My ‘career’ as a social netball player came to a painful end when a sharp change in direction, playing the position of wing defence, resulted in a tear in my left knee meniscus and some ligament and tissue damage. Many trips to the orthopaedic surgeon later, I decided to hang up my vest. Like most social players I didn’t see the need to buy special shoes. All my other teammates played in their running or cross trainers too, and I was unaware that there were shoes designed for the specific challenges of the sport. I was a half-marathon runner at the time, and I’d spent a small fortune on a trusted running brand, and naturally, I figured it was good for everything.
What I wish I knew
Netball is a fast-paced, action-filled, high-energy sport. You’re constantly moving, changing direction and jumping and landing. It is so far removed from the steady forward motion of a runner but somehow the connection between the purpose of the shoe and the needs of the sport just didn’t register.
A proper netball shoe is designed to facilitate short, sharp movements and quick changes of direction. These also require excellent shock absorption as jumping to intercept those high passes and landing on hard surfaces can have a significant impact on your feet and your joints. The correct shoe does not only enhance your game but, can also prevent injury and keep you in the game.
What to look for in a netball shoe
Look for a trainer that has Strobel stitching. This method of manufacturing offers more flexibility and is commonly used in most athletic shoes for this reason. A trainer that sits higher up on the ankle provides that vital ankle protection needed in this game and a padded tongue and collar offer extra support too. Check to see that the sock of the shoe has technical enhancements such as gel pads in the heels that provides extra shock absorption for heavy landings. Also useful is an eyelet locking mechanism that offers stability which can prevent slippage of the foot within the shoe during play and a rubber midsole that provides the quick-reaction bounce you need to keep moving.
Why choose Olympic
While I miss the thrill and fun of competing and the camaraderie of team sports, I’m a little injury shy these days. I’ve since hung up my running shoes too and prefer gentler fitness pursuits like walking and strength training. But I have learnt a key lesson – the correct shoe can make all the difference whether it’s just walking or playing sports recreationally. Olympic International is presently partnered with the South African Schools Netball Association and are putting their shoes through vigorous testing to fine-tune the design and technical features and has already received great reviews from the public. Add a competitive price point to the mix and you have a choice of shoes that come with the right technical features that could save you a lot of downtime due to injury and at a cost that won’t break the bank.
Shop their selection of netball shoes at www.boltonfootwearonline.co.za