The right pair of badminton shoes can help you to improve your game and avoid injuries. In general, you want your shoes to be lightweight, grip the floor well, provide cushioning for shock absorption and provide good support. The best shoe for you depends on your foot and what kind of court you play on. But even good shoes have a short life in this game, lasting on average three to six months.
A stiff heel counter that fits your foot well can lower your risk for injuries, according to Per Renstrom, professor of sports medicine and orthopedic researcher, writing in the "British Journal of Sports Medicine.“ The heel counter is inside the shoe, so you cannot see it. It cradles your heel and arch and reinforces the shoe’s heel cup to increase support. The heel counter should help lock your foot into the shoe, anchoring it to the mid-sole. Press on the heel of the shoe with your thumb to see if the heel counter is firm. If you can flatten the heel, then it does not offer enough support. Also, seek a shoe that offers good lateral support because badminton play requires constant directional changes.
Grip and traction are extremely important in badminton shoes. However, the right shoe for you will depend on what type of court you play on, such as wood or cement. Gummy rubber soles provide the best traction and grip on wood surfaces. Cement is more forgiving in terms of grip. Shoes that prevent slipping are important because this helps prevent injuries. Many players wear their badminton shoes only on the court to avoid dust build-up on them. Some even swipe the soles of their shoes with a damp cloth prior to play.
You need shock absorption in both the heel and the sole. Good shock absorption will help reduce fatigue and thus improve your badminton play. While shock absorption is important, you also need flexibility at your forefoot so make sure you don’t sacrifice this feature when gaining the cushioning you desire.
Choose badminton shoes that are lightweight, fit the shape of your foot and have a relatively thin sole. Running or other thick-soled shoes are too high from the ground so wearing them is likely to lead to a sprained ankle. Brands most often recommended in badminton shoes include Yonex, Asics, Hi-Tec and Mizuno, according to BadmintonCentral.com.