ASICS Gel-Rocket 8
ASICS Gel Rocket 7 Shoe
ASICS Gel Upcourt
A casual glance at a game of badminton will tell you that it looks pretty straightforward: 2 or 4 players, a shuttle and a net on a compact court. Once you start playing, though, you’ll begin to discover its complexities and the unique demands this sport puts on players.
Speed and agility in executing those lightning-quick pivots and turns is crucial. A well-honed tactical sense is essential. Those skills can be learnt with time and effort but you’ll discover that choosing the best badminton shoes will ensure optimum performance on court, no matter which position you play.
Back court players need stability and support to feel secure in making those short sprints and laser-fast turns; protection from impacts sustained in repeated take-offs and landings is important too.
Attacking players who use their agility and athletic skill to the max at the net as they fire off reflex smashes need soles with a large pivot point to ensure efficiency on those rapid turns, as well as optimal traction for super-responsiveness.
If you’re playing badminton a couple of times a week and maybe dabble in other court sports like squash, entry level all-round shoes will fit the bill nicely.
Elite and club players, on the other hand, will be looking for the best badminton shoes which are more specifically designed to meet the intense demands of the sport. Whatever your needs, our review includes some great recommendations, so read on…
Comparison Table - Best Shoes for badminton
Yonex Men’s Power Cushion SHB-02 Limited Edition
ASICS Men’s Gel-Rocket 8
Black/Black/White, White/Black/Silver, Indigo Blue/Silver/White
ASICS Men’s Upcourt 2
Head Men’s Speed Pro Lite
Black/White/Orange, Blue/Lime, White/Black
ASICS Women’s Gel Rocket 7
ASICS Women’s Gel Sensei 5
Mizuno Women’s Wave Lightning Z3
ASICS Women’s Gel Upcourt
Pink Glow/Indigo Blue/Aqua Splash, Mint/White/Fiery Coral
Do you need special badminton shoes?
You’ll begin to understand by now that this all depends on the level you’re playing at and leisure players’ needs are different to those of club and elite players. Many of the shoes we have reviewed are not specifically badminton shoes but offer all the traction, grip and support you need.
Volleyball shoes, for example, are actually very similar to badminton shoes as the movements are the same. If you’re really gripped by the sport, though, and want optimum performance, you’ll find that choosing footwear specifically designed for badminton makes sense.
The court surface you’re playing on will also influence your choice of shoes. The harder-wearing soles of tennis shoes would perform well on cement surfaces, for example. For the more common wood or PU badminton courts, though, you’ll be looking for the gum rubber soles of volleyball, squash or badminton shoes to give you maximum agility and speed.
The best badminton shoes will give you:
Cushion, Weight, and Size
These three factors all need to be considered when choosing badminton shoes. For all sports, but especially those with repeated impacts sustained on landing, cushioning is crucial. Both the insole and outsole need to be designed to minimise shock to ankle and knee joints.
Selecting the correct size is not just about the length to accommodate your foot and your toes comfortably, but also about the width. The width of the toe box needs to be right, of course, to ensure comfort; the width of the outsole, however, will have an effect on the way you move on court and this needs to be considered too.
In a fast-paced sport like badminton, the weight of the shoe is important as you don’t want to be expending unnecessary energy as you move around the court. Look for shoes which are lightweight overall but also have a solid gum rubber sole which will give you the all-important stability and grip on the court surface.
Features To Look For In The Best Badminton Shoes
Correct Ankle Support
Playing badminton requires swift and frequent changes of direction, so stability is the crucial thing to consider when choosing footwear. The soles of the best badminton shoes are designed to give maximum stability and support for these movements.
For example, the midsole is specifically designed to take most of the impact in jumps and landings at the same time as giving maximum flexibility. The soft gum rubber soles give the best possible traction for the frequent lateral movements. High quality, purpose-made footwear will provide support and will go some way to preventing painful and annoying injuries like rolled ankles.
The best badminton shoes need to be both lightweight and durable. The particular movements of the sport, with plenty of jumping and running around, mean that any additional weight burns unnecessary energy. The lighter the shoe, the less fatigue and the more vital energy you can conserve.
The mesh material which forms part of the upper helps to reduce the weight of the shoe at the same time as ensuring good foot ventilation. The soft gum rubber soles are also less dense which helps to keep weight to a minimum.
The speed and physical demands of a fast-paced sport like badminton will always result in sweat. Heat and moisture build-up inside shoes will inevitably lead to painful problems such as blisters. Optimum temperature regulation and air flow in badminton shoes is vital to minimise these problems.
Mesh uppers maximise ventilation at the same time as being lightweight. Manufacturers have also incorporated materials with moisture-wicking properties to ensure comfort and minimise blistering.
Shoes designed for other sports such as running often have a particularly thick, solid sole for traction and impact protection. The balance and laser-fast reactions of badminton demand a lower centre of gravity to make those jumps, pivots and short sprints.
Thicker-soled sports shoes with aren’t designed to support these particular movements. Be sure to select shoes with thinner soles to ensure peak performance.
This will depend on the surface of the badminton court you play on.
Most modern courts have either PU or wood surfaces and gum rubber soles are the best choice.
If, on the other hand, you play on a cement court, then be sure to select shoes with rubber soles which are more hard-wearing. Badminton shoes are designed with non-marking soles to minimise damage to the court surface, as required by most clubs and public sports halls.
The best possible cushioning is crucial to minimise the chance of foot pain that is guaranteed to reduce performance. This is particularly relevant if you play every day or if you’re taking part in tournaments when you’ll be on court repeatedly.
Cushioning, therefore, is one of the most important factors in the design of the best badminton shoes. Protection of the heel and the forefoot are especially important. Many badminton shoes use foam for cushioning but the higher end products use gel or air cushions.
If you’re constantly jumping, optimal shock absorption is crucial to shield your feet from impacting on the hard surface of the court each time you land. This will delay the onset of fatigue and also lessen the chance of injury, ensuring that you maintain peak performance for as long as possible.
Slipping and sliding on court will inevitably result in injuries and, of course, a reduction in performance and lack of confidence. The best badminton shoes are designed to maximise grip during lateral movements, ensuring maximum surface area is in contact with the court surface to generate friction and therefore traction.
Sweat dripping onto the court is inevitable bi-product of this fast-paced sport, which can be very hazardous, so it’s essential that the outsole incorporates open grooves to expel moisture and minimise the risk of slipping. Effective performance is down to confidence. Choosing shoes with specifically-designed gum rubber soles will give you the reassurance you need to achieve peak performance.
Caring for Your Badminton Shoes
If you have paid good money for specialist badminton shoes, then you’ll want to take good care of them to ensure their longevity. Since rough surfaces are the worst enemy of the soft gum rubber soles of the best badminton shoes, be sure only to put them on when you’re ready to play and to wear other shoes to get yourself to and from the sports centre or club.
If you find yourself playing on a cement court, it’s best to avoid using shoes with gum rubber soles because they’re not manufactured to withstand playing on anything other than wooden or PU courts. Swap to regular tennis shoes in this case.
Having a moist towel handy to wipe down the soles between games is a good tip to ensure they stay clean and dry and give you the best possible traction on court.
8 Best Badminton Shoes Reviewed
Best Badminton Shoes for Men
1. Yonex Men’s Power Cushion SHB-02 Limited Edition Badminton Shoe - Red
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
These shoes offer a perfect balance between comfort, durability and weight and are specifically designed for optimum performance on a badminton court. The mesh upper ensures your feet will get great ventilation to keep you cool and blister-free.
The mid and outsole are designed to give superior cushioning and minimising shock to ankles and feet. This is crucial when it comes to sports like badminton, because according to the specialists at Foot HealthCare Associates:
As people become more physically active, the likelihood of foot ailments increases, especially for athletes. Sports that emphasize quick side to side movements risk incurring ankle sprains".
This is why it is important to get some specific shoes that emphasize the protection around your ankles.
In addition, the funky red colour will also make you stand out from the crowd!
2. ASICS Men’s Gel-Rocket 8
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
We love the fact the ASICS Gel-Rocket 8 is a top-level shoe at an entry-level price, making it a great option for new badminton players. This is a volleyball shoe but it will perform very well on the badminton court.
The latest incarnation of this popular range features ASICS stabilising Trusstic System technology which keeps the weight down at the same time as maintaining structural integrity of the shoe.
The cushioning system is great for reducing impact, while the gum rubber on the outsole enhances traction and toes are protected by the specialised forefoot gel cushioning.
It is available in four different styles so you'll surely find the one that matches your personality.
3. ASICS Men’s Upcourt 2
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
Even if these look like running shoes, know for sure that they are not. They're actually meant for volleyball. In fact, if you ever considered wearing running shoes at the court, it's better if you think it twice. Dr. Victoria M. Foley states:
While running shoes are perfectly appropriate for a casual game of football or soccer at the park, they are a poor choice for a sport like basketball (badminton in this case). They may have the proper cushioning needed for running down the court, but they do not have a sole designed to grip the court surface (...) increasing the likelihood of slipping".
As a volleyball shoe, the Upcourt 2 will give you all the support, grip and stability you on the badminton court and will really help you to up your game. The specially-designed EVA midsole gives great bounce-back and also durability.
The mesh and reinforced synthetic leather upper is lightweight yet keeps your foot stable when you make those lightning quick pivots and turns. Better yet, you can also play other court sports like volleyball and squash in these shoes and at a competitive price-point.
4. Head Men’s Speed Pro Lite Indoor Low Shoe
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
Specifically designed with indoor court sports in mind, these shoes will give you all the support and comfort you need for playing badminton. The non-marking rubber sole is thin enough to protect your feet from injuries, as stated by the podiatrists at the Foot and Ankle Clinic:
Badminton shoes have a thinner sole to lower your center of gravity and cut the risk of injuries (...) However, if you are prone to shin splints, you may need insoles to cushion your feet".
Have this recommendation in mind - if you are prone to shin splints, custom orthotics could be helpful to keep you safe.
A particular feature of the design is an ‘energy bridge’ which transfers the energy from heel to forefoot when you shift your weight.
They have a mesh cooling system which helps to keep feet ventilated and free from painful blisters. They’re available in 3 colours to suit different taste.
Best Badminton Shoes for Women
5. ASICS Women’s Gel Rocket 7 Shoe
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
These are billed as volleyball shoes but if you’re looking for exceptional value and performance, then this shoe is the one to opt for season after season, giving you the support and stability required for playing badminton.
The Rocket 7 benefits from a lighter weight upper than previous models and also increased gum rubber on the outsole which gives superior traction.
In addition to the standard white and black/silver models, ASICS Women’s Gel Rocket 7 shoes come in some truly fun styles, not forgetting the eye-popping hot pink and turquoise combo - our top pick if you want to stand out from the crowd!
6. ASICS Women’s Gel Sensei 5
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
The latest incarnation of the ever-popular GEL-Sensei shoe has been updated to offer improved flexibility, breathability and stability using enhanced technology. All these features make this shoe ideally suited to playing badminton.
They’re also lighter weight thanks to the design of the upper which features synthetic leather and mesh material. Another feature of the upper is asymmetrical lacing, so you’ll find there’s less chance for irritation and better comfort and fit.
You’ll also find that durability has improved with the specially designed midsole. However, you should always be careful with the amount of use you give to your badminton shoes because that could damage your insoles and even get yourself harmed.
As with all ASICS volleyball shoes, the special gel cushioning in the toe and heel areas reduces shock during impact and toe-off phases.
7. Mizuno Women’s Wave Lightning Z3
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
Available in a whole host of colours, this perennial favourite for indoor court sports has all the features you’ll need to ensure you’re the best you can be on the badminton court.
This shoe combines durability and optimal shock absorption with breathability and it’s lightweight, too, so you don’t burn any more energy than you need to.
Mizuno are leaders in a variety of sports footwear areas and this Z3 model will not let you down.
8. ASICS Women’s Gel Upcourt
Will These Shoes Fit Me?
For those who are on a limited budget, look no further than these multi-court shoes from ASICS which offer the best possible value for the amateur athlete.
Being one of the ASICS family, they feature superior gel cushioning for the heel to give protection during impacts and a gum rubber outsole for excellent traction during lateral movements in badminton.
They're also noticeably lightweight. Breathability and comfort are both key elements in the design of the upper, which is a combination of mesh underlays and synthetic leather overlays.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you wear badminton shoes off court?
You can extend the life of your shoes by not using them off court, as the special gum rubber soles won’t stand up very well to general use.
If you have spent good money on buying the best badminton shoes, don’t mistreat them by slipping them on for general daily use because walking on rough surfaces will damage them very quickly.
Better to extend their useful life by lacing them on when you’re ready to play and remembering to take them off afterwards.
Do beginners and experts need different badminton shoes?
As with many things in life, this all depends on cost, since clearly shoes which are designed for elite or club players are going to be considerably more expensive than an all-round shoe aimed at people who play the odd game for fun.
It’s up to you if you want to go all out and have the best from the word go and there are plenty of options out there at the elite end of the market.
In reality, it’s probably best to start at a lower price point, where there is a good range of high quality shoes, with the idea of upgrading your footwear as you work your way through the levels.
Are men’s and women’s shoes different?
The key difference between men and women's sports shoes is in the width. Women's shoes are built wider in the forefoot and toe area and narrower in the heel than the corresponding men’s shoes, which reflects the anatomical gender differences in foot shape. Furthermore, women’s shoes are generally narrower and smaller-sized than men’s shoes.
There are a wide range of shoe types on the market created by manufacturers of sports footwear specifically designed to cater to gender-based requirements and preferences.
However, if a woman happens to have a wider than average foot or a man’s foot is unusually narrow, she or he may find that the opposite gender's shoe fits better. The best advice is to think of your own personal needs and not be restricted by gender-based descriptions.
Can you wear squash or tennis shoes for badminton?
Since both sports are played on similar surfaces and involve the same type of moves, they require shoes with flexible, non-marking soles which offer superior support, traction and shock absorption.
Shoes which are marketed specifically as badminton shoes might be a little lighter-weight since jumping is more of a feature than it is for squash. The variation, though, is minimal and in reality it’s mostly just a case of labelling and marketing techniques.
Bear in mind, though, that tennis shoes are usually designed for use on outdoor courts and have different features and characteristics. If you’re playing badminton on a cement surface, you may still find that tennis shoes perform better because the denser, more heavy-duty outsoles will cope better than the softer gum rubber soles of badminton-specific shoes.
No matter which sport you play, trying on shoes labelled for other court sports is a good idea to make sure you get shoes which are most comfortable for your own unique physiology. Don’t let yourself get too hung up on labels.
When you’re searching for the very best badminton shoes to ensure you’re able to play to the very best of your ability, you need to keep the key features of shock absorption, ventilation and traction uppermost in your mind.
The main aim is to achieve peak performance for those jumps, pivots, turns and landings at the same time as minimising the chance of painful injuries. Finding the right shoes will be not just a step but a giant leap towards realising your goals and staying at the top of your game.