Andrew Parker

Best Racquetball Shoes – Buyer’s Guide

Best Elliptical under 500When preparing to play a sport, it is necessary to ensure that you have the proper equipment. More often, this consideration is focused around a ball, puck, or some other item that is moved. Moving the item often involves a racquet, club, or stick of some sort. However, often people forget about their footwear.

When playing racquetball, it is vital to make sure that you have the best racquetball shoes available. Of course, that means different thing to different people and heavily depends on your physical abilities as well as your playing style (READ MORE: Step-by-step Guide for Choosing Best Racquetball Racquet, Best Racquetball Gloves and Best Racquetball String).

Best Racquetball Shoes 2018

Figuring out which pair of racquetball shoes best suit your abilities and playing style can be confusing. That is why we have put together a list of the 6 best racquetball shoes and highlighted what each one does best. Then we provide a helpful buyer’s guide, so you can find the best racquetball shoes for you.

Product
Outer SoleMidsoleUpperCut 
Adidas Barricade
(Editor’s Choice)
ADIWEAR 6 RubberADIPRENETPU and MeshLow
NC gum rubberForefoot GELMesh and syntheticLow
ASICS Gel Rocket 8
(People’s Choice)
NC gum rubberForefoot GELMesh and syntheticLow
N-durance RubberC-CAP midsoleFull Grain LeatherLow
Gum RubberShockEraserMesh and syntheticMid
Gum RubberEVASynthetic LeatherLow

1. Adidas Performance Barricade Club Tennis Shoes – Best Shoes for Racquetball (Editor’s Choice)

Adidas Performance Barricade Club Tennis ShoesThe adidas Performance Men’s Barricade Club Tennis Shoes may seem a bit odd to appear on this list, but tennis and racquetball actually have a great deal in common with one another. On top of that, Adidas has made a name for itself, primarily as a manufacturer of high-end athletic shoes which are suitable for professionals, enthusiasts, and casual players alike. With the Barricade Club, Adidas sought to provide an all-around excellent pair of shoes that did pretty much everything well without focusing too much on any single approach.

Cushion

Adidas is apparently well-aware that many racquetball players are extremely enthusiastic. Whether you play competitively or just for fun, you will definitely be able to push these shoes to the limit without having to worry about being sore the next day.

This is because adidas provides a solid cushioning that is different depending on the part of your foot. The forefoot is protected by adidas’ ADIPRENE+ cushion, which offers some additional bounce in place of pure shock absorption. However, the heel uses the standard ADIPRENE cushion, which focuses exclusively on absorbing the shock from a leaping landing.

Mobility

Anyone who jumps a lot will invariably need to be able to control their motions better than those who remain firmly planted on the ground. To this end, Adidas offers a number of features, which provide a good mix of mobility and control. The TORSION midfoot shank is a prime example of this being stiff enough to brace against but flexible enough to give on the go. On top of that, the ADIWEAR 6 rubber outer sole provides decent traction but will not stop you short and roll your ankle.

Pros:
  • ADIWEAR 6 offers solid balance between traction and durability
  • ADIPRENE heel cushion offers good cushion
  • ADIPRENE+ forefoot support provides solid bounce
  • ADITUFF toes are durable
  • TORSION midfoot balances support and mobility
  • TPU and mesh upper offers great mobility
  • Solid traction style
Cons:
  • A slightly more expensive pair of racquetball shoe
  • Not the best ankle support
  • One of the heavier racquetball shoes

2. ASICS Gel Rocket 7 Volleyball Shoes – Best Racquetball Shoes for Women

ASICS Gel Rocket 7 Volleyball ShoesWhile the Gel Rocket 7’s may not strictly be the best pair of racquetball shoes on our list–and are not even the best pair of ASICS that we reviewed–you can still get an amazing value from last year’s model at a greatly reduced price compared to most of the other products that we reviewed. On top of that, these shoes are solid for players who find themselves leaping around the court and making regular smashes.

Mobility

One of the best aspects of the Gel Rocket 7s is the fact that they are intended to offer excellent mobility. This may be in part due to their design as volleyball shoes, but they perform just as well for racquetball. This mobility actually begins with the traction. While NC gum rubber may not strictly be the “stickiest” traction we saw, it still offers a decent grip. When you combine that with a well-rounded traction style that can handle medial and sagittal movements equally with a toe pivot for rotational movements, you get an outer sole that can do it all.

Comfort

Just as important as mobility is, comfort should weigh heavily as well–especially if you are an amateur. In this instance, you will want a shoe that offers excellent response to the conditions of hard play. For the Gel Rocket 7s, this begins with a Forefoot gel that offers some of the better cushioning we came across. While the heel may not be as reinforced, the mesh and synthetic upper provides some of the better breathability on our list as well. Altogether, they make the Gel Rocket 7s a pleasure to play in.

Pros:
  • Forefoot gel makes landing smoother
  • The least expensive product reviewed
  • The Trusstic system helps keep the shoes stable
  • One of the lighter racquetball shoes
  • NC gum rubber toe provides decent traction
  • Provides excellent breathability
  • Solid traction style
Cons:
  • Not the best ankle support
  • Fit tends to run a bit small
  • Stiff and not as durable

3. ASICS Gel Rocket 8 Volleyball Shoes – Best Rated Racquetball Shoes (People’s Choice)

ASICS Gel Rocket 8 Volleyball ShoesAfter the success of ASICS Gel Rocket 7s, they went back to the drawing board to see how they eke out just a bit more performance from arguably one of the better indoor court shoes on the market. After examining what some of the more specialized brands did in terms of design, they slightly changed an already winning formula and came out with the Gel Rocket 8s. While the Gel Rocket 7s and the Gel Rocket 8s share a great number of features in common, the 8s sport just enough improvements to make them the most popular racquetball shoes on our list.

Mobility

Much like the Gel Rocket 7s, the Gel Rocket 8s seek to offer the player exceptional mobility. While they do so through traction, in similar–the improved ways–as the Gel Rocket 7s, the Gel Rocket 8’s traction is in another class on their own.

That said, they still provide the additional mobility features that come with the Gel Rocket 7s. For example, this is one of the lighter racquetball pair of shoes we saw, and they are actually only second to the Gel Rocket 7s for the lightest shoe on our list. On top of that, the Trusstic system allows the sole to remain durable even while giving up additional weight.

Traction

That said, easily the biggest improvement from the Rocket Gel 7s to the Rocket Gel 8s has to be the traction. However, it will take a well-trained eye to understand why this is the case. This is because the Gel Rocket 7s and the Gel Rocket 8s actually use the same NC Gum Rubber.

While the rubber is not the stickiest, it still offers more than enough grip for most players. Still, it is the traction style featuring the mixture of herringbone tread on the lateral outer sole and a suction cup design coupled with a pivot on the medial outer sole that makes the Gel Rocket 8s better for traction than the Gel Rocket 7s.

Pros:
  • One of the lighter racquetball shoes
  • Forefoot gel makes landing smoother
  • The Trusstic system helps keep the shoes stable
  • NC gum rubber toe provides decent traction
  • Excellent traction style
  • A less expensive pair of racquetball shoes
  • Provides excellent breathability
Cons:
  • Not the best ankle support
  • A tad looser tying than some
  • Not the most durable

4. New Balance WC806 Tennis-W Tennis Shoes – Best Racquetball Shoes New Balance

New Balance WC806 Tennis-W Tennis ShoesNew Balance is far more well-known for making cross trainers and general running shoes than they are for competitive sports. That said, New Balance has definitely been making a push to produce shoes that are suited for professional play with a special focus on shoes that are used for sports with a court. In that vein, New Balance has made the WC806s, which are a great value tennis shoe, though they may not suit the most competitive of players.

Durability

The biggest value aspect coming from these shoes has to be their durability. Unless you are okay purchasing a new pair of racquetball shoes every few months or so, you might be better off spending a little bit more and getting a pair of shoes that will be able to take a beating for an extended period of time.

With full grain leather uppers, the WC806s are by far the most durable pair of racquetball shoes that we came across. Still, New Balance is not willing to rest on that quality alone and offer an outer sole made of their proprietary N-Durance rubber.

Comfort

Another primary issue for casual players or those who are simply enthusiasts is comfort. Unless you expect your body to take a regular beating as you train, there is no reason your feet should be sore the next day–regardless of how hard you play. To accommodate their target demographic, New Balance offers a few features to make their shoes more comfortable. First, the C-Cap midsole will provide good cushion to your forefoot while the ABZORB heel cushion will prevent hard landings from jarring your foot. Second, the TPU RollBar keeps your foot stable to prevent overextension.

Pros:
  • Upper made of full grain leather
  • Excellent traction style
  • ABZORB cushion for landing softly
  • TPU RollBar stabilizes rearfoot
  • C-Cap midsole balances cushion and flexibility
  • Provides excellent breathability
  • Can be used outdoors
Cons:
  • Not the best traction
  • One of the heavier racquetball shoes
  • Most expensive racquetball shoes reviewed

5. Ektelon Men’s T22 Mid Racquetball Shoes – Best Type of Shoes for Racquetball

Ektelon Men's T22 Mid Racquetball ShoesEktelon is the first and only brand on our list that specializes exclusively in making and selling products for racquetball. While there are other excellent brands that we reviewed–and even a few that tend to focus on sports played on courts–Ektelon is the only brand that stays within the Racquetball market to the exclusion of all others. For an enthusiast, this allows Ektelon to provide one of the better all-around performing racquetball shoes that we saw.

Stability

One of the often-overlooked aspects of racquetball shoes is stability. Because racquetball requires the player to dart around the court for oddly angled shots, mobility is generally stressed over stability. While this may work well for professionals or even highly competitive amateurs, it leaves casual players and enthusiasts at risk of ankle injuries.

To alleviate this issue, Ektelon has come out with a mid-top cut racquetball shoe that offers far more ankle support than any other that we reviewed. This is also one of the few racquetball shoes that we saw which uses the classic gum rubber for top-tier traction–though the traction style leaves a bit to be desired, but that is expected for a shoe focusing on stability.

Stability (Again)

Ektelon has sold out completely when it comes to stability, which may be exactly what you need depending on your physical condition and your play style. To go along with the mid-top cut, the T-22 Mid also offers a TPU forefoot strap design. This prevents the front of your foot from overextending and will help further prevent the dreaded rolled ankle injury. To provide further stability for medial movement, Ektelon uses a TPU shank called the wYshbone. The best part about this shank is it is rigid enough to brace against but flexible enough to offer some wiggle room.

Pros:
  • Better ankle support than most
  • Provides reasonable breathability
  • TPU forefoot straps offer additional stability
  • wYshbone shank increases medial stability
  • Gum rubber offers great traction
  • ShockEraser midsole for landing softly
  • PU inner for fit and cushioning
Cons:
  • Not the most mobile
  • The heaviest racquetball shoes reviewed
  • A more expensive pair of racquetball shoes

6. HEAD Men’s Grid 2.0 Low Racquetball/Squash Indoor Court Shoes – Best Racquetball Shoes HEAD

HEAD Men's Grid 2.0 Low Racquetball/Squash Indoor Court ShoesWhen it comes to sports played on a court, few brands have the prestige and reputation of HEAD. Whether you play tennis, squash, pickleball, or racquetball, Head offers a wide array of professional quality equipment. Interestingly enough, the Grid 2.0 is technically intended to be used as a squash shoe, but the similarity between the two sports lend it just as well to racquetball. That said, you should likely be competitive if you want to use this racquetball shoe.

Traction

Part of this is because the HEAD Grid 2.0 offers by far the best all-around traction that we saw. While the outer sole is ultimately composed of a soft, tacky gum rubber, the compound has been altered a bit. This Hybrasion gum rubber provides the best of both worlds where your outer sole provides high-end traction, but it will not wear away quickly either–though it is still definitely too soft to take outside.

Beyond the outer sole’s material, the tread style of the HEAD Grid 2.0 is also one of the best we saw. While we would have preferred there to be a forefoot pivot, the medial outer sole design of herringbone with a lateral outer sole design of softer waves ensure that your foot will stick wherever you put it.

Mobility

The traction of the HEAD Grid 2.0 actually goes towards improving its mobility as well. With the stickier grip, a player who has excellent footwork will find that they can respond at the drop of a hat and be across court in a flash. Beyond the traction, this is also one of the lighter pairs of racquetball shoes that we saw and by far the highest performing pair at this weight. This will further increase your foot speed, especially for the nuances of technical footwork. Finally, the nylon anti-torsion shank will bend and flex just enough to not impede your movement, but it will still offer a stiff enough brace to pivot off.

Pros:
  • One of the lighter racquetball shoes
  • A reasonably priced pair of racquetball shoes
  • Gum rubber offers great traction
  • Decent traction style
  • Provides good breathability
  • HyBrasion compound is durable
  • Solid nylon anti-torsion shank
Cons:
  • Not the best ankle support
  • Fit runs a bit small
  • Not the best cushioning

Best Racquetball Shoes Reviews – Buyer’s Guide

Outer Sole:

Best Racquetball ShoesThis is by far the most important quality for most people when choosing a pair of racquetball shoes. The outer sole will ultimately determine how much traction you have which will be important both for mobility and for stability. That said, your physical ability would probably lend you to one type of traction over another. This is because too much traction can actually be a bad thing if your body is not able to handle the G-forces when you stop. This can even lead to injuries–especially ankle injuries.

Material

All racquetball shoe outer soles will be made out of rubber. That said, some types of rubber are harder than others. The harder the rubber, the less traction the outer sole will provide. The softest type of rubber used for outer soles is gum rubber. This rubber is exceptionally soft and will provide incredible traction. Of course, this is material that can stop you so suddenly you roll your ankle if you are not careful.

One of the ways that racquetball shoe manufacturers account for this is by adding polyurethane to the rubber. This will ultimately make the outer sole harder, less sticky, and reduce the traction. On the plus side, it will also allow the outer sole to slide a bit which will help prevent ankle injuries. On top of that, rubber with polyurethane added to it is also significantly more durable than pure gum rubber.

Design

Racquetball ShoesWhile the material of the outer sole is by far the most influential in terms of traction and durability, the design of the tread will also play an important role in how well the outer sole sticks. In this regard, you will want to avoid any shoes that have deep or thicker treads without a good reason. This is because the more surface of the outer sole that makes contact with the court, the better traction it will provide.

For indoor courts, like the ones on which racquetball is played, you will want either hexagonal or herringbone tread designs. Herringbone offers more all-around traction, but hexagonal tread will provide better lateral traction. Another feature to look for is a forefoot pivot. This is a circular design that sits right under the first joint of the big toe. This feature provides an excellent point for jumping and sprinting.

Midsole:

After the outer sole, the next most important part of a racquetball shoe is the midsole. This is the part of the shoe that your foot directly rests one. Depending on the design, features, and materials of the midsole, you will play better with one style or another. For instance, if you have a tendency to play a hard style with a lot of leaping smashes, you will want to make sure that the midsole offers plenty of heel cushioning.

Conversely, if you play a quicker style that involves sprinting in a chase and recover strategy, you will definitely want to invest in some racquetball shoes with responsive forefoot cushion. Though, cushion for the forefoot is generally designed to provide a bit of recoil to help you sprint and change direction quickly rather than offer protection from hard leaps.

Shank:

Racquetball ShoesAn overlooked factor in racquetball shoes is the shank. This is the part of the shoe at and around the arch of the foot. Depending on whether you are looking for more mobility or more stability, the shank will need to be firmer or more flexible in response. That said, all good quality racquetball shoe shanks should offer a good mix of both.

If you are looking for a more stable racquetball shoe, then a firmer shank will be preferred. However, a firm shank can also work well for a player who shifts laterally quite often–so long as they have a tendency to play on their toes. That said, a firm shank could also leave the sole of the foot sore if you do not use the proper footwork.

Flexible shanks are generally preferred by most players, as they are more forgiving than firm shanks and are far less likely to leave the sole of your foot sore after play. The main issue with more flexible shanks is that they will not stabilize your foot quite so much. Sprinters often prefer this arrangement as it prevents the shank from impeding on their movements.

Conclusion:

In the end, the best racquetball shoes will not mean the same thing to all players. That said, there are a number of qualities that can help you identify the best racquetball shoes for your needs. Since few of us are professional athletes, chances are the best racquetball shoes will be the ones that balance the different qualities out better than the others.

In this regard, the best racquetball shoes will actually turn out to be a pair of tennis shoes.

The Adidas Barricade Club aims to provide the best of all worlds without selling out too much in any direction. Whether you consider durability, traction, or mobility the most Important qualities when playing racquetball, the Adidas Barricade Clubs offer an excellent balance.

If you are looking for something a bit more budget-friendly, ASICS offers a great option with both their Gel Rocket 7s and their Gel Rocket 8s. While both of these shoes are similar, the Gel Rocket 7s definitely win in the price department, while the Gel Rocket 8s some slight improvements over the previous model.

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