Balance is the foundation of an archer’s form, so don’t let footwear be an afterthought. Some archers shoot in whatever they happen to wear that day, while others slip on the nearest, most comfortable shoes. To step up your shooting, try one of these shoe styles.
Whether you call them sneakers or gym, tennis, training, athletic or running shoes, this footwear category is archery’s most common shoe. Athletic shoes are breathable and padded. Their design keeps feet comfortable for hours of standing and walking during practice and tournaments. Their sensitivity also helps archers achieve the right stance on their sole.
“I always wear some sort of weight-training shoe so they’re very flat with a solid sole,” said Paige Pearce of Team USA. The world champion compound archer recently won bronze at the Pan American Games while wearing Nike Metcons.
Teammate Cassidy Cox also wears Nike Metcons. “They have a very flat sole, which helps me feel more stable when I’m shooting,” Cox said.
If you want to try an athletic-style shoe, look for a flat-sole style that’s sensitive and comfortable. Visit a sporting-goods shop and try on a variety to see what feels right in your shooting stance.
Athletic shoes are great for indoor events, but they might not be the best choice for field and outdoor events. When shooting in wet conditions or on rough terrain, you’ll usually do better with hiking shoes. Choose a waterproof model and with a “grippy” sole. They’re well suited for most outdoor terrain. Hiking shoes with a more rigid design, however, can make it hard to settle into the right stance. If you plan to shoot in hiking shoots, make sure you break them in and soften the sole.
Some archers use skateboard-style shoes at indoor events. Skate shoes have firm, thick soles with little tread. This design gives archers a solid foundation. You’ll find hundreds of styles of skateboard shoes in many patterns and colors. As a bonus, you can buy a pair for an affordable price.
Indoor Soccer Shoes
Indoor soccer shoes resemble athletic shoes except they have a stiffer sole. Their low tread and flat sole make them a good option for indoor archery. The rubber sole improves balance and won’t make sounds or mar indoor surfaces.
People often compare field archery to golf because of picturesque locations and lots of walking on the course. Some archers take it a step further by wearing golf shoes, which keep feet dry and comfortable on the course. Most golf shoes are leather, which makes them pricier than other shoes. Many designs have removable spikes, which is a good option in some conditions.
Shot Put Shoes
In his book “Total Archery: Inside the Archer,” Team USA Coach Kisik Lee recommends wearing shot put shoes. These track-and-field shoes feature flat outer soles with a thin, firm inner sole. The design provides more grip and stability than do athletic shoes.
What Not to Wear
Many shoe styles work well for archery, but you must avoid a few. High heels are a horrible choice. They’re unstable and don’t provide a good center of balance. Sandals and flip-flops are also bad choices. Many ranges don’t allow open-toed footwear, which is also banned at competitions.
After considering all these options, choose the model that makes you feel most comfortable. If anyone questions your choice, tell them science is on your side, and refer them to this story:
An associate professor set out to study how footwear affected archers on the Slovenian National Archery Team. Eight team members took 18 shots; six while barefoot, six while wearing indoor shoes, and six while wearing outdoor shoes. They also wore a full-body kinetic measurement system to analyze how footwear affected their shots.
The results varied greatly by archer and footwear. The professor concluded that the best footwear is whatever makes an archer most comfortable.