Sports Specific Shoes

In one of our previous article, we wrote about how to decide on an exercise specific shoe using the simple formula Pronation + Type of training = Exercise Specific Shoe. In that article, we gave examples of Sports specific shoes but did not go into details. I this article we do.

The following are summaries relating to Sports specific shoes to guide you when shopping for athletic shoes for your favorite sports and physical activity. You’ll want to choose a shoe specific to your type of training because, well, it was designed for it! In addition to that.

Sports Specific Shoes

Here are some benefits Choosing the right Sports Specific Shoe can:

  • Reduce your chances of Injury,
  • Improve your performance,
  • Sustain your training for a prolonged time and,
  • Needles we say. They are comfortable and may even complement the trends of your favorite sports.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has a very comprehensive guide on Tips for Finding the Right Athletic Shoe. They advise that:  

  • If you can, shop at a store that caters to the sport in which you participate. If you are a runner, go to a running store. If this is not possible, do some research before shopping to find out what type of shoe is most appropriate for your favorite sports. Which is what this article will explain shortly.
  • To ensure a proper fit, wear the same type of sock that you typically wear when you are participating in the sport for which you are buying the shoes.
  • The toe box — the front area of the shoe — should have ample room so that you can wiggle your toes.
  • When you try on shoes, walk around the store on different surfaces (carpet and tile, for example) to ensure that they are comfortable.
  • Always tighten the laces of the shoes that you are trying on so that your feet are secure in the shoe.
  • Try on both the right and the left shoes to make sure that they fit. Also, inspect the shoes on a level surface to ensure that they are straight, even, and without defects.
  • Make sure that the shoes have not been sitting on the shelf for an extended period of time. While the materials of an athletic shoe are designed to accommodate a lot of stress, the cushioning may become less effective over time, even without use.
  • Your toes should never feel cramped in an athletic shoe.

You can read the rest of this list from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Specific shoes for specific sports

A lot is taken into consideration by sports brands when designing trainers. Aside from making sports shoes look good. Sports brands have to design trainers with the type surface those trainers will be used on in mind. Others even go further and research the most prevalent type of injuries for that specific sports and design their trainers to reduce the chances of injury for that specific sports.

Similar articles

Athletic shoes For Basketball

Basketball has a lot of jumping and change of direction. Shoes for Basketball are designed to protect the ankle and cushion against landing impact. Typically Basketball shoes have a thick, stiff sole to give you extra stability down the court [1]. Those with High-top shoes support your ankle direction and when you jump and land [1]. Remember that next time you’re on the market for a Basketball sneaker.

Athletic shoes For Netball

Netball and Basketball typically have the same physiological strain on the athlete. Both sports are played on the same surface most of the time. Court shoes, like those of netball, have a solid tread. In netball, there is also a lot of running then stopping. For this reason, Netball shoes are designed to provide stability in all directions [2].

Athletic shoes For Soccer

For sports that are played on grass, like soccer and Rugby. Your best options are Cleats. They give you traction on the field so you don’t slip easily. Soccer cleats do not have a toe cleat on the front of the shoe. This is so there is no drag on the ground when the player kicks the ball [2]. Soccer cleats tend to be more form fitting and have a tighter feel, providing more control to the player as he or she kicks the ball [2].

Athletic shoes For Rugby

Speaking of Cleats. Rugby is also played on grass and the players also wear clits for more balance and traction. However, the physiological strains of rugby and rugby as a sport, in general, is very different from soccer. Rugby cleats vary depending on the position of the player [3]. Forwards usually wear higher topped rugby cleats that resemble boots to protect the ankles from oncoming rucks and mauls [3]. The number of cleats on the bottom of the shoes is the most visible distinguishing factor that separates rugby from soccer. Regulation rugby cleats have 10 spikes on the bottom and soccer cleats usually have 16 [3]. Rugby cleats are also typically a bit sharper (spikes) than soccer cleats (pins). Which are typically smooth and round.

Athletic shoes For Tennis

Tennis also has a lot of fast running then stopping, like netball. You also find a lot of ankle movement in tennis when the athlete swings and changes directions. And just like netball and basketball, Tennis is also played on a “court”. Lateral support and stability are important to tennis players. As already mentioned, many of the quick movements executed on the tennis court are side-to-side cuts, rather than heel-to-toe running. While cushioning is important to the tennis player, it is less important than lateral stability and a low to the ground feel. The lower a player’s foot is to the court, the more stable it will feel lateral. 

Athletic shoes For running

Go for shoes with plenty of cushioning as these will absorb shock when you run. Keep in mind that there is an element of bouncing when you run and therefore you hit the ground at an increased force. Running shoes are designed for forward motion, and they protect the front of your foot and heel [1]. A good pair may help you avoid shin splints, stress fractures, tendinitis, and other problems [1].

For the ultimate running shoe, you may want to read the original article on How to Choose the Right Exercise Specific Shoe. We go into details about pronation, which can help you choose the ultimate running shoes.

Athletic shoes For Boxing

Boxing shoes weigh less than many athletic shoes [4].  Which is kind of strange because they are called “boxing boots”. Boxing boots often have a thin rubber sole that helps you maintain traction without holding you too firmly to the ground [4]. They come in both high-top, mid-top, and low-top versions. The high-top shoes provide more support and protection to your ankle and lower shins [4].

Athletic shoes For Cycling and Spinning

Consider the type of cycling you will be doing. If you are doing indoor cycling or Spinning, you might want to go for Cycling Shoes and Cleats. These shoes are made of light, breathable materials and conform closely to the shape of the foot for greater comfort, and they feature stiff soles that transfer even more power to the pedal and offer a better connection to the bike [5].

On the other hand, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, suggests that you choose cycling shoes that fit snuggly, without additional room for inserts [2]. A cycling shoe with some cushion under the ball of the foot will help reduce any compression while you repetitively push the foot as it is securely attached to the pedal [2].

Athletic shoes for Hiking

Hiking is an outdoor sport that will take you through different surfaces and terrains. A hiking shoe needs to provide stability as you walk across uneven surfaces, as well as comfort and cushion in the insole to absorb the shock from various impacts [2]. Hiking shoes also should have a good tread on the sole to keep your foot firmly planted on the surfaces that you encounter to keep you from falling [2]. If you can find one that has a high guard around the foot that would be great. These provide ankle stability.

Athletic shoes for Golf

Golf shoes need to provide stability in the arch of the shoe as the game requires players to walk long distances on changing surfaces. If possible, it is best to purchase a golf shoe with a removable insole so that you can add an orthotic if necessary.

Cross trainers

Cross trainers are a sort of go-to option if you cannot find the right shoe for your specific sports. Also, if you are active in many different forms of exercise each week, a crosstraining shoe may be the best choice [2]. This does not mean that you should bypass the right sports specific shoe and go for cross trainers. Especially if you play competitive sports or do a lot of intensive training. You want to go for the right shoe, those repetitive micro injuries add up very quickly.

This is a comprehensive guide to choosing Sports specific shoes, especially for South Africans since that is where we are in the world and these sports are relatively popular.

If you do not see your favorite sports on this list do not worry. Just use the comment section below and tell us what your favorite sports are and we will promptly respond to you with some advice. Also, if you can add to this list, maybe we missed something that you know about in detail. Feel free to do so.

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Works Cited
[1] Tyler Wheeler, “What Are the Different Types of Athletic Shoes?,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed 11 May 2019].
[2] C. K. I. Brian M Weatherford, “Athletic Shoes,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed 11 May 2019].
[3] K. IRELAND, “The Difference Between Soccer & Rugby Cleats,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed 24 May 2019].
[4] S. PERKINS, “What Are the Benefits of Training in Boxing Shoes?,” [Online]. Available: [Accessed 24 May 2019].
[5] Spinning®, “The Spinning®Guide to Cycling Shoes and Cleats,” 12 April 2019. [Online]. Available:
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Thando W. Dlamini, BA

Sport Development and Exercise Science Practitioner

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1 Response

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