Selecting the right badminton shoes is one of the most important gear decisions a player can make. With the quick changes in direction and explosive movements involved in badminton, having shoes that are lightweight, supportive, grippy and durable is essential for top performance. But with so many shoe models and features to consider, it can be overwhelming to know that how to choose the best badminton shoes.
Follow this guide covering key factors to look for and practical tips to make sure you choose the best badminton shoes for your unique needs and playing style. Investing in proper shoes will help you elevate your game and take your fast-paced footwork to the next level.
Determining the Right Fit
Finding the proper size and fit is the first step in choosing comfortable, high performing badminton shoes. Here are some tips for determining the ideal fit:
- Try shoes on in-store whenever possible to get the right feel and size. Walk around and simulate badminton movements.
- There should be about a thumb’s width between the tip of the toes and end of shoe. Feet shouldn’t feel cramped but toes shouldn’t have excessive room to slide forward either.
- Heel should grip snugly without any lift when walking or moving side to side.
- Opt for laces rather than velcro straps for most adjustable fit. Lace to the top eyelets and tie securely.
- Those with wider feet may need to size up and use lacing techniques like skipping eyelets to create more space.
- Consider insoles or orthotics if you need additional arch support or custom fit.
Getting the proper size and fit means shoes will be comfortable while still providing stability during intense play. Don’t compromise on fit – it can lead to foot fatigue, blisters and loss of performance.
Prioritizing Lightweight Design
One of the most crucial factors while to choose the best badminton shoes is minimizing weight. Look at shoe specs and aim for models weighing 150 to 200 grams. The lighter the shoe, the easier and more natural it will feel to move quickly in all directions.
Brands use lightweight materials in the upper, midsole and outsole to reduce overall weight:
- Mesh uppers – Mesh provides ventilation where needed while reducing material.
- Minimal seams/overlays – Clean upper design with few seams avoids extra weight.
- Foam midsoles – Phylon or EVA foam weighs less than rubber.
- Thin outsole – Super thin rubber traction layers reduce ounces.
Don’t just assume a shoe will be light though – always check the listed weight specs first. The lightest shoes strike the ideal balance of featherlight feel and support.
Choosing the Right Upper Material
Badminton shoes need uppers made of lightweight, breathable materials that offer foot stability without restricting movement.
- Mesh – Mesh uppers are popular for their ventilation during play. Multilayer mesh provides foot stability.
- Synthetic leather/PU – Durable synthetic leather or PU leather is placed in high-wear areas for increased lifespan.
- Seamless construction – Seamless, anatomical uppers prevent irritation and hotspots on the foot.
- Heel support – External TPU or plastic heel counters provide stability. Internal heel cups also assist.
The right upper materials offer breathability, structure, and support where needed – all without adding bulk.
Getting Proper Grip and Traction
Having ample grip and traction is crucial for quick cuts, pivots and lunges on the court. Check the outsole material and tread pattern when choosing shoes:
- Rubber outsoles – Durable rubber compounds like gum rubber resist slipping.
- Herringbone pattern – Classic herringbone tread allows multi-directional grip.
- Non-marking – Outsoles must be non-marking to not scuff gym floors.
- Court specific – Shoes made specifically for badminton focus grip for lateral movements.
- Avoid running shoes – Models made for forward motion don’t grip the same on pivots.
Test traction by walking on the courts you’ll play on. Quality rubber soles with court-tuned tread prevent slipping so you can play with confidence.
Cushioning for Comfort and Support
Cushioning in the midsole absorbs harsh impact from constant jumps and sudden stops. But shoes must remain responsive, so excessive softness actually reduces energy return.
Key cushioning features in badminton shoes include:
- Midsole foam – EVA or EVA blends offer lightweight cushioning and shock absorption.
- Gel inserts – Silicone-based gel pads in the heel and forefoot provide impact protection.
- Removable insoles – Aftermarket insoles can be inserted if extra cushioning is needed.
- Torsion plates – Internal plates prevent pronation and overflexing for added support.
Test midsole stiffness by bending the shoes – some flex should be felt but minimal twisting. Cushioning helps comfort and stamina for longer games.
Comparing Popular Badminton Shoe Models
Once you know what to look for, you can start evaluating the top models from major athletic brands to pick the ideal shoe for you. Here are 5 of the most popular badminton shoes to consider:
- Yonex Power Cushion Aerus 3 – Ultra lightweight (185g) with breathable upper and Octopus grip outsole
- Li Ning Speed 90 II – Incredibly light (160g) and fast with phylon foam and 3D comfort insole
- Asics Gel-Rockét – Rearfoot and forefoot Gel pads plus MonoSock construction for stability
- Mizuno Wave Unite – Infinity Wave technology disperses impact while Dynamotion Fit upper adapts to foot shape
- Puma Vx500 – Affordable court shoe with EVA midsole and non-marking gum rubber outsole
Reading reviews from fellow players is helpful for comparing real-world performance. Local demo days are also great for test driving different shoe models before you buy.
Caring for Your Shoes Properly
Getting the most out of your investment means properly caring for your badminton shoes.
- Inspect for wear and tears before/after use
- Allow shoes to fully air dry before storing
- Wipe away dust and dirt after each use
- Replace insoles around every 2-3 months
- Rotate between 2 pair of shoes to prolong cushioning
- Retire shoes once tread looks flat and smooth
- Store shoes in breathable mesh bags to prevent moisture buildup
With the right badminton shoes that match your play style, foot type and court surface, you’ll gain the traction, support and quickness needed to take your game to the next level. Use this guide to become an educated shopper when choosing your next pair. The right shoes can help unlock improved performance and comfort on the court.