.
First things first, please go in person to try on shoes. Even if you do not plan to buy them in the store, getting an idea of what they have and what sizes you need is imperative. Checking out how big or small brands run is also nice, while you can decide if you like or dislike certain features. The only way to know is to try them on in person. If you have not been fitted in a couple of years, you need to size yourself with a Brannock device. This will help you get a good view of what size you need. Then you can go from there. No, your shoes are not a good indicator. Some run large, some run small, so those can be misnomers and throw you off in a very tangible way. Avoid that by measuring yourself or getting staff to help you do so.
When you get these shoes on, the next thing to do is indicate how much room you have in the toe area. This is the part of the shoe that most people have issues with, so this is the place to start. Take your thumb and measure between your feet and the end of the shoes. This is crucial. If you don’t have a thumbs between them, then you will not like the pair. They might feel OK then, but they will not later. Racquetball, like squash, is going to make feet swell pretty rapidly, so you could get uncomfortable within the first few minutes of your match. From there, you’ll feel as if your feet are being choked, and that is a feeling that no one will want to experience.
It’s also imperative that you don’t have too much room there. A lot of people either size up thinking they will grow into them or something of the sort. But this is very rarely the case, and it causes a number of problems. For one, the shoes will be loose on you, no matter what you do with the laces. They will slide up and down, causing you to slip. This is a huge hazard to you and your opponent, and it can get you injured. Even if you don’t get injured right then, this sort of thing takes a toll on you as it makes you adjust your normal walking pattern- or gait. This can create knee and back problems later on if you persist with the ill fitting shoe.
Checking out the width of the shoe is also important to do. Some brands run narrow, others give you plenty of room. If you need something that has extra room, sometimes you will have to go up a size. Going up a size, though, or half a size can sometimes end up throwing off the length, so you have to be careful with that. Trying shoes on in person is the best way to make sure you get a grasp on this, but it is not fool proof and without error. If you can’t go in person, research and reviews offer a good take on this. If you see a lot of complaints and they line up with a concern of yours, then you might want to avoid them.
To ensure that you have the best possible measurements and fit, the best thing to do is to make sure to either exercise or play a sport before going to try shoes on. If you are unable to do this, it would be wise to go later in the day. By going late in the day, your foot will be more swollen than in the morning and it will hopefully be simulate what your feet will feel like toward the end of the match of racquetball. This can make a big, big difference in how you feel and can determine whether or not you like the shoes and will use them or if they will be a waste of money and end up collecting dust in the closet.
Low, Mid, or High Tops
Part of picking out a pair of racquetball shoes to play in is down to ankle support. You need protection, even if you have never had issues with them before, but if you have had injuries there in the past, you especially have to be careful. If you are one of those types of people, then a high top is the way to go. If you are heavier set, this is also a good option as it gives you the most overall support. Like the volleyball shoes we mentioned earlier, they might be a little bit heavier than others, but you will see that you are more confident and can have less worries about your footing than you might otherwise would without them. A low top is the exact opposite. This type of shoe has very little bulk to it, but it also offers less protection and support as result. Rolling your ankle is easier to do with them, but don’t think that this type means you have no support. You still do have some support, it’s just not going to be as prevalent. This type is best for smaller and quicker players, as well as those that have not had injuries in the past. You get a ton of freedom and flexibility with them, which is a big thing for some players. If you want something in between, then the mid top is the go-to choice. This is becoming the shoe that a ton of athletes are moving to in a number of different sports, and it is easy to see why. You get freedom, flexibility, and good amounts of speed while also getting some protection without being too bulky. It’s the best of both worlds really, and it is going to be your default look if you are starting out in all likelihood.
We talked about gum rubber earlier and the reasons why it was a necessity for the match of racquetball, but we will elaborate a little bit more here on why traction is so important in the match and what to look for. Gum rubber shoes are made with those tiny designs we talked about earlier, but they are different from other types of shoes with those kinds of soles. With basketball shoes and with even anti-slip work shoes, you see deep treads to them. This is not the case with racquetball, or at least it shouldn’t be. This is because you need the entirety to hit the floor so you can grip better. Without this, your traction is going to suffer and you’ll have a harder time playing as a result. There are two general types of traction that is acceptable for racquetball. One of them is called Herringbone, which is predominant in the match of basketball. The other one is known as hexagonal. Herringbone give you good all-around grip, but it will not be as good for you from side to side. If you are looking for that, then hexagonal is the way to go and it will give you more grip as you range cross court to make shots.
The amount of cushion that is offered will play a big part in whether you are ultimately happy or unhappy with a given pair of shoes. You might feel great in them when they are on and even like you are on top of the clouds due to the comfort they provide with their insert, or possibly one that you brought to the mix, but that is only half of the story that is being told. Cushioning is above and beyond comfort. They are not the same, though, the we tend to put the two words together often. Cushioning is referring to how well the shoe is padded against blows. You are probably asking why this matters because it’s not volleyball and you aren’t going to be jumping. While this is true and a fair point, it is missing the whole topic. You are going to be suffering shocks all the time. Even people that stand on their feet all day need shock absorption, at least a little bit of it. Hard surfaces make it imperative that you have a pair of shoes with good cushioning to them. It becomes all the more necessary when you are pushing off your feet and making moves from side to side and up and down. It adds up and you can get very tired. The right amount of cushioning is paramount. Sometimes, this will be called support as well. You could have a great feeling shoe and still end up hurting when you are finished playing. If so, it wasn’t comfort that let you down, it was cushioning! The midsole materials used are a big ingredient to this. A lot of shoes are moving into making the outsoles more and more important for this as well. If you see notches to the sides of a pair of shoes, those aren’t likely there for designs. They may look cool, but they actually serve a purpose. The purpose is to make the shoes wider. By making them wider, they expand the surface area and thus absorb more shocks. It’s an ingenious way to take out some of those shocks and to make you life much, much easier.
Before we get started with our reviews, we must mention breathability. This is essential to a lot of people in a wide array of sports, and it is easy to see why it would be wanted in racquetball as well. Breathability is given the wearer of a shoe when there is a mechanism for which you shoe to breathe out. This is typically done with the use of mesh in most shoes. They use tiny holes, which are usually on the top of the toes and forefoot, but can also be placed on the tongue and on the sides of the shoe as well. Some companies even end up putting mesh, or a similar material, in the back of the heel to make them all the more breathable. This is an extreme case, but it has been done. Mesh is great for making sure you don’t have soggy feet, which is not only disgusting but can curb your performance on the court by weighing you down. Too much mesh, or improper use, though does make shoes less durable as the material is easier to tear. Even in a good pair of shoes, if all things are equal, mesh will lose out nine times out of ten when up against another material. Still yet, shoes with mesh can last a while and will make you happy on most occasions.
Top 5 Women’s Racquetball Shoes Reviews
Asics Women’s Gel-Rocket 8
If you are looking for something that is going to give excellent shock absorption and be comfortable, then the Gel Rocket 8 is your choice. Asics have technically released a volleyball shoe here, but the quality cannot be denied. With their patented Gel foam inserts combining with forefoot gel cushioning, they are both comfortable and very functional for play as you look to remain in the match and not give out. The Trusstic technology that they have used is brilliant because it has reduced the weight of the shoe while also keeping it very durable. The bottoms are awesome, though there is some black to be seen on some of them, and the colors look great. There aren’t a ton of choices, but they are classy and that has to be said from the get-go. The biggest negatives to them is that they are a low top and that they don’t offer much for arch support. This can be bad if you are flat footed or have high arches.
- Durable yet light
- Great shock absorption
- Typically good gel inserts
- Not many choices to be made with colors
- Low top doesn’t offer protection for some
- Arch support is lacking in them
Asics Women’s Upcourt 2
Asics goes back to back with the Upcourt 2, which is another shoe designed for volleyball but can still do a tremendous job for racquetball. This shoe only has a couple of colors to pick from, but each of them look great and will help you stand out and be happy with your look on the court. Apart from that, you get the gel cushioning insert that Asics almost always gives it customers, while also giving you many of the same great features as above. They are quite durable and breathable as they use a mixture of synthetic materials and mesh in the upper to keep you going. Compared to the others, though, they have a little bit less grip, and thus because of the depleted traction, they have fallen to #2 behind the Gel Rocket on this list. They also tend to run large, which is going to make sizing a real issue for you if you are planning to buy online. Better try on in store first! They also are not the best for wide feet, so be advised on that!
- Gel is always good with Asics
- Looks classy
- Breathes easy and is durable
- Tend to run large
- Also runs narrow
- Not as much grip as others
Adidas Essence 12 Women’s Court Shoes
For the first time on our list, we see someone other than Asics, and it is Adidas that steps in with the Essence. This shoe is similar to the others, with an awesome look that you can always expect from the Three Stripes. Apart from that, they are similar because of the cushioning used. The systems and names might be different, but they are good. Their use of the ADIPRENE is great in the forefoot, allowing you to maintain your balance inside the shoe and allowing you to push off on the court. It also cushions the heel and helps you at impact, which means it does a good job at absorbing those shocks that are so common out there. They use mesh and synthetics on the upper to make them both durable and breathable, and the synthetics use a couple of layers to make them even more durable than most. Sizing can be tough on these, so you might want to try them out. Also it appears that it is hard to find other colors, so that might be a negative to you. Though others do have more cushioning from Adidas, these shoes are the least expensive of the bunch and thus they are very popular as a result of that.
- Good entry price
- Excellent looks
- Quite durable
- Hard to get sizing right
- Not many colors to pick from
- Other Adidas lines have more cushion
Babolat Women’s 2018 Shadow Spirit
Coming in at the most expensive we have seen so far, the Babolat Shadow Spirit also is the flashiest and most vibrant look we have seen so far. The have been engineered in conjunction with Michelin, which means that they are excellent at both giving you traction on the court and also at gives you shock absorbing qualities. If it works for tires, surely it’s going to work for shoes! They also have helped them by aiding you in the areas of making sudden stops and quick movements from side to side, making them a good racquetball shoe. On the upper part of the shoe, there is a combination of textiles and mesh used, which will keep you happy because they will last a while and will also be quite breathable as well. These wrap to your feet with the use of elastics inside, which lends itself to the name ‘Shadow.’ These don’t have as much cushioning as some others that are out there, but if you are a serious player, you might want to take a look at them for their other qualities, especially for match play.
- Very flashy designs
- Very comfortable
- Team up with Michelin makes them awesome
- Costs more than the others so far
- Not as cushioned as other options up there
Mizuno Women’s Wave Hurricane 3
Mizuno is another brand that is known for being popular on courts, and this is once again another one meant to be a volleyball shoe. At any rate, they do a good job for racquetball due to the very comfortable nature of them. Not only do they look very nice in a few colors, they also have a sockliner inside of them that makes them extremely comfortable. At a very affordable price, then, they look like being a good shoe for any beginner to look into getting. The negatives to these shoes is all in the sizing. They tend to run very narrow, and they also are very small as well. This is tough to judge, so you might want to try them on in person. The materials are also pretty stiff, so breaking in can be a little bit tough on you resulting from that.
- Sockliner increases comfort
- Awesome looks
- Affordable price
- Runs narrow
- Runs very small, making sizing tough
- Tough to break in as the material is stiff
Top 5 Men’s Racquetball Shoes Reviews
HEAD Men’s Grid 2.0 Low
If you want a minimalistic shoe that won’t bind you down while also looking great on the court and providing you with great grip both because of the soles and because they take the shape of your foot, then the Grid 2.0 Low is a good choice for you. This shoe is a low top, so it is going to be less restrictive and lighter, allowing you to have more range of movement and to be able to not feel nearly as tired out on the court throughout your match. The upper is made up of a lot of mesh, making them very breathable. Sometimes this would be bad, but since they are paired with synthetics that happen to have good waterproofing properties, these shoes do a good job at keeping those out. The high abrasion rubber compound they have used offers great support for you in the areas that you need it most. They are little bit heavier than you would expect for a shoe without ankle support, but that does mean they will give you support at least. The other issue is that the materials are stiff to begin with, meaning you will have to allow some time to break them in.
- Very breathable but also don’t get soaked
- Low top is less restrictive
- Molds well to foot
- Takes a bit of time to get broken in
- Heavier than what you’d expect
Python Men’s Deluxe Low
One thing you will notice right away about these is that they look a whole lot different from most. That’s because, other than having a plain, old man kind of look, they are made out of leather. This means they are a little bit more cushy and have a premium feeling to them in that regard. However, they have mesh that is used on the inside to help air out those sweaty feet as you play, and it helps to make sure the odors won’t be allowed to fume all day long. They’ve used a sock liner/heel cup combo to keep the foot stable as you play, and the heel is quite thick in order to allow for a lot of shock absorbing to be done. Abrasion resistant rubber bottoms means they are not only going to last longer but that they will not allow you to glide around the court. This increases your flexibility as well and means you don’t have to worry about your traction giving way. These shoes do tend to run small, so you will have to act accordingly to counter that. Other than that, there aren’t many complaints to be had about them.
- Leather is more plush on the foot
- Mesh allows you to breathe
- Rubber bottoms are flexible and help keep from skidding
- Look very old school
- Tend to run small
Ektelon Men’s NFS Attack
If you’re looking for something that looks a little bit better than the Python before, this could be your answer. The NFS Attack from Ektelon is a good court shoe because it has taken the best of the synthetics and matched it up with mesh to give you lightweight, comfortability, and allow you to be breathable all at the same time. Featuring a midfoot strap on it, these shoes give you increased support and make you feel locked in and thus more responsive and ready to move on the court. The midsole is made from a TPU shank, and that helps them last longer and feel better for you while being light in weight. Compared to others, they are a little less cushy than you could find. They also are more expensive than a lot of the shoes were have seen so far, so it might not be ideal for you to pay that kind of price. Unlike most, they run a little wide, so you should have plenty of room at least in them!
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Very stylish in three colors
- Very responsive to movement
- More expensive than most
- Not a ton of cushioning
FashionTown Men’s Non Slip Court Shoes
If you don’t mind taking a bit of a gamble on a newer brand, then this could be the shoe for you. At more of a budget friendly price, these shoes from FashionTown also have a ton of colors to pick from that are all nice looking and flashy. Another thing that you might look is that they are mid tops and thus have a lot more protection than others out there. The look with the tongue above the heel is nice and reminds you of modern basketball shoes. The outsole is resistant to slip and glides and is also very durable as well. Another look at the shoes reveals that there is a ton of mesh located all over them, making them breathable and allowing you to rest easier knowing you won’t be accumulating extra weight and pressure upon you. The raised heel might not be for everyone as it will make them a little less responsive and feel different, but it could do well for someone that has had injuries. They also aren’t as durable as others, so if you play frequently, these aren’t the best call to make.
- Good price on a budget
- Flashy looks
- Lots of ankle support and protection
- Not as responsive
- Little bit heavier
- Durability is questioned with tearing after frequent usage
Pasztaza Men’s Non Slip Court Shoes
If you are looking for a shoe that is pretty similar to the FashionTown ones but want a few more colors to pick from, then this is a good idea. The Pasztaza’s are made with a ton of mesh as well, which means they are very breathable in the upper but also might lack in the way of durability. The heel is raised like the FashionTown ones and the ankle is supported better, so if you are a heavier player or have had issues with injuries, that will be a good thing for you to go with. The big issue with these is with the soles. They seem to come apart quite easily, so constant use will not be the best thing to do with them. The toe box is also a little small, meaning that if you have wide feet you might feel cramped into them. One thing that has to be said is that they do not slide, with a lot of people saying that they did well even on a dirty gym floor, so that is major thumbs up!
- Good price
- Tons of mesh
- Lots of flashy colors to pick from
- Not for quick players
- Toe box is narrow
- Soles wear out with consistent use
Conclusion And Final Racquetball Shoes Recommendations
Finding racquetball shoes can be tough, if not downright confusing for some people. With so many sports being played on courts, it can get hard to narrow down what you are looking for. With the internet, you get so many options anyway, and it adds up to overwhelm you. However, today we have helped break down what is and is not a racquetball shoe and helped you figure out what you need. From beginner to intermediate to expert, you now have an option to go out and buy to make your life much easier out on the court as you play!
FAQ’s About Racquetball Shoes
Why Aren’t Tennis Shoes OK to Use?
Tennis is played on a court, right? So, why isn’t it a court shoe? Well, the court itself is majorly different. Tennis requires the shoe structure to be totally different as well. Racquetball shoes are more rigid than tennis shoes because of the court it’s played on, making them poor choices to be used in order to crossover from one to another.
Should I Stick to My Gender?
Yes, you should. Racquetball shoes, like most types of shoes, separate into different genders for a good reason. Women’s and men’s structures are very different from each other, and men are also heavier, meaning they can afford to carry heavier and bulkier shoes than women. Ankle support is also central to the match, and women’s and men’s ankles are not only sized differently but also shaped differently in relation to the rest of the body. This means that even though the guys’ shoes could look better to a lady, you should try and stay away if at all possible.
Should I Glide And Thus Need Slippery Shoes?
The answer to this depends on what kind of player you are. If you are a beginner, you might want a shoe that is a little bit more slippery than most out there. However, you shouldn’t go overboard and just decide to wear any old pair of shoes. If you have a low quality pair, they will help you glide, and that is something that you help you as you learn. But as you progress and get better and better, you’ll end up wanting to not do this. Professional players tend to replace their shoes when they notice slippage, so it’s frowned upon.
When Should I Replace My Shoes?
This is a hard one to answer sometimes, but there are some very clear guidelines by which you can abide by. First and foremost, if you see that the traction is not what it used to be, you should replace them. Of course, there will be some natural erosion over time and you won’t have the same grip, but when you reach a threshold where you just don’t feel it anymore, you need a change. Another thing to look out for if you are experiencing pains that you didn’t use to feel. A lot of times, you can see that a shoe is wearing out visibly, but if it isn’t that doesn’t mean they are ‘OK.’ Instead, if you feel that they are beginning to hurt you now, it could be because the midsoles and outsoles are starting to give out. This is harder to spot because it is invisible in nature, so it’s all about feel. Lastly, if you see the material starting to tear or the rubber is coming apart, these are clear signs that you really have got to replace your shoes immediately.
Does Indoor or Outdoor Matter?
This answer is a resounding ‘no.’ No matter if you are playing indoors or out, you will be able to have a good match. So no worries. As long as you get a designated racquetball- or possibly other court shoe- that is non-marking and has good traction, you’ll be good to go.