The 3 Best Bowling Shoes for Cricket

My guide for the three best cricket shoes for fast bowlers. As the cricket pre-season season approaches in Australia, you might be going out looking for cricket shoes.

This guide will cover the three best cricket shoes on the market as of September 2021.

To be honest, after numbers one and two, there is a pretty big jump to the third shoe on the list. Then another big jump to the shoe's that follow after that.

Fast bowlers get injured more than any other type of player.[1,2] The lower limb (legs) accounts for 49.8% of the injuries sustained by fast bowlers.[2] The ankle and knee account for 40% of those.[2] Those injuries are often related to overuse more than anything. When we talk about overuse, it essentially means too much repetition over a long period rather than an acute incident. Good shoes are crucial.

As a whole, shoes designed specifically for bowlers do tend to be heavier than those designed for batters or all-rounders. However, that weight is due to the features designed to keep you bowling fast and injury-free.



Fast bowlers will hit the ground, and then they'll slide inside the shoe because of the force of the shoe itself hitting the ground. But that slipping contributes to speed loss. It can also contribute to a lack of control at the foot and ankle, which may, in turn, increase the amount of stress, mainly through your shins. You might accommodate for all that sliding by buying a shoe that's too big or perhaps too small. And then, if you're sliding in the shoe and constantly hitting the end of it, your toenails aren't going to thank you either, not just your shins or sore feet.

Spike placement and grip

The first foot landing for bowlers is the ultimate difference in your speed production, for a fast bowler particularly. If you hit that ground and get good contact and a whole lot less movement, you will bowl faster. It is as simple as that. Want to bowl fast? Get good ground contact.

Toe reinforcement.

Bowlers have a really heavy landing on fist contact. So you really need a reinforced toe to withstand the pounding that bowlers will give their shoes, much more so than anybody else on the cricket field.

Heel height differential

The heel height differential is the difference between the heel at the rear of the shoe and the forefoot at the front. It's a running shoe term, but it applies here in cricket shoes. As a fast bowler, you don't want to have a significant difference between your heel height and your forefoot height. If you're sitting really high up in the heel, you have less control over your ankle as you hit the ground. However, the caveat here is that there will be circumstances, depending on an injury, where we need to increase that heel height. And that's going to be very much person to person dependent. However, the low heel height to forefoot ratio still is an important factor here. If you have a low heel to forefoot ratio in the shoe, I, the podiatrist, change that if we need. It's much easier to add it and to modify it. It's much harder to take it away.


Number 3 - Adidas Adipower Vector Full Strike

Coming in at number three today would be the Adidas Adipower Vector Full Strike. A feature I really like in this shoe is the fastening capabilities. They have a unique way of keeping the foot locked inside the shoe. And this feature reduces laces as well. The con, however, is that typically in that technology, is it doesn't last. The technology may hold up, but they haven't endured all that well in previous iterations of these shoes. So indeed, if you're only bowling a few overs a week, and you're not doing heaps of loads in it, they'd be fantastic. But I think it's just something to be aware of.

I believe they've got adequate coverage of spikes, particularly for traction on the first foot contact. I don't think it's anything special, but I think there's good stuff there. The big difference that they've added to their shoe is what we call a bevelled heel. So sort of it cuts through at the back of the heel. That bevelled heel means you can transition straight through from the heel to the forefoot much quicker and easier as you're landing and taking off. Your run-up will be quicker and may also mean that your delivery is faster.

It's also really super comfortable to wear, and it feels pretty lightweight when you've got it, in comparison to, say, some of the other shoes.

Fastening 6/10

Spikes 4/10

Toes 3/10

Heel height differential 8/10

Extra features (bonus points) +3

Total 24/40

Number 2 - New Balance CK4040

At numero two, I have the New Balance CK4040. Firstly, I think it looks excellent. Looks may not protect against injury, but it will sure make a statement on the field! There is perhaps not as much toe reinforcement as the number one shoe, but certainly more than the rest of the competition. It does weigh a bit less than the number one shoe. So if you're after a shoe that's a little bit a little less, this may boost it higher up your own list. I absolutely adore their new spike configuration, which will give excellent traction. Talking about traction, I love the extra lateral spikes they've got. They've got one extra one that sits just a little towards the midfoot of the shoe on the lateral side. For those that get a lot of height in their jump and/or those who aggressively strike the ground, think Mitchell Starc; this spike configuration looks excellent. They've got a really great location of some of those spikes to accommodate for that lateral foot strike landing.

Fastening 6/10

Spikes 8/10

Toes 5/10

Heel height differential 8/10

Total 27/40

Number 1 - Asics Speed Menace

Finally, my number one shoe is the Asics Speed Menace. They've got adequate coverage of spikes for first foot contact. The spikes coverage is from the midfoot to the digits to cover as much variance and traction possible. Perhaps not as good as the New Balance option, but still adequate. It is a really comfortable shoe. Asics flight foam is something they apply to all their running shoes to provide extra cushion and bounce. The toe box re-enforcement is excellent here. For the bowler's that drag that back foot through, it'll be able to hold up for some of that durability.

The New Balance and the Asics have a velcro strap at the front to keep your foot solidly locked into the shoe.

This is a helpful modification. Not only do you get the stability of a laced shoe, but the velcro means it keeps the laces under control and adds extra fastening. This additional fastening capability is a trend that I'm now finding across many good quality bowling shoes.

Fastening 7/10

Spikes 7/10

Toes 7/10

Heel height differential 8/10

Total 29/40

So, that's my top three shoes for bowlers. Reach out and send me a message if you've got any other questions about it. You can catch me @theagilefoot on Twitter and Instagram.

1. Gamage PJ, Fortington L V., Kountouris A, Finch CF. Match injuries in Sri Lankan junior cricket: A prospective, longitudinal study. J Sci Med Sport. Sports Medicine Australia; 2019;22:647–52.

2. Stretch RA. Cricket injuries: a longitudinal study of the nature of injuries to South African cricketers. Br J Sports Med. 2003;37:250–4.