Field hockey is not considered a full-contact sport but ask any hockey player who has ever experienced the business end of a hockey stick or a hurtling ball crashing into their toe or shin at upwards of 70 kilometres per hour, and you might get a different picture of the sport.
While there is no hockey shoe in the history of the game that is designed to deflect a misguided hockey stick, there are ones that are designed to protect your feet from the impact of stopping a speeding ball for instance and other features that will help to prevent injury.
The most common hockey injuries are related to inadequate protection or lack of ankle support, overuse or strain. So, if you’re shopping for a new hockey shoe or you’re a first time player, be sure to tick off these basic features before making a purchase.
The weight of a shoe can have an impact on ease of movement in a multi-directional game such as field hockey. A good shoe will be light on the feet but still offer all the features you’re looking for in a hockey shoe when it comes to speed and agility.
Many have pointed out toe protection as a key feature in a hockey shoe. Check for a reinforced toe cap (and heel) but that doesn’t add any unnecessary weight to the shoe. Toe protection could mean the difference between and slightly bruised big toe (an occupational hazard) or a fractured toe that could see you benched.
Ankle sprains and fractures are also common among hockey players. A shoe with added padding in the tongue or lining can go a long way to giving you the stability you need during play.
High-impact sports requires high-performing shoes, especially in the sole. Check for padding or cushioning in the heel and at the ball of the foot of your hockey shoe.
To save on costs, look for a hockey shoe that is suitable for grass and astroturf. A shoe with an aggressive tread pattern offers adequate traction on the soles of the shoe which makes sharp turns and stops that much easier to control.
The inner lining and locking system can contribute to controlling slippage within the shoe. Shoes should have a comfortable fit with room to play but not too much or you’ll end up with blackened toenails. The lacing system should also be adjustable to suit your foot.
Durability and price
Hockey shoes need to be tough and durable and not come apart at the seams after only a few games. Look for shoes that have Strobel stitching, this is what gives athletic or sports shoes its flexibility. PU uppers are easy to clean and can be breathable too. These shoes are generally also much more affordable too.
Once you’ve got these basics down, you can turn your attention to fine-tuning your skills on the turf.