Badminton Shoes – The Ultimate Guide to Answer All Your Questions

Feature Image Badminton Shoes
Feature Image Badminton Shoes

Badminton shoes are an important part of your badminton equipment and gear. They protect you against injuries or falls. They also help you move faster and more securely through the court.

In this post, I am going to answer all the questions you can possibly have about badminton shoes. I will also give you some maintenance recommendations for keeping your badminton shoes working properly. Finally, I will give you some product recommendations in case you are looking at buying a new pair of shoes.

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Product recommendations, a summary

Just in case you are only interested in a fast answer about which badminton shoes you should buy, you can find below my personal recommendations. Please note that I usually recommend Yonex because that is the brand I have used all my life. However, if you prefer, you can use these products only to get an idea of the price range and look for similarly priced items of other brands. That being said, here is my take:

With the fast list out of our way, let’s dig deep into the topic. For a complete overview of the product recommendations, you can scroll to the bottom of the page.

Are badminton shoes important?

The short answer is yes, they are important. In fact, I personally recommend to buy them shortly after starting to play badminton. In my Badminton Equipment & Gear post, I recommend it as the third piece of equipment to buy, just after a racket and shuttles.

And why are they so important? Well, badminton movements are very specific. In fact, only squash has some similar moves, although it does not cover all the range of movement that badminton does, such as the jump smash movement. Therefore, having shoes that have been designed specifically for badminton will help prevent injuries and also make sure your feet do not suffer from the stress that usually comes from playing badminton.

When should I consider buying badminton shoes?

As I have just mentioned, I consider badminton shoes the third most important equipment after a racket and shuttles in order to play badminton. So the answer would be basically just when you start playing. Maybe you can play once or twice first to make sure you like it, but after that, you should really consider buying badminton shoes.

That does not mean that you need to spend a lot of money from the beginning. There are badminton shoes for beginners that are affordable but still will do the job for you if you are only starting.

Does it matter in which type of court do I play when choosing my badminton shoes?

Yes, it does matter in which type of court you play when choosing your badminton shoes. It will dictate how much cushioning you should be after. Having said that, if you are playing badminton regularly, you should really check carefully which surface you are playing on. This is because badminton can be very hard on your knees and ankles. The best surfaces to play on are suspended wooden floor or a badminton mat. In this case, the standard badminton shoes will do a great job for you.

If for whatever reason, your only way to play badminton is on a hard floor and/or outdoors, then you should look for shoes that have extra cushioning. It might be also a good idea to buy some good insoles that help with the extra cushioning. You can check my Badminton Equipment and Gear Guide to learn a bit more about the options you have for insoles.

What are the most important characteristics when choosing badminton shoes?

There are several characteristics that you should keep in mind when buying badminton shoes. However, before you go on to read all the different things to keep in mind, I have good news for you. If you decide to purchase shoes that have been specially designed for badminton, you shouldn’t be worried about these characteristics because the shoes will tick the most important boxes for the price range you are looking for. Having said that, let’s look at the things that any good badminton shoe will have.

Badminton shoes should be lightweight

Badminton is a very fast sport where you have to move fast and where you also change direction very often. For these reasons, a good badminton shoe will be lightweight so it does not become a burden when moving.

Badminton shoes should be flexible

For the same reasons that they need to be lightweight, badminton shoes also need to be flexible. The range of movements you perform while playing badminton is very wide, going from lunges to reach shots at the net, to jump smashes, or to a sudden change of direction because of a deceptive shot from your opponent. In order to adapt to all this, a badminton shoe needs to be flexible so your feet can change its shape to fit the specific movement you are performing.

Badminton shoes should leave your ankle free to move

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when buying badminton shoes is to buy one where the ankle is covered thinking that will help to protect you from injuries. Because there are constant changes in direction while you move around the court, you need to leave the ankle free to adapt. Otherwise, you will have difficulty changing direction and, long term, you can start having problems with how the extra protection is affecting your movements.

Badminton shoes should have a shape that adapts closely to your feet and holds it steady

Even though you need your ankle to be able to move freely, it is important that your feet are securely fastened within the shoe and they do not move. This will avoid injuries or blisters that will otherwise appear due to all the friction between your feet and the shoes. Therefore, be sure to buy shoes that adapt to the shape of your feet. For example, if you have wide feet, check the options available for wide feet. Be sure to also fasten your shoes properly so the feet are held steady.

Badminton shoes should have a thin sole

Because of the need to be lightweight and flexible, badminton shoes tend to have a thin sole. This is a good sign that the shoe will perform what is required. However, people with bad knees might find the thin sole not suitable for them. If that is the case, my personal recommendation is to buy good insoles or orthotics that will provide the extra cushioning that is required. You can place these inside your shoe, putting them in place of the insoles that come as standard.

The sole of the badminton shoe should be made of gum rubber

Because of all the sudden changes in direction required in badminton, good traction is one of the most important characteristics that a badminton shoe needs to have. In order to achieve this, the best material for your soles is gum rubber. Again, this would come as a standard for all proper badminton shoes, but it is good to keep it in mind.

Badminton companies are always working on different patterns and improvements in the soles in order to improve traction, but no matter what pattern your sole has, make sure it is made of gum rubber.

Badminton shoes should provide good cushioning against impact

Despite the need for lightness and flexibility, good badminton shoes should also have a good cushioning against impact. This is important because of badminton being such an aggressive sport, with jumps and drastic changes of direction. Good cushioning against impact will ensure that your knees do not suffer needlessly. As we mentioned before, for people in need of extra cushioning, insoles or orthotics are a good option.

Badminton shoes should provide good moisture control and breathability

This characteristic will be shared with any good indoor shoes and is not specific to badminton. Because of the sweat produced while practicing badminton, it is important that the shoes provide good moisture control and breathability to avoid undesired smells. A good practice to avoid the appearance of smells is to leave the shoes to air dry for a bit after using them instead of placing them directly into the bag.

The sole of the badminton shoe should be non-marking

Another important characteristic of a badminton shoe is that the sole should be non-marking. This does not have any impact on your wellbeing or your ability to play badminton better. It is, however, a requirement to play in most indoor badminton courts, so make sure that the shoes you purchase are non-marking.

A few extra questions about badminton shoes

How long do badminton shoes last?

The total amount of time a badminton shoe will last depends on the amount of time you play every week, the surface you play on and your playing style. As a rule of thumb, you can expect them to last one year. They can last much longer if you don’t play very often or if your playing style is very conservative.

Does Nike have badminton shoes?

No, Nike doesn’t have badminton shoes. The most common brands for badminton are Yonex, Victor, and Li-Ning. If you want to know a bit more about the most common badminton brands, you can check our badminton brands post, where we list all the brands and explain which products they have.

What is the difference between badminton shoes and running shoes?

There are a lot of differences between them. To name a few, the type of cushioning is different as you need more bouncing while running and more control while playing badminton.

The protection around the ankle is also very different since running is usually done on a straight line, so there are not many changes of direction.

Moreover, the type of sole will be different since running shoes are usually designed for running outdoors whereas badminton shoes are designed for indoor use only.

How can you tell if a shoe is non-marking?

There are several ways of knowing if a shoe is non-marking. The first obvious one would be to check if it is specified somewhere in the shoes. As you can see (hopefully) in the picture below, in the soles of my shoes it is specified that the sole is non-marking. If it is not specified, you can use one of the methods below to assess if your shoes are non-marking.

My shoe bottom. Non-marking text
Even though difficult to see in the picture, in the sole of my badminton shoes it is specified that the sole is non-marking.

The first method is by pressing your thumbnail, fingernail or a similar object into the sole. Afterward, if you see that the sole is momentarily dented from the pressure, then the sole is a soft one and most likely it will be a non-marking shoe.

The second method is by placing a piece of white paper on a hard surface (the floor, for example). Then you rub the sole of the shoe against the piece of paper firmly but without tearing the paper. If, after having done that, there are no marks on the paper, then most likely you have non-marking shoes.

The third and last method is similar to the second. Take another piece of white paper and try “writing” something on the paper using the heel of one of the shoes you are testing. You can write your name or simply try drawing a line. If you do not see a mark, most likely you have non-marking shoes.

Can I use volleyball shoes for badminton?

In general, I do not recommend using shoes that are designed for another sport. Some people with bad knees prefer to use volleyball shoes instead of badminton shoes because the cushioning is better and it protects their knees. If that is your case, I would recommend that you buy good insoles or orthotics and use them with badminton shoes. You will get the extra cushioning you are looking for while at the same time still getting all the advantages of using shoes that have been designed for the specific sport you are playing.

Can you wash badminton shoes?

The short answer is no. You cannot wash them as you would wash your clothes. However, if your shoes smell, there are several things you can do.

First, you can take out the insoles and clean them as those are usually cleanable (check your specific shoes for confirmation).

As far as the rest of the shoe is concerned, if the problem is that it smells or you simply want to keep them smelling fresh, follow these tips:

a. Buy a spray, such as the Kiwi Fresh Scent Shoe Deodoriser. It works great with the odors. You can buy it by following this link to Amazon.

b. Make sure you leave the shoes to air dry every time after use. If you put them inside the bag when they still have sweat, that is a recipe for odors down the line.

c. Buy foot powder, such as the Shoe Rescue Sport. This seems to be the most effective of all the options. You can buy this product by following this link to Amazon.

d. If you cannot get your hands on foot powder, you can try baking soda instead. It is not as effective, but it will also help.

If the problem is that there are markings or dirt on the outside, you can clean it by hand with a cloth and some water and soap.

How do you make new badminton shoes not slippery?

If your shoes are new, you only need to clean them a bit with water in order to make them have good traction. If the problem persists and you are the only one having slippery shoes, you should probably return the shoes and buy new ones. On the other hand, if everyone is having the problem because the court is very dirty, consider using a damp towel (with water) in between points and clean your soles with it in order to remove the dust and dirt accumulated during the rally.

How do you fix slippery shoes or improve my shoe grip?

It depends if the problem comes from the shoes themselves or from the court.

If the problem comes from the court and you are playing an important tournament, you can ask the organization to clean the floor to make sure it is suitable for play.

If you are playing an amateur tournament or simply training, you might need to look for other solutions.

A trick that I have used very often is to wet a towel with water and rub your shoes with that. The water will clean your soles and make them get traction again. In cases where the court is extremely dirty and water is not enough, with carbonated drinks (Coca-Cola works great) your soles will become very sticky so you won’t slip around anymore.

If you are the only one having the problems of traction, then the problem doesn’t come from the court itself but from your shoes. The most likely explanation is that the soles have become too smooth and do not provide traction anymore. In that case, you can try using sandpaper in your soles, which will make them grip better. Below you can find a video where this is explained.

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A great video where you can see how to use sandpaper to improve the grip of your badminton shoes.

If all this doesn’t work, then it is time to buy new shoes and for that, you can check the next section of this post.

Our recommendations

As I have said at the beginning of the post, I recommend mostly Yonex products because it is the brand I have used and trusted all my life. That doesn’t mean that it is the only viable option. There are other trusted badminton brands such as Li-Ning or Victor (to name but a few) that also have excellent products. If you prefer to use a different brand than Yonex, just use the price as a reference for what you should be expecting to pay and then look for your preferred brand. With that out of the way, let’s go into detail with all the recommendations.

Best badminton shoes for beginners

For beginners, it is important to get a good shoe, but it is also important not to spend an arm and a leg on it since you are just starting. As we have discussed during this guide, I think that you should be getting badminton shoes even if you are just starting, but I also think it is a good idea to start slow and don’t break the bank.

For this main reason, I recommend the affordable and functional Yonex Power Cushion 35. You can check the availability and price on Amazon by following this link.

This pair of shoes are the cheap line from Yonex, but they still tick all the boxes to ensure you can play safely and comfortably.

Best badminton shoes for intermediate players

If you are an intermediate player, meaning that you play a few times a week and go to local or regional tournaments, you might want to consider something that goes up a few steps compared to the Power Cushion 35.

There are a lot of options available if you are this type of player. You should be looking for shoes that cost around 100 dollars/pounds/euros. Around this price, because there is also a lot of options, you can also decide a bit based on the design you like the most.

I personally find the design of the Yonex Power Cushion Eclipsion very appealing. You can check the availability and price on Amazon here.

Best badminton shoes for advanced players

Here we are talking business. To be honest, probably any advanced player will have his or her own supplier so will not be checking this site to buy shoes.

Just in case, Yonex has these new and very cool shoes called Yonex Power Cushion Infinity that are their top line. You can check the availability and price on Amazon here.

Best badminton shoes for kids

Kids grow very fast and tend to destroy things easily. It is for this reason that my personal recommendation is not to spend a lot of money on their shoes. That being said, a lot of the fancier lines from Yonex also have the Junior version, so if you feel like spending a bit more money, you can also look for the junior version of the shoes discussed for the intermediate players.

If you prefer to follow my advice, I recommend the Yonex Power Cushion 35 Junior. You can check the availability and price on Amazon here.

Best badminton shoes for wide feet

Most lines from Yonex have their “wide” type, meaning that the only thing you need to do is check which level you are in and then from the above options choose the wide version from the recommended line.

For example, if you are an intermediate player with wide feet, you could choose the Yonex Power Cushion Eclipsion Wide. You can check the availability and price on Amazon here.

Final words

We covered a lot of ground together, so thanks for staying with me until the end! I hope you found what you were looking for in this guide. If not, you can let me know in the comments below and I will do my best to answer your query.

By MiquelM

I have been playing badminton since I was a kid, playing in both national and international tournaments at a semi-professional level. If you want to know a bit more about me, check my "About me" page.

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