Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Referee Needs a New Pair of Shoes

The maker of my preferred shoe, Spot Bilt, no longer exists. Since my current shoes are starting to show signs of wear, I've started the search for new shoes.
My thoughts are that referees are not players, so we should not be wearing player shoes. You've probably noticed that there are, unfortunately, very few manufacturers making referee-specific shoes.
The Referee Administrative Handbook tells us that referees should have
BLACK SHOES (may have white manufacturers design) with black laces
The design and styling of player shoes often call attention to themselves, being brightly colored and using materials that attract attention. In the majority of cases, these shoes are not acceptable for referee use. Aside from the cosmetic aspects, player shoes are normally not designed for all-day comfort either. Generally, players only need to participate in a maximum of 2 games in a day. I've done as many as 7 games in one day.
In my quest for a new shoe, I tried the Diadora Referee TF. I was ordering some new things for my boys and I noticed this shoe on the website. They were priced less than $50 and I've seen many of my colleagues using these shoes, so I thought I'd give them a try. The shoes arrived and I was pleased with the styling of the product. They are nice looking referee shoes. They are made of a material that should clean up easily. They are available in all black or black with white accents. Unfortunately, they seem to be made for narrow feet. I wear a size 10 and my foot width is measured as size D, which is very average. I found these shoes to be cut way too narrow. They had to go back. If you have a narrow foot, these shoes may be worth trying.
I've seen quite a few referees wearing "old school" Adidas player shoes, so I went to the local sporting goods store to give them a quick try. Specifically, I'm referring to the Adidas Copa Mundial. Oddly enough, I never even tried them on. I noticed another Adidas shoe that had all the cosmetic characteristics of a referee shoe. I'm referring to the Adidas AdiPURE TRX FG (firm ground) and TF (turf).
I tried on the FG version and they felt pretty good. They seemed to be wide enough for me and I've always wanted a pair of firm ground shoes for those loose fields, so I purchased them. When I got home, I looked up the turf version (the store didn't have them in my size). I picked them up, on sale, online.
Cosmetically speaking, these shoes are perfect for referees. They are mostly black, with a small amount of white. The FG version is even available in solid black.
As far as fit is concerned, these shoes seem to run true to size. I purchased the shoes in my measured size. They are soccer shoes, so expect the fit, especially in the width, to be a little snug.
The first time on the field with these shoes was interesting. First, I didn't realize how much traction you get with firm ground studs. I couldn't believe how much better these shoes performed, compared to my previous turf shoes. They gave me great confidence on a soft, damp field. On the down side, they tore my heels up a little. I ended up with a nice blister. The second time out, however, was better. Given that these shoes are made of natural material (kangaroo leather), they have a break-in period. If you get them, I suggest wearing them around the yard. Take the dog for a walk a few times and wear these shoes. Run in the local park for a little while. Do whatever you have to do to get through some of the break-in period in a controlled, non-game, situation. As a side note, you do keep blister bandages in your referee bag, don't you? If you don't, buy a box today and throw it in there with your other small stuff.
I have yet to wear the turf shoes in a game, but I've already noticed a small difference in the feel of the shoes. The upper seems to be identical between the shoes, but the absence of the stud base makes the turf shoes slightly more comfortable.
In summary, I find the Adidas AdiPURE FG and TF to be a good choice for referees. They have the look desired by referees and seem to perform well on the field. It remains to be seen how comfortable they will be in a full-day tournament situation. Perhaps I'll post a follow-up when I find out.
See my last post regarding referee shoes.
UPDATE (11/10/2008): I have had a chance to work a few more games in these shoes. I'm starting to like them even more. The blistering has gone as the material "broke in" a little. They are definitely feeling more comfortable and I'm getting the benefit of having both turf shoes and studded, firm ground, shoes in my kit bag.


Brenton H. said...

Good call on the Diadora. I have wide feet as well and as the Diadora shoe is not leather, it will not 'stretch'. Learned this the hard way when mine ripped along the seams in less than one season.

Currently using Adidas Telestar II TF - I really like them.

Anonymous said...

I had the Diadoras for a while, and they were OK. But you're correct - not designed for a wide foot. And they only lasted me about one season.
I currently have four pairs of referee shoes for different conditions.
I have a pair of molded cleats and a pair of removable cleats - but haven't worn either of these in a couple years. It has to pretty much be under water before I break these out.
My "workhorse" shoe is a pair of New Balance CM473 in all black. These are great because you can get them in widths up to 4E and for hard grounds and most turf conditions, the traction is fine. And they're MUCH easier on my knees and ankles than turf shoes of cleats.
For wet conditions, I use a pair of Adidas Telstar turf shoes. These fit my wide feet pretty nicely. They also clean up nicely, especially if you use a leather protector. I use Adidas' leather balsam with them.

But as you get older, I definitely reccomend thinking about going to running or cross-training shoes. Much easier on the body.

I wrote a blog entry about this back in March -


Anonymous said...

Even I don't like shopping. But still I like every thing, like you.
I only purchase online now-a-days.
I just ordered "football shoes" football shoes from and waiting for its arrival.

Roller shoes said...

thank you for share,goo dpost

Unknown said...

I had the Diadoras and as my foot was not wide it fit to me very well and i enjoy wearing them.These shoes were even durable.