Badminton shoes are specially designed to hold up to the footwork and moves used in badminton. Though new players often put off buying badminton shoes, investing in the right footwear is just as much if not more important than choosing a racquet or a shuttlecock. Wearing appropriate shoes gives players the highest level of comfort, reduces the risk of injury, and improves game play.
Badminton is a sport that calls for a great deal of stamina, leg strength, and quick reaction time. In fact, badminton is arguably more physically demanding than tennis. Good badminton shoes are designed with these factors in mind. They should be as light as possible, enabling fast movement. They also have thin rubber soles, which lowers the player’s center of gravity and increases stability. The soles should be somewhat gummy for superior grip, since this allows the player to pivot and move fast without slipping. Black soles should be avoided, since they leave dark scuff marks on the court.
Good badminton shoes will also have shock absorbing cushions that provide more comfort and minimize impact shock. However, the fit and comfort of even the best shoes can be improved by inserting heel cups.
Unlike running shoes, footwear designed for badminton players have little or no lateral support. Although lateral support is desirable in activities where there are few side-to-side movements, badminton players are constantly moving laterally. Too much lateral support doesn’t prepare the player’s ankles for the shock of impact when the lateral support finally gives out, which can cause sprains.
Players who are prone to twisting their ankles may wish to consider footwear that offers more ankle support. However, while wearing the right shoes is important, it’s no substitute for learning safe and proper footwork. Players must learn to keep their feet and knees in alignment, especially when lunging. Not only does this help them avoid sprains, it also empowers them to move as quickly and efficiently as possible on the court.
It’s possible to invest anywhere from $30 to well over $100 for a pair of badminton shoes. While cost is not the only factor players need to consider, the better shoes are generally more expensive. Yonex is a high-end brand known for making comfortable and lightweight badminton shoes, though some players claim Yonex’s footwear isn’t quite as durable as it could be. ASICS, Mizuno, Hi-Tec, Adidas, Nike, Victor, and Wilson also make badminton shoes.