Best Netball Trainers Reviewed [UK Buyers Guide]

When you’re just starting out in netball, you can probably get away with wearing just about any pair of proper sports trainers (meaning as opposed to fashion trainers).  If you then decide you’re interested in playing regularly, it’s a very good idea to invest in a pair of trainers which were designed for netball or a similar sport like basketball.  If you then decide to take netball seriously, you will need a proper pair of netball trainers to protect yourself from injury and to help you play your absolute best.

Pro tip – when we said “any pair of proper sports trainers” we meant clean ones for use indoors.  If you absolutely must wear outdoor trainers, clean them thoroughly beforehand and wear something else to go to the gym, even if you’re only walking on pavements.  If your netball trainers are dirty you may not be allowed on the court.

Understanding Sports Shoes, the Basics

We’d be willing to place a substantial bet that, these days, there are far more people by trainers as “athleisure” than as actual work-out footwear.  With this in mind, we thought it would be a good idea to go over the basics of sports shoes and what differentiates them both from fashion shoes and from each other.

Fashion shoes really just have to be practical for walking and maybe a bit of jogging or light running.  As their name suggests, it’s much more important that they look good than that they actually have what it takes to protect an athlete from injury, let alone to help them perform well.

Proper sports shoes are designed around movement.  This means that even at the entry level, there will be clear differences between different types of trainers for different types of activity. 

Running trainers, for example, are clearly different from basketball trainers.  Running shoes are designed on the assumption that, for the most part, you’ll be moving forwards at a fairly regular speed so they have thick, cushioned soles, with extra protection on the heels and toes.

Best Netball Trainers Shoe

Basketball trainers, by contrast, are designed on the assumption that you’ll be moving about all over the place, changing direction quickly, jumping and having to speed off from a standing start.  A good basketball shoe provides traction on the court, flexibility of movement, support for the foot, including the ankle, and effective shock absorption.

These differences mean that although netball players do a lot of running, running trainers are a very bad choice for netball games.  Really they’d only be acceptable at total beginner level and even then only for a very short time.  Basically, the lack of protection for the ankle means that a netball player treating the game at all seriously is at high risk of injury.  Basketball trainers, by contrast, generally work very well for netball and may be suitable right up to early-intermediate level.

Pro tip – If you’re buying basketball trainers to use as netball trainers go for low tops.  Some basketball high tops feel supportive around the ankle, when actually they’re not.  This can trick your ankle muscles into relaxing when they shouldn’t and hence lead to injury.

Netball trainers have to support the sorts of movements netball players make.  This is essentially everything basketball players do, plus pivoting as netball players cannot run with the ball the way basketball players do, but they can move on the spot.  Once you get into the higher levels of play you may find that different netball positions call for (slightly) different types of shoes.  In fact, if you make it to the very highest levels of play, you may need shoes which are customized to your feet – but that’s probably a long way off at this point!

Best Netball Trainers

Features to Look for in the Best Netball Trainers

Here are the main features you should expect to see in good netball trainers.

Traction

Netball involves a lot of short, sharp moves.  It also involves moving off quickly from a standing start.  Both of those call for traction, lots of it.  If your netball trainers don’t grip, you will literally land up on the floor.  Leaving aside the embarrassment, that’s an obvious injury risk.  If you’re playing netballs indoors (on polished wood) and outdoors (on concrete) then you either need a pair of all-surface netball shoes or two pairs of netball shoes, one for each type of surface.

Netball-specific support

Netball-specific trainers provide support exactly where it is needed for the entire range of movements involved in netball, including pivoting.  Netball trainers therefore have a pivot-point on the sole to help players turn easily without compromising their balance.  If you’re going to take netball seriously then this may be the single, biggest argument for investing in proper netball trainers rather than just using basketball trainers.

Best Netball Trainers (1)

Cushioning

Cushioning isn’t just about comfort, although that is certainly important.  It’s more about protecting your joints and thus preventing injury, both short-term and long term.  This is one of the areas where your playing position may make a difference to your choice.  Defenders often like to have as much cushioning as they can possibly get.  Attackers, by contrast, may be willing to sacrifice a bit of cushioning for the sake of lightness and hence speed.

Weight

Lighter netball trainers can help players to move more quickly and to make best use of their agility.  The price of this, however, is that you lose out on cushioning.  Attacking players and centres are often prepared to make this compromise.  Defenders, however, often have to make the biggest jumps and hence typically want their netball trainers to be cushioned to the max.

Breathability

To be honest, all sports trainers benefit from breathability.  This is not unique to netball.  It is, however, really important, not just for comfort but for keeping your skin healthy.  Athlete’s foot got its name for a reason.

Brand

The “big names” don’t seem to be very interested in netball trainers (not yet at any rate).  This means that, right now, the best netball trainers are being made by smaller, niche, brands, especially ASICS, Gilbert and Mizuno.

Best Netball Trainers

Our Pick of the Best Netball Trainers

Even though Gilbert and Mizuno are both good brands for netball trainers, when we looked at what was actually readily available in mainstream shops, we soon discovered that ASICS had far and away the best representation.  Since we only wanted to recommend netball shoes people could actually buy (otherwise there’s not much point), we found ourselves winding up with an ASICS-only list.  We therefore decided we might as well cover some common points about ASICS and then just tell you what differentiates the different models we’ve chosen.

***For the sake of clarity, we have absolutely no connection with ASICS.  This post is not sponsored in any way.  They’re just the most mainstream brand of netball shoes.***

Best Netball Trainers Shoe

ASICS do produce netball shoes for men

There are netball shoes for men on the market, although, sadly, at current time, the selection appears to be quite a bit smaller and they can be a lot harder to find.

ASICS are notorious for their small sizes

We’d suggest buying a size bigger than you usually would.  Alternatively buy two pairs and return one.  We don’t usually recommend this, but with ASICS netball shoes it may be your best option.  The good news is that they come in half sizes for that perfect fit. 

ASICS always covers the basics well

You can take it as read that you get breathable material and that the build quality will be excellent.  In general, you will also get all-surface soles.

ASICS understands the importance of keeping the foot in place

Probably the single, biggest reason ASICS netball shoes are so popular is that ASICS really understands the importance of locking down the midsole.  This means that whatever pair of ASICS netball shoes you buy, you have the security of knowing that your foot will be firmly anchored in place, even during cross-lateral movements.

After this, ASICS netball shoes are developed to cater to various positions and, of course, player tastes.

Best Netball Trainers

Top 4 Best Netball Trainers

Best for defenders

ASICS Gel-Netburner Ballistic FF Women’s Netball Shoes

ASICS Gel-Netburner

These netball shoes are all about the FlyteFoam cushioning and you get plenty of it for your money.  As its name suggests, this type of cushioning provides superb comfort and protection, while adding very little weight.  In fact it’s 55% lighter than the industry standard. 

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ASICS Gel-Netburner Ballistic FF Women's Netball Shoes - SS19-42

Usually dispatched within 24 hours & Free shipping
Last update was in: December 11, 2019 5:48 pm

£67.50 £109.99

Best for attackers

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ASICS Netburner Professional FF Women’s Netball Shoes

ASICS Netburner Professional FF Women's Netball Shoes

These netball shoes are about as lightweight as you can possibly get (in netball).  We get the feeling that ASICS based these on running shoes and then just adapted them as necessary for netball.  Attackers will absolutely love the way these netball shoes support speed and agility without compromising on support or protection.

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ASICS Netburner Professional FF Women's Netball Shoes - AW19-7 Blue

Usually dispatched within 24 hours
Last update was in: December 11, 2019 5:48 pm

Best for centres

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ASICS Netburner Super FF Women’s Netball Shoes

ASICS Netburner Super FF

These netball shoes are all about traction and responsiveness, especially bounce-back.  If you’re a centre needing to react and adjust super-quickly and needing your netball shoes to be with you all the way as you do, then these netball shoes could be the perfect choice.

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ASICS Netburner Super FF Women's Netball Shoes - SS19-6 Purple

Usually dispatched within 24 hours
Last update was in: December 11, 2019 5:48 pm

Best for juniors

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ASICS Gel-Netburner 18 GS Junior Netball Shoes

ASICS Gel-Netburner 18 GS Junior Netball Shoes

Basically if you want to give your little one the best, possible protection from injury while they play, then these netball shoes could be an excellent investment.

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ASICS Gel-Netburner Professional GS Junior Court Shoes - AW19 - J1 Red

Usually dispatched within 1-2 business days
Last update was in: December 11, 2019 5:48 pm

£66.98 £74.99

The best netball shoes – a summary

The best netball shoes support the same range of movement as basketball shoes, plus pivoting.  They provide traction, support, and cushioning but are still lightweight, flexible and breathable.  Basketball shoes are often fine for beginners and may be OK for early-intermediate netball players.  After this, however, you will need a good pair of netball shoes if only to be able to pivot effectively.

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