In high school, I worked part-time at my local rec center. It wasn’t glamourous but I did at least get in for free in addition to getting hamburger money. On nights that I closed, I was typically there until 9:00 or so at night…unless I had bad luck.
The “bad luck” I’m referring to actually walked into the rec center in the form of idiots who wore shoes with marking soles on the basketball court, racquetball courts, etc. It was my job to walk around with a tennis ball on the end of a stick and scrub off each one of those marks. It could take hours. All I can say is that the people who made those marks are lucky they weren’t around when I had my racket in hand…
It was then that I learned the importance of having the right tool for the job. Or, in the case of this article, badminton shoes for playing badminton. Not only does having the right badminton shoes improve your level of play but it preserves your normal shoes, is better on the court, and probably saves some poor high school sap from doing court maintenance.
What Makes Asics Badminton Shoes Great?
So the question most people ask me is, why Asics badminton shoes specifically? Well, there are a couple of reasons. The number one being the fact that they are the brand of shoes I’ve always played in. But why are they the shoes I’ve always played in? Because I feel that they represent the best and most consistent value that can be had in badminton shoes.
If you’re a professional player or have the cash to burn go ahead and buy some Yonex badminton shoes. However, if you want to have better availability, more style options, a larger size range, and 99% of the same performance for a far lower price, Asics are where it’s at.
What Type Of Shoes Do You Need For Badminton?
If you’ve had trouble finding any Asics badminton shoes that are marketed specifically for badminton, it’s not your fault. In fact, very few companies (at least where I live) market shoes specifically for the game of badminton. I assume they think the market is too small (and they’re probably right). Which leaves you wondering what type of shoes to get. Let’s sum it up with a chart:
Shoes Suitable For Badminton
- Badminton Shoes (surprise, surprise)
- Volleyball Shoes
- Handball Shoes
- Most Racquetball/Squash Shoes
- Most Table Tennis Shoes
- Non-specific “Court Shoes”
Shoes Unsuitable For Badminton
- Basketball Shoes (even if they’re low tops)
- Weightlifting Shoes
- Outdoor Tennis Shoes
- Running Shoes
- Cross-training Shoes
- Boxing Shoes
Can you play badminton in your tennis shoes? Sure. But you probably shouldn’t. And that’s not just me being snobby and saying you won’t play well. I’ve actually seen people break or severely sprain their ankles as well as mess up their knees by wearing tennis shoes on the court. But there’s more to it than that.
So what makes them suitable or not? Well, as you would expect, it’s not black and white. There are probably a few exceptions for each type of shoe. But here are the criteria I use to determine a great badminton shoe:
The sole is the most distinguishing and important feature of a badminton shoe. A shoe that performs well will be thin (for a quick response time), uni-directional (not just designed for forward motion), and non-marking.
Badminton shoes come with different types of soles that perform different purposes, namely function well of different court terrains:
- Rubber Soles: Rubber soles are made up of synthetic rubber which has lesser traction and provides little grip on the ground. They are most suitable for rough surface areas that have good traction.
- Gum Rubber Soles: Gum rubber soles are made up of gum rubber which has a good impact and grip on the ground. This sole is the preferred choice for most badminton courts.
It’s also worth noting here that one of the under-discussed elements of a badminton shoe is the grip of the soul. One of the reasons that people get injured on a badminton court is because they wear something like a running shoe that grabs onto the court. Badminton shoes allow a small amount of slippage which protects both the knees and ankles.
It should come as no surprise that your badminton shoes will need to be supportive. The shoes should have laces that go far down on the shoe, ankle support that doesn’t limit mobility, and a width that properly fits your feet. I personally prefer for my shoes to have padding on the tongue as well as the collar because it allows me to tie them tighter and holds them more securely on my feet.
The amount of cushioning that you want in a badminton shoe will really depend on the amount of time you spend on the court. If you’re going to spend an entire day playing you’ll want something with a bit more cushion. The majority of shoes use EVA Foam, the same type of midsole cushioning that you will find in any other type of athletic shoes. Asics badminton shoes on the other hand typically use gel (which is much better) and have a medium level of cushioning. This provides a good amount of comfort while still allowing you to play aggressively.
Breathability & Moisture Control
If you make a habit of sticking your shoes in your badminton bag at the end of a court session you might be in trouble. Nothing is quite like opening your bag the next week to discover that your shoes have aged like a fine blue cheese during their rest period. Be sure to choose a shoe that fits your level of foot-sweat. I typically prefer shoes with a large amount of mesh as I feel it breaths better.
Size & Weight
A certain brand of badminton shoe that I won’t name (okay…it’s Yonex) does not make shoes big enough for me. Not that it’s their fault. I have monstrous feet. However, you’ll need to spend the time to find a shoe that is well-fitting in both length and width. Asics badminton shoes typically come in a full range of sizes and fit very similarly to their running shoes.
A typical badminton shoe comes in between 250 and 350 grams. This is around 25% lighter than most street shoes and can speed up your game play.
At the end of the day, those are really the only necessities for good badminton shoes. Asics badminton shoes provide a good balance of the items above. Beyond those items, your choice of shoe will largely come down to what you like the looks of and what fits your feet. If you have weird craggy feet like mine you might have to try several different pairs before you find something that works well.
The 3 Best Asics Badminton Shoes
Asics Gel Rocket 9
The Asics Gel Rocket 9 is one of Asics flagship court shoes as well as being one of the latest additions to the market. It is available in many color schemes and the full gamut of sizes so I was able to find one that I liked the look of without much difficulty.
It fits and wears exactly how you would expect a premium court show to function. I have been able to play consistently with it for several weeks now with no blisters, sore feet/knees, etc.
They are not the fastest feeling or most flexible shoe that I’ve played in but, at my level, my shoes are hardly the limiting factor.
So if you’re in the market for a great shoes to take you game to the next level, try this one!
ASICS Men’s Upcourt 4
I played for a couple of years with the Asics Upcourt 3 before finally deciding to retire them. Believe me, they are not as clean as they look in the above pictures. Nor do they smell as good. While they were a great shoe I finally decided it was time to get a new pair as the sole was wearing down and hardening and the inside padding was no longer providing a great deal of cushion.
If, however, you are in need of a quality shoe that will last you years, this is a great option. It is actually sold as a volleyball shoe and so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding it at a local sporting goods store.
ASICS Men’s Gel-Blade 7
If you need an alternate pick, this is the one you should pick up. If this model doesn’t do it for you, perhaps it would be time to look outside of Asics for you badminton-shoe-needs.
All of the above shoes are available in both men’s and women’s so check them out no matter your gender!
Do You Really Need Badminton Shoes To Play?
Yes. Don’t even think about playing badminton with the proper shoes and a $300 Yonex racquet.
Just kidding. You can obviously play badminton however you want. If your level of dedication to badminton is simply playing on a portable backyard badminton set or setting up a badminton net at the beach, wear whatever you want (or go barefoot for all I care).
People who are passionate about sports need to own the sports shoe. They help to protect the foot from any injuries and provides comfort while playing. Players concentrate on the game during the match and unknowingly they put more stress on their foot. This may lead to pain and reduces the focus on your game.
So, it is always important for a player to wear shoes to provide comfort and win in every game. Badminton is a simple game for the viewer but not for the player. This game requires quick direction changes. Wearing a high-quality shoe ensures to protect the feet without causing injury and helps you to concentrate on the game without any pain.
How We Tested
Unlike most sites that review items, I won’t lie to you and tell you that I bought 30 different pairs of Asics badminton shoes, wore them for a year each, and then ranked them in a highly scientific way.
Here’s what I did do:
I was up for some new badminton shoes anyway so I spent a couple of hours reading about the characteristics of a great shoe and reading hundreds of reviews. I then purchased a single pair of shoes which I have been extremely happy with. They are a replacement for a different Asics badminton shoe. One of the other shoe models on this list is an updated version of my older shoes which I also love. While I haven’t used the updated shoe, I’d imagine it’s improved. The last pair I included as an alternative if you happen the hate the first two. I have not used it but it looks pretty promising.
Does this method leave the possibility that there are better badminton shoes somewhere out there that I’m not rich enough to test? For sure. However, I got a great pair of shoes at a great price and have no regrets. If you are an optimizer, you might want to go read more reviews and try several pairs. If, however, you just love the game of badminton and want something to help you play a bit better, my recommendation stands.
So, at the end of the day, Asics badminton shoes are the best, yes, you need the, and no, you won’t find a better deal for the price. So choose one you like, pick them up, and get back on the court! Best of luck!