Choosing the best trainers for badminton is going to be one the most important buying decisions that you’re going to make. Not only do a good pair of badminton trainers help your game, they also protect your feet from injuries.
Research has shown that 66.9% of badminton injuries occur in the ankle area. And severe injuries occur more frequently in older players, but more sprains and ligament injuries are reported in younger players. So, getting the right badminton shoes will help all badminton players reduce injuries.
4 Factors to consider when choosing the best badminton trainers
What are the factors to consider when choosing the best badminton trainers? Here are the top 4: type of badminton court; your playing style; your foot type; and durability. Let’s look at each one of these in depth.
Type of Badminton Court
As badminton is a game that is easily affected by wind, most badminton courts are indoors. But there are a lot of players who like to smack the birdie around in the outdoors. So if you plan to play badminton outdoors, most everyday trainers will work well. The only caveat is to use a shoe that lowers your center of gravity and don’t overexert yourself.
Generally, there are 3 types of indoor court floors: PVC/ PU, wooden, concrete. Most tournament courts are wooden with a PU(polyurethane) top layer. And most indoor courts I’ve played in were wooden or PVC/PU composite. For wooden/PVC/PU badminton courts, you’ll need to get specialized badminton shoes. This is because these floors tend to be a tad slippery (especially all wooden floor courts) and will be marked by normal trainers. In fact, you’ll not be allowed to play on most of these courts unless you have the right shoes!
For concrete badminton courts – I see fewer and fewer of these, you can’t use the same shoes that you use on the wooden/PU courts. The gum sole will wear out very quickly. For a while, I played on a concrete floor. I used my normal running/hiking trainers for a while, until one day I played a quick session with my canvas shoes. They were simply amazing! I figured out, later on, why they were perfect for a concrete floor. They were low, so they lowered my center of gravity and had great grip. I never went back to my trainers!
You don’t want to play for long periods on a concrete floor – it’s murder on your knees and ankles, especially for older players. If you only have access to concrete floor court, you should consider looking for a badminton shoe with good cushioning to absorb some of the shock and reduce your time on the court. Also consider playing outdoor, grass is a great surface for badminton!
Your playing Style
Before choosing a badminton trainer, you need to know your preferred playing style. Are you a power or a speed player? If you like the jump smash, then you’ll need a trainer that has very good shock absorption properties. If you are a fast player, you’ll need a shoe that is light, has a good grip and that does not restrict your playing style.
For all round players, you’ll need to look for a trainer that offers you the best of both worlds – forecourt and backcourt play. Keep in mind that it’s hard to get a light shoe that has great shock absorption properties. I’d recommend that you try out a few models and find one that is perfect for your feet.
Your Feet Type
I’m usually surprised how many people don’t know what’s their feet profile. It’s far more important to know your feet type than your size. Basically there are 3 elements that describe your feet profile: arch, width, and foot balance.
There are 3 feet arch types; normal, low, and high. They are classified with reference to the arch of your feet. The wet test is a great way to find out what’s the arch of the feet. This post shows how to measure how wide your feet are.
Finally foot balance. Your feet have will have a neutral balance, pronated (ankle bent inwards), or supinated (ankle bent outwards.). It’s easy to know how your feet are balanced. Simply take an old shoe and look at the wear on the heels. Pronounced wear on the instep side of shoe heels can indicate pronation and on the outside supination. If you see pronounced wear on either side of your heel, I recommend you see a podiatrist.
Now, you’ll notice that if your feet are wide, you probably also have a low arch and your feet are pronated. And if your feet have a high arch, chances are that they are narrow feet, and that you have supination. There is no ideal feet profile, your body will adapt to a large range of foot profiles. But it’s important to know your foot profile so that you can buy a shoe that does not make you un-balanced.
Personally, I have a slightly high arch, average width, and slightly supinated. So I always to look for a shoe that has a little bit of cushioning on the outside of my sole. Also, I know that I’ve got the right shoe if I don’t need to break it in to feel comfortable.
Good badminton trainers are not cheap! So getting a trainer that will last a while is a good idea. I once paid $150 for a pair that only lasted 3 months before my toes started sticking out. Again, trainers that tend to last are also a lot heavier. A lot of manufactures tend to emphasis how light their badminton shoes are – and the benefits of light shoes. What they don’t tell you is how fragile their shoes are. Obviously it is in their interest not to.
So beware of the light shoes – and the marketing hype. My advice is to get a shoe that is a little heavier because it will last longer. It’ll not feel as light on your feet, but it’ll probably offer you more support, cushioning and stability. A few tips on how to increase the durability of your badminton trainers. Use your trainers only on the court. I usually carry my badminton trainers in a bag, and change into them just before I step onto the court.
Dust reduces the grip of your gum soles. So carry a moist towel to wipe it off and keep your soles clean. If the badminton floor is always dusty, get the management of the facility to clean it before your session. Or join a clearer badminton facility/club! Finally, you should look to replace your innersoles as soon as you notice wear (usually after about 10 sessions for Yonex shoes). Replace them with these great innersoles.
Best Badminton Trainers
To start us off, the best badminton all-round trainer. More durable than the AERUS 1, offers more ankle support (good if you have any type of foot imbalance), very light, and had wonderful grip. I got my pair of the AERUS earlier this year and I absolutely love them. I am a predominantly a forecourt player, and play doubles a lot, but these have definitely improved my singles game. The added cushioning at the sole has made these my favorite badminton shoes. My knees and lower back are thanking me!
To be honest, I was a little skeptical when I bought these. The previous model was light, (I told you to beware of light shoes) and they were very fragile. My pair didn’t last 3 months! But I’ve been using the AERUS 2 for a couple of months, with no noticeable wear and tear. But I’ve had to replace the innersoles.
I’d definitely recommend this trainer for forecourt and all-round play. It doesn’t have the best support for your feet, but it’s light and fast. If you do plan to play very long sessions 3 hours plus, then this might not be the best shoes for you. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with this shoe. There’s a men and a ladies version, the only different is the color and sizes. And when you get it, you don’t need to buy a slightly larger shoe size, like with most Yonex shoes. One more thing, it does fit wide feet! Check price on Amazon.
The Yonex SHB 03 is the ultimate stable shoe. This coupled with the good cushioning in all Yonex badminton shoes make this the best badminton trainer for a backcourt player. The materials used on the Yonex SHB 03 upper shoe appear to be remarkably durable to the touch. If you normally use a wide footed shoe I’d recommend a half size extra. Else go with your regular size.
The inner bootie concept allows for a more snug fit – that you don’t need to lace the shoes to walk around comfortably. They are quite heavy and stiff, I bet these will easily last a couple of years with medium frequency use. Definitely the shoe I’d recommend for backcourt play. Check price on Amazon.
Now, there’re 2 version of this trainer: the ASICS Men’s Gel-Blade 5 and the ASICS Women’s Gel-Blade 5. What I love about the Gel Blade is that it’s a low profile trainer. Which means that this is the perfect badminton shoe for forecourt players. It’s not as light as the AERUS (although the women’s version is only 285g), but my Blade 3 lasted 2 years. If you are looking for a comfortable, fast shoe, get this.
My only concern, and why I don’t use my Blade 5 a lot, is because they are a little big for me. I think I should have got them a size smaller. I was hoping to get used to them, but after a few weeks of use they still felt roomy. So I’m looking to get an inner sole for them and see if that will fix the issue. I may have to get a new smaller pair. Which bring me to my final thought on the Gel Blade, they are slightly cheaper than Yonex. Best bang for the buck badminton trainer? We’ll see. Check price on Amazon.
That’s it for this post. As always, feel free to add your voice in the comment section.