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Netball's Sole Obsession

I'm sure you loved having elite netball back last weekend - how brilliant is it to be able to watch every game on YouTube or Sky Sports! One of the questions we got on social media during the games was about the sort of netball trainers you should be buying for when we can - finally - return to court (and let's hope it's very soon... fingers crossed for what Boris has to say on Monday!). 75% of netball in the UK is played outdoors and I'm sure that figure will increase with Covid restrictions that may only allow play outside - so it’s important that you choose the best netball shoes, shoes that are suitable for playing outside. But why invest in netball-specific shoes? Why are your bog standard running shoes not up to scratch. For me, it's simple:
  1. Netball shoes help to avoid injury
  2. Netball shoes save you money
  3. Netball shoes make you play better
What’s not to love about all of that? Wearing netball trainers will be even more essential with the lengthy lay off we’ve all had from the sport we love. The last thing you want would be to suffer an injury on your return to the netball court, and netball trainers will go a long way to reducing that risk. But how do netball trainers actually help you? Basically, it’s all about the sole! Yes you could say it’s our sole obsession, as this is where the majority of technology in a netball shoe is.
  1. Rounded edges are found on netball shoes as opposed to straight edge like a running shoe would have. The rounded edges align to the lateral movements of netball, whereas if you had the straight edges of a running shoe think how painful it would be rolling your ankle, those edges can make your ankle flip over. Simply put, the rounded edge will help you maintain your feet in the right position avoiding injury.
  2. The midsole is another key technology in netball trainers that again would be different to running trainers. In a netball shoe, the midsole is made up of a specific amount of compressed foam, to keep your foot stable while offering the perfect amount cushioning in the places you need it the most.
  3. Gel-cushioning - an easy misconception by many netballers is that if a shoe feels more spongy and cushioned like a running shoe it is better for you. Not in netball! The gel in a netball shoe is strategically placed for the lateral movements of netball. Did you know we only spend around 40% of our time on court moving forward? Therefore a specific amount of gel is vital for netball, anything more makes your foot unstable in your shoe.
  4. Hard wearing rubber - this not only gives you the best grip outdoors, but also saves you money. ASICS use a more durable rubber (AHAR+) in netball trainers while the rubber that Mizuno uses (in its netball shoes) is designed to be durable outdoors and grippy indoors. Therefore netball trainers can last you several times longer than using a running shoe – particularly a cheap running shoe.
So, if you're being smart and buying smart, these are our top picks for sole outdoor performance: It’s important that you think before you buy and remember we are the only netball store that ONLY sells netball shoes! We’re the only experts in this field, we are all netballers of different levels from Superleague to local league, and we try and test the shoes to ensure we can give you opinions you can trust. There’s no need for extensive research on your part, let us do all the hard work for you. Don't forget, we are always at the end of the phone if you want to discuss in person and always happy to talk netball – let’s face it we all need a little something to keep us going in these lockdown times! Like you – netball is our world! Debbie Hallas Managing Director, Netball UK

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