2024-05-30
Home Performances tales How to choose field hockey shoes?
Performances tales

How to choose field hockey shoes?

Learn the critical importance of field hockey shoes, how this specialized footwear can transform your game, and discover 3 recommended models that will increase your agility and confidence on the playing field.

How to choose field hockey shoes?
Two female field hockey players fighting for the ball on the pitch.

Enter the dynamic and engaging world of field field hockey, a sport that captivates with its intensity and strategy. Imagine playing on a grassy field, ready to challenge the opposing team in a battle to score as many goals as possible via a field hockey stick. But there’s more behind this exciting game: field hockey shoes, custom-designed to meet the unique challenges of the sport. These specialized shoes offer a mix of grip, support, and protection, providing superior performance that generic shoes cannot emulate.

What shoes should you wear to practice field hockey?

field-hockey-shoes | shoestechnologies

Hockey shoes are an essential part of a player’s equipment. While hockey sticks undoubtedly play a central role, hockey shoes are the unsung heroes, quietly influencing players’ performance on the field.

Designed to provide support, traction and stability during play, hockey shoes feature non-slip soles with cleats that provide grip on the grassy field surface. They also offer cushioning and protection for the feet during fast movements and impacts with the ball and other players.

Choosing the right hockey shoes is crucial to ensure optimal performance and prevent injuries. It is important to consider fit, ankle support and the quality of the materials. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, investing in high-quality hockey shoes can make a difference in your comfort and performance on the field.

Different types of field hockey shoes

If you are a beginner in hockey and are thinking of buying the right shoes, there are a few considerations to bear in mind.

Initially, it is not necessary to invest in shoes specifically for hockey. You can opt for football or lacrosse shoes with cleats, which offer excellent grip and create the basis for your sporting aspirations. However, it is important to note that they may not offer the same level of protection.

field-hockey-shoes | shoestechnologies
Training and warming up on an outdoor field hockey field with performance shoes

When you start to feel more confident in the game and want to play it regularly at a higher level, you might consider switching to field hockey-specific shoes. These shoes offer specific features that make them suitable for the game, such as an elastic heel and toe for protection from hard balls.

The best hockey shoes also have reinforcements on the toe, heel and sides to protect against shots and stick hits.

Waterproofing is another key feature of these shoes, especially essential considering that most fields are artificial turf. Make sure the shoes have good waterproofing and an integrated insole to keep your feet dry and comfortable during play.

Indoor or outdoor field hockey shoes? What are the main differences?

hen entering the world of hockey, it is crucial to understand the differences between the two main types of the sport: ice hockey and field hockey. While sharing the same goal of maneuvering a ball or puck towards the opponent’s goal, these two variants have significant differences in rules, equipment and playing surface.

field-hockey-shoes | shoestechnologies
field hockey
field-hockey-shoes | shoestechnologies
ice hockey

Ice hockey is typically played on a smooth, frozen indoor rink, while field hockey is played on an artificial or natural grass field. Therefore, ice hockey requires more extensive protective equipment, including helmets, chest and shoulder pads, hockey gloves and jockstraps with protective cups. Field hockey requires less protection, generally only mouth guards and shin guards.

Shoes for ice hockey are skates with thick soles designed to slide on ice. For field hockey, players wear shoes with small cleats for better grip on the ground.

With or without cleats?

Field hockey cleats are fundamental components of an athlete’s arsenal, as they affect performance and comfort during play.

In terms of design and construction, hockey cleats are generally characterised by a low-profile design made of synthetic materials. This design aims to maintain a low centre of gravity, facilitating the agility and balance essential for the dynamic movements of hockey. The cleats of hockey shoes are often small and stubby, strategically placed under the sole to provide traction on various surfaces. In addition, some of them may incorporate a mesh lining on top to improve breathability during intense play.

Football cleats, on the other hand, have a more streamlined design and feature a snug fit to improve ball feel and control. The cleats of football boots are generally rounder and larger, optimised for the quick movements and changes of direction typical of football. Although both cleat types prioritise traction and stability, their respective designs adapt to the unique movement patterns and playing conditions of each sport.

field-hockey-shoes | shoestechnologies
Football cleats
field-hockey-shoes | shoestechnologies
Field hockey cleats

Women’s equipment

Since the debut of women’s ice hockey at the 1998 Winter Olympics, the popularity of women’s hockey has increased significantly. In response to this growing demand, some hockey equipment manufacturers started to develop specific lines for women. This equipment is distinguished by its proportions, weight and anatomical fit, adapting to the physical differences between men and women.

field-hockey-shoes | shoestechnologies

Equipment for female hockey players focuses on anatomical differences, such as wider hips and shorter chests. Women’s hockey trousers, for example, offer more room at the hips and shorter chests than men’s trousers. Women’s straps have contoured cups to fit larger chests, while men’s straps have a flat front.

Not all pieces of equipment have a specific version for women. In that case, many female players rely on unisex junior equipment, which offers dimensions and proportions more suited to female needs.

In which countries is field hocket most popular?

The popularity of field hockey in the United States is still growing, but it enjoys immense popularity in Europe and many other countries overseas.

To date, Pakistan has been the most successful men’s field hockey team, having won the championships four times. However, Pakistan’s dominance remained in the 20th century. India, the Netherlands, Germany and Australia are among the most successful teams today.

On the women’s side, the Netherlands has the most victories – nine world titles so far.

At the Summer Olympics, the situation is somewhat different: India has won eight golds in the men’s Olympic tournaments so far, while in the women’s competitions, the Netherlands has won four titles so far.

Based on these numbers, one might think that field hockey is a popular sport in India, Pakistan, the Netherlands, Argentina or Germany. However, the hard truth is that in most of these countries, hockey is not even in the top three of the four most popular sports.

The only exception is the Netherlands. Being a geographically flat area, the entire country is a perfect hockey pitch. Add to this the sporty and outgoing lifestyle that most Dutch people lead, and it makes sense that this country has a long tradition of hockey. In 2016, USA Today even published a report on hockey in the Netherlands, stating that at that time 253,000 people played the sport recreationally in the Netherlands. According to Statista’s numbers on hockey, this trend continued until 2019, evolving to the present day.

Thus, unlike their British neighbours overseas, the Dutch actively participate in hockey games, playing it as a recreational sport for all ages and as a professional national sport.

How to choose the right shoe: our tips on what to look out for

When comparing youth and adult hockey shoes, nuances in construction and fit stand out. The youth variants emphasise comfort and ease of use, reflecting the developmental needs of younger players. In contrast, adult models emphasise grip and support, meeting the requirements of competitive play.

Adherence and stability

Central to the effectiveness of hockey shoes is their grip technology, similar to that of trail running shoes. The sole, made of hardened rubber, is a test of precision engineering and offers maximum traction on the different terrains encountered on the hockey pitch. Many players add even more traction by wearing socks already equipped with grip.

This contrasts sharply with footwear designed for linear sports such as football, where grip requirements are significantly different.

Flexibility and lightweight

The sizing of hockey shoes requires careful consideration. Opting for a slightly larger size allows you to wear thicker socks during the game, ensuring a comfortable fit without compromising performance.

We always suggest increasing hockey shoes by half or a full size compared to normal everyday shoes. We suggest this because you need a little more space in a hockey shoe because of the thicker hockey socks, you also need some space in a hockey shoe to allow your foot to move comfortably in it, just to prevent your toes from getting stuck against the toe.

Ankle protection

Support and structure are equally important considerations in hockey shoe design. Recognising the intense stress on feet and ankles during play, hockey shoes incorporate precise anatomical features to reinforce stability and reduce the risk of injury. This delicate balance is achieved through careful design and workmanship.

Hockey shoes are specifically constructed to provide extra support in the event of impacts. Whether it’s a junior stick hitting a foot or a runner on a penalty kick.

field-hockey-shoes | shoestechnologies

3 suggested models to increase your performance

Hockey shoes are an essential piece of equipment for players of all levels, providing comfort, support and traction on the field. Each hockey shoe brand offers a unique blend of style, technology and performance to meet the different needs of players. Let’s take a closer look at some of the major hockey shoe brands and what sets them apart:

Adidas Adipower

field-hockey-shoes | shoestechnologies
ADIDAS ADIPOWER WEIGHTLIFTING 3
Photo credit: Adidas website

Designed to meet the needs of players, the Adidas Adipower field hockey shoe has a number of innovative features that make it ideal for intense challenges on the field. The breathable mesh upper offers optimal ventilation, keeping the foot cool and dry during action. Synthetic inserts provide additional support and wear resistance, ensuring exceptional durability even in the most demanding conditions.

The lace-up closure ensures a secure and customised fit, while the padded tongue offers additional comfort, reducing pressure on the lower limbs. The external reinforcement on the heel protects the foot from impact, providing extra stability during quick and sudden movements on the ground.

The inside of the shoe features an integrated lining that adapts to the shape of the foot, ensuring a precise and comfortable fit. The soft midsole with Bounce cushioning offers a superior level of comfort and flexibility, allowing the player to move with agility and confidence across the court.

Moreover, the addition of extra cushioning in the heel provides additional protection against impact, reducing stress on the joints during intense play.

Thanks to its breathable and lightweight characteristics, this shoe is perfect for those who play field hockey at a competitive or amateur level.

field-hockey-shoes | shoestechnologies
ADIDAS ADIPOWER WEIGHTLIFTING 3
Photo credit: Adidas website

Nike Vapor Drive

The limited edition Nike Vapor Drive hockey shoe range offers an excellent combination of style and performance to meet the challenges of hockey. Featuring an eye-catching white and pink upper and a red sole, these shoes not only catch the eye, but also offer advanced features to enhance performance on the field.

field-hockey-shoes | shoestechnologies
Nike Vapor Drive
Photo credit: Nike website

The Nike Vapor Drive are specifically designed to adapt to the wet grounds and challenges of hockey. Thanks to the water-resistant upper materials, these shoes keep your feet dry even in the most adverse conditions. The new traction technology on the outsole ensures optimal grip on the turf, allowing players to move with confidence and agility in every direction.

Among the main features and benefits of the Nike Vapor Drive is the reinforced toe box, which offers increased toe protection, reducing the risk of injury during play. Despite their light weight, these shoes are extremely robust, providing strength and durability even in the most intense situations on the court.

The Nike Vapor Drive is an ideal option for athletes looking for a hockey shoe that combines style, performance and durability.

field-hockey-shoes | shoestechnologies

Nike Vapor Drive
Photo credit: Nike website

Asics Gel-Peake 2

The GEL-PEAKE 2 shoe is specially designed for general outdoor sports and training, offering a combination of advanced durability, stability and comfort. The upper of the shoe features overlapping layers of synthetic leather and lateral reinforcement inserts, ensuring a stable structure and improved foot support during sporting activity.

field-hockey-shoes | shoestechnologies
GEL-PEAKE 2
Photo credit: Asics website

Cushioning with GEL technology in the heel absorbs shocks from hard landings and hard stops, reducing stress on the joints and improving comfort during use. In addition, the sole of the GEL-PEAKE 2 is made of rubber, ensuring greater robustness and wear resistance, ideal for use on outdoor terrain.

A distinctive feature is the insole made using a paste dyeing process, which helps reduce overall water use by 33% and carbon emissions by 45%. This innovative dyeing process not only reduces environmental impact, but also offers a sustainable alternative for the production of sports footwear.

Finally, the grooves in the sole allow for better flexibility during quick and rotational movements, improving agility and performance on the court.

The GEL-PEAKE 2 is an ideal choice for athletes looking for a durable, stable and comfortable shoe.

field-hockey-shoes | shoestechnologies
GEL-PEAKE 2
Photo credit: Asics website

Ultimately, the choice of field hockey shoes is crucial to maximise performance and ensure safety during play. Customised shoes offer the support, grip and protection needed to meet the unique challenges of this dynamic sport.

With brands like Adidas, Nike and Asics offering advanced models such as Adipower, Vapor Drive and Gel-Peake 2, players have options that combine cutting-edge technology with comfort and durability.

Ongoing research and development suggest that the future may bring further innovations to improve the performance and comfort of hockey shoes. Possible developments could include lighter and more breathable materials, ergonomic designs for a better fit and even more advanced technologies.

Investing in the right shoes not only improves performance on the field, but also helps prevent injuries, allowing players to fully enjoy the excitement and competitiveness of hockey.

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