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TOP 4 CRICKET SHOE BUYING TIPS

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT CRICKET SHOE

Gone are the days of wearing heavy rocks for shoes out at the cricket. With cricket gear technology today as advanced as ever, cricket footwear has completely transformed from clunky boots to what you get these days.

To make cricket shoe buying easier, we have split down shoes into categories based on the applications of each aspect of the game. While there may be crossovers, each aspect of the game has a separate list of features which are conducive to it.

A rule of thumb to follow when buying cricket shoes is to buy from specialist shoemakers like ASICS, Adidas, Puma, Nike, New Balance, Jazba and Payntr. Try and avoid shoes from gear making brands like GM and Kookaburra who only commission a third party to make their shoes and hence, lack the finesse and the R&D that goes into making a solid cricket shoe.

Here is our guide to picking out the right shoe every time:

 

1. BATTING/KEEPING

For batters and keepers, the shoes are the same due to similar foot movements for each. Broadly speaking, shoes meant for these aspects should be considerably lightweight and have a grippy forefoot area. Here’s what to look for in batting/keeping shoes:

  • Weight- An ideal pair of batting/wicket-keeping shoes is one that’s as light as possible to facilitate agile foot movements. As a batter who likes to use feet against spin or quick running, or a keeper who has to dive around, a pair of lightweight boots allows you to do it all without your feet feeling worn down. The ASICS Gel ODI and the Adidas Howzat shoes are the lightest shoes around, making running around easier
  • Midsole- Since this aspect of playing requires the best amount of grip to avoid slippage or instabilities, a good pair of cricket spikes fit for these would generally have a midsole which flattens out around the forefoot. The Adidas 22 YDS has the most tapered midsole in the forefoot, which brings feet closer to the ground, offering better control and grip. Additionally, the feet will also naturally angle forwards, allowing you to burst into a sudden movement with ease
  • Spike Layout- In the spirit of being conducive to these aspects, an ideal pair will typically run a 7-spike front and 2 spike rear. With this as a rule of thumb for a good shoe, it ensures minimal heel weight and maximum forefoot grip.
    However, there are exceptions like the Adidas Howzat Spike which has a 5/2 layout. For what it loses in forefoot grip, it makes up for it with an incredibly lightweight upper which allows unparalleled movement
  • Support- For these, the stability comes in the form of midfoot and ankle support, wherein a good quality build offers ample cushioning to the ankle and heels, locking them in place to minimize any slipping inside the shoe that can cause instabilities. The heel on the Puma 19.2 spikes is the snuggest, which holds you in place and stops the foot from sliding around too much

WHACK Rankings: Scored on a total out of 10, these are our ratings for batting/keeping spikes

Click here to explore our picks of batting/keeping spikes

2. BOWLING

For bowling seam, a good pair of spikes need to pull out all stops to offer the best of comfort, stability, and support. Since a bowler puts through their entire body weight through these, a lot of R&D goes into making a good pair. Here’s what to look for in bowling shoes:

  • Weight- Due to multiple components applied to these shoes, they typically weigh more than their peers. That’s not to say that these shoes cannot be light. The new Adidas Vector-Mids boast a knit upper in stark contrast to the existing batch of leather uppers available on the market. These are incredibly lightweight, shaving off copious amounts of weight from the shoes to reduce foot fatigue from lugging heavy shoes
  • Midsole- Another key component that makes a bowling shoe solid is the midsole. Since seam bowlers tend to jam their feet into the ground to generate pace, a shoe with a thick and highly responsive midsole is of essence. This aids in absorbing a considerable amount of shock from slamming your foot and in turn, eases pressure off your joints
  • Spike Layout- Completely opposite to the batting spikes, a bowling shoe must have girth at the heel. Since a bowler’s landing is quite heavy, running a shoe with 2 spikes at the back is quite risky since there aren’t enough of them to offer you grip which can lead to slipping. Traditionally, bowling spikes have run 4 at the heel to offer you grip, like you find on the ASICS Speed Menace. Adidas have changed things up with 3 spike heels, which still give you the grip that you need as a bowler whilst also minimizing ankle rollovers because of the lone 3rd spike gently tilting your foot inwards
  • Support- The most important feature of a good bowling shoe is the support on offer. Due to the intense nature of seam bowling, the stability and support offered by bowling spikes can make or break your experience
    • The outsole stability being the most important part of this, the stiffer the base of the shoe the better since it will keep your foot flat upon impact, drastically reducing any chances of your foot rolling over due to an instability. Something that New Balance cannot quite achieve on the 4040 shoes
    • Another aspect is the support along the ankles and heels. A higher ankle cut covers a larger area around your foot, holding you in place and preventing ankle rollovers, a common injury cause. Additionally, the extra cushioning also soaks up the shock upon landing impact. This is something that you find on the Adidas Vector-Mid and on the ASICS Speed Menace
    • Lastly, an add-on which can certainly make your bowling experience significantly better is the presence of a foot locking system along with the laces. This can either work with a locking strap like on the ASICS and Puma Bowling spikes, to secure the midfoot, or with the a precision-locking dial system like on the Adidas Vector-Mid

WHACK Rankings: Scored on a total out of 10, these are our ratings for bowling spikes

 

Click here to explore our picks of bowling spikes

 

3. ALL-ROUND SPIKES

While it may be too annoying to carry separate batting and bowling spikes, or if you are only a weekend warrior who doesn’t want to carry more than 1 set of spikes, a good middle ground is to go for all round spikes, which offer the best of both worlds. Here’s what to look for in all-rounder shoes:

  • Weight- To keep things stable, these should sit somewhere in the middle of batting and bowling spikes. A good pair should be light enough where it doesn’t wear your feet down but also heavy enough wherein, they should be substantial enough to grip the turf when bowling seam, like seen on the ASICS Not Outs
  • Midsole- More inclined towards the bowling side of things, an all-round pair should have a thick and responsive midsole where it can withstand the impact of seam bowling. While a thick midsole may not cause problems for batters, a flattened midsole can be quite risky to bowl seam in as it cannot soak up as much shock upon the bowler’s impact
    As a spinner, you can go for something more batting centric like the Adidas 22 YDS or the New Balance CK10
  • Spike Layout- Based on your bowling style, you can opt for all-round shoes with the right spike configuration
    Spinners would generally benefit from a 2-spike heel, like with the Adidas 22 YDS. That said, you aren’t limited to just these. Something like the Nike Domain 2 is a great for option for bowling both seam and spin with the ability to replace heel spikes with rubbers, like all other all-round shoes
    For something more along the lines of pace-bowling, the ideal shoes are the ASICS Not Out, Adidas Vector and the Puma 19.2
  • Support- The best part of good all-round shoes is the kind of stability and support on offer. Since they cater to both batters and bowlers, the cushioning and overall structure of the shoes are meticulously engineered on a good pair of spikes to give you immense support without impeding mobility

WHACK Rankings: Scored on a total out of 10, these are our ratings for all-round spikes

Click here to explore our picks of all-round spikes

 

4. RUBBER/TRAINING SHOES

For folks who train or play on synthetic/hard wickets, you cannot use spikes and must hence, go for a pair of cricket rubber spikes. Whilst you can still swap out metal spikes for rubber tags on existing shoes, you are better off saving precious time by purchasing a good quality pair of rubbers to see you off. Here’s what to look for in cricket rubbers:

  • Weight- Due to the absence of metal spikes, a pair of rubbers will generally be significantly lighter. That said, since one spends a lot of time at training, a good pair of rubbers is one that has a solid construction but is still quite lightweight to reduce foot fatigue
  • Midsole- Since the underlying surface of hard wickets is concrete, landing and running on those surfaces can take its toll. Hence, a good pair of cricket rubbers is one which is highly responsive and soft, to minimise the impact of landing
    The Jazba Cover Drives boast the chunkiest midsole which offers high amounts of shock absorption, easing off the landing shock
  • Tread- Since these shoes have a rubber outsole surface, the tread is the key factor in deciding the quality of a good cricket rubber. A smooth surface for the tread is the least ideal since it won’t grip onto the surface, leading to slippage like you find on the New Balance 4020s. Hence, a tread with grooves or texture is preferable since it grips the surface, offering you good traction and grip. The Puma FH Rubbers offer the best traction due to micro-grooves running all along the tread
  • Support- For these, the support should predominantly cover the ankle and heel area. Owing to the hard nature of the concrete surfaces, good rubber spikes should cup your ankle nice and snug to reduce the chances of ankle rollovers. The Jazba OneDrive 111s boast the highest ankle cut and stiff cup, which aid bowling brilliantly. Additionally, the stability in the midfoot region plays a key role in reducing injuries as a good pair will come with a lacing system that locks in your mid-foot, minimizing slippage inside the shoe that can cause instabilities, and as a result, injuries

WHACK Rankings: Scored on a total out of 10, these are our ratings for cricket rubbers

Click here to explore our range of cricket rubbers

 

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