Badminton is one of the most popular sports in the world for small groups of people and individuals. In fact, it has been called the second most participated in sport in the world behind soccer. A big part of this reason is Asia, admittedly and its love of racket sports, but that does not take away much from the sport itself. What many people probably don’t realize is that badminton is not just a goofy version of tennis where the ‘ball’ floats. Instead, that floating of the bird actually helps the game be faster and more enjoyable for those playing. Whereas an ordinary tennis point is going to last three points, if you are good at it, badminton’s average point lasts ten plus regularly. This means that it is a fast-paced game that is drawing more and more eyeballs to it as a result. As such, you’ve got to have the footwear to not only allow you to be agile but also to support you. Today, we’re going to help you pick out a good pair of shoes for badminton, which can be very tough given how many court shoes are out there. We’ll seek to answer any questions you might have, and then we will be taking a look at the most popular pairs of 2019.
Top Badminton Shoes Comparison Chart
|Product||Material||Upper||Price||Where to Buy?|
|Yonex Women’s Comfort Z||Double Russel Mesh||$$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|Adidas Women’s Essence 12||Synthetic||Air mesh & textile||$||Check Price On Amazon|
|Asics Women’s Gel Rocket 8||Synthetic||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|Babolat 2018 Women’s Shadow Spirit||Textile||$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|Yonex Women’s Aerus 2 LX||Fabric & Leather||Double Russel Mesh||$$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|Li-Ning Men’s Saga Lightweight||Air Mesh||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|Yonex SHB 65 Z Men’s 2018||Textile||P.U. Leather||$$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|Head Men’s Grid 2.0 Low||Synthetic||Air Mesh||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|Adidas Men’s Ligra 5||Synthetic||Air Mesh||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|Adidas Men’s Barricade Club Tennis Shoe||Textile||$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
Badminton Shoes Buying Guide
What is a Court Shoe?
In the world of sports, there are several that are played on a court and thus have been lumped into one category. Known as ‘court shoes,’ they each are common in some specific areas and require certain things. Among these sports are badminton, squash, racquetball, and volleyball. Basketball, despite being played on a court, is not really in this category, as it does not always fit in with the others. Basketball shoes are usually a little bit too bulky, and they don’t always do well with traction, depending on the court. With that out of the way, the reason why each of the sports are in this category is because each require agility, good traction, and support. While they might not be perfect for badminton, any of the shoes from the other court shoes can do you an adequate job. You might feel like you are weighed down a little too much by volleyball shoes, and that is OK if you do, but they can usually do a great job for you. The biggest thing to go by in a court shoe is the sole of the shoe. If it is composed of what is called gum rubber, then you will know that 9 out of 10 times it is going to be a court shoe. Gum rubber is a material that is almost always a yellow, orange, or brown color, or some combination of them. They can be black, but this is often seen as a no-go as black is what is seen on basketball and tennis shoes, and that rubs people the wrong way in some circles because they are afraid they will make the court dusty and dirty. Long story short, if you see gum rubber, they can be used for badminton, though they might not be the ultra best! This is why we might see shoes overlap from one sport to another. They all have similarities, and this is where that comes into play.
Where Are You Playing?
Figuring out what kind of surface you’re going to be on is going to be one of the most important factors in getting the most out of the your badminton shoes. While we greatly encourage gum rubber ones for play in official matches, which are going to be held on either wood or a Polyurethane court, you might not need them if you are playing outside. If you are going to be playing on a cement surface, in fact, you would want something else entirely. Gum rubber is not good at all on harder, abrasive surfaces and can wear out. This is why you do not want to wear them outside of playing unless you have essentially retired the shoes from service! So if you are going to be playing on a surface as we described, you would want a normal rubber sole. This will better help you shake off the dust. There are also recreational games played on grass. For this, we suggest you just play with whatever and have fun; no need to overthink this one!
Gum rubber plays a big role in giving you traction, and that is why they are such a viable option in the world of the court sports, including badminton. Still yet, there are some signs to look for in a court shoe. If you see that a shoe has gum rubber, and some are just colored that way nowadays so you have to be careful about it, then you need to check the patterns on them. If you see that they have deep grooves, you are ready to go. If you see just a smooth surface across the shoe, then you should be a little worried. This means that traction will not be the best, and it could mean that you will be left sliding around without a hope on the court. Companies, and even they differ, will have various ways of going about this, but you should still be looking for these types of patterns in order to make sure you are getting what you need for your match.
Talking About Support
Of the many factors that have to be present in a good pair of badminton shoes, support is toward the top of the list. First and foremost, you have to be able to go from side to side. Not all shoes are created equal, and many shoes are not capable of doing this. That is why badminton, and court shoes, are very much preferred to something like running shoes. Running shoes are not the cure all things that you think they are. They only let you go forward, giving you a lack of lateral support. You’ve got to be able to be on your toes in badminton, be able to move to the left and then to the right or vice versa, shuffle back, and also run forward. If you are unable to do so, you won’t be having much fun or success. The best way a pair of shoes can support you is through cushioning. Please note that this NOT comfort. Comfort is how you feel in the shoe.
Cushioning can certainly affect comfort levels, no doubt, but it is not everything. Cushioning allows the shoe to take blows, and yes you will be suffering through those even in the sport of badminton. The floor itself is hard and is capable of making you sore after a while. It can even tire you out. A good pair of shoes isn’t going to make you into Superman or Wonderwoman, but it will help you keep from those two things occurring so regularly. A lot of cushioning is kept in places that we can’t see to be fair, but there are two spots to look to identify it with the naked eye. First, is under the heel. Some companies use designs there to help you. Others will use them in the outsoles. Look at the laces and then run your eyes downward until you are looking at the part that is just off the ground. If you notice that they protrude a little bit and have some thickness to them there, it also shows support is built in. By making the shoe wider, it has a wider base and thus is going to allow them to help support you as well as help to make the shoes last a little while longer.
Another area where support is essential is in the ankle area. This area is a very tricky part of the human anatomy and injuries to it and the heel can be catastrophic and tough to recover from. Because the desire of most badminton players is to have some lightweight, most badminton shoes are going to be either mid tops or low tops. Low tops are those that have very little ankle protection built in. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it keeps you very free and flexible. However, if you’ve had ankle issues in the past, if you are prone to rolling your ankles, or if you are a larger player, you might be best served to go with something else. Mid tops are the middle ground as it relates to badminton shoes. High tops are almost always too bulky for good lateral movement, though some would prefer them and could use them if they chose, so mid tops offer a good balance between the high and the low. You get a bit less freedom and flexibility, but you will be locked in a little better. You might not be quite as fast and agile, but if you are a bigger player or someone that needs a little bit more confidence, then these can provide you that. With that said, a good pair of shoes for badminton, even those that are low tops, are going to provide you good support. It just might not be quite as much as some others would give to you.
Other Features To Look For
There are a lot of things to consider, and here are a few more things you need to keep in mind when you are picking out a pair of shoes:
* Breathability– this is how much the shoes allow your feet to let out that excess sweat. As you play, and it does vary from person to person, you will start to sweat. Your feet can become weighed down as this happens, building up in your socks and not allowing you to move as freely as before. That is where vents come into play. By using mesh used with tiny holes, your feet can breathe out and won’t weigh you down like you would be without them. Some shoes are more breathable than others. Just know that in a lot of cases the use of mesh makes shoes more prone to tearing, so that is something to consider.
* Flexibility– depending on what type of player and person you are, this could be a big, big deal for you. Being able to move around freely is a key component to the game. Some players love to be locked in tight and unable to move a lot. Some, though, like to be able to wiggle their toes easily. Thin soles on shoes help tremendously in badminton with this, as they allow both the toes and the ankles better movement.
* Heel cups– it has been shown time and time again that the use of heel cups make your shoes last much longer. Heel cups are a great option as well to help those of us that want to feel locked in just a little bit more. All it really is is in the name. It’s an area at the back of the shoe that is either cut out or molds to your foot and it forces it to stay put against the heel. Durability, comfort, and feeling secure are all benefits of them. You don’t have to have them, but they are helpful and worth a think.
* Comfort– It has to be said, albeit briefly, that you shoe needs to be comfortable. No matter how great a shoe, or how high the price, if you just don’t feel right in it, it won’t work. We suggest trying them on before use, and always making sure that you break them in a little at a time before unveiling them fully on court.
* Design– Looks are always going to play a role, so we’d be remiss to not mention them. While it is not going to change how good or bad the shoe is, they can increase your performance a little by giving you confidence in yourself. A good tip is to find features you like and then find the look. If you have the look but don’t have the support or traction, or whatever you need, you really aren’t doing yourself much good at all.
Please Get the Right Size!
Sizing yourself is perhaps the most crucial of all elements when it comes to the right badminton shoes. Everything we have looked at, from traction to support, will be meaningless if you are not in the right size shoes. You can have great traction on the floor itself but still slip inside the shoe. Or, if they are too small, you could find yourself getting awful blisters on your toes and the top of your feet that will leave you wanting to not play for a while or possibly not allowing you to at all. So, getting the correct size is huge.
To get that size, going to the store or some place to measure your feet is a good idea, especially if you haven’t done so in a while. It’s also a good opportunity to get a feel of what you like and don’t like. They might not have as many choices as you see online, but you could get a grasp on what shoes run large and which ones run small. If you dislike something at the store, you’ll know to avoid that feature online. You might even find the perfect pair for you, and then you can shop online. One thing to keep in mind is that badminton is a grueling sport that will have you on your feet. This causes swelling. So just make sure to go after some activity or at night to get the best sizing possible.
When it comes to how they feel on you, make sure you’ve got a thumb between your toes and the end of the shoes. This will make sure that you don’t get those blisters, even when your feet inevitably swell up later on. This is about as much as you want, though. Too much space means your feet will basically slide up and down inside of the shoes, and that can cause you to fall. If it doesn’t, then prolonged use can make your back, knees, and all kinds of other things hurt due to a change in the way you walk and move. The body adjusts itself, and sometimes that adjustment isn’t for the best.
Width is another decisive factor. It’s a bummer when you find the best looking pair available (to your eat, at least) with a great insole that is comfy, along with the length being right only to realize they are too narrow for you. Being too narrow is a pretty common occurrence. Some shoes just run narrow. Sometimes, you can get away with sizing up or down, but usually it just means you will need to look elsewhere for your best choice. If you can’t tell this is the case by going to try them on, online reviews and research work wonders. We’ll be including this information in the reviews if and when it comes up.
Let’s Review the Top 5 Women’s Badminton Shoes!
Yonex Women’s Comfort Z
Coming in a variety of sizes and weights, the Yonex Comfort Z tops the charts for women’s badminton shoes due for those that want to look and feel great on the court. On tops of the obvious great looks that they have, they have a ton of function built into them. They are, of course, very comfortable as the name would suggest, and in addition to that, they are durable through the use of various cushioning systems, including the Power Cushion that is used throughout the entirety of the sole of the shoe. This boosts you and allows you to be better and feel better than you have before. A big advantage of these shoes is that they are very breathable, with the use of mesh being prevalent. The bottoms as you would expect are very good and provide good traction to the wearer. These are a low top shoe, so you will have to take note of that and their advantages and disadvantages. The only other things that might trip you up are cost and looks. They don’t come in a ton of different colors, so that is a small let down, and they also are a little pricey. So if you are a beginner that is seeking a very comforting experience, this might not be the best way to start out. They also are no good for those of us out there with wide feet, so be aware of that as well.
- Very comfortable
- Great use of mesh to make them breathable
- Cushioning is excellent all over
- Not a good fit for wide feet
- Quite a price to pay
- Not many colors to choose from
Adidas Women’s Essence 12
With that seemingly always endless supply of class and great looks come this pair of shoes from Adidas. One of the main calling cards of the Essence 12 is going to be its price point, which is quite reasonable for a shoe of their standard. The use of synthetic material serves to make this pair quite durable on the court, but they do not totally neglect your feet in doing so. There is still mesh used wisely to help aid in ventilation, allowing you to breathe out those feet as you play. This is not always the case with synthetic shoes. The Adiprene compound has been used in both the forefoot and in the heel area of the shoes. In the front of the foot, it helps you to push off better and to use your energy more efficiently. In the heel area, it gives you more cushioning both before and during impact, which is a major plus to any court shoe. The toe area is even nicely made to give you a bit of cushion and allow you to better push off. It’s also going to make them more durable as a result because it has more padding there, and it will protect your toes a bit more. The bottoms are good for just about any surface that you might encounter indoors, so that won’t be a tripping point. On top of all of that, they are lightweight and easy to maneuver in. One thing to keep in mind is that this is sort of the entry level for Adidas, so you shouldn’t expect this pair to be as responsive as other pairs would be. Because of that, they are popular but not quite the best. They can also be a little slow to break in, so be ready for some patience.
- Great price point
- Adiprene helps you push off
- Protected toe area
- Just not as responsive as other models
- Synthetics can be harder to break in
Asics Women’s Gel Rocket 8
Designed to be a volleyball shoe, the Gel Rocket 8 is an excellent court shoe that can be used for badminton for a number of reasons. Firstly, a good pair of volleyball shoes has to have shock absorption, and that is what this pair has. It also has a good amount of support in the ankles, for all of that jumping, while still being a lower to maybe mid top in the heel. Made from a combination of synthetics with some mesh, the upper is both durable, flexible, and breathable, giving you the best of all the worlds in one shoe. The trademark calling card of Asics has long been its Gel system, and that doesn’t let you down here. The Gel cushioning system not only makes them comfortable to wear but also helps you by cushioning the blows after impact. Furthermore, the use of what they call their Trusstic technology further aids the shoe by making it extremely durable. It does this by helping the shoe’s structure remain true for an extended period of time. You would think this would mean they’d wear more, but by some wizardry they have pulled it off to where it can accomplish all of that and still be light. With three colors, each of which look classy without going over the top, it will make you happy. One thing that has to be said about them in the negative is that they don’t have a ton of arch support. They also don’t run very wide, so that is something to consider before ordering.
- Very nice designs
- Light and durable
- Great ability to absorb shocks
- Not a plethora of colors
- Runs a little narrow
- Not much arch support- sorry flat footers
Babolat 2018 Women’s Shadow Spirit
Babolat is a good brand for court shoes, though it is not one you would know of unless you were into one of those sports. With that said, they should be a brand that is well known given the quality of their shoes. This pair, the Shadow Spirit, uses inspiration from the road by developing them in conjunction with Michelin. What this means is that they, through the Active Sculpture Tech, have been able to deliver both great traction and shock absorbing properties, just as you would expect a tire to have. This helps you to go from zero to 60 and to stop on a dime, which can’t be understated or underrated one bit. These shoes also have extremely good durability built into them. Though they are a bit pricey and many find them tough to wear because they do run a bit narrow and don’t have wide sizes, these can be a great pair of shoes for the very serious badminton player out there. The upper they use is made from synthetics and also has some mesh built in to them to make them breathable and to give you a chance to unsoak, if you will. Both the tongue and the collar have padding, too, making them very comfy and plush feeling while on you.
- Teamwork with Michelin pays off
- Very durable
- Nice comfort levels and padding
- Not very wide at all and no wider sizes
- A little pricey for most; especially newer players
Yonex Women’s Aerus 2 LX
Want to hear a fun fact? You can drop an egg from 7mm onto Yonex’s Power Sheet and it will not crack. That is the level that they are operating at, and it’s easy to see why they have a second offering on the ladies list. With these shoes, you get a good array of colors to pick from, each of which are nice to look at and will help you stand out. Using fabric and leather, they are easier to clean than most and are also very flexible and comfortable. You might sacrifice a bit of durability with leather compared to synthetics, but there is a reason why it is called premium. Still yet, it uses the same mesh as the previous pair of Yonex’s we saw, which means you get eight times in the airflow to normal old mesh. The midsole of this shoe is worth pointing out, as you get a 10% lighter shoe than the ordinary Yonex line gives you as well as more durability and comfort. The Power Cushion is still present and keeps on doing its phenomenal job, too. The EVA used inside is both comfy and light, keeping you happy. This is the lightest shoe currently offered by Yonex, and all of these reasons are why! The down side is that they are pretty pricey to buy. They also are to going to be good at all for outside due to the leather.
- Lightest Yonex that can be found
- Leather increases comfort
- Power Cushion is still great
- Leather less durable than synthetics
- Costs a decent penny
- Not for outside use at all
Note: Before we start the men’s section, we should point out that the first, third, and fifth options on the list are all also very highly rated in the men’s section. Because of the similarities, we won’t review them again so as to give you more reviews! So that is why those are not included below.
Let’s Review the Top 5 Men’s Badminton Shoes!
Li-Ning Men’s Saga Lightweight
If you’re a guy that is looking for a professional grade shoe for badminton, then this could be just the one for you. The Li-Ning comes in five different flashy and otherworldly colors, but it packs so much more. The imported shoes have what is called an Xstructure to them, which means that the heel has a device that tightens and locks it into place. So, this makes up for them being a low top because it will still keep you from rolling over the ankle, which is huge at preventing injuries that could cost you time on the court. Another big time feature of them is the multiflex sole, which allows you to be flexible due to them having a number of different pivot points. This helps them be very responsive and also comfortable as well, so you get a lot from this feature along with the flexibility. If you look at them, you will notice that the toe is pointed upward. That, coupled with a toe guard, makes the toe area both very durable and also good for helping you push off and make shots. On top of all of that, the Saga molds to your foot ergonomically, enhancing them even further and giving you the chance to be the best player that you can possibly be. These do come from overseas, so ordering and reordering can get tough. They also have a more glittery type of look than they appear, so that could hold you back.
- Very flashy designs and colors
- Excellent ankle protection in a low top
- Flexible sole with multiple points to pivot on
- Ordering and reordering is tougher
- Glitter look is not appealing to everyone
Yonex SHB 65 Z Men’s 2018
Yonex makes a third overall appearance on the list with this men’s entry, and it is easy to see why. Despite being fairly expensive, like the others, it has a ton of things that other just do not have that you might want. For starters, they concentrate very heavily on the toe area. They begin by having the toe up off the ground. What this does is relieve pressure that could be put on to them. There is also some thickness to it, which will help you on push offs and will make sure they don’t wear out as much. With the use of the Power Cushion, you will be able to be both agile off the mark and also be able to feel good while doing it. The rounded sole that they have used in the shoe is excellent as it helps you with those tough lateral movements by supporting the whole foot and not just parts of it, unlike other shoes that you might find. The Synchro-Fit tech they have used helps you get a better fit by taking you heel and securing it against your insole in a more comfortable manner. Also on the inside is very fine EVA, which makes the shoe lighter and also comfy as it won’t run you and cause irritation to occur. Other than the price, the negative to look out for is that they are a little bit stiff. Taking some time to try and break them in is very necessary.
- Power Cushion makes them agile
- Rounded sole protects the whole foot
- Secures the heel
- Price is high for some
- Stiff and might be tough to break in
Head Men’s Grid 2.0 Low
Head has long been one of the leaders in racket sports, and as such, it’s not a shock at all to see them make the list with the Grid 2.0, which is a good, versatile court shoe. These shoes use a low top, and despite having a fairly plain looking appearance in a couple of colors, they still get the job done. The upper uses a blend of synthetics along with mesh to give you durability as well as some breathability, increasing your enjoyment tenfold. The hybrasion compound that they have used is great for making sure that your shoes do not scuffed up, but still be aware that they will erode quicker if you use them outside on harder surfaces. They also come in at a very low price, so if you are happy paying an entry price, this is the kind of shoe to turn to. The other big positive to note is that they have a wide foot bed, which is sure to please a whole lot of people that just can’t seem to find shoes wide enough for them. The toe area, like so many on the list, is pronounced and will protect you a good bit, so there are no worries there. They do not allow for an insert of your own and they also have issues with the seams coming apart over time.
- Good entry price
- Great anti-scuff
- Wide toe area
- Durability issues
- Can’t bring your own insert
- Not the most stylish
Adidas Men’s Ligra 5
If you want to step it up a notch with your style while on the court, the Ligra from Adidas is a good way to go. Another versatile option that will allow you to jump, push off, and go from one side to the other, these shoes are good for all of the court sports. The biggest trump card of these shoes has to be their use of the Adiwear technology. This tech has made the outsoles of the shoes much more durable that they otherwise would be by pinpointing the places you put the most emphasis on: the toes and the heels. You are able to push off and then absorb those shocks very well and you can do so without worrying about them wearing out too fast. The cushioning provided is also top drawer as you’d expect from the Three Stripes, with offering a lot of help after impact as they are designed for volleyball. The upper uses both synthetics and mesh to give you a breathable game while also making them durable and easy to clean as well. The biggest problem they present is that they are narrow in the toes. They’ve also the seams wear, so prolonged use might not be the best for you.
- Great styles
- Works on the heels and toes
- Cushioned very well
- Durability is questionable
- Runs narrow in the toes
Adidas Men’s Barricade Club Tennis Shoe
Everything we have seen so far has been designed for the court, but if you find yourself needing something for outdoor use, then this is the one for you. The Barricade tennis shoe is made with clay courts in mind, so you can be sure that it will help you on even the most slippery of surfaces. While they aren’t going to be great indoors, they will definitely get the job for you outdoors. The toe area uses Adidas’ Adituff compound to make them resistant to abrasions and also to help the player push off from the toes. This makes them comfier and also makes them more durable, which are never bad things to have. The torsion tech used in the midsole of the shoe helps to make the foot more stable in the midfoot and also gives good responsiveness as well. The Adiprene used from heel to toe in the sole has a great amount of cushioning allowing for you to handle all of those shocks. The upper is made with mesh and synthetics, making them easy to clean and also very breathable as well. They also have a removable insole in case you need to bring your own. They are a little bit heavy compared to others, so take note of that. They also have some durability issues, so they might not be to your liking if you play a lot.
- Good for outdoor use
- Breathes well and is easy to clean
- Toe protection and push off
- Questions about durability
- Little heavy
Conclusion And Final Badminton Shoes Recommendations
Finding the right pair of shoes for badminton can be difficult to do. On the surface it looks easy, but when you look closer you see so many options and it can have the effect of making you overawed. However, through our review today we have helped explain what to look for and what you need. If you find yourself shopping for shoes, and you probably are if you are here, then you’ll be much more confident as you move on and find that pair you’ve been needing and wanting for so long!
FAQ’s About Badminton Shoes
* How Do I Know When to Replace My Badminton Shoes?
Replacing shoes, and knowing when to do so, can be a tough thing. You either don’t want to buy new ones or you just really love them. No matter the case, there are some general signs to look for. First and foremost is the feel. Are they looser or tighter than they were when you first got them? A little bit of change is fine and normal, but eventually it will add up to be too much. Secondly, are they hurting you and causing your feet pain despite them never having done so before? If this is the case, you definitely need a new pair. This is an example of the invisible stuff coming back to bite you. We can see wear and tear on the outside (this is another we’ll go to), but the inside bit is tough. If you are hurting and haven’t before, then you’ve got a problem with the insoles and they aren’t working as designed because they have been worn out. If you see wear and tear, such as a tear or notice that the outsoles have creases in them, this also is a good indicator that you really have got to get a new pair. The last thing to look for, and the first thing really, is the overall grip of the shoes. If you are sliding around suddenly, you have to decide if it is because they are unclean or if they just need replacing. While they could be dirty, there is also a good chance they just need to be replaced. You have used them a lot, and unfortunately, the soles, too, will wear out and give you less traction than they used to do.
* How Do I Clean Badminton Shoes?
Cleaning badminton shoes is very important because it can help them last longer and also help you perform better. The way you can clean them is by wiping off the soles. You can do this frequently. If you need to go further, and you should at least every now and then, you should take them and use a pencil, after wetting them a bit on the bottom and scraping out any debris that might have gotten in there. Hopefully, you have not been wearing them out on the street or in the hallways, because you can pick up more stuff, but even if you haven’t, this stuff can build up over time. Do your best to not get the upper part too wet. The bottoms tend to take it better than the uppers! Those, if they are synthetic, are very easy to clean. Usually just wetting them and then wiping will do the trick for you.
* Should I Wear Badminton Shoes for Other Things?
You can certainly do so if you choose, but one thing we don’t encourage is to wear your current playing shoes in other environments. This is the case even more so if you are using gum rubber. This material will wear out much quicker with frequent use. With that said, a lot of badminton and court shoes are comfortable, light, and also allow the wearer to be agile. Because of that, they could, at least in theory, be a good shoe for work or just a general shoe to wear. While it’s not smart to use them for both purposes, this is a viable option for you if you just really got to have them. Provided that your shoes aren’t too far gone after their ‘retirement,’ you can even wear them around casually.