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 from 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.
Yonex offers a fantastic first choice for our badminton list and it comes in a fairly stylish color pallet. The Navy Orange design is eye-catching but not distracting. It uses a hexagrip sole for better gripping, and Power Cushion for the support. P.U. Leather with a polyester mesh is used for the upper part of the shoe, keeping it light and ready for quick movements on the court.
Our advice is to order a size or half-size smaller than you usually wear as these shoes generally leave a bit of room at your normal size. The only concern we have with the shoe seems isolated but needs to be mentioned. A few users have reported that both shoes tore at the uppers after just four months of use. How hard they were used and how well they were taken care of is unclear, so we won’t knock the shoes much for that point, but keep an eye for anything unusual in the uppers as you break them in.
- Great shoes at a value price.
- 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.
Yonex comes in second on the list as well with its women’s version of an entry level badminton shoe. With an Ergoshape midsole and Power Cushion technology, you get some of the better technological breakthroughs in shoes for a very valuable price. These should provide plenty of comfort and speed without being too heavy. They likely won’t be your go-to choice if you move up to a higher level of play, but they are perfect for starting and intermediate players.
Contrary to the men’s shoes by Yonex at number one, consider going a half size larger for these shoes. Our one caveat here is for those with wider feet. The shoes are fairly narrow when compared to your average tennis shoes, so if you usually have trouble with a narrow shoe, move along to a different choice. Most should be fine with the size and shape, but keep these things in mind.
- Ergoshape and Power Cushion technology.
- Great value for new or intermediate players.
- Perfect for those with narrow feet.
- Sized at a half size too small.
- Not good if you have wide feet.
- A little heavy for more advanced play.
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. While it isn’t the most advanced shoe out there, it is extremely comfortable. It may also be a little on the heavy side for shoes, but for a starting player, it will be a perfect purchase.
The only real negatives for this shoe is that it is very basic. It doesn’t boast any particular advantages for badminton, but that is what makes it such a perfect choice as a first shoe. Breaking in the shoe should take no time at all and once you get better at the sport you won’t feel bad that you spent a huge amount of money on a shoe that just doesn’t hold up. This is a good entry level and hits number three on the list because it is a no-frills way to start your badminton career.
- Almost no break in time.
- Very affordable.
- Blue and Neon color scheme is a solid choice and one that looks high end.
- No frills basic badminton shoe for beginners.
- Won’t grow with your skill level.
- Not expensive, but may not last as long as some of the bigger names.
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.
On the men’s side of ASICS shoes, the GEL-Rocket 7 is one of the best shoes in badminton for the money. 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.
Yonex seems to be the go-to name in badminton shoes. They knock it out again with the Power Cushion 46 and there are only a few concerns that keep it from reaching higher on the list. First, the positives. The Hexagrip rubber is supposedly 20% lighter, which helps the player move with more ease. Ergoshape will make the shoe more comfortable for most players and also offer more stability in the toe and forefoot area.
The shoe is extremely comfortable and fairly priced for a mid-level shoe of this type. The biggest concern – again – is the durability of the shoe. One user had a pair only last 6 months with regular use. How long each pair will stack up is still in question, but this is a solid entry from Yonex that is probably best for casual, frequent players.
- 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 very questionable.
Expect Yonex to dominate most of this list, especially going forward. The PC SC-6 is one of their higher end pairs that looks to come right out of the 80s. The upper is PU leather, Double Russel, mesh and Kuraster. The outsole is rubber and the midsole is elastic with Power Graphite Lite and Power Cushion. This essentially all adds up to a very comfortable badminton shoe for most.
For arch support, you won’t find a better shoe on this list, but as is the case with most Yonex shoes, the sizing is a bit off. Expect to go a half size to full size larger than you normally wear. Also of concern are the constant reports of the bottom separating from the top after a decent amount of use. They can be fixed with some shoe glue, but for the price, you would expect these to last longer. These aren’t professional level, but they are for more advanced players in general.
- Extremely comfortable unisex shoe.
- Great grip on the court.
- Plenty of arch support.
- Some concern about the sole and upper separating.
- Sizes run small.
- The design appears to come from 1983.
Another Yonex shoe and this one makes the list simply because of its looks. For the most part, it isn’t that different from the first pair on our list, but it is a slightly higher end pair. The Hexagrip sole gives you the ability to move with agility and the gum rubber grips will keep you stuck in place when you need to be. The power cushions in the heel, forefoot and full-length of the shoe are resilient and very comfortable. They also include two pairs of laces, red or white, to go with the bright yellow design.
These are another pair of unisex shoes and they are targeted at a higher level of player. High arches and a narrow shoe are the name of the game with this pair, which will likely not be as comfortable for newer players but appreciated by more advanced players. These are also the lightest pair of Yonex that we found on the list. They are made exclusively for playing on the court and wearing them off of the court will just make the fact that they are so narrow that much worse.
Still, the cushioning is fantastic and will keep you stuck to the court. Again, you’ll need to be careful with the sizing, but it seems the biggest issue is how narrow the shoes are and less about the actual length. If you have wider feet or don’t want to squeeze into a more professional grade shoe go with the SC-6 as it is a little easier to wear for extended periods of time.
- Some of the lightest shoes on the 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 a bit higher than most on the list.
- Some reports of the extra shoe strings missing have shown up.
This shoe makes the list for one reason, there are super fans out there that likely want a collector shoe. The power cushion and rubber sole you expect are all included, making these the perfect shoes to play in. In fact, they are essentially the same as the number 9 shoe, but a special edition version in Dark Pink.
I have a family member that is a huge collector of baseball memorabilia and I’m the same when it comes to soccer, so I understand why a shoe like this could end up on a shelf, or even used on occasion. If this type of “collector’s edition” shoe is your cup of tea, Yonex made sure they provided a perfect shoe to play in as well.
Of all the shoes on the list, this is easily the best looking on 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.
- Great collector’s item – or a gift if a fan is in the family.
- Affordable compared to some of the higher end shoes.
- As a collector’s shoe, it likely won’t see a ton of play.
- If purchased for play, there are much better options for a lower price.
- No big bells or whistles when it comes to technology.
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.