When a Badminton player is sliding from one side of the court to another to return their opponent’s smashes, the part of their physiology that sustains the most pressure is the foot. With the friction, gravity and insane speed involved in one of the world’s fastest games, your feet go through a lot during the course of a match. Protection and support for your feet is clearly essential, but will any shoes do? Not if you want to avoid injury and perform at your best.
Every part of the shoe has to be near perfect to give you the support you need to stay in top condition and competitive for a very long time. Many people prioritise game skills and technique, but settle for running shoes. This will undermine your game. Investing in good quality shoes is as important as a good racquet. They will also give you more protection against troublesome injuries!
Let’s have a look at the factors that you need to keep in mind when choosing your Badminton shoes.
If you are playing on a smooth indoor court floor, there is a high risk of slipping if you don’t wear shoes with the right rubber outsole. This improves the grip of the shoe, enhancing swift multi-directional movement.
Another thing you need to take care with is that the shoe’s outsole is non-marking. If you are playing on a wooden surface with shoes that leave marks, this will be detrimental to the surface of the court. So whenever you buy a sole, you should check to make sure it’s a non-marking shoe. The easiest way to tell is to rub the sole on a piece of clean white paper. If it doesn’t leave any marks, then the shoe is a non marking shoe!
Having the right insole is a game-changer in any sport, especially Badminton. Good support between your foot, shoe and ground comes with an effective insole. The right insole, matched to your foot type, will save you from injuries and pain. It will also absorb moisture from sweat, which causes discomfort.
Imagine the amount of pressure you put on your foot, through jumping or intense footwork on the court. Cushioning is something you cannot ignore when buying a shoe. Apart from providing comfort, it also provides the support you need to protect you from injuries.
Different kinds of midsoles are available in the market, such as ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) foam. One of the Badminton champions’ favourite cushion support shoes is the Yonex Power Cushion 88 Dial shoes, as they provide superior comfort.
Another interesting shoe with a lot of cushion is the Salming Kobra shoes, a Swedish make.
If you want to outclass your opponent, you wouldn’t want anything to pull you down, especially the weight of your shoe. The ideal weight of your Badminton shoe is between 250 gm to 400 gm, although there are some athletes who prefer heavier shoes. However, 450 gm should be considered an upper limit, while at the other end of the scale, an example of a super lightweight shoe is the Victor SH-A620.
To cope with the intensity of a match, your foot needs space to breathe and counteract the effects of sweating. So it’s recommended to have a mesh top on your shoe, as this will allow the interior of your shoe to cool down.
Another important characteristic to look for in Badminton shoes is their overall flexibility. One should be able to bend it with minimal effort because a flexible shoe enhances your natural foot movement.
The best investment you can make in the sport is in your shoes. Having a shoe with good durability will pay you back. For example, buying one quality shoe that could support you for a year or more is a much wiser investment decision than settling for cheaper shoes that you may end up replacing two or three times in the same period.
Every person has a different body and foot type, so when choosing the right pair, keep in mind what your foot type is.
Manufacturers are aware of this and make shoes according to foot types. For example, the Yonex Power Cushion 65Z Wide men’s badminton shoes are especially designed for wide feet.
Another interesting example of shoes according to foot type is 2020 Victor Soar AC shoes which are well-suited and designed for the Ideal “Egyptian” toes, which have a longer first-toe and a rounder front foot.
Similar to racquets, the kind of shoes you choose are influenced by the level you are playing at, whether it’s beginner, intermediate or advanced. Let’s have a quick look at the major brands. Specialist equipment manufacturers, like Yonex, Victor and Li-Ning, have a wide range of shoes available. Other well-known brands, like Adidas and ASICS, also have good badminton shoes to choose from. Here are some examples:
As you can see, there are a lot of factors affecting your choice of footwear. In addition to the must-have capabilities common to players at all levels, choosing the ideal shoes also depends on assessing your playing level and taking into account your body type and game style.