In a sport like badminton, footwear can mean the difference between victory and injury prevention and losing both a game and your ankles. With badminton and tennis sharing certain equipment like rackets, nets, and uber-sporty outfits, you might be wondering if badminton and tennis shoes are the same.
Badminton and tennis shoes are not the same, especially from a competitive standpoint. Badminton shoes and tennis shoes differ in their cushioning and the material that comprises their soles. Badminton shoes have less cushioning compared to tennis shoes and come with non-marking soles. As well, tennis shoes generally have higher elevations compared to badminton shoes. Because the surfaces badminton shoes are used on vary, the grip patterns of badminton shoes are radial, allowing for multi-directional movement on a wood board or polyurethane court.
In greater detail, this post will dive into the differences that separate badminton shoes from tennis shoes. By the end of this post, you’ll be taking the first step towards knowing which kind of footwear to invest in.
Can You Wear Badminton Shoes to Play Tennis?
Tennis is a sport you play on a court made of clay, synthetic turf, or grass. When you think about it, you’ll be playing on a surface that’s characteristic of an outdoor playing environment.
For this reason, you shouldn’t wear badminton shoes to a tennis court even if you can recreationally. The surfaces of a tennis court can be abrasive to the material of your average badminton shoe. This is because badminton shoes consist of materials meant for wood, polyurethane (PU), polyvinyl carbon, or acrylic courts.
Badminton shoes are not a good option for tennis courts for multiple reasons.
First, as mentioned earlier, the grip patterns of many — if not all — badminton shoes are radial. Radial grip patterns are present in nearly all models of badminton shoes. They appear as small or shallow holes or grooves that occur equally across the sole of the shoe, except maybe for the middle part of the soles which support the arcs.
The shallowness of the radial grips, as well as their regularity across the sole, are excellent for badminton courts. However, wear them on a grass, turf, or clay court, and you’ll likely end up suffering an injury you expect to sustain on a badminton court.
Other than protecting your feet and ankles, not wearing badminton shoes to play tennis also protects the shoe. Let’s be honest. Badminton shoes aren’t cheap.
This is especially true if you’re using pairs from brands like Yonex, Nivia, Mizuno, or Victor. They’re durable given their price tag — just not for the rough and sometimes uneven surface of a clay tennis court.
You’ll get a few games of tennis out of your badminton shoes. Just don’t expect yours to last long if you habitually do this.
Can You Wear Tennis Shoes to Play Badminton?
Now, let’s see how things work the other way around. Can you rock your tennis shoes on a hard wooden badminton court?
The answer to this is both “yes” and “no”. Yes, you can wear your tennis shoes to play badminton recreationally — though definitely not competitively. However, it isn’t the best choice as you’ll soon find out if you try it. A badminton court’s surface will expose you to why you ought to go with badminton shoes.
When you think of the average tennis shoe, it’s bound to be designed for a specific type of court. Some shoes are for clay courts; others are for the grass or synthetic turf court. These days, tennis shoes that are built for all possible tennis court surfaces are making it to the shelves. Be that as it may, no tennis shoe manufacturer designs tennis shoes for badminton courts.
Wood or synthetic indoor flooring materials like Taraflex make up the surfaces of badminton courts. These surfaces can be solid and smooth. While these can favor a tennis shoe’s strengths, it’s important to factor in the speed of badminton rallies.
Badminton rallies are fast and furious, which is why it’s no surprise that it’s the world’s fastest sport. As such, movement for badminton needs to be quick and sudden.
Shoes with radial grips that have thinner cushioning will provide a player the tactile feedback to spring onto a flying shuttlecock. This is why badminton shoes typically have thinner heels compared to tennis shoes. This is also why many badminton shoe companies equip shoes with non-marking gum soles that have radial grips allowing for multi-directional movement.
In short, feel free to wear tennis shoes on the badminton court. It’s fine as long as you’re just playing for “kicks”. Beyond that, you’d still be better off with a badminton shoe, especially if speed is important to you — as it should be.
Why Is It Important To Wear Badminton Shoes To Play Badminton?
By now, it’s likely clear that you should wear badminton shoes on a badminton court, and tennis shoes on tennis courts. The reasons for wearing badminton shoes to a badminton game abound. I’d like to focus on some that every badminton player should consider.
It’s important to wear badminton shoes on a badminton court because the soles of badminton shoes are non-marking. As well, badminton shoes can help you avoid common badminton injuries. Most importantly, a good pair of badminton shoes simply helps you move better on the court.
Badminton courts are indoors. The playing surfaces are susceptible to marks being left by the soles of many shoes. Observing this, many venues have required players to use non-marking shoes to preserve the surface, according to Sports Uncle. This is why badminton shoes are a must if you’re going to play on an indoor court.
Badminton shoes also provide the support and stability needed for the feet and ankles to stay healthy during a game. Too much cushion can lead to the ankles rolling to the side after a sudden stop.
Also, with excess cushioning (like with tennis shoes) comes weight and the dampening of tactile feedback. According to Health, this is partly why excess cushion can slow a wearer down.
Precision in foot strike (the impact of the foot on the ground) is key when it comes to excelling in badminton. Shoes that allow for this need to have just the right amount of cushioning — but not like a tennis shoe.
In short, wearing badminton shoes to play badminton is important for preventing injuries and moving fast on the court.
What Are the Most Important Qualities of Badminton Shoes That Make Them So Important for Players?
Badminton shoes can make a difference during a game. This is why any badminton player looking to maximize performance on the court needs to invest in a pair.
Several qualities make badminton shoes a must-have for any badminton player. Badminton shoes provide support and stability for the feet. In addition, badminton shoes offer an optimal blend of tactile feedback and cushion on the court. Badminton shoes are also worth the investment because of their lightweight design and non-marking soles.
Let’s begin with stability and support. The construction of badminton shoes allows your feet to move — but not to the extent where there’s excess twisting. The construction also allows your feet to stay grounded as you move in different directions on the badminton court. The support ensures that your feet and ankles stay healthy.
Because of the material used for the soles of badminton shoes, you’ll get the right amount of cushion. Too much cushion dampens your feeling of the floor (which is important for explosive movements), but there’s still a place for cushioning — as long as it’s minimal. Badminton shoes give you the comfort of a cushioned shoe with the tactile feedback from a minimalist or CrossFit shoe.
One of the striking differences that distinguish badminton shoes from tennis shoes is weight. According to Racquet Warrior, tennis shoes have pronounced cushioning at the heel, making them heavier than badminton shoes. Badminton shoes have relatively less cushioning than tennis shoes, guaranteeing lightness on the court.
Lastly, the non-marking soles don’t just ensure a firm grip on the wood or Taraflex court. They’re also a must if you want to use any indoor badminton court.
Need a Leg Up on the Competition? Invest in a Good Pair of Badminton Shoes
Badminton shoes are essential to any badminton player. A good pair does more than make you look flashy as you make that jump step. Badminton shoes ensure that you perform well on the court, and they keep your ankles and feet in one piece.
Are you using the right shoes?
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