Many believe that picking a stick is the most important decision field hockey players make when choosing their gear. Considering the game revolves around running around and using those sticks to wallop a little ball, it’s no wonder players carefully consider the length, weight and other specifications of their field hockey sticks. But what good is the stick if the shoes players are wearing can’t get them around the field?
Choosing the appropriate high quality shoe is critical for field hockey players to reach their peak performance. The best shoes for field hockey emphasize the importance of traction and feature a balance between lightness and stability. Each shoe offers something unique, but both of these are qualities no shoe can go without.
Field hockey players need a clear picture of the shoes they need in mind with a sizable number of models and variations to sort through. This article will serve as a guide for field hockey players looking to find their best shoes. In it, we’ll cover:
- Shoes by surface
- Qualities to keep in mind
- Breaking down the brands
- Three websites to get you started
Table of Contents
Where do you play Field Hockey?
Is the field being played on made of grass? Is it made of turf instead? What kind of turf? The type of surface you play on dramatically changes the type of shoe you’ll need to be at your best.
Generally, the sport is played outdoors. Many players that are high school-aged or younger will find themselves playing on fields made of grass and dirt, as many older recreational players will as well. Some high schools and most college and professional play take place on fields made of either field or synthetic turf.
You’ll need different types of shoes for both grass and turf fields. While there is nuance in the many details different models of shoes boast, this is the key detail you want to verify before purchasing a shoe.
You need to buy a shoe with rubber cleats if you are playing on a field made of grass. The distinction of the sort of cleats is on purpose; many leagues that take place on grass fields will verify that players are wearing rubber cleats before allowing them to play. This is to keep players safe! Rubber cleats can dig into the elements better than any shoe can, and ensure that traction is gained safely while being less dangerous than a metal cleat.
You need to buy what’s known as a turf shoe if you are playing on a field made of either field or synthetic turf. With a much finer and resilient surface, rubber cleats do not dig in well to turf surfaces, and can ultimately not be relied any more on turf than they can be on a gymnasium floor. Turf shoes gain traction, provide stability and safety, and use a variety of traction outsole patterns to account for player preference.
It’s also important to note that some players do not always wear field hockey shoes – which is a bit confusing since this is such a no-no for other sports. On grass, both soccer and lacrosse cleats are popularly worn and can be counted on for much of the same performance. On turf, cross trainers are common and reliable, as long as they have the appropriate traction.
Qualities to keep in mind
Once we understand the general sort of shoe needed, we can begin thinking about the different qualities and compositions field hockey shoes offer. The specifics of the outsole, the shoe’s durability, and the comfort and overall support of the shoe are the three key qualities you want to pay attention to when looking for your shoe.
The outsole of the shoe determines the traction the shoe has to offer. As we’ve discussed, the sort of outsole depends on where the game is played – but both are designed to offer the most traction for their respective surfaces. Field Hockey is a game played at full speed, where one moment you’re digging in and the next you’re pivoting quickly. Both types of shoes need to be made reliably and be durable enough to withstand a lot of wear and tear.
To continue that thought – durability often determines how long a shoe lasts. Cutting, starting and stopping, getting stepped on, logging multiple miles per game, and practicing field hockey players put their footwear through the ringer. Look for shoes with quality materials, sufficient padding and support, and offer enough protection to the ankle.
Padding and support must be appropriate for the player’s individual preference. Some prefer a lot of cushion, a high top for complete ankle coverage, or a certain type of laces. Player preference, in other words, has a lot to do with the difference in qualities offered by shoes. Different feet have different needs, and the appropriate support varies as a result.
When it comes to fit – pick a shoe that’s a tiny bit looser than you might normally go with. Many players will wear thick or double socks when they play, which largely fills whatever gap is felt. This both adds additional support and protects against blisters while also helping to secure shin guards in place.
As with any other article of clothing, it’s important to dig into the customer reviews and pay attention to each shoe’s ratings when evaluating. When it comes to athletic footwear, many athletes fear fretting over the seemingly endless pool of shoes to sort through, and once they do, they’re eager to share their find with their peers.
Learning what other athletes have to say about a shoe they’ve worn and competed in can give you a glimpse of what to expect, good or bad.
Top field hockey shoe brands
As with any athletic shoe, there are a number of brands competing for the hearts, minds, and wallets of field hockey players. Brands big and small offer different styles and innovations, and there are a wide variety of shoes for players to choose from. Here are four we think stand out in the crowd.
Largely considered one of the best designers of field hockey shoes, Asics shoes are worn by players all over the world and might not be the first brand to come to mind (they make extremely popular running shoes, too). Asics field hockey shoes are lightweight and reliably built – plus, the company specializes in reliable cross-training footwear. They offer some of the best traction available and are ideal for turf play.
You name the shoe, and Adidas offers a version just as good or better than any other option. With a wide variety of shoes designed for turf, Adidas also has great offerings for grass play. Rubber cleats designed specifically for field hockey are best, but virtually any of Adidas rubber cleated options – especially those for lacrosse or even soccer – work well.
For passionate players that don’t want a name brand shoe or clear, brands like Kookaburra can be counted on for producing high quality and high performance footwear. They offer affordable shoes and cleats that look great and are made with reliable materials. The shoes are made by and for field hockey players that know what makes a great shoe.
Like Kookaburra, Grays offers shoes that are designed by people who know and love the game. Grays are very popular in Europe and can be a bit difficult to track down online, but are worn by many foreign players for a good reason: Their shoes are lightweight, durable, and stylish.
Three stores to begin your search
With an understanding of key qualities and what the market has to offer, all that’s left to do is to get started hunting for the best field hockey shoe for you. Check out these three stores to get started!
- Amazon – As with everything else you could imagine, Amazon is an ideal marketplace to search for a diverse offerings. With many different brands and unique styles, if you’re looking to sort through a wide varsity, Amazon is a great place to start.
- Total Hockey – Field Hockey is a sport with many dedicated players and fans, and sites like Total Hockey serve as places of community. Total Hockey offers a range of shoes from both big and small brands that can be thought of as a collection of player’s favorites.
- SportShop – A go-to resource for field hockey players. Plenty of styles, comprehensive shoe reviews, and clear rankings of their most popular offerings – this site provides field hockey players with confidence that they’re making informed decisions.