Can Tennis Shoes be Used to Play Badminton?

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I’ve always been adamant about two things — the difference between “can” and “should” and using the right shoes on the right surface. My firm stance on these subjects drives my decision to use certain footwear on certain surfaces. Thus, whenever I’m asked about wearing tennis shoes to play badminton, my answer is simple:

You can use tennis shoes to play badminton, but I don’t think you should. If you’re going to use tennis shoes on a badminton court, don’t expect to gain a competitive edge. Similarly, if you’re going to wear tennis shoes to play badminton, keep them in AirBadminton games. Last but surely not least, make sure they’re non-marking.

As you’ll see in the next paragraphs, using tennis shoes for badminton isn’t optimal, though it is possible. Read on to learn more about wearing tennis shoes to play badminton and why you’re better off not doing so!

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Are Tennis Shoes OK for Badminton?

I’ve mentioned that you can wear tennis shoes to play badminton. However, I’ve got a couple of caveats for this statement:

It’s OK to wear tennis shoes for badminton, granted that they’re non-marking. Also, tennis shoes are alright for badminton if they’re the kind meant for hard tennis court surfaces.

Tennis Shoes are OK If They’re Non-marking

Elsewhere, I’ve mentioned the importance of non-marking shoes for playing badminton. Sure, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) doesn’t say anything about this in the Laws of Badminton. Nonetheless, the owners of a badminton court would appreciate it if they didn’t see scuff marks on their pristine court.

Non-marking shoes don’t leave marks on a badminton court’s wood board or acrylic surface thanks to their gum soles. This reduces the need for badminton court owners to clean or repaint the court.

Technically, any shoe is fine for a badminton court as long as it doesn’t leave marks on the surface — even if these shoes are tennis shoes.

Tennis VS Badminton GUM SOLE
Tennis shoes soles are NOT non-marking

Tennis Shoes are OK if They’re for Hard Tennis Surfaces

While surface materials like artificial grass are the materials of choice of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), not every tennis court is made of turf, grass, or clay. On the contrary, the ITF also approves of several materials for hard surfaces like acrylic, wood-board, and polyurethane.

Do these materials sound familiar? If you’ve answered yes, that’s because these are the same materials that are common in badminton courts. If you wish to know more about which of these flooring materials is the best for badminton courts, check out my article on this topic.

Why is this important? While tennis courts and badminton courts aren’t the same, the similarity in material can allow you to wear tennis shoes on a badminton court. Although tennis shoes have no advantages on a badminton court, using ones made for hard tennis courts is fine. Once again, to use them on a badminton court, the tennis shoes need to be non-marking.

Image - Tennis Shoes on Hard Surfaces
Tennis shoes on hard surfaces like grass and clay.

Are Badminton and Tennis Shoes the Same?

By now, you’ll have guessed that the answer is clear.

Badminton shoes and tennis shoes aren’t the same. Despite how similar their outsoles might look, the differences are worlds apart in regards to two key aspects. These aspects are weight and cushioning. In most cases, another difference lies in their soles.

To learn more about the differences between badminton and tennis shoes, you’ve got two choices — you can either check out my article on the subject or, since you’re here, you can simply read on.

Badminton Shoes Have Less Cushioning Than Tennis Shoes

One of the key differences between the two types of shoes is cushioning. Between the two, badminton shoes are likely to have less cushioning. While this might sound like a bad thing, it’s beneficial for the kinds of movements required in badminton.

Badminton shoes need to have less cushioning to support tactile feedback. Tactile feedback is the solid sensation of the ground. This is essential whenever you spring towards the shuttlecock or leap up to execute your Lin Dan-esque smash.

Too much cushioning is comfortable and absorbs shock. Nonetheless, this results in a phenomenon known as “give.” This is when the feet sink right when force is applied on the ground.

Give can dampen speed and explosiveness, making excessive cushion in badminton shoes undesirable. Besides, too much cushioning can also create a bit of instability, making injuries more likely. We’ll talk about this later.

Tennis VS Badminton Shoes Cushioning
Badminton shoes have more cushioning than Tennis shoes

Tennis Shoes will be Heavier and Have Much Cushioning at the Heel

Tennis courts are larger than badminton courts. This means that tennis will put players in a larger area to move. Since running and decelerating are more common in tennis, tennis shoes will have more heel cushion.

The added cushion means more shock absorption to accommodate the needs of tennis players. However, the added cushioning will add more weight. If you want an example, walk into a sports store and compare the weight of a Yonex badminton shoe and any tennis shoe you can find. Nine times out of 10, you’ll find the tennis shoe heavier.

Tennis VS Badminton Shoes Weight
Tennis shoes are heavier than Badminton shoes

What Makes Badminton Shoes More Suitable for Badminton than Tennis Shoes?

It’s not that you can’t wear tennis shoes to a badminton game. It’s just that badminton shoes are better.

Badminton shoes have the perfect combination of weight and minimal cushioning necessary for badminton. On top of that, all badminton shoes come with non-marking soles that leave no scuff marks on a badminton court — a feature that’s not present in many tennis shoes.

Badminton shoes have just enough cushioning to absorb shock during quick stops and landings. However, the cushioning is small enough to minimize give, allowing a player to move faster on the court. The balance between cushioning and stability makes badminton shoes essential to performing well on the court and steering clear of common badminton injuries.

On top of having the right balance between cushion and tactile feedback, badminton shoes have non-marking soles. Non-marking soles are a must for anybody playing on a badminton court. Besides guaranteeing optimal traction, non-marking soles ensure that the surface of the court remains in peak condition. For this reason, badminton court owners require badminton shoes in the interest of maintaining the conditions of the court.

Keep Tennis Shoes on Their Own Turf

Tennis shoes are fine on badminton courts if they’re non-marking and made for hard surfaces. As long as tennis shoes meet these standards, they can be used on a badminton court. With that said, whether they should be used for badminton is another matter.

Badminton shoes are made for badminton courts. If you’re looking to get the most out of your game, it’s important to keep this in mind —and keep your tennis shoes on their turf (pun intended).

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