Since writing my review of the Nike T7 zoom, and posting previous articles about indoor football trainers, I’ve had a few emails from players looking for advice on which trainers to buy for indoor football (Futsol). Now, I’m no professional sports player, and have no education in sports mechanics podiatry or similar so take my advice for what it is – I’m just a player that’s tried a lot of different trainers over the years and been left disappointed by most.
Indoor football trainers
If you don’t have any problems with comfort either while playing or in the days following a game my advice is simple: get the ones you like the look of, feel comfiest and can afford.
If you have always had pain after playing, consider getting your running gait analysed. It’s expensive but it may be that something as simple as pronation is causing the problems.
However, if you have started to experience pain either during a game or after, and especially if you are late 20’s or older, things are a little more complicated.
If the trainers cause pain as soon as you play, ditch them immediately, the problem is simple: they don’t fit your feet!
However, if discomfort comes on after 30 minutes or more, or more usually, in the days after a game, consider choosing your footwear more carefully.
It’s a fact that as we age our bodies take longer to recover after exercise. Indoor football puts enormous stresses on the foot, shins, knees etc. as the hard surface of the floor is very unforgiving of our feet slamming into the ground a few thousand times every time we play. The problem can be accentuated depending upon your own body mechanics (genetics I’m afraid) and other factors such as weight and fitness.
Whilst genetic factors can’t be changed, it’s possible to reduce fatigue/pain after the event by reducing the impact force sent up our bodies as we play. Wearing better quality, purpose built footwear for the task at hand will do this.
So which trainers to buy?
I’ve always loved Nike trainers, they fit my feet well, I like the way they look and they’ve always fitted my humble athletic needs. However, as I got the wrong side of 30, playing indoor football 2-3 times a week was getting harder. My knees were sore for a couple of days after a game and I was occasionally getting heel pain too. This happened with the top-end ‘air’ and ‘air-zoom’ Nike indoor football trainers: the most cushioned trainers they make for indoor football. I tried Adidas: same thing. I tried Puma: same thing. I tried Uhlsports: same thing. In short, none of the purpose built indoor football trainers from the big brands offered the level of support and comfort I needed.
What about running trainers?
I then tried running trainers but they simply don’t work well in anything other than a straight line. It’s easy to turn an ankle (or worse) in running trainers because the sole is designed to keep the foot going forward, making no allowance for the instant changes in direction found in football. In short, I think running trainers for football is a very bad idea.
The solution (kind of)
In frustration, I looked at the website of ASICS. A company that has built their reputation on the comfort and excellence of their cushioning systems. They don’t however, make an indoor football shoe. In frustration, I emailed their UK operation, asking why. They replied, and whilst didn’t offer a glimmer of hope for a specific ASICS indoor soccer shoe, they did recommend looking at their ‘indoor court’ line of shoes. These are designed for fast erratic movements on indoor surfaces. Sports like squash, racquet-ball, badminton etc. The only slight annoyance was that many of them had a raised toe box area and slightly thicker uppers than found in typical indoor football trainers.
ASICS indoor court shoes have been a revelation for me (I’ve had two pairs of Gel Sensei 2 and a pair of Gel Blast 3). I can comfortably play every two days and whilst I wouldn’t say my legs don’t ache the day after a game, it’s an acceptable (and expected) level of ‘ache’. Indoor court trainers may not look as good, and if being hyper-critical, there’s perhaps a very slight loss of foot-to-ball feel due to the thicker upper but these are acceptable sacrifices for being able to play more often.
So, in the absence of a solution from Nike, Adidas, Puma, Joma etc, if you’re experiencing similar issues, take a look at the ASICS indoor court trainers (Gel Blast, Gel Sensei etc).