There are loads of reasons netball players shouldn’t wear running shoes on the court – basically, it comes down to the fact that running shoes were made for well, running. Even if you’re a social netball player, it’s wise to invest in a pair of shoes made specifically with the sport in mind. Sadly, most specialist sports shoes can cost up to as much as R2,500 per pair, so for most, owning a pair of running shoes AND a separate pair of netball trainers is just not practical. Which is where Olympic comes in – averaging at just R759, the Olympic Goalie netball shoe makes it possible for those on a budget to have their cake and eat it too! So, is this the budget-friendly holy grail social netball players have been searching for? I put them to the test on the netball court to find out just that.
Still wondering why you need specialist netball shoes? First off, the sudden stop-go and quick directional change movements you do on a netball court are worlds apart from that of the long strides you take when running in a straight line on the road. Playing netball in running shoes can lead to unnecessary strain on your muscles and joints and even cause injuries. When wearing running shoes during a netball game, you have a lack of controlled movement and stopping, which causes foot slippage on the court as well as ankle and knee injuries. You also can’t change direction as quickly or smoothly which negatively impacts your performance on the court.
I’ve played a few netball games in the Olympic Goalie netball shoe over the last few weeks and there are loads of things I love about this wallet-friendly trainer. The shoe gives you really great grip and flex on the court and when wearing them, you feel like it’s one consistent movement from the moment you plant your foot to the moment you pivot or move.
There’s no slippage on the court or inside the shoe with these shoes and they offer good ankle support when changing direction or landing from an intercept. This is thanks to both an eyelet locking mechanism on the mid-part of the shoe as well as the Phylon/rubber sole which acts as a stabiliser and prevents slippage of your foot inside the shoe when changing direction.
I usually play in a pair of Asics netball shoes, which are designed for attack players, and I didn’t think any shoe could live up to those, but I have been pleasantly surprised by the Olympic Goalies. While they aren’t quite as light as my other netball shoes, they definitely still feel light on the feet while offering a great feeling of stability on the court. In fact, as someone who has had many an ankle injury, the ankle stability and protection of the Olympic Goalie is probably my favourite thing about the shoe.
Another thing I love about the Olympic Goalie is the fact that it’s joint friendly – the Phylon/rubber sole features a gel heel pad to give added cushioning when landing, protecting your knees and ligaments. Playing centre, I did find the Olympic Goalies to be a tad bit too rigid for attack positions, but they did soften up quite a bit the more I played in them. I’d probably recommend the shoe for more of a defence or versatile player but if you’re a social player who likes to fit in a netball game or two a week, then these shoes are the perfect choice no matter your chosen position.
Overall, it’s pretty impressive what Olympic has been able to accomplish at such a competitive price-point and the fact that they’re a local company makes me love them, and the Olympic Goalie even more.