Squash shoes are sold at a range of different price points. They seem to go for about $55 all the way up to $160 on the high end.
If you’re on a tight budget, or you’re just starting out playing squash, or you just want to score the best deal possible, you may be on the lookout for a pair of squash shoes on the low end of that range. After all, who doesn’t want a good deal?
Generally speaking, higher-priced court shoes have more cushioning and better construction. These factors drive up the costs of manufacturing the shoes, which will be reflected in the price you pay at the store. Less-expensive squash shoes, on the other hand, will generally have less cushioning, and cut certain corners on materials and construction. Of course, we know shoe brands are free to price their shoes wherever they want, and in some cases, they might price a shoe higher (or lower) than the manufacturing cost would normally dictate if the company thinks it’s something consumers will go for, but roughly speaking, what goes into making the shoe is what will come out in the final price.
I recently tested out three less-expensive squash shoes, trying to figure out what the trade-offs are between the cheap shoes and the expensive ones.
Keep in mind that what works for my feet might not work for yours, so make sure and test out new shoes as best you can—and when you find a pair that works for you, stick with it! Also, a note on cushioning: more isn’t necessarily better, because it can add to the weight of the shoe. Many top squash professionals play with supposedly low-end shoes, probably because they want a lighter shoe. But if your knees are aching, look for better cushioning.
Asics Gel Rocket
I’d say the most popular low-cost squash shoe out there is the Asics Gel Rocket series. The current model is the Asics Gel Rocket 7, and you can pick them up for about $75. These are used by a number of players on the men’s and women’s pro tours and come in a variety of colors.
These felt a bit strange when I first tried them on, due to extra padding on the insole of the shoe near the arch and pad of my foot. It felt a bit like I was standing on a banked curve. However after playing with these for a number of months, they’ve remained comfortable, and they’ve not caused pain in my knees or Achilles. The toe box of my left shoe immediately developed some scuff marks where I drag my foot, but the shoe is holding together nicely.
Asics Gel Upcourt
These are the lowest-cost shoe in the Asics lineup, at $55, and they come in men’s, women’s and junior sizes. These are popular around my courts, though I haven’t seen any pros playing with them.
When I first put them on, the Upcourts felt a bit lacking in arch support, and they were also somewhat narrow through the arch, making them feel potentially unstable. When I actually used them on court, however, they felt comfortable and stable and I didn’t have any problems with aches and pains.
My problem with these shoes was in the construction. For example, the tongue of the shoe is quite narrow, and I can see my socks peeking out a bit from inside the shoe. The insole was also glued down improperly, though I was able to fix this by peeling it up and laying it back down in the proper place. Some of the stitching has also started to come undone prematurely in a couple places. All in all, I liked the Upcourt shoes, but I’m concerned about their longevity.
Adidas Essence 12
The Adidas Essence series is one of the low-cost shoes in the Adidas lineup. This model came out in 2015 and you can now find these for about $60.
Of the three shoes I tested, the Essence shoes felt the most comfortable when I put them on, with good arch support and padding. Unfortunately, after wearing them a few times, my knees and Achilles were aching. I’m not sure why that is, and whether those pains were due to the shoes or whether it was just a bad week for my joints, but I wasn’t willing to gamble with my Achilles! The Essence seem well-constructed, but I didn’t put enough mileage on them to really stress them.