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Best Referee Shoes

Engineered for high performance and complete comfort—from the opening jump ball to the final buzzer.

Like your favorite athletes and players, referees need quality shoes too—to move freely and comfortably while making crucial calls during the game. However, common problems encountered include referee shoes that don’t last for several seasons, are too narrow, or simply don’t fit.

With the best referee shoes, it becomes easier to satisfy the demands of this important, challenging, and thrilling job. While finding the perfect referee shoes can be difficult, it’s just as crucial as upholding the rules and the game’s integrity.

Fortunately, whether you’re looking for basketball referee shoes, football referee shoes, or soccer referee shoes, KURU remains consistent in offering shoes for referees designed for comfort and durability. Browse our collection of referee shoes and enjoy officiating games while moving around with ease.

Top Features to Look Out for When Picking the Perfect Pair of Referee Shoes.

Here are the top things to consider to help you find the best soccer referee shoes, best basketball referee shoes, or best football referee shoes:

  • Cushioning: Throughout the game, you’ll be running a lot like the players, so pick referee shoes with excellent cushioning like KURU. This gives you maximum comfort even when staying long on the court.
  • Traction: The best referee shoes also have excellent traction to keep you from slipping or sliding on the court.
  • Durability: Each basketball season can be long and intense, so you’ll need referee shoes that will last not only the current season but also the succeeding ones. Check for premium-grade and durable materials. Make sure it’s easy to clean, too.
  • Weight: Being a referee requires you to move and work fast, so pick lightweight shoes. This also helps you avoid possible strain and fatigue.
  • Stability and Support: Since you’ll have to start, stop, run, and turn a lot during the game, look for referee shoes with reliable support and stability, like our KURU shoes, to avoid potential injuries.
  • Man wearing KURU KINETIC shoes for referees.

Workplace Foot Injuries

Find Out What Types of Safety or Ergonomic Hazards Referees Face That Can Lead to Foot Injuries.

Similar to basketball, football, and soccer players, referees also face different risks that can leave their feet injured. In a prospective study among football referees, the incidence rates of injuries during matches were about 20 injuries per 1000 hours.

Referees may experience ankle sprains, rolled ankles, muscle strains, Achilles pain, and low back pain. Tendon injuries are also one of the most common types of injury. Typical sites of body injury include the hip, groin, and lower leg.

In another survey among 71 football referees, 31 or 44% experienced a total of 41 injuries. They reported hamstring strains and ankle sprains as the most common. Meanwhile, for musculoskeletal problems, common locations include the knee, Achilles tendon, and calf.

Most of the injuries happened during training rather than in actual matches. Furthermore, the injuries led to a two-week off from sport. This shows how safety risks and injuries are also a serious concern among referees, and not just athletes and players.

For basketball referees, lower limb injuries are one of the most common risks. For acute injuries, the most affected region is the ankle, while fr overuse injuries, the most affected part is the knee.

Referees with flat feet are prone to developing tendinitis (irritation or inflammation of tendons). Then, they may also experience fatigue faster, especially given the heavy work that the muscles of the lower leg need for absorbing pressure. In such cases, you’ll have to wear referee shoes with better support. The feet can be flattened out too with overly-soft soled shoes.

Moreover, if you have a high arched foot, you are more likely to have pressure issues. Then, you might get callouses. With this type of foot, you’re also more susceptible to toe deformities, and stress fractures. Pain and fatigue are common, especially after highly demanding activities. This is because the pressure is not absorbed well.

Muscle weakness, and poor training and exercise can increase your chances of getting foot pain and injuries. Others also have previous injuries making them more vulnerable to other injuries. In some cases, injuries and illnesses occur suddenly, which is why referees should be physically fit.

Poor choice of referee basketball shoes or soccer referee shoes is also a huge factor. You need proper, well-designed footwear like KURU to reduce risks for injuries.

Officiating Industry Facts and Stats

We Take a Look at Some Facts and Stats You Might Not Have Known About Footwear Worn by Referees.

Did you know that a reputable NBA official may referee around 60 to 70 games per season? This is equal to about 50 hours of moving around and running in courts.

Football game referees also have to cover up to eight miles while checking every move. A poll among referees showed that 30% of them experience foot pain. Given all the running and quick movements needed, wearing high-quality referee shoes is a must.

Apart from having to know all the rules and when to apply them, you’ll also need some equipment as a referee. These include black referee basketball shoes, black athletic socks, a nice, loud whistle, a striped black and white shirt, and black beltless pants.

Foot Injury Prevention

Foot Injury Prevention is crucial for those working in the officiating industry. Protecting your feet from injuries is essential to maintain your performance and ensure the integrity of the game. Here are some key tips to keep your feet safe and injury-free in your officiating role:

  • Protective Footwear
    Invest in well-made, black patent leather referee shoes, basketball referee shoes, football referee shoes, or soccer referee shoes.Ensure maximum comfort, support, durability, cushioning, traction, and fit in your referee shoes to prevent blisters and sudden movement injuries.
    Protective Footwear
  • Lacing Techniques
    Adjust the lacing pattern for high-arched feet by running the laces directly from the second set of eyelets to the third eyelets to provide better arch support.Prevent toe irritation by using a zigzag lacing technique that lifts your referee shoes off your toes.
    Lacing Techniques
  • Stretching and Exercises
    Incorporate static stretching into your routine to improve flexibility and reduce the risk of injury. Hold stretches for up to one minute to feel the stretching sensation.Include dynamic stretching exercises to warm up specific muscle groups, especially important for quick and sudden movements during officiating.Prior to officiating, engage in a warm-up routine, including jogging, accelerations, mobilization exercises, skipping, backward movement, tripling, zigzag shuffling, and walking to promote blood flow and prevent injuries.Perform core exercises such as jumping forward and landing on one leg, bending your knee while leaning on one leg, sprints of 10 to 30 meters, and butt kicks.
    Stretching and Exercises


  • What shoes do refs wear?

    When it comes to footwear, referees wear athletic shoes that are usually black. They can wear running shoes, cleats, or turf shoes, given that the main color is black.

  • Do referees shoes have to be all black?

    Referees often wear black referee shoes. This helps them blend in with anyone or anything in the court without causing distractions, especially the spectators and players. However, other referees might opt to wear other colors while making sure they’re not distractive.

  • How do I know which shoe to buy? Which is best for me?

    The best shoe for you will depend on your unique foot type and the style you’re looking for.

    The best shoes for men and women alike offer adequate arch support and cushion. Whether you’re looking for bright blue shoes, dark blue shoes, or white shoes with blue accents, KURUs line of pain-relieving footwear help alleviate foot pain symptoms for all-day comfort.

  • How is the arch support of KURU shoes?

    KURU shoes deliver excellent arch support without the need for thick inserts or expensive, custom orthotics.

    Superior arch support starts with our patented KURUSOLE technology, which delivers natural cushioning and dynamically hugs your heel with every step. Every foot is unique, and our ULTIMATE INSOLES adapt to fit your needs by using your own body heat to custom-mold to the shape of your feet over time.

    The corrective nature of our superior arch support is designed to neutralize your weight distribution and place your foot in the best anatomical position. This support can take some getting used to. We suggest slowly breaking in your new shoes over the course of 2–3 weeks.

  • Are your shoes considered orthopedic shoes?

    While our shoes are not currently considered orthopedic by a medical standard, we have received thousands of positive reviews from customers who say their KURU shoes with good arch support helped reduce or eliminate their pain—from plantar fasciitis to bunions.

    Each of our shoes feature a wide toe box, superior arch support, shock absorption and patented heel technology, engineered for pain relief.

Three Layers of Support

At KURU, we pride ourselves on our unique approach to shoe design. We believe that shoes should be shaped to fit the natural contours of your feet, which is why we create every pair in three distinct support layers, not just an insole.

Our revolutionary ergonomic design starts with a curved footbed and adds unparalleled triple-layer support that includes shock-absorbing KURUCLOUD, heel-cupping KURUSOLE, and arch-supporting ULTIMATE INSOLES. The result? Shoes that are so comfortable you’ll stop thinking about your feet.

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  • How KURU brings relief


    Our specially patented KURUSOLE technology feels like a gentle hug to your heel with its rounded heel cup design. Its dynamic flexing also provides enough custom heel support, letting you sport your referee shoes with comfort and confidence.

Our Secret

Animated GIF showing KURUSOLE tech in KURU shoes vs. typical flat interiors for plantar fasciitis pain.
Why Others Love KURU

Why Others Love KURU

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Game changer! I love this pair of shoes, the arch is the best feature, it supports my flat feet. Light weight, stylish, and very comfortable.”

Cess G

Great Shoe for Active person with foot pain!! I am an active person now at the age where the years of ankle and foot injuries makes being active painful. I am a lacrosse referee and have to work 7-10 games per week. I just got these KURU Quantums and absolutely love them. I am now 5 games into this young season and these shoes provide exceptional support to the arch and ankle. I couldn’t be happier with this purchase. Having the right footwear to work the next 2 months and 80+ games is critical to my physical and mental well-being. Thanks for designing a shoe for those of us who really need the full foot and ankle support!!!! Additionally, having the all black color option is great for referees who have to have all black. I’m telling all my fellow refs to consider KURU.”

Active Kevin

Miracle. I bought my first pair of Atoms two weeks ago. They are a miracle. For the first time in years, I am not wearing orthotics, and my hip pain is gone. I questioned all of the positive ratings, but they are true. My second pair is on the way. Comfy and cute, but most importantly, my hip pain is gone. The shoes are still comfortable after wearing them all day long which is a real game changer. Thank you Kuru.”


Sara J

Most comfortable shoe. I am 77 years old and referee 5th & 6th grade youth basketball for 8 Saturday’s in January and February each year. I will call 4 or 5 full court games each Saturday. Each year I buy a new pair of shoes for these old feet. My Kuru’s are the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned.”

Emmett B.

Game changer! I bought these shoes because I’m on my feet a lot and have high arches and bone spurs. The ATOM not only helped with pain but they’re so comfy and stylish!! 10/10 recommend.”


Recommended Shoes for Referees

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