Badminton may not have had a major breakthrough in the United States, but it is a huge sport throughout many other countries. As one of five racquet sports, it is easy to start watching even if the viewer has no idea what is going on. Similar to tennis, the sport requires a significant amount of movement and since the shuttlecock can never touch the ground, badminton is arguably even more demanding when it comes to movement. While training, fitness and innate skill make up a large part of your ability to be great at the sport, there are other factors as well.
Top Badminton Shoe Comparison Chart
Most of the gear makes a big impact on your play, but badminton shoes are arguably the most important piece of gear you can purchase. We will go into detail in the following section, but first a quick disclaimer. The next section will explain what type of shoes to look for and what specific things to watch out for from a beginner’s perspective. The idea is to make sure that anyone can read this article, learn what they need to learn, see some great ideas for some of the best shoes out there. If you are a seasoned player, feel free to jump to the next section, but if you are just looking at a few shoes and want to see where they fall on our list, jump ahead to that point.
Buyer’s Guide (What to look for)
There are two key factors that will make a good badminton shoe; traction and grip. Since you will be moving a great deal, you want to ensure that you aren’t slipping around as you try to get into different positions. The surface you play on is also going to make a significant difference in the type of shoe that you should consider. Cement surfaces are the least common surfaces to play on and rubber-soled tennis shoes should be more than adequate for that type of play. In general, you will be playing on wood or a PU court. For those surfaces, a gum rubber sole is going to be key. Volleyball shoes are also a good replacement if you can’t find a badminton shoe to your liking.
Cushion, Weight, and Size
Another three factors to consider is the cushion, weight, and size of the shoe. First off, size. Size does not refer to the size of the shoe that you wear, but the width of the shoe. It should fit close to that of a glove and will require you to buy a specialized shoe that is specifically fit for your foot as you move up in experience. For now, just keep in mind that the width of the shoe will directly impact how well you move on the court.
Next up is the weight of the shoe. We have all worn shoes that are comfortable but a little heavy, or light shoes that feel like they offer no protection from the elements but are great for running. The same is true for badminton shoes. You need to find something that is light but has a solid gummy rubber sole. That means there won’t be a ton of heavy fabric above the sole to reduce the weight. While this review may not have all the answers when it comes to the weight of the shoe, just keep in mind that you need something light as you start to experiment with different shoes.
Finally, we get to the cushion part of the shoe. The cushion is always key, but in badminton, it is a big safety concern. You want as much cushion as you feel comfortable in to reduce the impact on your legs while also giving you the ability to quickly adjust your momentum.
Badminton Shoe Longevity and Care
As badminton shoes are a specialized piece of gear, caring for them is going to be extremely important. As you start to head out to games, you should wear normal tennis shoes and prepare to lace up your badminton shoes on once you are on the court. It is also a good idea to only wear them on wood or PU courts and use regular tennis shoes on a cement court.
A moist towel will also serve you well as it will ensure that you can wipe dirt off the souls throughout the game and let you keep the shoe clean. This will keep the traction at the highest level and keep you from getting frustrated with the shoes too quickly.
Before we get into the review it would be a good idea to break down what each technological term for the shoes means. We will do this for beginners up and make sure you have a good idea of what you are getting when certain terms are used. This review may not include all of the terminologies, but we want to ensure you have as much information as possible.
Double Russel Mesh
refers to the best breathable material you can find in a show. It is extremely lightweight and provides incredible air-exchange (8 times as much) when compared to other shoes.
is a term for a technology that provides a more comfortable and stable shoe. It contours more effectively to the foot and is key for better footwork.
technology is more or less a shock absorber for your entire body. It enables more agile movement and helps with body balance.
MsLite and Super MsLite
soles are lightweight and provide extra support for faster footwork while still being durable. The Super version is 10% lighter and uses a polymer-based midsole.
refers to the hexagonal pattern that adds more gripping power while reducing the weight of the sole. This gives a more agile yet stable type of footwork.
adds quickness and power to your movement, though it doesn’t have scientific numbers to back up what type of increase you will get, so don’t pay too much just to say you have lateral claw shoes.
Power Graphite Lite
is a 3D graphite sheet sole plate that provides a great amount of cushion when landing while also giving the wearer additional stability.
improves the wearer’s ability to move around the court by transferring body energy into movement.
Power Cushion Insole MC
provides additional resilience while minimizing shock.
The terms here range from beginner to advanced shoes, so expect to pay more for a shoe with Power Cushion Insole MC when compared to one with Ergoshape.
Finally, a quick note about men’s, women’s, and children’s shoes. There is essentially no difference in the technology behind the shoes, only in the design. Children’s shoes will generally be limited run shoes that are meant for a short period of use, while men’s and women’s shoes will be no different than buying a pair of Nike running shoes for yourself – the only real difference is size and color choices.
Best Badminton Shoe Reviews
We’ve covered plenty of information leading up to this section, and we hope you have a better idea of what to look for in a good badminton shoe. We rank the shoes on value first, so a shoe that is slightly better than another, but significantly more expensive, may not rank as highly, or at all. With that in mind, read on to find out what we think are the best shoes on the market.
1. Yonex Comfort Z Badminton Shoes
While not the cheapest shoe on our list (who wants that anyway right?), the Comfort Z is all you could want in a shoe. With a snug fit and Power Cushion technology through the entire sole area, you won’t feel any discomfort as you move laterally or any direction for that matter. Shock absorption is one of the hallmarks of this shoe. There’s an in-depth outline of all the technology once you navigate to Amazon to check out the details. This is our absolute favorite badminton shoe!
- Best shoes for features and comfort.
- Hexagrip sole gives fantastic grip on the court.
- Light upper mesh keeps the shoe from slowing you down.
- Some durability issues.
- Only one color design.
- Sized a half size too large.
2. Yonex Power Cushion 65 X Ladies
Yonex comes in second on the list as well with its women’s version of a very popular badminton shoe. With an Ergoshape midsole and Power Cushion technology, you get some of the best tech available in a badminton shoe. In fact, the 65 X’s have a new version of Power Cushion which claims to have 25% more shock absorption and 12% more repulsion abilities than its predecessors. The outsole features Hexagrip natural rubber on both the side and bottom of the shoe.
P.U. (polyurethane) leather makes up most of the upper and that’s a good thing since it offers both structure and light weight.
- Ergoshape and Power Cushion technology.
- Great features for intermediate or advanced players.
- Perfect for those with narrow feet.
- Sized at a half size too small.
- Not good if you have wide feet.
3. Babolat Shadow Tour
Babolat is not a shoe company that many would recognize. That is advantageous as the shoe is a simple badminton shoe that comes with a lower price tag (usually). While most models of Babolat wouldn’t be considered the most advanced shoes out there, they are extremely comfortable. This particular model, however, is a cut above most badminton shoes!
The grip on the Babolat ranks among the big boys (as it should with such a price tag) and the elastic wraps on the inside keep this shoe tight to your foot – a reassuring feeling indeed! This stands in a class of its own in one particular way. It fits so tight (comfortably) and the shoe wall is so thin, that it feels like you’re wearing tight socks with awesome stability and traction – much more so than most other high-end badminton shoes! However, all this wonderful stuff comes at a bit of a cost.
One of our reviewers noted that after extended play (like 2 hours), she noticed her feet felt a bit tired or sore because of some lack of cushioning at the toe, and minimal “substance” to the shoe which was no issue after 1 hour of hard play, but started to show after 2 hours. Overall, this shoe is definitely a pro shoe with very specific benefits and advantages, but you’ll need to weight the issue of lightness and speed vs. luxurious comfort, cushioning, bulkiness, etc. We like this shoe a whole lot more than we don’t!
- Almost no break-in time.
- great traction
- Really good-looking shoe
- Feels like you’re wearing almost nothing on your feet
- Have you heard this one before? PRICE!!! As of this review, the price tag was around $200 minus the price of a trip to McDonald’s for one!
- May cause discomfort after extended wear due to its minimalistic construction/design
4. Asics Women’s Gel Upcourt
While the ASICS shoe on offer here is made for volleyball, you will find that it is a very solid purchase for a newer or intermediate badminton player. The gum rubber outsole and rubber sole give it the grip you need. As mentioned previously, badminton shoes are very specific shoes, but volleyball and tennis shoes can fit the bill depending on where you play. Volleyball shoes are actually very similar to badminton shoes as the movement is similar in both sports.
The shoes are very comfortable and grip the court well. They fit correctly, so no switching sizes like earlier shoes on the list. The support is great and the price is only beat by the LEFUSI from our research. The only real drawback is the durability of the shoe. While it does perform well, it seems to run out of steam earlier than you would expect, requiring a replacement. Still, at this price and for this level of comfort, it may be worth the tradeoff.
- Great grip on the court.
- Very comfortable shoe.
- Not too heavy, great for newer players.
- Great value.
- Durability is questionable.
- Might be too wide for more advanced players.
5. Asics Men’s GEL-Rocket 9
On the men’s side of ASICS shoes, the GEL-Rocket 9 is one of the best shoes in badminton for the money, though it’s listed on Amazon as a “volleyball” shoe. They offer a pretty solid upper, though it can wear down after continued use. They offer a great grip on the court and have a solid GEL cushioning system that should make wear on your joints a minor issue if one at all.
The shoe also comes in a number of styles, fits as expected and can be purchased at a great price point, though it can vary a great deal depending on where you purchase them. Do your research to make sure you get the best prices out there.
The biggest issues are the arch support if needed, is lacking significantly and the upper will wear down if you play too hard. For newer players, this won’t be much of an issue, but if you are more advanced in your badminton career you probably want something that is going to hold up a little better. Still, a great shoe for newer or casual players that will be extremely comfortable and look sharp on the court.
- Solid grip on the court.
- GEL makes movement more comfortable and helps with joint pain.
- Very lightweight upper.
- Frequent or hard play may wear out the upper very fast.
- Very little arch support.
- Not as narrow as we would like for a badminton shoe.
6. LI-NING Men’s Badminton Shoes
Li-Ning is a name foreign to me until just a few years ago. I always thought Yonex was the only name is Badminton apparel and high-end gear. However, with a little research, I was able to find that Li-Ning is the biggest name in Badminton through the Far East. Every YouTube video featuring a badminton match usually had a huge “Li-Ning” advertisement billboard or video in the background. Some rackets are literally in the thousands of dollars – INSANE I say!
Nevertheless, here we are with a Li-Ning shoe priced at a mere $50-ish dollars! I’d say that’s not a bad deal! With synthetic leather and textile, the upper is very breathable. The rubber outsole (which Li-Ning calls “bionic performance outsole”) has tougher material where needed to reduce wear, and the EVA midsole provides the light weight and cushion you need for the sport. Li-Ning uses an “anti-collision toe” which helps avoid injury due to collisions with any solid object or another player’s shoes!
Finally, Li-Ning is such a big brand that they are often copied and counterfeited. Illegitimate rackets AND shoes are sold on the black market with the Li-Ning branding, so these shoes offer a feature whereby you can check the authenticity via a QR code in the shoe. Nice touch!
- Great price from one of the top manufacturers of badminton shoes.
- Light and comfortable.
- Fits great with Ergoshape to help with movement on the court.
- Not a great shoe for high-level play.
- Durability is questionable.
7. Yonex PC65 Wide Badminton Shoes
Expect Yonex to dominate most of this list, especially going forward. The PC65 is one of their higher end pairs that looks to come right out of the 80s. As its namesake would seem to imply, it is indeed a slightly wider shoe to accommodate those with wider feet. It’s a good shoe all around, but if you have wider feet, that issue alone is worth going for these shoes in spite of any shortcomings you may find in other areas of construction, etc.
It is made of synthetic leather (though there is some real leather in the upper) which offers a bit more support than a stretchy, giving leather, but may also sacrifice comfort for the same reason. Tough Guard Mesh III and Double Russel Mesh round out the exterior wrap. A harder bottom absorbs more shock is more responsive than the original Power Cushion (to the tune of 5%). The midsole is made of ToughBrid Light, Power Cushion, Solid E.V.A. and a Power Graphite Sheet.
- Extremely comfortable unisex shoe.
- Great grip on the court.
- Plenty of arch support.
- Some concern about the sole and upper separating.
- Sizes run small.
8. Yonex Power Cushion Aerus 3 Men’s
This is one of Yonex’s newest offerings and it’s the lightest! It weighs only 270g! Like the PC65, it has a hard top and bottom layer to absorb 30% more shock than the original Power Cushion and has 5% more repulsion for enhanced transfer of energy. It has a soft middle layer that performs magic! It returns to its original shape quickly after receiving a shock load. This new shoe has an improved round sole and reinforced side supports which allow the Aerus to give you a really supportive fit for aggressive movements in any direction. The Hexagrip pattern is made from newly-developed material that provides 3% more gripping power and is 20% lighter than an ordinary material.
The Yonex Power Cushion effectively absorbs shock then reverses the impact energy for smooth transfer into the next movement. Compared with urethane, the Yonex Power Cushion construction provides 3 times more shock absorbing power according to Yonex. Also according to Yonex, the Power Cushion Insole gives the feet more support inside the shoe so that lateral movement will not diminish power. Our reviewers concurred with this assessment.
- The lightest shoe on our list
- Modern design makes them look fresh.
- Narrow and grippy makes them very close to a professional badminton shoe.
- May not be comfortable for less experienced or casual players due to the narrow nature of the shoe.
- Priced mid-to-high
9. Yonex SHB-01 LTD
This shoe makes the list for two reasons; They are elite performers and they look REALLY good! They feature a fabric and leather construction (polyurethane, mesh and leather upper) with a highly technical midsole featuring Power Cushion and TPU Power Graphite sheet.
Of all the shoes on the list, this is easily the best looking one in my opinion. It looks modern and expensive, yet it is priced in a very fair range. Overall, this is a shoe that is likely going to be displayed more than worn, but if you decide to slide them on, they are going to perform very well. However, your game will likely suffer a bit as you try to keep from ripping them up.
- One of the best-looking shoes on the list.
- Affordable compared to some of the higher-end shoes.
- As a potential collector’s shoe, it likely won’t see a ton of play unless you say “screw it” to the limited edition status and decide to play in it (like I would).
- If purchased for play, there are much better options for a lower price.
Conclusion & Recommendations
There you have it, our opinions on the best shoes for the court. Yonex obviously dominates the list as they focus primarily on badminton. While, some of the other brands that you may know better, such as Adidas, make shoes that could work, they haven’t made a splash in the badminton market just yet because of the smaller player base for the sport. That isn’t to take away from Yonex’s contributions as you will find some fantastic shoes that will fit your need. The great part is most of them are unisex.
From the higher end shoes for pros or more serious players, such as the SHB01LTD at number nine, to the more casual shoe at number eight, Yonex offers a wide variety that should do the trick for just about any player. Just keep in mind that each shoe has its own odd fittings to which you’ll need to adjust.
At rank five and six, ASICS offers some great all-around court shoes that work wonders as beginner-friendly badminton shoes. They aren’t going to take you to a professional level, but they will let you play some badminton, see how you like it, and use them again for ping-pong or volleyball. Overall, they are a great set, the men’s and women’s version, for those just dipping their toes into the sport.
Our number one pick, SHB-SC5, is a great pick for any type of player. It isn’t the cheapest pair of shoes on the list, but it should appeal to new and more experienced players. It offers much of the technology we defined at the start of the article and will grow with you as you become more skillful. Number two on our list, the power cushion for ladies, is our number one pick if you don’t need a man’s style shoe. It is essentially just as good, but the top two contenders are not unisex shoes, so they share the top two spots.
Finally, for the budget-minded, or those looking for something easy, low-priced and of a good enough quality to just get out and have fun, Babolat and LEFUSI, number three and four, offer a great shoe for those that aren’t looking to do much more than simply get out and play. They are fantastic general shoes that will work for multiple sports and they come in at some of the best values on the list.
As it goes with any review, keep in mind that these are our best guesses at what will appeal to a wider audience. These aren’t all professional-level or beginner level shoes, they are a mix that should give each reader something to consider. The best advice is to make sure that you aren’t buying a shoe from an “all sales are final” retailer and you can buy with confidence. There are a ton of shoes out there, and we tried to cut them down to one list of the top 10. However, we encourage you to use this as a starting place and if you don’t find something you like, use what you’ve learned to make an educated decision going forward.