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Having the right shoes for any sport can make all the difference – and shoes for playing badminton are no different. While choosing a good badminton racket is important, a well-trained badminton player knows that every piece of gear chosen affects the game. Slipping or tripping during an intense rally can cost you a match. A badminton payer’s shoes can make or break their performance, and purchasing new badminton shoes can be overwhelming for a beginner. Selecting a pair of shoes and crowning it the best badminton shoes in the world is not a claim any reviewer can make, as each player will have different personal preferences and comfort opinions. But knowing what options are out there, and what features to look for can help you choose the best badminton shoes for you. So what features should you be looking at? Let’s break it down:
Cushioning and In-Soles
Cushioning systems inside badminton shoes vary in type and technology, but a large number of them are gel-based. The best shoes for playing badminton will have the ability to absorb shock impact. This relieves unnecessary stress on your joints and improves long-term foot comfort. The tongue and collar of the shoe should also be padded (lightly) to provide comfort without restricting movement.
Grip and Traction
If you’re playing badminton at an indoor facility (most players are), the court surface is most likely wood or PU (polyurethane) synthetic flooring. You’ll need a badminton shoe that can grip this surface. You need to be able to change directions, turn on a dime, and do it all without your shoe sliding on the court surface. Be sure to get a shoe that has a gum rubber outsole. Gum rubber is pliable and almost sticky. Proper maintenance of your badminton shoe is important because as gum rubber builds up dirt and dust, it loses grip and traction. I recommend never wearing your court shoes off of the badminton court itself. They should never be worn for outdoor training or running.
Image by MichaelGaida from Pixabay
Pay attention to the tread on the shoes as well. Deep grooves allow for better traction, and as shoes become worn, that tread smooths out. This can also lead to a loss of grip and slippage. In addition to affecting your performance during a badminton game, it can lead to injury.
Weight and Size
Running with cinder blocks attached to your feet would be difficult. I say this to illustrate the importance of a lightweight shoe. A badminton player’s shoes shouldn’t weight down the leg. Additionally, they need to be a proper fit. If your feet are wide, or unusually narrow, you may have to experiment going up or down a half size to accommodate. Most of the best badminton shoe brands may not necessarily specify a shoe as ‘wide’, but sticking with a U-Shaped toe box should provide space for wider feet to be comfortable and still keep contact with the insole.
You may be thinking, “Why can’t I use my regular running shoes for badminton? Shoes are shoes.” Well, that’s not actually the case. Running is a constant forward motion, and the shoes have ankle support that is designed to keep your feet facing forward. Badminton players need to be able to move, pivot, rotate, lunge, and crouch. This involves ankle rotation in every direction, and the best shoes for playing badminton allow this free rotation at the ankle.
This term should be self-explanatory, but it still confuses beginners. Almost every badminton facility will have signage indicating that day shoes cannot be worn on the playing surfaces. They make it mandatory that all players wear non-marking shoes. This keeps their investment safe. PU and wood courts are expensive assets, and facilities need to keep them in tip-top shape for as long as possible. What is the best non-marking shoe brand? Almost every indoor racket sports shoe you purchase is going to be non-marking. Manufacturers are hyper-aware of this feature as a non-negotiable for most consumers. But if you’re worried about violating your club’s non-marking shoe policy, there are two simple ways to check whether or not your shoes are going to scuff the courts.
- Take your thumbnail or fingernail and press it firmly into the rubber of the outsole. If your fingernail leaves a dent that takes a bit to recover, it’s most likely non-marking.
- You can also scuff the bottom rubber of your shoe across a clean white sheet of paper. If it leaves the paper clean and white, you have a non-marking shoe.
Let’s look at some of the best badminton shoes on the market:
Best Badminton Shoe for Beginners
Asics Men’s Upcourt 2 Volleyball Shoe – Wait isn’t this a badminton blog? Yes, it is, but hear me out on why this shoe is perfect for a beginner.
- This volleyball shoe is a non-marking, super comfortable low top with gum rubber soles. It will provide you with adequate grip and traction, and its rearfoot gel will provide moderate impact absorption without breaking the bank as you learn the game.
Best Wide Feet Badminton Shoes
Yonex Power Cushion Eclipsion Z Wide Badminton Shoe – You don’t want a shoe that’s ‘cramping’ your style. (See what I did there?)
- This shoe’s color combo and style really make it a unisex option.
- It’s got a great rubber outsole with hexagon tread.
- It’s outfitted with Yonex’s patented shock absorbing Power Cushion which provides 3X more shock absorbing power when compared to the average urethane.
- It’s lightweight, even with a thin graphite sheet inserted under the sole to increase stability.
Best Women’s Badminton Shoes on a Budget
Asics Women’s Gel Rocket 9 Volleyball Shoe – Another volleyball shoe? The surfaces being played on for indoor volleyball and badminton are usually the same, and a need for a full range of ankle motion is also why volleyball shoes often land on the list of recommended badminton shoes.
- This shoe has a non-marking gum rubber outsole for a great grip.
- It’s got mesh overlays for breathability and ventilation.
- It also boasts a rear and forefoot gel cushioning system for shock absorption.
- The best part? It’s nearly half the price of some of the top-of-the-line pairs while still providing great support for even intermediate and professional players.
Best Men’s Badminton Shoes on a Budget
Puma Men’s Invicta Sala – Puma isn’t the name that comes to mind when you start thinking about the best badminton shoe brands. This shoe was actually manufactured and marketed for futsal players, but it has all those features that you really look for in a functional badminton shoe.
- It has a rubber sole and a reinforced toe.
- It’s a stylish blend of suede, soft leather, and breathable mesh for style, comfort, and ventilation.
- It’s not going to bust your budget, and will still perform for even intermediate level badminton players.
Best All-Around Women’s Badminton Shoe
- Though the shoe comes in Navy and Rose color schemes, the patented Yonex Power Cushion is the most attractive feature. It provides excellent all-around impact absorption.
- It’s one of Yonex’s lightest shoes ever made, making it easy to maneuver in.
- The toe-centric design, like many other Yonex models, cuts down pressure on the big toe while still providing good support at the midfoot and heel.
- It’s got excellent breathability.
- Durable construction will make this shoe last longer than some of the less expensive brands.
Best All-Around Men’s Badminton Shoe
- This shoe’s equipped with Power Cushion +, giving it more impact absorption and repulsion power than even the original Power Cushion.
- It’s Double Raschel Mesh makes it extremely durable, yet providing up to eight times more air exchange than other mesh materials, keeping your feet breathing through even the most intense match.
- Yonex designed a newer insole construction they call ‘Synchro-Fit’. It allows a closer fit between your foot and the shoe, which makes movement smoother and footwork more agile. This construction upgrade is also intended to keep the foot from slipping forward inside the shoe, as it holds the heel more firmly in place against the insole.
- It’s got hexagrip tread for great court grip and quick direction changes.
Editor’s Choice – My Personal Badminton Competition Footwear
Yonex Power Cushion Eclipsion X Men”s Indoor Court Shoe – This is my personal shoe choice right now – and not just because I love bright colors. Fit is my number one priority, and this particular shoe’s shape lends itself well to my needs. It keeps me quick on the court and is an asset to my game.
- This pair of shoes, like the Power Cushion 65 Z 2, is equipped with Power Cushion +.
- This shoe is durable, yet lightweight and breathable.
- It has a strong impact absorption, and just the right amount of repulsion power to complement my play.
Choosing the best badminton shoes for yourself.
When you start hunting for your new favorite pair of badminton shoes, choose which features are non-negotiables for you. I recommend you try on shoes before you commit if possible. Many professionals will tell you that badminton shoes need to be replaced on average every 7-9 months if you consistently play 3 or more times per week. Keep this wear-and-tear factor in mind when deciding how much you’re willing to pay for the best badminton shoe for you.
Check that the dealer you purchase your shoes from has a rock-solid return policy. You may find that the shoe size or style that you purchased doesn’t feel the way that you thought it would.