We are sure you can probably relate to wanting to play a sport with various kinds of shoes, especially if you are only playing a sport as a hobby and not a full-time thing. However one of the lessons you quickly learn is that a good pair of shoes will take you to many places. Athletic shoes have been around for very many years – first being in use from the 17th century, where the people at the time used them in running, or other activities.
The tennis shoes and other athletic shoes of today give you the best performance through the improvement in their designs and features. It is also important to note that various athletic shoes will cater to the needs of different sports – so most of the time, they are not interchangeable.
In the case of badminton, which also happens to be among the most popular sports globally, there is a wide range of shoes that cater to its needs. However, you might think about using your tennis shoes for this purpose – and in this article, we will see whether this is a good choice to make.
The needs of badminton shoes
The most important factors when looking at the sole are the grip and traction. The court you play on will also determine the kind of shoes you will select.
For most badminton players, the courts have either PU or wood floors, while some have cement court. If you play on PU and wood floors, the shoes you select need to have rubber or gum soles, which will give you plenty of grip and traction. If, by any chance, you cannot find badminton shoes, the closest replacements that can fulfill that criteria are volleyball shoes.
Keep in mind that gum rubber soles accumulate dirt very quickly, which ends up reducing the traction. For this reason, you should minimize their use outside court settings.
If you are a cement player though, the surface is not as elastic as PU or wood, so tennis shoes will work well on this surface – however, this is not common, so you need to carefully consider the shoes you wear.
Badminton is a sport that needs you to move very quickly in different directions, so using a shoe with a good cushioning will absorb the impact. You will also notice certain shoes having a specially designed cushion that does a better job, and you can adjust it in different directions to see what is most comfortable to you.
It is always better to choose lightweight shoes when you are playing sports – in order to increase your own efficiency in the game. The best badminton shoes have cloth or mesh uppers along with gum rubber soles, but you should ensure that the shoes you select will work well for you.
Tennis shoes can work in terms of the criteria since they are also light, but their sole is quite heavy and stiff and will ruin the floor – unless you are playing on cement grounds.
Regardless of what you are using it for, sizing is a no-brainer when it comes to selecting shoes- but even more so for badminton. This is mainly because of the width, which matters more than you might think.
In many sports, the motion you make is mostly forward – however, for badminton, most of the movements you make are right and left, with only a few instances of moving forward. For instance, you might want to move to the corner of the lower left, so your left foot must slap to the right to allow you to move to the left.
The nature of your foot also plays a role in the width you choose. If you have wide feet, there are shoes you can go for, while others cater to people with normal and narrow feet, so make sure to check personally with the seller.
The problem with tennis shoes in badminton
- The nature of tennis is a game that is played on one of three surfaces – clay (soft court), grass, and concrete (hard). Each surface has its own characteristics and will place different pressure points on the foot along with changing the dynamics of the ball movement. That is why you cannot use one shoe pair on multiple surfaces; you also need to account for the surface you are playing on since this will affect the nature of the sole as well as the dynamics of the shoe.
- The nature of tennis requires a lot of lateral movements because you are constantly running across the baseline and not running towards the net, so the shoe is modified to cater for this kind of movement. While this sounds similar to badminton, tennis shoes tend to have a more padded heel that is raised, similar to a running shoe – the aim here is supporting the joints as you move.
- The footwork in the game of tennis is more about running, instead of chasing as is the case with badminton. This makes tennis shoes heavier compared to badminton shoes.
- The last difference between these shoes, but not the least important, is the grip patterns in the sole of both shoes. Since badminton is a sport that focuses on movement in all directions, the patterns in the grip are more radial to grip strongly on the direction you apply the friction in. However, tennis shoes have a variety of grip patterns – clay court shoes have a zigzag like pattern to prevent clay from lodging inside and allow controlled sliding, while grass court shoes have pimply patterns that provide extra grip (grass is the most slippery surface).
At the end of the day, the shoes you wear when playing a sport are as important as the playing technique, as they will influence how efficient you are. Therefore, tennis shoes are not necessarily the best choice due to these factors – the most compatible shoes are either volleyball or squash shoes, as these will give you extra ankle support and prevent sprains as you slide and move around.