All Out Cricket picks out three different footwear brands with choice cricket shoe offerings for 2016.
ADIZERO BOOST SL22
Thought cricket boots were all about heft and chunk to support the frames of big fast bowlers? Think again. Here finally is a genuinely innovative batting and fielding shoe to excite fleet-footed run-makers throughout the land.
Instead of traditional metal spikes, the bottom of the shoe is dotted with dozens of sharp, hard rubbery plastic studs which are integral to one ultra-lightweight outsole, making the shoe as mind-bogglingly light as a modern sprinting shoe.
Adidas’ pedigree as a running brand is brought to bear throughout, with their ‘Boost’ technology providing a nice, springy midsole designed to help propel you quickly when running between the wickets and in the field.
The soft upper around the ankle, the smooth white outer, even the funkily shaped heel: these are a classy and highly modern bit of kit. The £125 retail price (you can pick them up for around £100) and the somewhat eye-catching colour scheme (those soles will show up when you run, you know…) mean they might only be for a certain – fairly confident – type of player. But viewing them simply as a pure piece of cricket equipment engineering, we’re mightily impressed.
ASICS GEL-220 NOT OUT
A more traditional ‘boot’, the Gel-220 Not Out is not Asics’ most lightweight shoe, but as a preferred ‘allrounder’ option, it balances the requirements of many club cricketers pretty well. Strong and sturdy at the heel and ankle, highly protective at the toe, there is also a small amount of flexibility in the midsole to help you hit top speed. The more flat-footed players will appreciate the fairly high arch support, too. While they’re at the heavier end of what many providers are now offering, this is a shoe for allrounders keen to stick to one pair for both innings of the game and still have them last the course of a season. Exactly what you’d expect from one of the world’s leading footwear brands.
GN1000 PRO FLEXI
Weight wise, these are somewhere between the Adidas and Asics numbers listed here. And that’s impressive: the Gray-Nicolls Pro Flexis are really light for the amount of stability on offer. The sole is solid as you like, the outer is soft and breathable (with a mid-foot brace to add support), and the inside features a soft foam insole that absorbs a lot of that knee-pounding impact and adds to comfort, too. Suitable for all disciplines, GN’s flagship shoe for 2016 is being worn by all their ambassadors this season and could prove a surprising hit to challenge all-round options from the more specialist producers.