Squash & Racquetball/Racquetball shoes

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Question
Hi Rob:

I have been playing lately racquetball sometimes for up to 2 or 3 hours, 2 times a week.

I have experienced some foot stiffness / mild pain after I get home specially on both of my big toes.

Went to my GP to get checked, got x-rays and nothing is broken.

My main question is if racquetball shoes are worth it.

I normally wear a pair of ASICS for running and recently added an insole and was wondering if buying a pair of ASICS (or any other brand) racquetball shoes would make a difference in my feet.

I also ordered some thorlos tennis socks which supposedly have more padding than the normal ones.

Thanks,
Roberto

Answer
Thanks for your question.

Yes, racquetball shoes are DEFINITELY worth it. The **biggest** difference is that with racquetball shoes, you'll get *lateral* support for your feet that you're definitely not getting with the running shoes. Also, you'll get *MUCH* better traction with racquetball shoes - my gut tells me that your sub-conciously "gripping" the floor with your toes to prevent sliding around - and this is causing your toes to become fatigued and occasionally leading to feeling sore.

I don't recommend any particular "make" of shoes - I've owned any/all of the following in the past: New Balance, Ektelon, Prince, Head, ASICS, etc. As long as it's specifically a racquetball shoe, you'll get MUCH better support for your feet than you are currently getting.

A couple of suppliers to check online -- www.racquetballwarehouse.com and www.holabirdsports.com/. I've ordered from both in the past - they have the best selection/price combo. Much better selection than you'll ever find "in person." Unless, of course, you live near San Luis Obispo CA (RW) or Baltimore MD (HB) which is where each is located. Disclosure: I do NOT have an interest in EITHER of these suppliers - I'm recommending simply based on my past experience with both of them.

Like a good running shoe, you'll want to replace them much sooner than before the treads on the bottom of the shoes are worn out. You'll need to replace them once the interior arch and bottom-of-feet support feels like they're worn out.

Good luck - I'm sure you're feet will thank you for getting the new pair of shoes :)

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Rob Chabot

Expertise

Racquetball. Know all the rules, etiquette, etc. Am familiar with equipment and am active on the applicable newsgroups when I have time. I can be of service to players up to the "advanced" level. Have been playing since the mid 1980s. NOTE: I cannot answer questions on "what kind of racquet should I get?" This is like asking "what kind of dog or car should I get?" There are so many factors I do not know where to begin - how long have you been playing, do you prefer a top heavy or frame heavy racquet, how often do you plan on playing, etc. I recommend you find a pro shop that allows you to "demo" (borrow) racquets. You can usually borrow racquets for one to three days. A borrowing fee may be involved - and if you end up buying the racquet from that shop, it will usually credit you the loaner fees you have already paid against the purchase price of the racquet.

Experience

Won the Ohio State University Intramurals tournament ("A" Division) six out of six times entered.

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