While starting out playing racket sports at a young age, most of us play multiple sports before zeroing on our favourite one. If you are a badminton and tennis player at the same time, you would often wonder if you could use the same shoes for both the sports.
Let’s start by getting straight to the point.
Can I wear my badminton shoes while playing tennis? The short answer to this is no. Unless you have absolutely no choice, badminton shoes should be used for badminton only, while you should look to play tennis at all levels wearing tennis shoes.
If you are a regular badminton player, you are going to want to have the correct gear, and this includes the shoes.
If you are playing badminton as a one-off game, perhaps to see if you like the sport or not, you can play in tennis shoes or other sports shoes.
But, a very strong but, don’t make a habit of this.
You can play badminton in tennis shoes a few times, but once you know you are going to be a regular badminton player, get yourself some badminton shoes.
All Sports Have Specialised Footwear
There is a reason why there is a huge variety of sports shoes on the market and that is because each sport is different and therefore the footwork for each sport is different.
Tennis shoes are specially designed for fast movement, high and low impact, change in direction, foot, ankle and leg support, jumping, lunging, slipping, sliding and stretching, and movements that are backwards, forwards and lateral.
The shoe you wear helps with all of this, offering stability and durability.
Badminton is not nearly as high energy as tennis and there is far less running, leaping, jumping, twisting or turning.
A badminton shoe is therefore designed with less padding and is not as ‘fancy’ as a tennis shoe. You can obviously wear a tennis shoe for badminton, for the occasional game, but you should not wear a badminton shoe for tennis or you will likely injure your feet.
What Makes a Good Badminton Shoe?
This is a tennis website but it makes sense for us explain what makes a good badminton website.
Obviously for badminton you still need stability, durability and protection, but you do not need a shoe that is designed for all the tennis movements.
Badminton is played on a different surface, usually wood or taraflex, so your shoe is designed for these surfaces with a non marking rubber.
Your shoe still needs to be cushioned, but not as cushioned as a tennis shoe. A badminton generally has a lower heel, because less cushioning is needed.
This is why it is so important you don’t play tennis with a badminton shoe. It just does not offer enough padding or protection.
Badminton shoes are closer in style and design to volleyball shoes or basketball shoes. They are indoor court shoes and need to offer:
- Traction or grip
We are going to go over each of these needs individually:
Traction Or Grip on a Badminton Shoe
The kind of rubber used on the outsole of a badminton shoe needs to be both soft and pliable. The tread must have good grip.
Even though Badminton does not have the same fast and varied movements of tennis, the game still includes multi directional movement, and slipping, sliding, reaching out for a ball does happen.
Badminton shoes need a good grip.
This is a good time for you to remember that the grip on a tennis shoe goes in all directions, up, down, back, forward, sideways, laterally and also in all tiny directions, because there is so much movement in tennis.
The grip on the bottom of badminton shoes is generally just up, down and sideways, as per the game itself.
The Cushioning on a Badminton Shoe is Important
As we said above, a badminton shoe does not need as much cushioning as a tennis shoe, but it still needs decent cushioning.
Shoes should be comfortable, with the padding offering protection for not only the feet, but ultimately, the ankles and knees too.
Different shoes offer different cushioning, including gel (ASICS use a specialist gal compound) while others use a type of foam product, EVA, ethylene-vinyl acetate.
Your Feet Must be Able to Breathe in a Badminton Game
Some players get pretty sweaty during a fast paced badminton game (not unlike tennis) and feet can therefore get pretty sweaty too.
A shoe should be able to breathe, so that moisture is evaporated into the air and the heat is dissipated.
It does not mean your feet are not going to get sweaty, but they won’t get as sweaty as they could, and a good Badminton shoe with breathability should not smell.
Lightweight Badminton Shoes are Best
Again, like tennis, badminton requires players to be pretty speedy or quick, so shoes should move with you rather than weighing you down.
While tennis shoes are designed for super speed and are durable, badminton shoes are too. Tennis shoes are a lot more padded though, and offer a lot more flexibility.
Lightweight shoes are important for most bat and ball sports, as agility and speed are necessary for a good game.
A Badminton Shoe Should Offer Decent Flexibility
A good fitting badminton shoe is vital, like in any sport, allowing your feet natural movements within the shoe.
A shoe that is too tight will cramp your toes, well, all part of your foot actually, not allowing you to be flexible in running, moving, slipping and sliding.
It will hinder you.
And a shoe that is too big will not offer support, making all the movements you need in Badminton, dangerous.
Good badminton shoes that fit well offer flexibility, same as a tennis shoe, although tennis shoes offer more flexible movement as the movements are faster and different in tennis.
What are the Other Shoe Options for Badminton?
We have established that if you need to use a tennis shoe for badminton, you can, but we have also established you should not do this if you are going to be playing a lot of badminton.
You can also use a running shoe once in a while, or even your volleyball shoes. Again, only use other shoes once in a while. If you are playing badminton regularly, buy yourself a pair of badminton shoes.
Running shoes are different to tennis and badminton shoes in that they focus on forward movements, and not lateral movements, so ultimately you are going to either damage your feet or have an injury.
There are options for Badminton and Tennis Shoes
If you don’t have badminton shoes, you can wear tennis shoes and you could even wear a pair of running shoes or cross trainers.
For tennis, you really you should wear tennis shoes but you can also wear running shoes, if you are not a regular player.
The thing with tennis shoes is that they are specifically designed for tennis, so you shouldn’t play too many other sports with them or you will just ruin the shoe, and perhaps with time, your feet.
Tennis shoes have the extra support and cushioning (these are two good things) and they are designed for a variety of movements, necessary for tennis but not necessary for all other sports.
Parts of a Tennis Shoe
Because tennis can be hard on your feet, lots of moving and running, your shoe needs to be cleverly designed. The main parts of a tennis shoe include:
This is the footbed of your tennis shoe, the part that makes it soft and comfortable. Sometimes the inner sole can come out and be replaced with a special orthopaedic sole, if your feet are problematic in any way.
This is the cushioning or padding between the insole and outsole, foam or gel based and with a thicker heel which gives extra padding and allows optimal movement.
This is the bottom of your tennis shoe, the part that has the traction and grooves in various directions, giving you non slip, non slide and stable shoes.
This is an extra part connected to the outsole but for your toes, allowing you to pivot easily without slipping.
This is an extra part, connected to the outsole, traction or grip for quick movements and quick stops.
The lining is to make your shoe comfortable, soft and durable.
These help your feet breathe and allow extra moisture, sweat, to escape.
This is where the laces thread.
The tip of a tennis shoe is often reinforced for extra grip.
This protects your toes when you are running in all directions and making sharp movements.
These grooves allow your shoe to be flexible and to move with you, in all directions.
Then of course there is the lacing and the tongue, as most shoe designs have. When you buy a tennis shoe, you do not need to know all the parts of it, we are only telling you so you get the difference between tennis shoes and badminton shoes, and understand why you cannot wear a badminton shoe for tennis!
Badminton shoes are not as intricately designed and have completely different cushioning and grip.
Remember you also get tennis shoes that are designed for the various surfaces, a grass court, clay court or hard court.
If you are only playing on clay once, or grass once, use a hard court tennis shoe for all your games. But if you are going to be a regular clay or grass player as well as a regular hard court player, it is not a bad idea to have different tennis shoes for each surface.
Please note, a good pair of tennis shoes will last you for a long time.
Final Words on Using Badminton Shoes for Tennis
You can wear tennis shoes for badminton, if you have to, but not on a long term basis, what you definitely must avoid is wearing badminton shoes for tennis!