THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE BUYING SQUASH SHOES
A pair of good squash shoes, just like your racket and the ball, are among the most significant parts of your squash outfit.
When buying squash shoes, note that the shoes must have the stability needed to withstand the rigours demanded to play squash safely without picking up injuries and the shoes ought to provide great flexibility and freedom during the quick movements on the squash court.
There are so many explosive and often unexpected movements in all directions when playing squash. In most cases, it’s a sprint or a big step forward that alters the balance point of your body and in all these, your feet must absorb the movements.
Good squash shoes must come with a good footbed and a reinforced heel that will ensure a better footing for optimal protection and support at all time.
A member in my club, at the Moshood Abiola national stadium Abuja once asked me how he could make the best choice if he wanted a pair of squash shoes from my collections.
First, I recommended that he must go for shoes within his budget that is equipped with some of the latest technologies like the breathable mesh panels attached with a gauze-like fabric that ensues sufficient air circulation that will constantly keep the foot dry and prevent skin irritation and at times blisters.
Secondly, the right size. No frustration on the court can be compared to a shoe too big or too small. Another member asked me recently, “Coach, on my last trip to Dubai, I tried a pair of shoes that fitted me well in a sports shop, so I purchased it. But as I got back, wore it to play on five different occasions. Surprisingly, the shoes became so uncomfortable.”
I took a look at the shoes and observed that it was tight and his toes were pounding the toe bed section of the shoes. This caused him great discomfort that he almost lost a toenail in the process.
He was shocked when I told him that, it has been proven that feet slightly swells at the end of the day than in the morning. Because when we spend the day walking or sitting, there is a gravity pull that pulls blood and fluids towards our feet and legs. This makes swelling of the feet likely.
So, in the evening is, therefore, the best time to measure the feet and know our right size. It possible that when he tried the shoes, it fitted well. But when his feet swelled. It became too tight for him.
Moreso, a tip from Asics shoes recommends that it is better to measure your feet immediately after squashing. Feet tend to swells after exercising.
So, when you want to determine your correct size, it’s advisable to try a pair of shoes at the time of the day when your feet are slightly bigger.
When is it right to replace squash shoes?
The truth is when your squash shoe worn-out, the damping decreases and the shocks are less well absorbed. The shoes in such condition don’t offer any optimal support and protection for your feet and you run a higher risk of sustaining back, hips, feet or knees injuries.
For the better part of 2019, I nursed a frustrating and nagging knee pain. The moment I got myself a new pair of shoes in March 2020, coupled with the COVID 19 movement restrictions, which gave me ample time to rest the knees. I discovered that the knee pain has completely gone.
Squash shoes lose support and protection over time due to usage. How fast this happens to depend on your body weight and your type of foot.
Also, people who play 3 times a week do have their shoes wear out quicker than those who play once a week.
The rule of thumb as practised by many squash players is, if you play once a week, you buy one new pair of shoes every year. If you play twice a week, it means you need two pair of shoes for a year.
Conclusively, be aware: the more often in a week you play on the same shoes, the sooner they need to be replaced. If you train a lot or play competitions, a second pair is not a luxury.
In my humble opinion, it is wise and cheaper to invest in extra good squash shoes, than spend hard-earned money on surgeries or treatments for knees, ankle, back or hip injuries…
By Jonah Attah